Chinese race a hustle like no other
Team returns from campaign
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.
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.