Well China was an experience, full of highs, lows, and everything in between. Travel to the race took over 72 hours, and was by far the most strenuous of my life. Because of rerouting issues, I missed my flight out of Beijing into Shenyang. This was the lasy flight out of the day, and forced me to spend the night in Beijing. I got swindled by a bunch of gypsies, but they did not steal my stuff. The story is way too long and complicated for me to write in the blog, so if you want a funny story call me when I am back in the states. I'll summarize by saying I thought these girls were form the race organization, took their help (which they did help me), but then paid handsomely for it. They were unofficial taxi drivers, and let me tell you, even in Beijing a 5 hour Taxi service was not cheap. I did see Tienanmen (SP?) square though, but my camara died right before I arrived, so I had to pay for pictures od me there. Oh yeah, Beijing is perhaps the worst city in the world. I hate it. It is so polluted, crowded, it smells, and people are quite rude. It is about ten times worse than Bangkok.
Onto the race.... The organizers put on s stellar race. We were shuttled from the airport to the race-site (nearly 5 hours) and well looked after. After being alone for nearly 3 days, it was nice to see some of my friends again. I met some awesome Kiwi's and Aussies as well. Race day came fast. It actually turned out to be quite a stellar field. There were 3 current Olympians and many other fast athletes. I had a solid swim, right in the main bunch. I exited in great position and hopped on my bike. Onto the bike was the race went really wrong. I immediately got dropped by the front group. I ended up in a chase pack with 4 other Asians. Not a good place to be in with the front pack 30 sec up the road and no one willing to do the work. Fortunately for me (not for others) there was a crash in the first pack. One rider, Nathan Richmond, an Olympian from New Zealand, fell but was not hurt. He got back up and joined us, and it was just the firepower we needed to catch the front group. We rode very hard to catch the front bunch by the half-way point. My legs were fried from the chase, but I tried to make the best of the situation. My seat had also slipped down again, and my quads started to cramp. Not too bueno for the run. Onto the run, I went out hard and felt suprisingly ok....for about 1k. I was in 4th at the 1k, then I absolutely blew to pieces. I dropped to 12th place by the 5k, nearly 30 seconds down on those ahead of me. Somehow I found my legs again, and started to run faster, I was in 10th by the 8k mark with two other athletes right ahead of me. I made a hard move with 1k to go and turned on the gas. The two others responded to my surge, and matched it. Running down the finishing chute, I could see either athlete on each side, and also could feel my quadriceps cramping like crazy. I gave it all I had, and ended up winning the sprint for 8th. I picked up some solid points and a little coin. I was a little disappointed with my run, but with the travel, jet-lag, seat-post malfunction, and knee injuries I think it was a good starting point.
I am currently in Singapore and I love it. It is a great city, and super clean. I found the world's best pastry shop, and will eat there every morning. The next race is here in Singapore this Sunday the 29th. Once again the field will be strong. After this I have decided to stay an extra two weeks in Asia and do another race in China. I will visit my sis up in Thailand for a few days and then head to China, and then back to America around the 14th of August.
Here are some of the pic's from my travel and the race:
This is Omar Tayara, my bro and the guy who I sprinted for 8th with (he was 9th)
What's up finish?