Paarl - British paddler Keith Moule has added his name to the entry list for the 2017 Berg River Canoe Marathon.
Having made his debut in the 240km race from Paarl to the West Coast in 2015, he says he is itching to take on the challenge again, and adapt from the lessons he learnt two years ago.
Fresh from a top 10 at the European Marathon Championships in Portugal this past weekend, Moule is in great shape after a very successful year to date, having finished ninth in the European Champs after having won three of five British trials.
“After racing the Berg in 2015 I really enjoyed being part of one of South Africa's signature races,” said Moule.
“These are the sort of races that the rest of the world talk about, like the Sella, the Liffey and the Dusi.
“Being part of one of these big races again was my main motivation behind wanting to come back and improve on my seventh place from 2015,” he said.
As a Berg novice Moule turned many heads with his approach to the race, but said that his first experience on the river was a crash-course in river paddling adaption, and says he will be wiser for his second Berg.
“The set-up of the boat is vital! Last time I was like a school boy amateur with my T-bar steering and platform seat, which lasted about four minutes! This year I know what to expect,” said Moule
“I will also pack away a lot more food through the day, I don't think I ate enough on Day 1, I just relied on energy gels and drinks. I will make sure I think more about nutrition this year,” he added.
Moule will be part of a three pronged international assault on the Berg podium, with Hungarian ace Adrián Boros and Czech star Petr Mojžíšek, and will spend the week before the race tripping the river with his team-mates.
“I am looking forward to joining these guys to learn parts of the river before the race starts. In 2015 we had a great international team who looked after each other on the water.
“So hopefully the three of us can do some work together, to make up for our lack of local river knowledge which I know will be a nice advantage for the top South African guys,” said Moule.
Despite being one of the bigger paddlers in the field Moule is not too fazed by the prospect of a lower than usual river, as this will be similar to his 2015 experience.
“It looks like 2015 is about to be joined by 2017 for the hardest years to race,” he quipped.
“But that's what makes these races great to be part of. Everyone who crosses the finish line after four days will know they have a story to tell about the tough conditions.
“That's what we do all these races for, so we have great memories and funny stories to tell. The low water levels just makes for a few bonus obstacles, at least I will be able to see which way I need to go.
“Stick to the wet stuff and keep pulling!” he chirped. “I am really looking forward to racing."
The Berg River Canoe marathon starts in Paarl on July 12 and ends at Velddrif on July 15.
More information can be found at www.berg.org.za