Jet lag can be a killer for those who don’t fight it. We’re already starting to see the battle won and lost and the trip just began.
I am working with the US National Team in Beijing, China at the Olympic qualifier and UCI BMX Supercross event. Mike King is running the program, I am wrenching and the riders are Jill Kinter, Krystal Hime, Mike Day, Randy Stumpfhauser, Kim Hayashi, Amanda Geving, Kyle Bennett and Donny Robinson. Donny has been here since the 1st participating in an Olympic media tour. The rest of us, including about ten other US riders, arrived yesterday.
Things for me got off to a rocky start. The lady behind the United counter was in a bad mood and I received the brunt of it. First there was the excess baggage fee of $110 bucks. That caught me by surprise as the last time I paid this it was around $70. Then she freaked out ’cause my bags were ‘too heavy’. Normally this is just another fee but she was haven’t none of it. I tried to explain that I normally just deal with an overweight fee and she walked away. Freak’n self check in…I had to call my wife to return and collect some of the stuff from my bag.
I met the others in San Fran and we spent the next few hours (12ish) flying to Beijing. Customs was a breeze but for Jason’s missing bike. This meant a long wait in the airport before taking off with the folks from Trek China who had organized our ride to the airport. That’s when we learned that our bodies were on one bus and our bags would follow later on another. You should have seen the worry on the faces of the riders when the left their bikes on the curb and loaded the bus.
The trip to the hotel was wild as our driver spent a bit forcing others out of his lane and being forced to change his lane a couple times. Ken Whelpdale kept us in laughs on the way. Jill fell in love with the ‘toasters’ on the road, mini-minivans. On the way we passed the new ‘birds-nest’ Olympic stadium, the swimming venue, the athletes village and the baseball stadium which is still under construction.
Some time was spent in the lobby of the hotel while we waited for our documents to be taken care of and a couple hours later our bags arrived. Then we hit the buffet at the hotel before Jill, Mike D and I hit the road for an evening walk. Some of the gals were not keen on the food at the hotel. I guess they haven’t traveled much.
We tried everything possible to stay up as long as possible in order to fight jet lag but I couldn’t make it passed 8:30 pm. Most of us woke up once or twice during the night and were able to get back to sleep. Poor Mike K couldn’t go back to sleep.He drank alot of coffee at breakfast.
Side note: before I left I asked Sissi at my office what to expect in China (she’s Chinese). She said she didn’t like Beijing as it is windy, hot and dry. She said when the wind blew you got dirty. Well, she got hot and dirty correct. Its been 90 and probably 110% humidity. Plus this is the worst smog I have ever seen. Yum!