It’s always tricky doing this many China races in a row. Starting the third China multi day race in a month, we are all anxious on how the body will perform. Usually they have a tough first day and then it seems to recognize the signals of what we asking of it and it adapts into race mode.
Today was freezing, around 15 degrees an pouring rain. Not what we are used to in China. Lucky I had packed a polypro thermal to the start line and used it.
Mass start and two team members had to carry a 20kg basket from 3km. We pushed from the start and broke into a gap between the main field and 1st place (Purao Biomed) who were flying well under 4minkms. My team worked together and shared the load although the quads and hammys had a massive workout. By the end of the 3km we have 2nd position.
3.6km road run. We dropped the baskets and work to claim back time. Even though the legs weren’t too happy post basket carry we seemed to be getting closer to Purao who maybe had pushed a bit hard.
42km mountain bike. A hard transition for me, legs were paying the price for the basket. We spent a short time in the streets before climbing a near hill where we passed Purao quickly but only because they weren’t moving due to a mechanical issue with one of the chains. Team Adventure NZ and the chinese team Koosa weren’t far back. The rain had made the course very wet and very muddy making the trails very slow and technical. We fought with the teams in the slipperyness for a long time and soon Purao came flying up front recovering impressively from their mechanical.
1km bike carry up and down very slippery steps made for interesting racing. I managed a crash off the bike in one downhill, tearing some skin off and bruising my hip/pelvis.
13km run. After finishing the mountain bike completely covered in mud we change to running. Initially fast downhill on road at which I realized I was have trouble with my running legs. The road changed to trail and was very cool travelling through isolate farms and valleys where we followed a stoney river and crossed it around 5 times. A fun stage but I just hung on to the team a the back. Last 2km was on wide clay 4wd track before we checked in to a time neutral zone we meet two teams here. Purao and Koosa who had both run faster than us. Here we had time out due to safety so we could safely put our harnesses on. There I also assess the damage from the crash and it is mostly bruising. The next team to check in is Team Adventure NZ but they were a safe 7mins back due to a mechanical on the bike.
200m run and 60m Zipline. A quick boost up a hill then we get two ropes per team to zip across a pond of water. This all goes pretty smoothly.
5km uphill road run. In classic Chinese fashion we a faced with final ascent to make sure we collapse across the finish to make for great TV and photos.
Crossing the finish in 3rd position however confident that we will make up time in the coming days. I hoped that my restricted leg power today was only because of the 20kg carry at the start of the day and the shock of racing again