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.
I got another note from Sari this morning…the stomach bug has bitten her hard.
Unfortunately today was even worse. I felt okay on the paddle (1st leg) then bombed on the trek/run. I was so nauseous and wrecked. We stopped several times but it didn’t seem to help. The guys were super supportive and kept me moving forward, albeit very slowly. I said I was done but next thing I knew I was on my bike. I started to come around on the bike but it was just way too late. Then when we got back I was even more nauseous. I’m pretty frustrated but we’re going to try and finish strong on the final leg tomorrow.
These updates are really hard to read for all of us, but I know that Sari REALLY appreciates all your support. Thanks for reading. I’ll post a final update tomorrow.
Sari called me on Skype last night from China and I got the latest update.
The race started yesterday with the Opening Ceremonies. I don’t think the event included 2,008 Fou drummers and thousands of fireworks like some other recent ceremonies up the road in Beijing, but Sari did say it felt like all of Wulong came out to cheer on the teams. She said the locals have been very friendly and curious.
After an official welcome by the Wulong County governor, the race started with a very short, fast prologue stage. The stage including mountain biking, trail running, paddling and then more mountain biking. Sari said the team went all out, and at times they were both pushing and pulling her to maintain the frenetic pace. The strategy paid off and Team Nike won the stage by just four seconds over Lafuma. Team Nike collected $1,500 US for the win.
Prologue Stage Results
- Team Nike
- Lafuma Sport 2000
- AdventureSport NZ
Sari said that everyone on the team is feeling healthy and strong. They are all looking forward to tomorrow’s stage, which will be 6-8 hours and include more biking, running and paddling.
On another note, some of you may have seen on the news this morning that there was a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in southwestern China yesterday at 4:30pm. The epicenter was in Panzhihua and there are 3-5 reported casualties. While this is tragic, from what I can tell Panzhihua is at least 500 miles west of Wulong. I’m confident everything is ok with the team and the race….I think we would have heard otherwise. Zoom out on the map below to see earthquake location and race site.
Keep posting positive comments and sending positive thoughts to China!