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  • Nothing like traveling around the world to celebrate your birthday at Café de Jack. A clean-shaven Huddle celebrates #38 as Roch digs into his bag of tricks.


    It's fall in Dali and that means harvest time. The rice harvest is going on all around us with farmers using the quieter paved roads to dry out their crop. Huddle lends a hand.


    "Hey rickshaw driver! Take me to Ancientcity - quickly!" Roch gets a ride on a local pick-up truck as Huddle drives.


    The MSOQ is composed of seven different disciplines but, under "kayaking" is one of the most difficult parts of adventure racing: portaging. Hung Ju carries her team's paddles while Hai Bo, Ying Qi, and Jiang Bo portage their kayaks.


    Transitions will play a huge role in any team's success this year and one of the hardest and slowest transitions is to the skates. Putting on a pair of in-line skates quickly can be difficult at the best of times but, after a 3-hour ride, this transition can truly suck! The team makes the transition.


    In this year's Mild Seven Outdoor Quest there are two skating legs of about 16km each. Though it's about 4% of the total race, if a team isn't competent on skates, they can lose as much as 30-40 minutes during these legs. Traditionally, the Finnish and Swedish teams dominate this discipline. Team Mild Seven has lost time in the past but this year Roch Frey has provided a lot of great instruction from his Canadian Hockey roots. Jiang Lin and Fung Ling working it on the lake road.

       
     

    Team Mild Seven Training Camp Week #3 - Huddle Arrives, Roch is Chinese

    Going to a country as "foreign" as China is can put any traveler on edge but since we'd raced in Dali the last two years it wasn't exactly foreign to us. Nevertheless, it is China. After 36 hours of flying and an 8-hour winding, bumpy ride breathing second hand smoke, I arrived at the lobby of the Asia Star Hotel (home) at midnight. Roch and the entire team were waiting up and greeted me as I hobbled off the mini-bus. Roch definitely looks Chinese. Granted it is midnight and he begins to get that squinty-eyed look just past 9pm, he really is beginning to take on the physical characteristics of his recently adopted country. I wonder if it will be the same for me.

    The next two days I'll have Roch here to orient (no pun intended) me to the athlete's training routine and to show me around the area. Dali (or the Ancientcity - here it's one word - of Dali) isn't that big but it has a lot of nooks and crannies that could take a while to sort out. As long as I know how to get to Café De Jack, I'll be fine.

    The team is very fit and motivated and, perhaps most importantly, seems to have a good time training together. The daily training routine has everyone meeting for breakfast at six or seven in the morning (depending on when the training day begins), training for the next three to nine hours, eating lunch within thirty minutes of finishing training, and then it's dinner at seven or eight in the evening. Alfred or Tinny are at all of the meals to act as translators (and mom / dad) and we would be lost without them.

    The first couple of days are easy as the team has just finished a huge block of training and it's a good thing because I'm finding myself heaving up every hill at this altitude - Dali sits at 6000-6500 feet. The adjustment to the altitude, food, and traffic patterns (yes they drive on the same side of the road but without any rules) is relatively smooth but, as Roch has confirmed for me, I think having every vehicle that passes us honk will drive me crazy before my 5-weeks are up.

    The first two days passes quickly and before I know it, we're sending Roch off in a taxi as he heads to Hawaii for the Ironman. Now the final 3-weeks of Team Mild Seven's training is about to begin.