Monthly Archives: May 2011

Chongming

First stop off the airplane – the bathroom.  How do you even 

flush this thing?  I pressed one of the buttons and got some fake toilet flushing noise.  After examining the contraption for a good thirty seconds, I found the handle hiding behind the lid.  Then I spent another thirty seconds trying to take a picture of it.  Sorry for the hold up, girls!

So apparently this race was a really, really, really big deal on Chongming Island.  The billboard below was one of many.  The shops all had race posters in their windows, the entire island had been decorated in colorful banners just for us, and the crowds were impressive.  The government may have ordered them to watch, but still…
We arrived at the hotel after over 24 hours of travel.  I flew from Orlando to Minneapolis to Tokyo and finally to Shanghai.

Originally the elevator doors read “welcome go home,” but someone wised up and changed it before I could get a picture.


Out for an easy ride the day before the race.  When riding with the team, I sometimes forget I’m on the other side of the world.

The dining hall with Andrea and Lindsay.

The mullet sighting.  Between the mullet and their team mechanic stealing another team’s set of race wheels (everything’s on camera in China, dude – how did you think you could get away with that?), the Ukrainians get the extra-race press award. 

 Tonight we have a selection of…

Another option: the KFC a couple doors down from the hotel.  Unfortunately it was very much the Chinesed version.  

Our hotel was in the shopping district, so I went out to explore and get gifts for friends.  Check this out! They rang me up on a frickin’ abacus at the grocery store.  To hell with looking like a tourist. I HAD to get a picture of that one.

OK, so I suppose you want to hear about the races.  Even though we were in China, they were very similar to the European races because a lot of the same contenders were there.  Coryn, our sprinter, lost time when she crashed with 4k to go on the first stage of the Tour.  We spent the next two days trying to get Lauren Tamayo bonus time on the sprints.  She ended up in 7th place in the GC.

The start of a stage.
The World Cup started out a little rough for me when I crashed about 20k in.  I was trying to move up in the gutter on the left side of the bunch when the girl in front of me did this acrobatic sideways arch of her body to clear a bush that was growing out into the road.  BAM!  The bush took out my whole left side.  I knew immediately it was a pretty funny crash.  My bike was alright, I was alright, and I had just ridden strait into a bush on a road in China.  ha. 

I paced back on easily.  We did a leadout for Coryn in the finish, but were only able to pull off 19th place.  I must say I’m learning a lot, and I can’t wait for Tulsa Tough here in a few weeks.  It’ll be my first big race in the States this year. 
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INTERNET ACCESS SWEET!

I just PAID to get internet access if you can believe that!  As soon as I stepped off the plane from China, I started scouting around for electrical outlets.  I found one in a corner near the gate for my connecting flight, plugged in, and dropped the six bucks for Boingo Wi-Fi access.  Ohmygosh it was so worth it!  Facebook!  Twitter!  My blog!  My friends!  Finally I can see you again!  Did you miss me?


Why was I having such social media withdrawal when I’m usually the one weirdo who LIKES leaving my computer behind on short trips?  There were a couple reasons.  First, we HAD internet, but the social media sites were blocked.  They were right there under our fingertips, just behind the screen, but every time I typed in “facebook” and hit “enter” some Asian dude in a cubical somewhere hit the “deny” button and smiled.  Even sites you wouldn’t expect to be blocked were “forbidden.”  Like airline websites.  We began experimenting.  The questionable websites were easier to access in the mornings, perhaps between Censorship Department shifts.  Sometimes if you tried to access Facebook or Blogger too many times, you’d suddenly be without any internet at all!  I found myself shaking my fist at the sky and exclaiming like Kyle and Stan every time Kenny dies on South Park.  That’s reason number one.  


Reason two: by day three of our toilet not flushing, our room smelling like poo, rock hard beds, an ear-splitting language (even when they’re just taking like normal it sounds like they’re angry), and mystery meat, rice, and something labeled “white fungus broth” for dinner, I was clinging desperately to the far-off memories of the culture of my homeland, of the hamburgers, soft beds, and toilets that flush.

Alright, so I had to take a break in my blogging just then to fly from Tokyo to Minneapolis.  Hardly slept at all on the flight but at least now I’ve got my Boingo Wi-Fi going, my McFlurry in hand, and people are speaking English!  


Pictures and stories to come…