In the immortal words of Paulo Sousa, “fourth place sucks.” I remember in the middle of July while I was still in casts I told Matt Chrabot that “if I get 6th or 7th at U23 Worlds like Seymour and Huerta did in ’06, I’m going to be ecstatic.” I suppose it’s impressive how quickly I can change my expectations.
I arrived in Beijing about 7 days before my race in order to better acclimate to the massive time change. Although this made training inconvenient for longer, I did become adjusted to the time zone and was able to see a small portion of the Great Wall. I also perused much of the Chinese menu, which turned out to be a little too exotic for my pre-race stomach. My personal favorite was the chicken feet and pig ears.
I definitely have to thank Keith Dickson and MMTT for organizing training during my first few days in Beijing. Keith was great with finding places to swim, run, and ride.
The most incredible part of Beijing was the traffic. The dividing lines simply showed the easiest way to thread the needle between two cars, the hard shoulder was the fast lane, and stoplights were just a reminder of Christmas back in the US (minus the yellow lights of course). Driving on the right was also completely optional, especially if someone was parked in the middle of an intersection.
The race itself was exciting. These past two races it’s been great to actually be racing, instead of just being a participant. In Kelowna I could picture myself catching Kyle Jones especially and I ended up on the podium. In Beijing I was there in the front and with the leaders the entire race. I was able to run with the winner for 8k and was strongly convinced I could take home some hardware. According to the timeless wisdom of Nate Kortuem, “you’ve got to race the top guys before you can beat them.”
Fourth isn’t where I want to end up, but I’m enjoying moving forward. I know that I just need to keep putting in work and following Paulo Sousa’s advice. My next race is US Nationals in Buffalo, NY and I’m looking forward to executing quality racing strategy and taking another step forward.