Tour of Quinhai Lake — Stage 4
Xihaihen to Guide Country
Knee-yao-do to Hue-du-ah See-en)
Now that’s a Cima Copa!!
The race bible gives all information regarding each stage, including but not limited to the information on the climbs. But none of the climbs/mountains have names in this race. Or at least they don’t list the name of the climb/mountain. But today is the Tour of Quinhai Lake’s Cima Copa. I read about this in the days before we started this race. As I said before, the Cima Copa is a term taken from the Giro D’Italia for the highest point in the stage race. We will climb (at least the riders will) up to 3,880 meters or 12,700 feet. Now that’s a Cima Copa!!
Today was going to be a hard day to defend the leaders jersey. But we would try. In the end it did not happen and Alan relinquished it. Not bad for a sprinter to hold onto it for 3 stages though. But unfortunately the worst part was not the end result but the altitude. John Devine was in the main group chasing the breakaway. Just before going over the top of the climb, it started to rain. BAD! It rained harder and harder. We could barely see in front of the car with the wipers going full gas. Going down the back side the inevitable happened. John crashed. I really don’t like it when anyone crashes. And more so when it is a rider that I know. He got back up before our car could reach him. We found him going slowly downhill. Soon after he stopped and was leaning against the guard railing. Good thing our doctor was there. In a nutshell he was adversely affected by the lack of oxygen at such altitude. He seemed drunk. Unable to focus/see clearly. Unable to stand on his own. Eki wanted him to stop immediately and get in the car. Although not quite in control, he was quite aware. He told Eki he wanted to go on. Eki and the Doc persisted to stop and get in the car. For nothing else than to keep him warm, I put gloves and a rain jacket on him. Weather or not he was going to stop and get in the car or continue, I wanted to get him warmer. After 2 or 3 minutes he seemed a lot more in control, could see clearly and could stand on his own. Finally after more persistence to ride, the Doc and Eki allowed him to continue. Ride slow and relax and let the lower altitude help you as you descent they said. John eventually finished the stage. Going from the main chase behind the break to loosing more than 23 minutes. But again the bike racing is not as important as a persons health.
Alan has lead both the general classification as well as the points competition. But he only really had to wear the yellow jersey. But loosing the leaders jersey today meant he now wears the points jersey for tomorrow. And that also means we have to prepare (add the Discovery logo) to his points jersey. Even though he lead the points jersey since stage 1. We have not had to use our logo on that jersey. So, Shizhe shows off her homemaker skills and does a good job of ironing on the Disco logo. Back in the Tour of California Vincent had to do the same for Alan. Iron the logo on his green points jersey then. His skills do not quite match Shizhe’s when it comes to clothing. Not even close. I have photos to prove his (lack of) skills.
After the iron on gig, Shizhe and I were off. It’s very late now, Almost 10:30 and I am tired. But I want to check e-mail and Shizhe said she had seen a Internet cafe when we were dropping off laundry earlier. We go and they have a sort of pay in advance/deposit system. I give them 10 yuan for the both of us. We both check the mail and surf the net. Slow as hell but I am happy that I can check mail at least once. So, I can’t really complain about the connection speed (or lack of). I think we are there for about an hour for a total of two hours between the two of us. I think they give me 7 yuan back from my 10 deposit. Remember it is 7.8 yuan to the dollar. So for less than 40 cents (US) we both surfed the net and checked e-mail for an hour each.