HZH3 Goes to the Mountain Race

HZH3 goes to the VASQUE?GORE-TEX Mountain Race 2008.

Saturday morning, 7:35am, Mindy called me when I turned my phone on – she was at Maya already, and this also means David arrived at the start-point. Quickly brushing my teeth and rushing out, I showed up at Yellow Sport Center half an hour later and saw Jamie and Rory warming up. Deep Throat was busy interviewing around while James, Torvill & Dean, S&M and David had all put their numbers on and were waiting. Even though Bestiality was going to run the second leg he turned up at the stadium to ensure there was no funny business at the start.

At 7:30am, the race director asked all the runners to gather around and gave a quick overview of what to expect – water stations, check-point, etc – all in Chinese though. And they were off!!! I waved goodbye, though to their back, never knowing if I would see them again. Luckily, the organizer bought life insurance for everyone.
The small rain didn’t stop. After a 1.5km flat road warm-up, the course turned onto a straight up 700-stair path that became more technical as it ascended to the summit of Northern Peak. The first sector was really tough, up Northern Peak, down, then up, then down, then up, then down to Meiling Rd, then up to the ridge over Longjing. James was running in 1st place in our four fun-relay teams, and his team kept this position to the end. The second leg runners were there in good time, and paid for this punctuality with exposure to a freezing wind for the duration of the wait. The trail continued on relatively uneventful (same muck, roots, rocks, etc) to the next hand-over point at Nine Creeks where Tobi showed up with a hangover, which was not what was required for the climb back up. Then the trail meandered it’s way to the third hand-over point with plenty more ups and downs. The final leg included the Sudi and a climb over the Baochu Hill, past the 7 bar and home to the stadium.
The great result was David ranking 7th, faster than any of our relay teams. Bear tried to run a consistent pace, but the race trashed his left knee during the course, and was reduced to a shuffle for the left race, not being able to run uphill and struggling to maintain a pace on the flats and downhills, but he got there.
At 11:30am runners regathered at Maya for a BBQ, enjoying burgers, chicken wings, sausages, salad, etc, and of course 10RMB Tsingtao beers. Thanks to Tim at the Maya for this effort. The rain became heavier before each parted on their separate ways, some for body massage, others for foot massage….