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Race Report: XTrail China: New Zealand Adventure Race Team

XTrail China: Race for the Finish

We had a good quick change and were onto the bikes again. This area in which we were doing the abseiling and biking reminded me of Central Otago. We charged along these lovely back roads under the setting sun and an approaching front. I remember hoping the rain wouldn't come too soon. After the next CP by the river we charged after George and ended up in a village as it was getting dark and beginning to rain. It became obvious that the route finding wasn't easy around this village, with the old maps and inaccurate roads.

"Which village was it anyway? Not the one we thought as it turned out!"

We biked around some fields and eventually after a couple of hours we were able to work out where we were. However, we lost valuable time and team morale was low. But on reaching the CP we were surprised to find we were still in 5th, which was a boost. Then we were onto finding a track up the left hand side of a river. This was tricky and there was no obvious track but the bearing was right so we went for it. What an adventure this was…up the side of what seemed a steep river canyon with our bikes on wet slippery bluffs above a river canyon in the dark. We did question the route at times. There seemed no way through and certainly no obvious track, but carried on to eventually come to the CP at the top of the river canyon, much to our relief.

"We then had about an 8km descent to finish, fantastic! What can go wrong?!"

But my goodness, it was so slippery and muddy it was hard to stay upright, never mind the sleeting cold rain....this river valley descent took forever. The lights of Altay took a long time to appear by which time we were in for a 2km run through town to the hotel and finish line. Wow, what a relief it was. And we cam in 5th yea! For me, I just celebrated finishing in one piece. China hasn't been good to me the last 2 years and it was great not to have to go home via Auckland hospital!

jo williams outside sports nz

We were happy with the result, but know we could have done better. We lost valuable time with a small slip in concentration when the bike navigation was particularly tricky, especially when we were in a different village to what we thought. It was good to be in touch with the lead teams most of the race. It was great preparation for the Adventure Racing World Champs in one month time. The scenery and cultural experiences were amazing. It was definitely a race to do again.

jo williams outside sports nz

Thanks for all the support from friends, family and Wanaka Physiotherapy keeping my body in one piece, which makes it possible to do these adventures. Thanks also to Outside Sports for keeping my bike on track and supporting me over the years.

The Team’s next big Adventure is in Australia next month for XPD. This year it is the Adventure Race World Championships, which gives us an opportunity to race against the world’s best. Exciting times are ahead.



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