Tour of Poyang Lake Day 2 - NanchangThe team was greeted by a cold day in Nanchang - rain and wind with the temperature hovering around 10 degrees but much colder with wind chill taken into account. A late start of 2 PM meant a bit of a sleep in, breakfast, an early lunch and then a short trip to the Nanchang Science and Technology University where there would be a race around the campus - 20 laps of three kilometres each.
The roads were wet and slippery with mud on parts of the flat but winding course making it a bit tricky to stay upright for some and a dirty ride for everyone.
The race start was uneventful (and the rain had made an exit) but at the end of the first lap the plastic strip nailed to the road to protect the timing wires started to lift as the peleton rode across. As the last third of the bunch crossed the line the strip came up, getting caught in the bike of one rider who made it 50 metres before coming down. The cardboard roll that the strip came on was flicked across the course, nearly taking out other riders but luckily everyone else got through without incident.
Around lap eight the rain started to come down. This made life pretty miserable for everyone and increased the amount of dirt on the riders. It hung around until lap 15 or so and then the temperature dropped some more - so much so that in addition to not being able to see due to the general amount of dirt on sunglasses it was difficult (if not impossible) to change gears and generally pedal.
Dylan did a lot of work pulling back breaks before the winning move went with four riders. Eddy crossed to the breakaway with a few others for a total of nine riders down the road. The gap started at 20 seconds and was up to a minute by the end of the race.
At the end, Eddy came in 5th, Will won the bunch sprint and the rest came in with the bunch. Some of the bunch were clearly suffering from the cold at the finish line but luckily hot showers were only 300 metres away.
Average speed was around 36 km/h which is pretty good for a wet, slippery circuit with plenty of corners - including one missing a storm drain grate on the exit line.
Eddy is now 16 seconds off GC (which is held by a Mongolian rider) with Will at 1:33. Overall the team is 4th in the teams classification.
Quotes from the day: "That was the worst thing I've ever done - along with some other things"; "hypothermia inducing" and "not even good weather for ducks".
Trends that are emerging from the tour so far:
- Scotty will eat any (and all) bananas in sight.
- Dylan can't say no to apples.
- Will is pretty much omnivorous.
Other honourable mentions for the day are a lost passport (the guilty shall remain anonymous) and washing bikes in the shower.