Friday, December 19, 2008

Stage 5 & 6 - Two more days at the office

We're heading more South towards the actual "sea" of the "Tour of South China Sea" and stopped in Guangzhou for Stage 5 yesterday. The course was in a huge University/Urban area without a lot of spectators but nevertheless it was a cool race. We did 25laps on a 5K course which equals roughly 70miles of criterium-style racing. Felt like riding on a velodrome except we actually had some 90degree turns and small uphill section. I was of course a bit sore from the previous day's crash but once you're on a bike racing you forget about it. This stage looked like it will end in a field sprint so I was a bit conservative at first and only put my nose a few times in the wind. I got in a move with a China National Team rider for two laps but like in the past days, every break-away attempt got shut down somehow (photo right with '06 Scratch World Champ Wong Kam Po). We did the 73mile course at a 27.8mph average but it didn't feel that fast quite honestly when you can "hide" in the bunch a lot. I got my crashing out of the way and stayed on the right side during the final sprint whereas a HongKong Pro Team rider went down hard and had to go for head injury treatment to the hospital. Ouch.

After the stage we rode our bikes to the hotel which was located in the same university area. There must have been ten thousands of students living there as it was clustered with 25+ story doorm buildings, libraries, teaching buildings (see pic below), and highways.
Today's Stage 6 in Zhongshan was supposed to be a 70mile road race but again we just raced on 3 lane wide concrete highways and the "climb" was riding over a huge bridge. The fice 23K laps were quite uneventful. I mainly chilled in the middle of the bunch, at ~200W and a HR of 130bpm while the Chinese guys kept a early 3-man break in check. Things got a bit faster when the break got caugfht with 20K to go and it was "gutter-time" but there's no real, control-taking team here so the entire field stayed together and the crosswind didn't do what it might have done in another race. It was field-sprint time again, so I took it easy and "tailgunned" it for the last 5K while seeing two nasty pile-ups in front of me. Geeez. Lots of sketchyness going on over here. While riders out of contention for the sprint ride tempo at the end of the bunch in countries, sprinting all out for 37th place is very popular at this race.

Tomorrow we have another Circuit race in Zhuhai on the schedule before heading to country # 3 during this Tour: Macau. That's where the GC will likely be made since as of right now 60+ guys (incl. me) are all at the same time like 18th place. I'm not so sure if I can find my climbing legs, though for Sunday.
Ready to protect us...

Pong fits in any sedan's trunk

What was on the plate at today's lunch...You guess what that stuff is!


  1. Yo Stefan,
    I have Cuisines of Asia coming up in March. I will get back with you on the lunch plate there :) Good luck and Merry Christmas from abroad!


  2. hola!
    thanks for sharing your stories, it's really entertaining!
    have some more fun and I will see you in TX soon!
    cheers mate

  3. Is that a quail or some other bird?