Beijing Day 7 – Race Day

DR takes it and the sky is blue.

That’s right, blue sky today. There was a breeze (read windy) and we could see the sky. Not only that we could see businesses behind the track and hills behind the amusement park that is beside our venue. We didn’t even know they existed and both are closer than two miles. Yohan, one of the UCI guys that has been here for weeks, said it was only his third day under the blue. Crazy…

Today was race day. The staff and male riders hit the bus first so they could run their practice before the women arrived. This is when I noticed the drop in humidity. Okay, it was still humid and I was still sweating, but only sweating when working. The previous days I would sweat sitting down.The women arrived an hour later and set about preparing for their practice.

The men’s racing started first with their quarter finals. Each heat ran three times and the four people in each heat with the lowest commulative points moved on to the semi-finals. We started with eight guys in the quarters and four made it to the semis. The first heat included Mike, Donny and Danny. Danny took a tumble in one of his runs and it took forever for the med’s to move. He ended up getting up and walked out on his own. No real damage. Randy was in the second heat and Kyle was in the third. Steven (Cisar), Tyler and Nic were in the fourth heat. Donny and Mike progressed to Heat 1 of the Semis while Steven and Kyle made the second.

Twenty minutes later the women hit the stairs to start the Semis. Jill, Kim and Arrielle were in the first heat. Amanda was in the second. Once both heats of women were run the men hit the stairs for their Semi heats. Just as with the Quarters each heat went through three runs and the top four from each group, the ones with the lowest accumulated points, moved on to the final. Jill progressed for the women as did Donny on the men’s side.

The poor women had to endure super heat each time as the folks in the staging area kept sending them up early. Tara was kind enough to hit the stairs with an umbrella a couple times. Plus Jill was complaining that they were taking too long between runs. As an example, I walked Jill up the stairs for the final, walked down, found Donny, made sure he was okay, watched him hit the first few steps, walked over to the side of the course and still had a couple minutes before the finals began.

Jill finished 5th but may have jumped to the front in UCI points. It’s just a rumor that I heard. The women’s race was won by Shanaze, the reigning world champion. Donny got a bad start but passed them all on the second jump. He appeared to fade a bit toward the end but was able to fend off a late surge by Afro Bob. Television coverage of the finals are here:

Next came the awards ceremonies and that made my cleanup task difficult. Some of the items I needed to collect were behind the barriers that had just been moved to make room for the ceremony. I waited for the women’s program to finish and then snuck under the barriers and past the Orange people. I weasled my way to where Ken, Steve and a couple other Fed’s were standing. A couple photographers were stationed on top of the Gatorade cooler thus I had to wait until the ceremony was over. Lucky for me as the ceremony was pretty cool.

The top three riders were lead in by a lady wearing an elegant Chinese dress. They were followed by a few other women wearing matching uniforms. Each rider’s name was called from third to first and they stepped up on their respective platforms. Then dignitaries were called up to present awards and gifts. First each rider was given a stuffed character matching one of the five Chinese Olympic characters. They were then each handed an item in a plastic case. The dignitary stepped down and another stepped up to hand each one a bottle of champagne. That’s when the real fun began. They all pulled their wires and started shaking their bottles. Donny had trouble getting his to pop and was drown by the other two. Finally his popped and he hosed off the photographers.

Once the fun was over I grabbed the inflatable cooler and dumped the remaining ice over the edge onto the track. Oops…I also dumped a couple large pieces of trash. I then picked up the Gatorade cooler and dumped the ice on the ground and handed our guys each a bottle of water. Steve gave me an odd look when I dumped the ice at which I replied with “it’ll dry in under ten minutes.”

Once back at the compound I went about collecting our gear so that we can wait…and wait…and wait. We still had another forty minutes before the bus arrived. During this time Redman stopped by and was chased down by some Chinese fans. He had been commentating during the event and they liked his work. Photos, some filming and they were off. That’s when I got the call to grab some stuff out of Donny’s bag and run it over. I found Mike holding his flowers and watching as Donny was mobbed by fans. Donny was then marched off to drug control, where Jill was taken earlier, and later went to a press conference.

Eventually we dragged our stuff down to the bus and made our way out. I think we were the last team to leave.

A short while ago I finished helping Mike pack up the trainers, his bike and some gear for tomorrow’s trip back to the airport. Most of our crew is leaving at 8am. Tara and I don’t fly out until 8pm and that’s a long time in the airport. Thus Kai helped us arrange a trip to the Wall before we hit the airport. Sweet! One last sight seeing trip before coming home. I have never done this much site seeing before.

practice shot look at the buildings and hills donny n his goodies photos with his fans champagne baby

That last link should be a video.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.