Qainsen Trophy Cup UCI C1 Day 2

After an hour and a half through beautiful China country and traffic, we had arrived at our second hotel. When we arrived there was a lot of excitement, and the hotel turned out to be much nicer than our previous stay. Plush beds, big rooms, and a huge buffet room were a few of the favorites, and the hotel even had it quirks too- like the 30 foot tall transformer in the lobby.

Once Josh and I got settled in our room, we went down to eat, and then got ready to head to the course. The course was only about 5-7k from the hotel, but it was definitely a much more eventful ride. We passed more crazy intersections, a huge outdoor market, trucks heaping with sweet potatoes, chickens and ducks in cages, and skitched on buses to save the legs. There was never a dull moment when riding in China.

When Josh and I got to the course I was able to take another GoPro vid of a faster lap. The course had so many turns and a lot of flyovers. It would be somewhat of a technical course to race on, so I was very excited about that. I’ve never raced on a course like this so I was eager to become familiar with it. Check it out below:

After a few more preride laps on race day, Josh and I were set to represent and hopefully earn some more UCI points. Once the gun went off, we did all we could to move up, but we both were caught up in some traffic due to a slow start to a competitor in front of me. Throughout the race it was a battle to jump from group to group without wasting too much energy.

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What goes up must come down. Screaming fast and very loose descents made this course demanding. We had to expect to be a bit out of control on this surface, and as the race developed, the ruts got deeper….and rockier.

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Late in the race I started to run out of gas and found myself finishing solo. I got caught behind a lot of traffic at the beginning of the race and had to chase really hard to make it up into the top ten. It wasn’t just my effort though, every time I raced past the pit all of the mechanics of the US riders cheered me on to keep pushing through the pain. Thanks for the cheers guys!

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Luckily the course stakes were skinny flexible tubes of plastic, because I found myself racing like a downhill skier today. My knuckles, helmet, brake levers, elbows, shoulders, and knees all became very friendly with these poles that connected the course tape.

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After watching Thijs Al race countless World Cups and prestigious European cyclocross races, it was surreal to find myself racing with him for most of the race today….of course he is retired now and still left me in the dust at the end 😉

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Cresting the first hill beneath the flyover. Early in the race it was a battle to move up on the tight course. Once settled in I found myself fighting for 5th-9th place with some tough company.

Near the end of the race I was doing everything I could to stay on the back of the group I was with, but a small mistake and a dab with my foot on a corner sent me backwards in a hurry. This left me holding onto 9th place while riding solo for the last 2 laps. Attempting to stay on the gas with nothing left in the tank proved very difficult for the remainder of these laps, but near the finish I was happy to see that there was no one in sight behind. When the finish line came around I was relieved and elated that I was able to secure another top ten finish in order to earn some valuable UCI points. Josh also had a stellar race landing himself within the top 15, just sneaking in for the last point spot. Oh yea, and he finished on a tire with delaminated tread halfway around his wheel. What a stud.

After the race everyone was eager to celebrate. Water, sugar-in soda and ice cream form, and a beer or two were high priorities for all of us, and we enjoyed the festivities that came along with them. At night, we attended the closing banquet and shared stories of the race day with new friends we had made on the trip.

Racing in China was such an amazing experience. Reaching my goals in racing definitely helped, but the diversity of culture and competitors really gave this race it’s charm. I will definitely remebered these experience for a long time, and hope to be back next year!

Thanks for reading!

-E

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