Photo, from Team Haglof Silva, podium on Stage 3
Throughout the year many top international adventure racing teams travel to China to compete in multi day stage races. Normally three words can be used to describe racing in China, unpredictable, hard and hot and Basie Outdoor Quest was no exception. Consisting of 4 days, disciplines included mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, orienteering and abseiling. Each day roughly took 5 to 6 hours and teams are made up of 3 males and 1 female.
I raced with a Swedish team Haglofs Silva. My race started at Nanning airport as my bike box was lost with essential race gear, one major item being a mountain bike. After 2 days of yo-yoing promises or maybe it was translation errors, the best I could do was a Chinese rent a bike couriered from a city 7 hours away. As common as empty building are in China (amazingly very common) bikes are not, finding a bike shop was literally like finding a needle in a hay stack. Beggars can't be choosers, so as per usual what arrived wasn't quite the same as the picture sent to us; a 26 inch wheel Kona and with a front derailleur for looks. On a positive note it had two wheels and it wasn't the worst we had seen.
5km run thought the streets of Leye, running sub 4 min kms to start the day. Then onto mountain bikes for a hilly 40km, over estimating my control of the Kona left me eating gravel, but we finished strongly to start a grueling 20km run (3 plus hours). Head lamps took us through unearth like caves which was awesome, the other feature on this stage being the unforgiving climbing with 30 plus degrees heat. The stage went up and up finishing with a 120m abseil down a rock face.
Still no bike so I endured another day on the Kona. We started the day with double sit on kayaks for a 15 km kayak leg. I was in the front of the boat and Robert a strong guy, well over six feet occupying the back. Hence there was a bit of a weight difference, sinking in the back and almost daylight between the water and the boat in the front. The start was hepatic boats going everywhere which made steering more challenging and emphasised the importance of a good start. Next we jumped on our bike ready for a short ride; most of the stage was hike a bike. Bush bashing, rock hopping, bike carrying ‘fun’ I think it’s fair to say no one enjoys hike a bike, especially the females in the team. Lastly we finished with a short run.
Photo from Baise Outdoor Quest, start of Stage 3
Yes!! My bike had arrived.
I sat on my Specialized carbon hard tail bike with a new appreciation of suspension, brakes, wheel size........ pretty much everything a 21st century bike has to offer. We started with a 40km mountain bike. Our team had a good bike leg and moved onto the run in 3rd place, another hard and hot uphill run we held our position entering the abseil/swim transition. The swim was so refreshing. Whilst two team members swam to the kayaks the other two abseiled then swam. The kayak was 3 hours, although the scenery took your mind off the numb bum and back chafing, it was beautiful. As all China races finish, another uphill 2.5km run to the finish. We were happy with our race and finished 2nd
A runners day. A Mountain bike opened the day which was roughly about 2.5 hours. Unfortunately we had a team member fall ill, the “China bug”, probably a mixture of hard body thrashing racing and new environment. Dry reaching and vomiting doesn’t make a 30km run easy in no means. The team worked well together to get him to the finish line which ended with a 4km orienteering section around the busy streets of Basie. A bonus about racing in a Swedish team is, when a map in their hands it’s all on, the GPS was not needed. Mattias (map reader) loved it, back allies were well utilized and Checkpoints were found with ease. Who doesn’t want to finish a 4 day stage race, straight after 30km trail run with a sprint through the city?
We finished 5th overall. I look forward to racing with Team Haglofs Silva in the future.
Thanks to GU Energy New Zealand for supporting me throughout the race.
Corrinne Smit is a GU Energy New Zealand Pro-Deal Athlete
Cyclists notoriously have tight thoracic spines or mid back. We spend hours hunched over on our bikes and everywhere else in our daily lives.
Sonya Looney is pro mountain biker with a world championship title to her name. She gives us some crucial stretching and mobility exercises to combat the 'cyclist's hunch'.