The brand new women’s crew of Hillary Bruss and Alex Adie is challenging for top honours in next month’s Dusi Canoe Marathon, with a bold plan to complete their preparations despite living in opposite corners of the country.
The newly wed Bruss, pictured right, is based in KwaZulu-Natal whilst Adie, a former Howick resident and Epworth old girl, has made Cape Town her new home since July 2013 after being offered an opportunity to further her career in the Western Cape.
The pair join Robyn Kime (Western Cape and KZN) and Abbey Ulansky (Canada), Abby Adie (KZN) and Anna Adamov├í (Czech Republic) as well as Jen Theron (KZN) and Jane Swarbreck (Johannesburg) as the fourth crew who will spend the majority of their preparation campaign for the three-day long iconic event apart despite the 2014 showdown being a K2 championship affair.
ÔÇ£It obviously would have been ideal to have been in the same town or area to be able to prepare for the Dusi together but we both know the ins and outs of racing and the fine tuning required to go as quickly as possible and we both have confidence in the other’s training so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem for us,ÔÇØ explained Bruss.
ÔÇ£I don’t think being apart will be too much of a problem,ÔÇØ added Adie. ÔÇ£We gelled so well at the 50 Miler and as long as we do our individual preparation properly we should be fine.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Luckily Hilary also has such incredible experience and I’ve been down the Dusi route quite a bit too so hopefully that will help us with not being able to trip the river as much as we would have hoped.
The fact that they aren’t the only ones preparing individually for the paired contest is also reassuring for Adie. ÔÇ£Almost all of the top ladies boats are in a very similar boat so hopefully that means we won’t be disadvantaged any more than the others.ÔÇØ
The Bruss/Adie combination is no stranger to the South African river paddling scene, with Bruss having paddled numerous races and claimed a number of titles including the Hansa Fish and Non Stop Dusi titles with Alex’s twin sister Abby.
However the recent 50 Miler Canoe Marathon was in fact the first competitive test Bruss and Alex Adie have been through together.
ÔÇ£50 Miler was the first river race we’ve ever paddled together. With Alex having been in the Cape up until then we spent a short while on the river the day before and then quickly jumped into the boat and shot Mission Rapid just before the start of the race to test we were okay,ÔÇØ said Bruss.
ÔÇ£We actually settled quite quickly though and ended up having so much fun in the boat together so I’m very excited about us paddling Dusi together.ÔÇØ
Adie echoed Bruss’s 50 Miler sentiments. ÔÇ£50 Miler was really good for us, especially considering we hadn’t paddled together much at all before then. It was a really good confidence booster for us.ÔÇØ
Despite having combined so well already, the pair did have a minor issue to overcome prior to things even getting underway and that was the difficult decision of who would drive the boat considering that both prefer to sit in the back.
ÔÇ£I’ve paddled with the one Adie twin (Abby) already and now it’s my chance to paddle with the other. The only difference is now I’m going to be driving. I really enjoy sitting in the back but Alex said right from the beginning that if we’re going to paddle together then I’d have to drive and I guess that was that,ÔÇØ chuckled Bruss.
ÔÇ£Fortunately 50 Miler went pretty well so hopefully it all works out for us in Dusi,ÔÇØ she added.
Despite being untested as a combination the pair have high hopes for their new partnership and a podium finish is well within their reach they believe.ÔÇ£We always both just try to do our best but I’d say finishing in the top three is definitely our main goal,ÔÇØ said Adie. ÔÇ£It will all come down to how well we can prepare apart!ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£We both have very high expectations for one another but we also just have such fun in the boat together and I think having a good foundation of having fun and enjoying each other’s company is the crux of what paddling about and hopefully this puts us in good stead for Dusi,ÔÇØ added Bruss.
Picture: Kyle Gilham/Gameplan Media