I haven’t decided if I’m bummed not be racing in China right now for the Wulong Mountain Quest. It is a super fast stage race with great competition and amazing scenery but the illness I picked up there last year has lingered with me for almost a full year. Due to me being sick and not performing very well last year, we finished pretty poorly which makes the return trip a bit more expensive. Nike-Beaver Creek had an awesome race last year even after Dan Weiland severly sprained his ankle in the prologue and finished in third place. My teammate Mike Kloser returned with Nike-Beaver Creek this year racing alongside Gretchen Reeves, Jay Henry and George Christison of New Zealand. After the sprint prologue and two days of racing, the leaders jersey has changed every day which can only mean that the competition is fierce. Team names have changed from other races but most of the racers are the same including Salomon Crested Butte, Richard and Elina Ussher, Myriam Guillot, Jacky Boisset, Ian Edmond, Marcel Hagner and many more.
From a quick note from Mike Kloser it sounds like the prologue was ridiculously fast just like last year and Day 1 involved lots of muddy mountain biking causing mechanical issues for many of the teams. Nike-Beaver Creek had a good day despite Mike feeling ill and only one flat on the bike to finish the day in the leaders jersey. Day 2 proved a little more difficult for the team with a mechanical setting them back from the beginning and Mike continuing to be sick. It sounds like he cannot keep any food down but is at least able to stay hydrated. Thankfully it sounds like he has recovered very well from a big crash earlier this summer and that the rest of the team is feeling well and racing strong as usual. That is one of the great things about adventure racing – everyone goes through bad spots and the rest of the team is there to help that person out and get them through it. And since I know how strong Mike is, I’m sure he’s not slowing the team down one bit.
With the time change to China, the racers should be back up at the hotel and resting for Day 3. I hope Mike does not have what I had last year as I can’t imagine racing again while feeling like that. Hopefully after some rest and hydration, Nike-Beaver Creek will be able to have a great day again tomorrow and move back into the lead. Visit the Wulong Mountain Quest site for more reports and overall standings.