Another early wake up call today, with just an handful of hours of sleep to take part in the Elite race of the 2014 Asian Cup held on the beautiful Island of Pingtan, in the Taiwanese Strait. The overall prize money here today, was higher than yesterday. The winner scooped £ 1000 cheque, for a 60km ride, with a huge field of 250 riders in this course along the beach waterfront with really strong crosswinds.
The event was live on Chinese TV, thousands of people lined the road to cheer us during the race. The huge media coverage was a very impressive undertaking considering the remote area.
The race started really fast, with pushing, handlebars in the cheeks, smelling burning rubber and shouting. All of this was continued for the entire race, there were a few crashes and the average speed was 53km/h with top speed at 60km/h all of this on flat. Quite boring for me, because I like hills, but still enjoyable. For the first 20 km there were a couple of breakaways but they were neutralised really quickly, but a few KMs later another breakaway of 6 riders including Martin( team member) went off and no one reacted. I did try to regain the breakaway but most the of the people were wheel sucking and not cooperating.
There was a second breakaway from another team member (Daniel), but Ian and I were blocked in by other riders so we could not follow up the other group of 8. We did try to push again but were alone and the wind was not helping us at all. The race was good, great atmosphere, the time for 60km was 1 hour and 20 minutes, a really good pace.
We then gathered around to blend in with the local people and getting interviewed by the media, while the locals wanted photos with us. I think if we did charge them a penny each we now could be "millionaires".
We headed back to the hotel, we dismounted the bikes and packed them for a 2 hour bus journey to the nearest train station, followed by a 1200km train ride to Hangzhou, near Shanghai. It took us only 5 hours on a fast train and only £ 27, I should state the Chinese trains are much faster, nicer, cleaner and more reliable than those in Europe. I think we do need to learn from them.
Tomorrow I will be taken to the mountains for some relaxing "Cicloturismo" and maybe some coffee.
For now good night and do not forget to get SaddleDrunk on your bike.