Team TIB's Andrew Hill and Julian Jessop will be firm favourites for the 2017 dusi2c title starting in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The 124km route through the Valley of a Thousand Hills will provide riders with spectacular views and exciting trails as they meander along the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers all the way to the ocean in Durban this weekend.

For ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw and his team the dusi2c is never trying to compete with its older, most prestigious ‘2c’ siblings and Haw tries to keep the dusi2c as close to real mountain biking as possible with riders receiving very little of the special treatment they do at sani2c or joBerg2c.

With cattle paths, district roads and walking tracks taking rider through the heart of the Valley of a Thousand Hills Team TIB’s Andrew Hill is going to be chasing his fifth consecutive win at the race to the coast.

The RMB Change a Life crew of Bongumusa Zikhali and Sipho Kupiso along with two other fellow Change a Life combinations will be hoping they can get that elusive win at the 2017 dusi2c starting in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Hill will be teaming up with young Julian Jessop for the dusi2c and the pair will be the team to beat following their fifth place finish at the highly competitive KAP sani2c just a month ago. Hills’ local knowledge of the valley and the routes will stand them in good stead for the showdown.

Chasing the favourites will be a number of other duos including the Bluff Meat Supply team of Trever Rowe and Warren Price. The veterans have finished on the podium in the past two dusi2c’s and will pose one of the biggest threats to Team TIB.

2017 will once again see a strong RMB Change a Life Academy presence on the start line with Martin Dreyer’s academy entering three teams into the event that holds much significance for the local riders.

Dreyer’s academy is based in the valley through which the riders ride and the three Change a Life teams will have the support of many of the locals egging them on to what could be a first ever win at the race.

The other competitive category is the mixed category with the Parker-Dennison sibling combination of Candice and Wesley leading the charge following their podium finish in 2016.

Wesley and Candice Parker-Dennison will be the mixed team to beat at the 2017 dusi2c starting in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The Parker-Dennison charge might be thwarted by some local knowledge as Tamika Haw and Owen Gandar take them on for a shot at the mixed title.

Gandar and Haw are very familiar with the Valley of a Thousand Hills whether it be from a canoe or on a mountain bike and despite Gandar’s lack of mountain bike training due to his Comrades Marathon preparation the pair will be a force to be reckoned with.

Despite having just completing the 2017 Comrades Marathon, Owen Gandar and Tamika Haw will line up with a shot at the mixed title at the dusi2c starting in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The race is a unique partnership with local communities and environmental organisations, all of whom are involved in the trail preparation and race hospitality, and benefit financially from their involvement in the event.

The dusi2c’s first stage takes riders 64km from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to the overnight stop at the famous Mfula Store in the heart of the Valley of a Thousand Hills on Saturday.

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