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21 August 2008  |  Misc

Rain, Rain, Rain

I woke up this morning to a serious downpour. It rained hard all morning, and it was supposed to rain all day, so I decided to go ahead and check out the course even though I knew it would be muddy. The course designers had apparently anticipated potential rain and most of the steep climbs have cement on them so traction on the uphills was for the most part very good. The downhills however….some of them were fine and some of them were super greasy and slick. The course has a lot of different soil types- everything from sand to clay- but the clay-type stuff was pretty sketchy. I didn’t ride most of the steep downhills (I like my collar-bones right where they are thank you…), and I decided not to do any more laps (I figured there was still plenty of time for the course to dry out, and therefore no need to make myself nuts trying to ride the scary stuff). Instead, I finished my workout on the paved road that goes around the perimeter of the venue. (I also got to try out my new Olympic frame (GO USA!)- I’ll try to post a photo soon.)

Later this afternoon I found out that the officials decided to postpone the race until 10 am Saturday morning to allow the course to dry out a bit. I think that was probably a good move- there are a few spots that would be pretty dangerous if they were muddy- especially when everyone is going for it (it’s the Olympics after all). In any case, I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with Dusty, Waldek and Ben and then caught a taxi back to the village this evening.

My taxi driver was pretty awesome- he would alternate standing on the gas and the brake- even when there was no one in front of us and we were going uphill. It was pretty comical. Then he came to a detour and, after arguing with the police directing traffic, told me (“told” might be a little excessive since he didn’t speak any english and I really don’t speak any chinese) he couldn’t take me any further. I had to get out, walk under the overpass and catch another cab on the other side.

In any case, I finally made it back to the village after a pretty cool taxi ride through downtown Beijing (which is HUGE). There is a building near the olympic stadium that has huge screens on the sides and they show coverage of different events all day and night. It really is amazing how much time and energy has been spent on these Games- the Chinese have really done a great job. All of the venues, buildings and stadiums are beautiful and there are a ton of volunteers who are super helpful- it is very impressive, and you can tell they are all so proud to be hosting the Olympics.

Anyway, the course is open again tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully it will have dried up significantly by then so we can get some good training in.


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