Beijing International Triathlon 2013
September 28th, 2013 by Fraser
7th place – 2:05:44
My race in China this past weekend didn’t exactly go to plan I’m dissapointed to report. As this picture unfortunately shows, I was racing alone and this wasn’t a good thing …
The Beijing International Triathlon is only in it’s second year but with the renowned management company, IMG at the helm it was superbly organised. I have raced Abu Dhabi – which is IMG run – a number of times since 2010 and without doubt regard it as the best ‘athlete experience’ I have had whilst racing. It goes without saying that when I had the chance to compete in Beijing this year I jumped at it.
The Professional race in Beijing was a small affair, but don’t be fooled by size. It had a ‘strength-of-field-factor’ in both the male and females races to rival any event. It packed a punch! With just 7 men and 8 women lining up on the pontoon, I believed it was going to ensure a different type of race to the norm. – I didn’t however imagine that would result in me exiting the water dead last… this has never happened to me and certainly put me way out of my realm of comfort. Heck, I was closer to the womens race than the mens, and that isn’t even a joke, certainly not a funny one 🙁
I quickly apprecaited that I was having (for want of better description) a nightmare morning. There was nothing in my legs; power was non existent and as the ride progressed I did nothing but haemorrhage time to the front of the race and my fellow competitors. Newly crowned World ITU Champion, Javier Gomez was providing a clinic in excellence, with top athletes such as Greg Bennett and Brian Fleischmann rounding out the podium some minutes in arrears. Matt Reed, Graham O’Grady and Mario Mola all crossed the line some distance in front of me but they had all at least been ‘in the race’. I was at a loss as to explain quite how I had performed so badly… bad races I have had, yes, however Saturday was an awful race and for that I was quite ashamed post race.
Nonetheless, I certainly made an effort to appreciate the superb course that had been created by the organisers – it was based largely on the same demanding template that its big brother and fellow IMG managed race, Escape from Alcatraz has become synonymous with over the years. We had a hilly and relatively technical bike course followed by an off road dominted run course, complete with sets of steep stairs and all. Interesting stuff!
The following day we were luckily taken on a day trip to see some sights, and this being China, that involved The Great Wall. I had been to visit The Wall on my last trip to China in 2005 but on that occasion I don’t remember too much of the famous stairs. Not so on this occasion! I read afterwards that we had been taken to a section of the wall famous for its steepness. I don’t really think this picture does it much justice, but needless to say I can’t imagine that Health and Safety would allow this at home? (yes, those are people grappling with the hand rail).
The scenery was impressive, although we barely saw much of it during the week due to the thickness of the polluted air. A constant haze and apparent cloud cover meant there was never much of a view to be had, which really makes you think. – I certainly take the clean air at home for granted I now realise.
We also had some time in the very heart of Beijing and all its hustle and bustle, which included the absolutely manic traffic systems that seem to be the norm over there. – The chaos was such that it almost appeared orderly, save for the virtually constant use of the car horn! Amazingly I didn’t witness a single accident in the 5 days I spent in the country.
This race will without doubt grow in the coming years, given the large number of ex-pats in the region that hopefully will swell the numbers, as has happened with the Abu Dhabi race in a relatively short period of time, but crucuially one would hope that the number of Chinese athletes competing will grow too, since racing oppertunities in the country are still extremely limited. Triathlon is indeed a growing global sport.