Thursday, July 05, 2007


So much has happened (since my last BLOG)… So much happens! So much of everything happening, I can hardly keep up with it all! How did this transpire? I'm a fool to have launched so much! I'm a complete fool, not really understanding myself until too late. Five years ago, even two years ago this all was a good idea (in my mind), now I'm wondering! All I want is to ride my bicycle!

And speaking of that, last weekend there were the two WCC bicycle races we had anticipated. Zhayer, had come all the way (30-hour train trip) from Urumqi to participate in the Mountain Bike Race. But, we talked him into the Road Race as well. Now, he's staying here permanently.

The first on Saturday (30 June) was the 60KM road race on city streets (12X around a 5KM course). Both XTRicha and Zhayer had acquired two 'beater' bicycles from WCC for this race. We had two others join our team that had their own road bicycles (names?). Both young of course, one, a friend we'd cycled with before, but the other a taciturn and unfriendly newcomer with a unpleasant demeanor.

If children ever wonder why they are having trouble in the world, they should take a good look in a mirror! (Note: 'We have met the enemy and he is us!' Of course, it's always the world that we blame!). Of course, I was one of those!

The 'call' was 0830, and we were there on time, but I learned again what XTR has explained, 'Chinese people don't watch clock!' So, guess what…? I think the gun for the start went off at 1030! But, in the meantime we got organized and 'shot' much video of the preparations. Besides the gathering throng there was music, singers, dancers and a fashion show.

In addition, we had our own cheerleading crew from the Dance Studio. They even had little pennants to wave that Wang Jiang's drawing school had made for us. 'Jiao!' 'Jiao!' ('Go! Go!') they screamed when one of our team passed. Unfortunately 1 of the 5 Mini DV cassettes I recorded was lost and it just happened to be the one of them cheering! I had used a young Chinese man we like, Xiao He, to assist me, as he said he wanted to learn how to 'shoot' video. But, turns out he didn't ultimately want as too much in the way of reality from Haqi! But, I can't blame anyone but myself, as I didn't explain to him beforehand well enough. It's always so much easier to blame someone else than take the responsibility yourself!

Our team… Well, it started off well, but then XTRicha was out quickly because of a flat. Next, Zhayer had a bit of bad luck when he thought he'd been waved out of the race for some reason. We (at least me) didn't really understand why this happened, I think some misunderstanding. So, out of our four starters, I think only Yang su Tong finished. But, it was fun!

At the end I happened to be at the start/finish line. Of course, having attended so many different kinds of races for ABC Sports (in the 1960s and 70s) I knew where to be at the right time. I was able to record the finish, and it was very close, first and second places just eight feet apart, but at the speed maybe one second difference! Yao Guo Hui, the Race Director, looked at our 'footage,' to determine the winner.

Afterwards we took the group up to Nan Shan to eat. I think we had something like 30 people. It cost something like 600RMB or $75U.S.

The next day, Sunday, was the Mountain Bike Race, and Zha'ier was to redeem himself, as this his specialty.

This time I was able to record the start, Zha'ier leaping out in front. I had missed Saturday's start, as the battery failed.

The race course, Zha'ier and I had cranked the week prior. It's all up in the beginning, level for some time, then down, of course, to the start/finish. This two 'laps' around for a total of 24-kilometers on a dirt road (nothing really overland).

After they all 'blasted off,' we climbed the hill to get to a place where we might record some 'action.' I knew enough to follow Wang guozhang, as he's the 'big leader,' although when we got up to the road, he was nowhere to be found. But, we were lucky as we found where the officials were standing to direct the riders around or down for the finish.

We saw Yang su tong pass first, and in fourth place. I wondered about Zha'ier… When Xu Tan passed I knew there must be something wrong with Zha'ier. Sure enough in the distance I saw him jogging next to his bicycle. Turns out he broke his chain! But, not giving up he ran pushing his bike, and finally no problem going downhill (only brakes needed).

When we got down again to the start-finish line, we found out Yang su Tong, one of the team came in 6th place, Xu Tan 10th, and Zha'ier (out of 30 or so competitors) who knows? He was disconsolate having done so poorly in both races, but I told him (we communicate by writing) not to worry! 'What is important is to compete, to participate! We try our best, sometimes winning, sometimes 'rained out,' sometimes losing!'

After the race we took eighty people to lunch (our 'Jaio Crew' included) at an adjacent outdoor restaurant. This cost 1,100RMB or $ 130U.S. But, it was fun watching them. Chinese people, generally happy, eating, talking, singing and dancing.

They all sat under a 'cabana' roof, I stayed out in the sun and ate my 'yu min' (corn dish). Note: Whereas Haqi loves the sun, Chinese people don't and particularly the women. The ideal in Chinese female allure is to have snow-white skin. Thus, in XiNing a sunny land, they carry parasols when exposed. The skin cancer rate is probably low in China.

While I was sitting waiting for my food, a vendor came up and offered handmade hammocks (of course in the beginning I didn't know what these tangled 'threads' were). I ended up buying one, all of 10RMB ($1.25U.S.).

The 'Jaio' crew had to depart early, as were summoned by their 'leader.' But, the adults, whose food took so long in coming, we stayed, ate, and sang songs, and even danced (all of this captured on video). A good time was had by all!

It was a wonderful weekend of bicycle camaraderie! We met many people, and made many friends!

In the meantime, we've gotten Wang Jaing involved with This after John Zhang saying he 'was too busy with his job.' But, all happens for the best, I know! We now have a wonderful room with a stage in which to have English Club and our acting classes. We now have a man involved with local entertainment experience! A man with many good ideas!

Now, after three months starting we're on our way!

No cigarette smokers allowed!



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