By Chris Neisen
Earlier this month, I competed in my first-ever UCI cyclocross races in China. My eight-day journey started in Beijing and took me to China’s southern-most tropical island of Hainan. I competed in two races in the Qiansen Trophy Cyclocross Festival. As a member of the JAM/NCC/Vittoria development team, I was invited on the trip by the Chinese race organizers, who paid for most of my expenses. Here’s a list of my favorite things about China.
- Finding little bits of the rest of the world in faraway China, like the Keanu Reeves clothing store.
- The culture. Visiting China was like visiting another planet with weird stuff around every corner: motorbike moving vans, lettuce clotheslines and belly shirts.
- Food. I was there to race bikes but would go back just for the food.
- The bike racing was amazing. Race organizers prepared every little detail to a science.
- Chinese history is way cooler than ours.
- Surviving an attack of some random stinging creature.
- The Chinese language. In order to communicate, I had to be creative by using hand gestures, drawings and charades. But just like in a bike race, those barriers were crossed.
Want to race in China? Here are a few tips for your travel.
First, do it! If you’re planning on racing in China, it is a complicated process but worth it. Get your passports and visas as soon as possible. Avoid my rookie mistake of rushing at the last minute.
Second, make sure your equipment is ready for travel.
Third, bring a bike pump! Also, bring tools or anything else that you’ll need. What you bring is what you have to work with. The second race is on a remote island.
Fourth, meet new people and learn from them. You are racing, eating and traveling around with some of the most talented cyclists in the world, including world champions.
Fifth, take it all in. I walked around Beijing and explored the city to see as much as possible.
Lastly, thank the people at JAM Fund and all its sponsors for supporting this kick-butt program that gives committed cyclists the opportunity to pursue their dream and experience lessons that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for following my journey to China. If you have any questions about the Qiansen Trophy Cup or want more details about making the trip yourself, let me know.