Angus brings us up to date with the second half of his China trip to ride cycle-cross. If you missed part one, read it here
Hainan was a little different. It was a bit warmer and a lot more humid. It had the wonderful feature of the course being 200m from the front door of our resort and in contrast to the last race this one had been built to order. It was regulation width from start to finish, had one of the most interesting flyovers I have ever seen and was fun to ride.
[caption id="attachment_15574" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Beautiful track with a stunning backdrop "]
[caption id="attachment_15576" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Holy flyover Batman!"]
As with Beijing we were also invited on a cultural expedition, one that I had time to go on too. This time to a small village where we were presented with the opportunity to dance :)
[caption id="attachment_15587" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Racing cyclocross at this level really takes it out of you..."]
[caption id="attachment_15588" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="There was no shortage of entertainment"]
The second race I felt good going into, things felt in place, but you can also be over-prepared. To begin with I felt like I might have drunken too much water. It was hot and crazy humid (tropical island) and I was a little worried about hydration. So I just drank as much as I could. I found there was a limit to that before you start to feel a little funny.
[caption id="attachment_15573" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Heading into the first climb"]
I had a great start though, there were a couple of small crashes that I avoided and I was quickly in 13/14th place. The rain came the moment we started, making the course progressively slipperier. I have been battling with some lower back pain too and that returned, but worse and it was hard to distract from. After about 2 laps I started to bleed places. I wasn't dealing with the mud very well and just couldn't relax. I started to lose places to guys that I had caught and passed few days before. I had power to spare but I could only use it on the flats, the climbs and technical sections left me lacking.
[caption id="attachment_15580" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="A crash on my last lap really was the last straw for me..."]
[caption id="attachment_15584" align="aligncenter" width="553" caption="I did get one part of my pre-race prep right, put beers in the fridge..."]
It was a bitter finish to an otherwise amazing trip. Each time I return I get to see a little more of China and learn a little more about the people. (mental note: learn more than 3 words before next time) There was much talk among riders of returning again next year where there are rumours of a third race. I hope so. It is a hard trip with a lot of travel but I met some great people and had an unforgettable experience, I look forward to the opportunity to return.