Baise Outdoor Quest
Sam Manson reports on the last two days at the Baise Outdoor Quest China as three teams battle for the overall win.
The top contenders going into day 3 were
Team Raw adventure (Jackie and Mimi Boisset, Dan Jones, Alex Hunt), Team O2B (Hamish Fleming, Simone Maier, Marcel Hagener and Sam Manson) Team Thule (Martin Flinta, Sam Clark, Helena Erbenova and Clas Bjorling)
Here's the wrap up from April Adventure race in Baise, China from Team O2B team member Sam Manson:
Day 3 & 4
Day 3 was expected to be the longest outing of the four day race and it did not disappoint. It was also one of the most mesmerizing and scenic of the trip. The surrounding land geology is primarily limestone creating unique mountain shapes and enormously deep caves and valleys.
This day began with a Mountain bike stage 37km. Each team started 15 seconds apart in order of current overall placing. We were 2nd to leave behind Team Raw Adventure.
I had been having trouble with my leg muscles in the previous days and this day was no exception. By the first hill I found myself breathing far too hard, muscles burning with an unusual amount of lactic acid pumping away. The teams pulled away from me and I was quickly on the tow rope from Hamish or Marcel. We managed to stay with most of the top teams bar Raw Adventure who had their own pace. The bike has awesome climbs and even better descents, long and fast. Sometimes on very narrow single track. We entered the transition along side Team Thule with many close behind. The air temp was high and made it hard to concentrate.
Next up was a 12km trail run. It was a tough one with lots of ascent up steep rocky faces. Chinese Team Kolumb stayed behind us and pushed our pace throughout. We dropped into a gigantic cave at one point which took 20mins of uphill to climb out of.
At the end we entered a time neutral transition where two of us put harnesses on for an abseil. There was slight confusion as to how long you could stay in this transition area as we only stayed 5mins after been rushed out where as other teams relaxed for over 30mins. (This made the finishline very confusing for placings until chip timings were known). Anyway the whole team had to run down a steep rock face to the lake where half the team jumped into the water and swam to an island 600m away and Marcel and I climbed up a 80m cliff face with dodgy bamboo ladders to commit to an abseil back down to water before pursuing our swim. An obvious gap between us and the other two in the team meant we pushed hard in our helmets and abseil gear to swim and catch up.
Next stage was a 22km kayak on the lake. After the turnaround checkpoint we were convinced we had a great lead on chasing teams but a not so achievable gap to bridge to the 1st place team, Raw Adventure. Happy to exit the boats we mucked around due to confusion with the marshalls. Soon we figured out which direction to head and a 2km run uphill tarmac took us to the finishline. I was truly worn in the legs and dragged myself at the back while Hamish once again set the pace at the front and towed Simone and himself away from me. After crossing the line we found out while waiting that we had in fact finished in third place after Swedish Team Haglofs Silva's time splits came through. Hagolf's Silva had New Zealander Corrinne Smit racing with them.
On paper this day looked simple but of course it would be as challenging a day as the rest. A 27km Mountain bike followed by a 28km run back to town then 3.km orienteering around the village to finish.
The bike stage was a mass start and it was easy for me to stay with everyone... until the first hill. I pushed as hard as always but like every other day the output for my legs was pathetic. I was back on the tow line from either Hamish or Marcel and even Simone gave be a few nudges from behind. The first hill was a big grind to the top eventually topping out at 1100m. We stayed again in sight of Team Thule who we had an overall lead of 5mins on and knew to keep 2nd place overall we just needed to finish with them. The first descent was very technical with big consequences. We didn't get on the track far enough ahead and ended up being held up by fit teams who sucked at technical riding. We had one bike mechanical issue where Simones rear derailleur cable came loose so she was stuck in top gear (No doubt her power legs could have managed it!) Marcel fixed it very quickly but put us again behind slow teams on the technical and narrow track. At transition we had caught up to Thule again and exited on the long run stage just behind them. We knew it would be a tough long run so paced ourselves accordingly and allowed Thule to disappear expecting to see them again. The weather was much cooler today and more bearable however we still sweated profusely and all carried around 4 liters with the time on our feet unknown. With climbed some very big hills, once over 1400m before descending and doing it over again up to 1200m. Bashing through thorned vines and stinging nettle. Marcel pointed out a big black snake on the trail at one point. While I was unable to push the pace hard I was fit and full of endurance so this stage suited me a bit better. Able to stay well with the team. Two Chinese (who are very good runners) passed us during the run but we caught one of them again before the end who had gone too hard.
At final transition to the orienteering stage round town there was certain exhaustion on everyones faces. Hamish and I got hold of the GPS coordinates and had two units. While we ran to one checkpoint the other person was typing in the coordinates for the next. One check point involved us clipping our harnesses into a rope taut across a river and 'flying foxing' across.
Sprinting across the line we could only hope that we'd managed to keep the gap close enough to keep 2nd overall. We hadn't and Thule had been ahead by 7mins. First finished was Raw Adventure again however they we penalised 30mins for misunderstanding and doing the Orienteering check points out of order. Leaving Thule in 1st place for the last day, Chinese Kolumb in 2nd and us in 3rd.
However in the overall standings Raw Adventure had gained such a big lead over the four days that the final penalty did not affect them from claiming 1st overall. That team should be commended for their awesome and convincing result.
Sam would like to recognise the support he receives from Leppin Sport Nutrition and Torpedo 7.
Kiwi Daniel Jones part of winning team Raw Adventure reports here