Blue sky day, race started at 9:40am (1:40pm NZ time) after the usual open ceremony with local dignitaries, dancers, fireworks and loud music. Air was nice to breath with a strong sea breeze making the 25 degrees at 9am bearable.
Leg 1: 23km Mountain run.
We ran conservatively for the first 2km and then it was purely stairs of various steepness all the way from 150m altitude to 1500m altitude. Tai Mountain was what we were climbing which is apparently very famous in China. This was obvious on the stairs as we had to navigate through thousands of Asian tourists also using the stairs to see the view. We yelled a lot and make a break right from the start of the stairs holding 2nd place all the way to top. Near the top, still on the stairs we had to carry a pole with two 10kg boxes on the stairs for about 400m! See photo:
Then a short stint to the very top to glipse the view and then the decent.
Somewhat different in that there were less stairs but more loose rock trail and a cheeky extra climb over another high saddle. On the descent we were passed by a Chinese team who are very talented at downhill running and flew past. By 3km to go we all ran out water and dry hot air made us very uncomfortable and parched.
Into a short transion where I could not get enough warm bottles of water down the gullet to rehydrate. Then an abseil off the bridge to some really rank polluted and smelly water.
A short (thankfully) swim to the rocks then a quick 1.5 run to the lake edge. Then paddle time.
We boosted out onto the choppy lake where the breeze was still strong and had to grab two checkpoints before the finish the Chinese team were about 6mins ahead so we needed to work hard to catch them. Unfortunately I was plagued with severe cramp all through my legs the whole time.
We narrowed down so close still but only to about 1.5 minutes and remained 3rd place at the finish line!
A solid and hot day in the field!
I’ll post results once they are published for us. (About 1hour after last finisher)
Unofficial results for top 3 (at a guess)
1st – Purao Biomed – 3 hours 51mins
2nd – Chinese Koosa – 3hours 56mins
3rd – Team O2B healthy – 3hours 58mins