The Squid World Tour kicked off their cyclocross season early again this year. After a weekend of UCI racing Down Under the Squad made their way up (way up) to Beijing, China for the 5th Edition of the Qiansen Trophy Cup. This edition, however, the events would be held at all new venues outside (way outside) of the nation’s capital. The Squad was excited for a new adventure.
Photos by Angel Perez
Travel to the other side of the globe is always rough, but the trip up from Australia this year was particularly long with delayed flights, missed connections and left the Squad spending the night at a hotel in Beijing and an early morning bus ride.
After the first of many long bus journeys, the Squad arrived in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia (which is not in Mongolia.) Once settled into hotel rooms, the top priority is building bikes and checking out the course.
The track was build just for the event and cut directly into the hillside with a bulldozer. A large team of Qiansen Trophy employees work to put the finishing touches on the very difficult and unique course.Shaking out the legs and exploring the local roads.The race hotel is always near enough to the venue to be able to ride back and forth to the races. Chris, the team’s mechanic and Squid co-owner, has his system for carrying an extra set of wheels dialed.Bus load after bus load of local city residents came out to watch the two UCI races. The courses seemed to be specifically designed for ideal race viewing experience and without having to deal with crowd management or course crossings. From the fans vantage point you could see the entire track.The two biggest features of the custom built track were two steep loose up hills. Immediately followed by two equally fast and loose downhill chutes.
Heat. Humidity. And hard racing.Both Anthony and Sammi were spent after finishing 3rd in the first UCI C1 race of the season.
Podium ceremonies are always a big deal in China.Anthony during his post race interview.
Early morning bus departure.
The Squad got to spend lots of time with other internationals racers while resting at Chinese truck stops.A few hour pit stop at the Great Wall of China allowed everyone to stretch their legs on the step, and somewhat treacherous ancient stones.
About a thousand kilometers later the Squad arrived in Handan City, in Hebei Province. The area has a long history of coal mining and relies heavily on agriculture and cereal crops.
The nearby Fengfeng District is designated as a National Scenic spot and contains many historical relics of Chinese Buddhist Culture.Exploring the Xiangtang Mountain Scenic Area's many temples, pagodas and caves.
The second course was highlighted with multiple sets of long brutal stair runs.The Qiansen Trophy in known for their impressive custom built course features. With temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, racers came through the pits every lap for water hand-ups. Sammi happy with her solid 2nd place finish on the day. At the end of the event, it is a tradition that the race organization host large celebration banquet, that includes performances by local musicians and dancers.