Pietermaritzburg – There will be no sibling rivalry between Wesley and Candice Parker-Dennison when they line up together as one of the favoured teams for a win in the mixed category at the dusi2c mountain bike marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on Saturday and Sunday 10-11 June.
The Parker-Dennison brother-and-sister team will be aiming for their fourth dusi2c finish when they set off from Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. After two relatively low-key rides in 2014 and 2015 they were competitive last year and as the third mixed team to reach Blue Lagoon they also managed to hang on to a top 10 position overall.
“We have ridden together three time at the dusi2c – the first time was with our parents so it was quite easy and then last year we raced hard for the first time,” said Candice after finishing her day of teaching in Scottburgh.
“We have been riding for most of our lives but last year was the first time we have really raced properly together as a team – it was our first time doing a stage race together.
“We had a good first day but then were not so good on the second day. We were really good on the hills but there is a lot more single track on the second day and we were not that quick there.”
The 23-year-old Scottburgh High School teacher and her 26-year-old brother are better prepared for this year’s dusi2c and are hoping for an even better result after a season with some impressive results on and off road.
In April, Candice was third women at the Tour Durban road race, while her brother was impressively quick with a two-hour-42-minute finish, and then last month they did well together at the very competitive KAP sani2c.
“For the dusi2c we just want to go out there and have a good ride, but also want to try and do better than we did last year,” said Candice.
“We did the sani2c together this year and were fifth in the mixed there so I think we are better prepared for dusi2c this time.
“For the first day of sani we did well when the weather was good, but then with the bad weather and rain and everything the last two days were not so great.
“We are looking forward to see what we can do in good weather at the dusi2c. With good conditions I think we can do better than last year.
“I am also better on the single track this year. Wesley was much faster in the single track last year but I have improved so I think we will be much better this year. I think we complement each other well as a team.
“We have been trying to do the KZN cross country series events to improve our technical skills and also racing more as a team,” added Candice.
As they prepare for their fourth ride through the valley of 1 000 Hills in the dusi2c, Candice was full of praise for the race, emphasising the back-to-nature elements of the popular event.
“The dusi2c is cool with a lot of single track and it is not so commercialised as many of the other races. It is not so big and busy as other events and the route and trails are a bit more rough which I like.
“Riding the dusi2c is more like an adventure and the area is quite cool and somewhere we would not normally ride.”
Taking part in any event with a sibling can be a tricky proposition, not for the Parker-Dennison’s.
“No! We don’t argue at all.
“He is a very good big brother and looks after me really well when we are riding together.”
The dusi2c starts at the Natal Canoe Club on the banks of the Msundusi River in Pietermaritzburg on June 10, the same place the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon starts every year. The second stage takes riders from the overnight stop at Mfula Store, deep in the Valley of 1 000 Hills, to Durban’s Blue Lagoon on June 11.
More information can be found at www.dusi2c.co.za