Beijing Day 4
Ugh and Holy Crap!
The day started off early as I woke at 5am with a gnarly stomach cramp. I tried to force it out, if you know what I mean, but had no luck. I also tried going back to sleep and had little luck there. Due to my crampy stomach I ate the smallest breakfast of the trip so far. I also drank a half gallon of water, popped two aspirin and have been trying very hard to catch mini naps.
The goal for the first half of the day was picking up our credentials and taking off at 10am for the track. That didn’t work as planned. Our group had registered with the UCI and it turns out the promoter wanted additional information for the credentials. This meant collecting everyone’s passports which took more than an hour. Then we played with waiting game. The poor riders would go upstairs and come back down. And up and down… Around noon I received a call from Mike asking me to call the riders, tell them to do lunch and then meet us downstairs.
I was able to eat more for lunch but still felt a bit crampy. Plus I felt a minor fever coming on.
Once gathered our bus driver took us on a short, say 5km, drive to the track. We tried to enter from the front side of the track where both Mikes had gone the night before but were turned away by the security. Okay, they were really skinny guys dressed up in military outfits. I have seen them around town a bunch and they don’t look any meaner or stronger than our hotel security guards. Nobody wants to test them though as they might pull off some killer karate.
Turns out that entrance is the spectator gate and we were supposed to enter from the back side. Another km around the hill and our driver dumped us off at the entrance tent. This was quite comical as we had to unload our pockets and walk through a metal detector. As at the airport, if you set if off you had to visit the person with the wand. Some of the guys didn’t want to remove their belts and opted for the wand. The funny part of this is that the athletes who rode their bikes to the track handed them to security guards who walked them around the sensor and gave them back. Not that it would happen but a rider could be packing something in his bike thus making the metal detection system useless.
From here it was a short walk to the elevator that took us up the equivelent of five stories to the main track area. Once out of the elevator we found the warm up area, the team tents and made our way to the track.
I need to take a moment to state some slang from various generations here: Whoa! Sick! Wicked! Damn! Holy Crap! Wow! That’s the course. I have never seen a BMX Supercross track and the only way to describe it is huge. This aint your local BMX track.
The start ramp is a bit taller than a two story building. Then there are all the jumps, sick jumps. Both women and men drop off the start and run down the same first straight away. The second straight away splits so the guys can hit some major flight time including a big jump over the girls second turn.The landing puts the men directly into their second turn which shoots them into another straight away where the riders are again offered two courses. Technically both the guys and the gals an take either course but the big air spots are faster. Typically the men take the bigger course while the women take the lower route. After the third turn they share the same single lane into the finish. It’s going to be huge and I hope I am able to see some of it. The mechanics are typically stationed in the tent to help out riders who are not yet on the course. This happened at the Olympics in Atlanta as the mechanics at the mountain bike race, including me, saw nothing during the race.
Some riders are freaked out, especially one of our women. The men are talking about how much damage is going to occur to equipment and the number of riders that are signed up. I have heard that there are 32 Chinese men signed up to run the course. The riders are speculating that most of the Chinese, if not all of them, won’t make it past the time trials.
We jumped back on the bus at 2:15 and made our way back to the hotel where we set up riders for interviews. The first four were at their interviews at 3pm with the second group at 3:45pm. Then I set about working on bikes. One tube replacement, one brake cable and housing job, one brake lever replacement, two wheels trued, one King hub tightened, one steering system overhaul (cleaning) and a couple tires aired. Then it was off to the computer for some catch up time.
Around 5 Mike stopped by and we worked out our arrangements for the next day to make there were no mistakes with transportation and we had food and liquid for the riders.
The fever is gone but there is still a slight bit of cramp left. On the positive side, Ihave been checking the scale every morning and I have ost nine pounds since I arrived. I am sure some of it is water weight due to the sweating but I have been drinking a lot too. Maybe its all the walking.
Oh, the velodrome is next door to the BMX track. Its a beautiful dome building.