Qainsen Trophy Cup UCI C1 Day 1

It’s race day! The whole trip so far has been surreal. Having never traveled outside the U.S. before, I consistently found myself in disbelief that I was actually in China. Even ask Josh, I’m sure I annoyed him saying, “It’s crazy, we are actually IN China right now!”. Normally I would just get a chuckle and a, “yep” from him, but he was unfazed by it because he lives in Beijing at the moment. I’m sure he can relate looking back on his first few weeks here.

Anyway, with jet lag aside, I woke up this morning ready to experience my first race in China. It’s the start of the season and you can do everything to prepare, but you never really know what you are capable of until you dive into the race and give it your all. With a cup of coffee in my hand (Josh and I were prepared with our own) these thoughts ran through my head as my excitement was already building for the day ahead.

After eating, taking an easy morning spin, eating again, resting, and hanging out with some of the other US riders, we were set to head to the course. With the hotel being only a few kilometers from the course, we were at the race venue in no time. BTW, traffic and road intersections are nuts in Beijing, there basically are no traffic laws. In a positive light, this was a great race warm up for the mind- an exercise to sharpen your reaction time that resembled the game Frogger, but in real life.

Once we arrived at the course, Josh and I dropped our bags at our tent and headed out for some practice laps before the women’s race in order to fine tune our skills. Luckily the day before I was able to capture some GoPro footage of a faster practice lap. The course was really fun, bumpy (hense the camera shake), and rippin’ fast. Check it out below!

 

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We got our own tent with our team name on it! So pro! Photo: tmbimages.com

After the course pre ride we came back to our tent and relaxed until it was time to do our final warm up. The race organization really did a great job on a lot of things, including providing a team tent for us to hang out in pre race. It was a hot day- upper 80’s- so the shade was awesome to keep cool.

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First turn after the start of the race. I was so relieved to have a smooth start because it was very tight, fast, and short to the wholeshot. Photo: tmbimages.com

Sitting second row, everything went perfectly in order to sprint up into the top 4 for the wholeshot. After ignoring all thoughts to hold back and be conservative during the race start, I charged forward to claim a spot on Rob Peeters’ wheel and held on for as long as I could. After riding as fast and smooth as possible for the first two laps of the race, I decided to fade back to battle with a few behind to try and settle in. An hour of racing at your max ability can get really long if you burn all of your matches early, so in attempt to secure a top ten finish I wanted to save some for the end.

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Attacking the Danish rider I was with trying to get away for 8th. Photo: tmbimages.com

Mid race I found myself with a group of riders riding within the top 8, and then during the last few laps I found myself battling for 8th position with  one other Denmark rider.

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One of the stair sections just after the start/ finish straight. There were two of these in a row with a tricky downhill off camber “U” turn in between. Photo: tmbimages.com

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Last lap surge to try and secure 8th. Just before this was a steep ride up to this climb, definitely a tough part of the course. Photo: tmbimages.com

With a fight all the way until the end, I came in for 9th place. Top ten was my ultimate goal for the day, and I was so happy to be able to achieve it. There’s nothing like starting the season off with a smooth race, especially after traveling halfway around the world for it. 

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Team pic underneath the finish banner!

Looking forward to Day 2 of the Qainsen Trophy Cup, we will be moving locations closer to Beijing. Looking forward to a new course and another race!

Thanks for reading!

-E

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