I am very thankful for the opportunity recently to go to China for the opening of Shun Yi Olympic Cable Park in Beijing. This was my first time overseas and I had no idea what to expect. After 24 hours of straight traveling, I finally made it to Beijing where I was greeted by my Chinese hosts in the airport. We took a bus to the hotel and the jet lag hit me hard. After a much needed day of rest, I took a bus with about 30 other riders from around the world to the Olympic canoeing and rowing facility where the new cable was located. The cable was all floating towers with 4 obstacles and was about 250 yards long.
I felt really strong in practice but once the contest came around I didn’t ride as well as I had hoped. The day after the contest finished, the Chinese took us to the Ming Dynasty tombs, where we saw some crazy ancient Chinese architecture. We had a tough time understanding the tour guide, however, we made the best of it.
After the tombs we went to the Great Wall. The Great Wall was amazing! It was awesome to see the result of 2,000 years of work on a single – very long — wall. The trip was amazing and I was happy to meet new people from all over the world!
Things I learned:
1.) EVERYBODY smokes everywhere you go in China. Be prepared to wash your clothes even if you didn’t wear them.
2.) There is a major smog problem.
3.) The Great Wall on a Chinese holiday is swamped with people. Some days with planking and skating wakeboarders.
4.) Chinese have a holiday for everything. It felt like every day was a holiday, which was cool.
5.) The food is the same everywhere you go and for every meal. Noodles for breakfast? Yes, please. (Sorry, Mom.)
6.) Don’t give in to the merchants wanting you to buy everything, unless you’re these guys.
7.) Learn basic Chinese words.
8.) Know someone Chinese to help you!