Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 16 and 17: Done and Done!

Lets start this final China blog off right:
CHEERS!
That's me, post stage 13, in bed, drinking a warm beer. It was probably liquid rice, but who cares, at least the rice has been fermented. 

So, China was a long haul. I think we all had moments that we thought we were going to quit. (See: The Dark Times) and moments we truly were thankful for (See: The Russian Motorcycle). As a team we came away in 5th overall, Chad Beyer finished 8th on GC, Gavin and I both got 5th on a stage, and Taylor sprinted his way to 7th one day. We didnt win, and that was disappointing, but we were Americans navigating China and 10000+ feet of altitude eating only rice and drinking only bottled water. We came together and worked hard against some great teams, and I think we can all be proud of the way we raced. 

Now that I've said that, lets get back to China being China. I think that 5% of the people I saw in China were police, military, or some kind of security force employed by the government. That many people tasked with telling a generally obedient population what to do all the time is probably the reason people dont really care to listen to this dude trying to direct traffic as a bunch of foreign bike racers caravan throuogh Lanzou on their way to the last hotel of the race:

Ok you guys, time to stop now
No! Really! I mean it! There is a bus directly behind me!
YOURE GOING TO HIT THE BUS YOU INSANE PERSON!!!
Oh dear, someone did away with the cop...
 For the first time all race I finally found some good Chinese seasoning:
In case you cant read it: "MSG"
Mike Woods and I had spent the second half of the race rooming together, bleeding on our beds in some sort of missing skin quarantine enacted by the team management (Real reason: Bruno was sick and Dave was happily back in America). Before the last stage we got to our hotel room and, before even unpacking, sat at the window in awe at the craziest roundabout in the world, a true metaphor for the way China operates:



Priceless.

We did the last stage, which was easy peasy, and then we were FINISHED!!! Instead of doing whatever we wanted, however, it was back on the buses for the closing ceremony! Here is what I figure the planner sounded like in the organizing of this hour long presentation of cheese to the winners:

OK FIRST we will have that one group of moms who dance do the one song they know on repeat until the ceremony is ready to start:


THEN, to signal to everyone we are ready to blow their minds, we will have cheek-syncing professionals pretend to play annunciation trumpets before every different event!


Ahhhh yes, the sweet sounds of auditorium speakers playing the sweet sounds of trumpets. THEN we will spell our own language wrong in the program:


CHIESE! ITS ART! WONDERFUL IDEA! Oh im on a roll now! THEN get those singers, the ones who dont sing, and have them stand in front of the group of talented dancing children and blow smoke on all of them!


Oh they will all be on the edge of their seats!

Edge of their seats alright....
They must have fallen off they were so excited!
MAGNIFICENT!! NOW, THE FAKE SEE THOUGH UPRIGHT VIOLINISTS!! NOW!!!


BRAVO FAKE PLAYERS!!! MORE SMOKE!!!

Sam was so excited he melted. Taylor is.... amused.
 I CAN NEARLY ALMOST FAKE CONTAIN MYSELF. What do you mean we cant fake drumming? Ok fine, real drummers, but im sure they wont be as good as fake ones....

The girl 3rd from the right was very concerned about getting her hair in the air.

OHHHH MY GOODNESS WE ARE DONE IM SURE THEY CANNOT HANDLE ANOTHER MOMENT!

Yea, that was probably it.

Finished with the race, and the ceremony, we were free to roam. The guys found a pizza hut and I found some domesticated pigeons that the children in the square were playing with. We ate. We packed up. And I went straight to bed because, as i have always said: "If i go to sleep now, tomorrow will come faster."

It did. At 4am I woke up, too excited to sleep, and went and sat in front of the breakfast room door until it opened at 5am, ate an egg and some toast, was the first one on the transfer bus, and peaced out to America where I was then offered $600 to take a flight that would have gotten me home 1 hour later and I refused it.

China was amazing, for sure a highlight in my career, but as I write this more than a month after it ended, I am sure the nostalgia is high and the memory of the Yak In My Hip has waned. Reguardless, the race was amazing, well run, and we got to race against some great guys (despite us all trying to kill each other on the last 2 stages).

In closing, I give you Gavin's carry on bag:


Thanks for reading! Off to Alberta next week!