Gill’s second mtb race in China

Sensible girl

In full swing

Last month I decided to enter a DH race as well as a suitable bike I also needed some protective gear.

The local Specialized guys kindly let me use a 140mm travel Pitch for the weekend. It was a relief not to have to do it on my trusty Giant Yukon, I think it would’ve fallen apart after about 10 seconds!  I did actually buy some fake protective gear stuff – well since it’s only plastic I decided it doesn’t really matter if it’s not the genuine article. And it looks pretty realistic for the price, I got knee & shin pads, Fox-branded body armour jacket and dh gloves for a combined total of about 30 quid – not bad! It was really hot and stuffy during the race weekend though so rather than wearing the jacket I just borrowed some elbow/forearm pads instead – which turned out to be a bad decision..!

Oh dear!

The course was around a 2 minuter, with long sweaty push up (groan) through thick forest to the start, then pretty constant steep gradient most of the way down, except for a couple of spots where you suddenly realised the need to pedal but had forgotten how. There had been some heavy rain the previous days and it had exposed some ‘interesting’ long rock garden sections. I managed a couple of fairly ok runs and was pleased to be able to ride it all, but that didn’t last long. The course included two biggish (well in my terms, but they wouldn’t count for much on a World Cup course!) jumps, but they were more like drops to flat really, I guess each was around 5 foot vertical. On my 3rd practise run I was really trying to go for it and took the first drop far too fast and on a bad line that acted like a take-off ramp. I subsequently didn’t manage to get myself in position for the flat landing so bottomed out the front forks and ended up hitting the dirt and using my right shoulder as extra suspension. D’oh! So yes, the result was I had to test out the Chinese hospital system. It turns out to be pretty cheap (7 quid for an x-ray, not bad) but not very organised, or sanitary! Actually I’m considering going back and getting the whole body x-rayed for future reference at that price! Luckily the shoulder’s not broken and they gave me a herbal spray for it. Yes, a herbal spray will fix everything… I sent the x-ray back to a UK doctor (not that I don’t trust the chinese!) and gather it’s ligament damage so just needs lots of rest.”

So end of story is that I’ve been off the bike for this month, but actually it hasn’t been too difficult as I’ve been away in SE China and Malaysia in any case. One-shouldered backpacking can be a bit tricky at times, but thankfully it was just about strong enough for some scuba diving off the Tioman islands in Malaysia. Saw a huge shark, it was terrifying! Then had a very drunken week in Singapore, supposedly for a conference but hangovers made it difficult to pay much attention! I got back to the office here in China yesterday feeling very unfit. First outing back on the bike is this sunday but going to take it pretty easy. Hope the bbq went well? Glad you remember the chocolate brownies! I must make some more of those when I’m back and have a proper kitchen again.
Right, well I should prob try look like I’m working!


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