Chi­nese race a hus­tle like no other

Team re­turns from cam­paign

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK

As Dou­gal Al­lan ran as fast as pos­si­ble to­wards his ho­tel bed­room in Suqian, China, ear­lier this month, all he could think about was tak­ing a shower. In­stead, he sprinted to the top of the 28-floor build­ing and took a 150-me­tre leap of faith.

He was com­pet­ing in the Suqian Luoma Lake Out­door Chal­lenge and it was the long­est ab­seil drop he had ever done in his life.

There was lit­tle time for the Wanaka ad­ven­ture racer to think about it as he and team-mates Jess Sim­son, Braden Cur­rie, both of Wanaka, and Stu Lynch of Auck­land launched their kayaks into a nearby lake and be­gan a four-hour pad­dle into a hu­mid mid-day whi­te­out.

They’d al­ready swum 2.8km, kayaked for two hours, roller bladed for 20km, moun­tain­biked 58km and sprinted 2km through a course of ru­ral and ur­ban ter­rain. They still had a 60km moun­tain­bike and a 32km run to go.

After 15 hours and 35 min­utes of high in­ten­sity hus­tle, Team NZ Ad­ven­ture was to fin­ish sec­ond, just five min­utes be­hind the win­ning team, Raw Ad­ven­ture, com­pris­ing a mix of French, New Zealand and Aus­tralian ath­letes.

‘‘It was very sad, after go­ing for that long. And we were hus­tling. I have never ex­pe­ri­enced a race quite like it,’’ Sim­son said on the team’s ar­rival home last week.

Team NZ Ad­ven­ture’s month­long cam­paign in China also in­cluded one of the coun­try’s two premier ad­ven­ture races, the Wu­long Moun­tain Quest, which they won one week be­fore tak­ing on the Suqian chal­lenge.

The re­cent suc­cesses follow an ear­lier foray to China in April to claim the ti­tle of the coun­try’s other premier ad­ven­ture race, the Wen­zhou Out­door Chal­lenge, as well as sec­ond place in the Penghou Ad­ven­ture Race in May.

Sim­son and Cur­rie are the New Zealand Coast to Coast cham­pi­ons and said win­ning both of China’s premier races this year felt very spe­cial.

The ex­ten­sive Chi­nese me­dia cov­er­age was an ex­cep­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for the un­spon­sored Ki­wis, con­sid­er­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties they had get­ting their news home to fam­ily and friends.

Sim­son ended up us­ing an app on her iPhone to send pho­tos and mes­sages to her hus­band Hazen Sim­son, who put posts on Face­book.

The team now hopes their pro­file in China is of in­ter­est to a New Zealand-based spon­sor who does business there.

‘‘We’ve just learned about a new China race in Novem­ber. We are not com­mit­ted but it is likely we will do it and we are look­ing for a team spon­sor,’’ Sim­son said.

Next up is the Red Bull De­fi­ance two-day staged race around Wanaka. Team NZ Ad­ven­ture will split in two, with Sim­son and Glen Cur­rie in the mixed day cat­e­gory and Al­lan and Braden Cur­rie com­pet­ing in the open men’s race.

Fur­ther down the track in Fe­bru­ary is Chal­lenge Wanaka for Al­lan, and the Coast to Coast ti­tles for Braden Cur­rie and Sim­son.

Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK/ FAIR­FAX NZ

What: Team NZ Ad­ven­ture, a Wanaka-based ad­ven­ture rac­ing team formed in Jan­uary Who: Dou­gal Al­lan, Jess Sim­son and Braden Cur­rie, all of Wanaka; Glenn Cur­rie, of Methven. Re­serves: Stu Lynch, Auck­land, and Bob McLach­lan, Lake Hawea. China suc­cesses: First in the Wen­zhou and Wu­long Ad­ven­ture Races; sec­ond in the Penghou and Suqian Ad­ven­ture races. Champs in China: Wanaka mul­ti­sporters (from left) Dou­gal Al­lan, Jess Sim­son and Braden Cur­rie are home after Team NZ Ad­ven­ture’s suc­cess­ful rac­ing cam­paign in China.

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