Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stage 2 !

We got off earlier and the whole tent was rarin’ to go ! Howard was super keen. Charlie and I were referring to him as Wess (short for Western States 100). He reminded us of a kick- ass bearded trail running guru !
Another 40 or so kms today of rocky, hilly terrain. No super heat- but it was super beautiful ! The scenery was a mix of local culture, beautiful people (their cheeks were so rosey and healthy looking), incredible mountains and awesome valleys.
Pat was strong as usual and even though I was having an awesome time with Charlie and Kev I looked so forward to seeing him at the end of each stage.
Pat and I have had many crazy adventures together and this was one to add to the list ! Picture a dude with legs like tree trunks and the power to go with them. Crazy blonde hair is his trademark. That’s Pat !
Team ChungHwa/MAGO solidified our lead in the team category and we were in hot pursuit of the solo runners now !
We got in and cooked up our dehydrated food and got into the ‘camp groove’- visiting and eating!
Thankfully I didn’t have any blisters to treat, so I spent a lot of time stretching to loosen things up. I always do a long stretch after each stage. I find it really helps to recover for the next day.
Everybody in our tent was running strong and coming in looking in pretty good shape. Thierry and Howard were running close, and were both very strong every day. Jack and Becks always looked so clean when they came in. Amazing. I think about racing and I look filthy !
Rolf, the course designer had so far designed an incredible race course. Rumors about stage 3 milled about camp.
Stage 3 will be interesting !

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Gobi March ! Stage 1

Charlie and I met up in Beijing at the airport just before our flights were to leave for Urumqi in Northern China to meet up with Kev and the whole RacingThePlanet crew.

We were totally stoked to be racing as a team together. The first time for all of us ! After gear checks at the hotel, we boarded buses for the race camp. Anticipating a fun race we were totally exicted to get started ! We met up with eveyone we were sharing our tent with and instantly liked everybody ! More about our tent companions later.

The Gobi March is a 250km, self-sufficient 6-stage race across the Gobi Desert in China. It is called the 'race of no return'- and it was a toughy !

RacingThePlanet races are always exceptional events, and we were not to be dissappointed wit this one. Course design was a perfect blend of mental and physical toughness and beauty. Mountains, sand dunes, valleys, villages. So much to see.
So much challenge too. 9 500 foot mountain passes, salt/mud flats, and even a major storm !

Stage 1:
Approx. 35 kms

Team ChungWha/Mago has left the start line ! After 200 meters or so we headed upo our first mountain pass. A small but steep scramble and then it was down to the salt flats. Basically an area stretching several kms of salt covered mud ! Charlie lost his shoes several times in the deep mud. He even sank at one point past his knees ! Several of the runners had a hard time keeping their shoes on, and ended up with muddy feet re-inserted into their socks and shoes. We got across and then it was into 'up and down' very steep rocky hills. Charlie was an animal in this stuff. He has so much experience in mountainous terrain. He kept Kev and I motivated and we moved together at a pretty good pace, just getting used to running together. It seemed right away like a great fit together.
Kev was chomping at the bit for some gravelly flats and I was pumped for some sand and dunes !
We would get all of the above in the coming stages !
We finished up the first day with muddy feet- and headed back to our tent to eat, sort our gear out and strategize for the next day. All of our tent mates made it in quickly. Pat, Howard, Becks, Thierry, Jack and Coolito 2 all joined us one after another and we crashed for the night.

Tomorrow stage 2...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ray's Team Wins Gobi March (a 250km Ultra Running Race) !!

The title tells it all - Ray's team, Chunghwa Telecom/Mago, won the Gobi March in China!! The Gobi March is a sister race of the Sahara Race, which Ray won in September 2005! The Gobi March and the Sahara Race are two of the 4 Deserts, (each 250 km), in the "Racing The Planet" ultrarunning series (check it out at www.racingtheplanet.com)

I know Ray, Kevin, and Charlie are extremely happy with their performance, wining every stage of the race! There are some awesome photos of the terrain and the team on the aforementioned website!

For anyone wishing to sponsor Ray for his next big ultra race in July (Atamcama Crossing, 250km footrace, Chile) there is a link on his website www.rayzahab.com
or email him directly at ecofit@yahoo.com Ray also offers fantastic motivational speaking to a variety of audiences as well as on-line coaching!

Ray returns late Monday night, I know he'll be anxious to update you all on the race details! Please stay tuned!!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gobi March - Ray's Team Winning Every Stage!

Ray's team, Chunghwa Telecom/Mago, has won the first 4 Stages of Racing The Planet's Gobi March (China)!! Stage 4 was cut short by 20km (from 85km to 65km) due to a brutal sandstorm. The last competitor arrive at 10am this morning (June 1). The competitors will have a rest day today and set out for another 50km tomorrow followed by 11km on the last day (June 3).

The race website has some awesome photos and daily updates - check it out at: http://www.racingtheplanet.com/gobimarch/live/2006/index.asp

Ray, Charlie and Kevin have all won a Racing The Planet race (Ray: Sahara Race, Charlie: Gobi March, and Kevin: Atacama Crosssing) Be sure to stay tunned to see if they can take a "team" win at the Gobi March this year.....just 2 more Stages to go!!