Merry Xmas to you all! I spent my Xmas Day racing at China’s first ever 29″ Mountan Bike event (A report coming soon on that!). It was a long day – rising before 7am to have American Coffee and McMuffin for breakfast before riding over to the race venue on the outskirts of Guangzhou.
About 50 riders took to the start-line for the inaugural 29″ specific event to race around the 7km track three times. It was actually quite a fun track with all of it off-road punctuated by some brilliant tight free-flowing single track twisting through trees. I banged my hips a couple of times while snaking my way through. In short, I was proud to be representing WTB and standing on the podium for 2nd place in what was a historical race. I now have a tall glass trophy to show for it and a bunch of Xmas gifts from the event sponsors!
I also took part in the afternoon’s event that was five times around the same loop for the elite category. I finished 5th place but the organizers did not give me a result since I was racing on my 29″ bike versus all the others on 26ers. I tried to convince them that in fact 26ers do have some strong advantages and that the UCI World Cup mountain bike races allow both types of bikes in the same event.
Anyway, back to the Rapha Festive Challenge, we now have one rider that has completed the 500km goal, and in just three days flat. Actually this crazy rider could have done it in 2-days but he was only 33kms short! It was Stefan Rohner from Spain and he promises more mega-miles to come. Checking out his stats, he averages a consistent 25hrs a week on the bike… so he is no stranger to doing epic rides on his island. I wonder what he does for a living though since his rides are often up to 10hrs! Another rider has popped up with two rides totaling 431kms, Ryan Fedorow from Orange County California and a rider from Serbia, Željko Bates also with two double-centuries under his belt on concetive days to lie in third place.
One rider that deserves a big mention is Dennison Ong from Southern Japan who now jumps into the Asian rider lead over Daniel Carruthers (myself from Hangzhou). His White Snow Xmas Day 200km (2,268m) ride must put him in the running to be the ‘hard-man’ of the year? Ong now lies 7th position on the Strava Leaderboard while I’m slotted in at 16th place. David Kolpak from Singapore takes third best Asian-based rider coming in at 24th. Strava’s own Spencer Collom is in 33rd and has only clocked two rides for the Rapha Challenge. We can expect some more action from this dedicated cyclist before this challenge is over!
Still another good five days of good epic rides to spin out before the close of 2011. Can we expect 1000km plus from the legendary Stefan Rohner? or 1,500km? The challenge is thrown at him to achieve the impossible – 1,500kms in eight days! Can he do it? He’s done over 600km in three days…
My Rapha Festive 500 blog choice of the day goes to the Live Slow Ride Hard Rapha blog. This site has a few cool looking pics taken in the dead of the European winter.
Photo of the day goes to Stefan Rohner (yes the crazy hard-man is also a photographer!)