WXC World Racing were invited to race in China and I was selected for an all-expenses paid trip to Guiyang for 5 days. I was invited to race in the short-track and cross country mountain bike event they were holding.
Written in the Opening Ceremony brochure was “Mountain biking, featuring freedom, leap, green and cycle” as its unique sporting spirit, is an emerging sporting event deeply loved by people all over the world and is currently undergoing a vigorous development.
I heard the organizing team in China spent in the millions to hold this event. It was amazing; the hotel, police escorts to and from the venue, the opening/closing ceremony, the race venue and the course built just in time for the event, the buffet and all the volunteers they had helping us. Such an honour…
My travel time to Guiyang was 29 hours long from Arizona in the United States. China is 15hrs ahead of my local time zone. Hence, when I arrived at the 5* Renaissance Hotel, I was tired. I ended up sleeping that afternoon into the next morning.
Next up was the parade. All the riders rode 19km from the hotel through part of the city with our police escorts on motorcycles while our support staff and others, rode on city buses. After the 19km we hopped on a bus with our bikes and headed to the hotel for some lunch.
After lunch we rode our bikes to the venue with police escorts and trained on the course. The course was great. Nice and tacky from the week’s previous rain, lots of climbing but most of them were short with recovery sections following. The weather was in the 70’s and the atmosphere was relaxed.
After a couple hours of training time, there was enough time for a shower and dinner before hopping on a bus to the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony felt like an Olympic event. We each lined up outside by nation and paraded into the gymnasium. We were then seated in the bleachers to watch many beautiful, artistic performances.
The next day at 3pm was the short track event. The course was less than a mile long and used the same start and lower trails as the cross country course. We all rode to the venue again, and I couldn’t believe all the interviews and photos that were requested. I felt like a celebrity.
I haven’t raced a short track event since last year so I was a little rusty on the tactics that are involved. They are intense and difficult, but only being 30 minutes long, you are not as drained afterwards. The race ended up being around 10 laps.
I had a great start off the third row in 21st position. I ended up in 11th place, which was great considering all of the talented women that were there from around the world.
After the men finished their short track, we rode back to the hotel, had a quick dinner followed by the team managers meeting where we found out we were racing 5 laps of the course tomorrow at 11am.
At 9am myself and a couple other women missed the note about there being a change to the schedule allowing for a later escorted ride to the venue or a later ride on the bus to the venue… whoops! The other women decided to stay back while I had a motorcycle escort and rode to the venue. Since there wasn’t a pack to hang out in and enjoy the draft, the pace was fast while trying to keep up with the escorts, while getting strange looks by civilians wondering why there were cyclists riding through town on the main roads. Wish I had a photo of that.
So, I had a good warm up to say the least, with still another hour to go before the race.
Once again, I started the race in the third row, 21st place. This time my start was not so great with everyone bunching up in front of me. But luckily I made my way through the pack during the first and second lap and once again ended up in 11th place. Pretty consistent.
Once the men’s race ended, they had the awards and closing ceremony there at the venue. Another amazing show with more artistic entertainment and fireworks.
After the closing ceremony, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy another fine dining experience. The food was so amazing. I think I gained 5 pounds this week. I had to end my evening short so to pack to be ready to leave the hotel at 5am.
This time my travel back home was only 25 hours. But the jet-lag experience once I arrived home has taken me weeks to get over. I am still on the wrong sleep pattern.
I want to thank my team and all of our sponsors and the organizing committee in China. This experience will last a lifetime and I could not have enjoyed it so much without everyone.