You may remember the last race update, this was the Penghzou race in June, just one month ago. You would have heard the race result details if you followed mine or any of my team members social media anyway.
The team was in GREAT form and well-tuned for redemption race after being slightly embarrassed at our result in April. A quick recap on last month is that by end of day 2 (of 3) we were in 2nd place and a mere 5mins away from 1st place (Raw adventure – Jacky, Mimi, Dan Jones, and Alex Hunt). I was feeling stronger each day and was confident that the last day we could actually take the lead. Unfortunate late that night, Hamish was up spewing out of both ends and by morning he could barely move or stomach anything. Determined as always, Hamish was certain we would still race. Soooo we cracked into it! However within 30mins of the first stage (Mountain bike) it became clear to everyone just how bad Hamish had was. He was stuck in a different world of pain and misery, his body wanted to shut down and rest. We moved slower and slower. Hamish did a great write up on his blog site from his perspective, check it here: https://hamishfleming.com/2016/06/26/pengzhou/
From my perspective, I didn’t know what to do, well what I thought was wrong anyway. My understanding of the situation was that it was super hot and it was a demanding activity, so therefore I must make him drink and make him eat. I find it hard enough to get enough of either of those down. He had swallowed pretty much nil fluid or food since he’d be spewing and shitting at 2am. He was a human body shell with nothing inside. So I forcibly encouraged him to continually drink and eat.
This was wrong, if the body is sending out clear signals that it cannot/does not want to consume anything, don’t make it! But I did. I made Hamish take gels (pretty much sugar syrup) and with no water in his gut to dilute it, he just got sicker and even began to throw up blood.
Through sheer mental determination, Hamish made it to the finish line. We were gutted to finish 1.5hours behind the leaders but overwhelmed for the finish line. If this had happened on the 2nd or 1st day I don’t know how a following day of racing would have gone for the team/Hamish. We ended up 9th overall thanks to our first two days.
Huge learning for all of us and definitely me. We go out of our way to ensure excellent hygiene and ‘safe’ food only eaten. But still a foreign bug made it into our guts. I say ‘our’ because 1 hour before my international flight to NZ I also began the same symptoms, 11.5 hours spewing out both ends, hugging the aircraft lavatory like I was drunk and in love with it. I now fully understood what it meant for Hamish in the race and the disapproval of any mouth intake. The intensity of sickness and feeling of death was more extreme than I imagined and thanked my lucky stars I didn’t have this in the race. I didn’t sleep a second. The symptoms of diarrhoea and weakness from low intake lasted for nearly 2 weeks.
The advice is: If you don’t want to eat or drink, DON’T. You WILL get dehydrated so try and SIP away at water/electrolyte as often as comfortable. Wait it out. If you can eat, follow the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Stewed Apples, Toast (White bread). I ate more white bread in that two weeks than I have in the last 10 years, but only after about 3days where prior I had eaten nothing. ALSO Charcoal pills (See Chemist) did wonders for the gut and Hamish agrees.
Current update, I have manflu from a mountain bike session on Sunday on an frosted advanced tramping track (=hike a bike) then falling into a stream. Training will be cranking up again soon. I have a training camp in Wellington with my coach, Cam Durno at beginning of August and then Wulong mountain quest in China at start of September – Back to retain our title!