We are underway with the completion of day one of racing at the Wuhan Outdoor Quest in China. It was a relatively brief affair with things done and dusted for our team in just a bit over 3 hours. In the end we had a four minute win over Thule Adventure Team with SOS Rehydrate coming home in 3rd a couple of minutes later.
Looking at today’s course beforehand, we decided the opportunities to make a break would be limited with pretty much flat terrain and short stages. So we were not surprised to finish the 7.5km run stage with SOS Rehydrate for company (containing kiwis Marcel Hagenar, Hamish Fleming, Will Sams and Simone Maier). We shared the lead with these guys for the duration of the following stage – a 16km mountain bike across varied, undulating terrain. The roads were slippery and greasy in places so we were careful on the descents.
Into the transition we were still together with SOS Rehydrate but Thule Adventure were only a minute or so behind. We cranked into the orienteering stage with a bit of intention to push the pace and were soon away from Thule but still neck and neck with SOS. This stage turned out to be very straight forward navigationally, but the concrete road running was starting to wear a little thin on our off-road bodies by the end of the 6km and transition to kayak.
Out onto the kayak I was beginning to think SOS were going to be pretty hard to beat on this day as they were better prepared for the final obstacle (a rope ascend using jumars) by beginning the day with harnesses already on. This would have potentially been the difference on such a close day of racing. However shortly into the kayak the SOS team realised they had left their tracking device behind in transition and unfortunately had to u-turn back to get it. All of a sudden we were leading outright.
The 12km paddle along a river was fairly straight forward and we were soon arriving at the ropes under a bridge that Glen and Braden would ascend using two jumars and a leg loop. They had to launch from the kayak which was a little awkward but they did a superb job and Jess and I then paddled a kayak each to the side of the river to reunite with the boys at the top of the bridge. From here it was just 1.5km of road running to the finish line and a win on day one.
Tomorrow involves a 7.5k biathlon, a 20km kayak, a 33km mountain bike, a 14km hill run and an abseil. We think there is more opportunities for teams to make gains and losses tomorrow so our intention is to race hard and see what happens. Everyone is in good health (despite some fairly average food on offer at this race) and we are keen to get stuck in again on day two.
Keep ya posted.