The SD Team after spending couple of days in Shanghai flew to Kunming, in the Yunnan Region , south west part of China bordering with Burma & Laos.
From the sky the scenery was amazing, plenty of mountains and if you are a real cyclist you must love them.
After a 75km ride on a transfer to Yiliang we arrived at1500 m.s.l.(metres from sea level) to the race office. It was nice to see familiar faces around from the past.
We then mounted the bikes in the hotel car park attracting spectator and also the police wanted to check our passport.
We then went out for a walk to discover the beauty of this little town finishing it off with a lovely dinner ,helped by Jingyan & Tim.
The following morning we started quite early,we had a leader vehicle taking all of us from the hotel to the race start line.Before the gun shots to declare the start of this week Granfondo China we had an amazing starting ceremony with various dances from the local communities.
We knew that the stage was going to be 120km with a total ascent of nearly 2000 metres. Everyone’s testosterone level was well above the daily recommended allowance, this meant that the speed was riveting around the 40km/h average for the first 20km before hitting the climbs. I said “hitting climbs”, yes because personally I was not prepared to shoot up over 1800 m.s.l. in just few km and nearly gasping for oxygen.At the point I decided that I was going to take the stage as a Training Ride at altitude due to the fact we were going to reach above 2000 m.s.l.
I was really pleased for my decision,because I had a chance to enjoy the colourful surrounding,blending in with nature and the friendly peoples.
I was very impressed by the amazing organization that Kris Van De Velde, Race Director for the entire event put to make this stage stunning.
The reason behind my comment comes from the fact that 120km of road were completely closed for us, with police officers standing on the side of the road to assist us if needed. Also the food stations were very efficient, one every 25km or less, I think some event organizers of some European Granfondos or Sportives should learn from this. The various road condition made some part a technical stage.
The winner of the stage was Tugulur with a time of 2 hours and 58 minutes.He is a member of the Mongolian National team that last month too part at the World Championship in Richmond,USA representing his country.
For now it is time to say good bye until the next stage report and when we will find again some internet connection.
From Yunnan DSAI JIEN.