Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the first grand prix and china

the most famous street in cycling
It has been a while since my last post, but life has been crazy busy. I competed in my first Franch Grand Prix race May 18th, then drove back to Paris, spent all day at the Chinese consulate on Monday, received my visa to China and left for China Tuesday morning. 30+ hours of travel later I arrived in Yicheng, China. I havent blogged for a week, because of China's strict restrictions for the web blocked my access

We'll talk about the the French Grand Prix race first. It was held in Charleville 3 hours north of Paris. I drove from Paris with the team in our team car. It was like old memories of college swimming. The team aspect of racing is a fun and refreshing change of pace. The team is great and loads of fun. The race had 105 people start for the sprint triathlon (750m swim/20k bike/5k run). I had a great start and was 4th out of the water onto the bike. We were off the front for 10k, but the group of 50+ reeled us in, and the last 10k of the bike was spent getting ready to run with 50 guys. Transition in critcal in such a short run with so many people, and unfortunately I got boxed in at the end. Totally my own fault, and something I will remeber for the next race. I ran hard out of transition, but did not have the legs to sprint. I moved into 8th at the 3k mark of the run, but faded badly the last 2k to 15th. I was quite disappointed with my run, but still managed to split a 15:57 for the 5k. Our team ended up 5th with a sloid performance. I am excited about the next team race. I am confindent that I can be on the podium!
the team kit


Now onto China. Leading into the race, I was beginning to feel a little flat and tired. This would be my 6th race in 5 weeks. The trips involved 3 contintents, 5 countries, and over 50,000 miles of air travel. There is so much I could blog about China: the pollution, the poverty, strnage food,the crazy kids, the nose-picking, coughing, spitting, 2.50USD/gallon gas! crazy traffic, fake knock-off everything, nazi translators, or the good internationals that I raced with.

I will stick with the basics. The race was held in Yicheng which is a 1:45 our flight from Beijing, and then a 4 hour bus ride along the "country-side." This is "real" China, not the sugar coated touristy experience staying in Beijing city center and bargaining with the locals over fake Oakley's. Few people ever get to experience this. Yicheng City is small by Chinese standards with a metro population of only 4.5 million people. In fact it is so small, you cannot even find it on google.

The race went ok. I had a great swim and exited with a few internationls and about 6 Chinese. We had 20 seconds on the main group of around 30 people. Only the two Aussies and myself seemed to want to work. So we pulled around 8 other guys for 40k. We ended up putting 1:10 into the chase pack of 30. I had the worst run so far this year, in the one race where I could/should have won. I have travelled way, way too much and knew things would come unravelled at some point. That point was 2k into the 10k run. The city brought over 30,000 people (not a typo) out to watch the race. It was insane. At some points it was so loud it was deafening. It didnt seem to help my run, though, and I ended up fading to 9th, so I made a little money and got important ITU points. Sometimes I finish a race and think I could have run faster, but for this one I had to empty the tank to run as slow as i did. It was mentally the toughest 10k I have ever done. Thats racing though! After the race they threw us a big celebration with this Cirque du Soleil type thing. It was pretty cool.

These "eggs" are wrapped in feces and then buried underground for years, and turn black in the process. Bon Appetite!

These are mini eels with their heads still attachedThe Aussie/Kiwi/Yank contingent The Stage for the awards and show Pics from the race site....

Now I am with my club in St Jean De Monts in western France near the ocean. Time to get in the hard work to get ready for Word Univeristy Games in Turkey on June 28th. I am super excited to get back into the swing of training.


Anonymous said...

Hey Bud - I have eaten those eggs once, To get them down you need lots of hot tea and cut them ever so small that you just swallow them. It's just a piece of cake.

Have a great day. Totally enjoyed the post.

Take in well the things God has for you.

Love , Dad

Anonymous said...

Go Barrett. Keep up the good work!

Just reading about France brings back so many good memories of my younger days with wonderful French people in a beautiful and wonderful country.

I hope you will train hard, race hard, and have lots of fun in between.



Chris said...

Nice job, Barrett. We were checking your results online from Seoul, where sites like triathlon.org aren't blocked!