Exciting days in China
Our week in China has been action-packed, extremely enjoyable, and very educational. We got to experience the enthusiasm of Chinese cyclists through the Great Wall Bicycle Festival, arranged by Nordic Ways; we got to know our Merida family in China; we got a taste of cultural history dating back to the old kingdom of the Chinese Czar; and we got to taste the utterly fantastic Asian cuisine.
Wednesday, September 21
After a substantial plane trip from Stavanger to Beijing, we arrived in the metropolis of Beijing in the afternoon, local time. We were met by representatives from the Norwegian-Swedish organisation Nordic Ways, and were driven to our hotel. Nordic Ways has its offices in the centre of Beijing, where three Norwegian and 17 Chinese employees work full-time, organising and arranging huge sports venues within the country - e.g - cycling, orienteering and cross country skiing.
We were invited to China by Nordic Ways to take part in the Great Wall Bicycle Festival, which was in its second year. The whole event takes two days, and on Saturday there's road racing, while mountain biking takes place on the second day. A good 1300 locals took part, three times as many as last year.
This year Merida China was the main sponsor for the day of mountain biking, and this gave us a great opportunity to meet our Merida friends in the country. Merida will be putting a lot of focus on cycling in large areas of Asia in the years leading up to the Olympics in Beijing. In other words, we will probably be travelling to this part of the world again in the years to come.
We checked into a nice hotel about 5-6 kilometres from the centre of Beijing, and had a short hour of exercise to get our circulation going again. In the evening we went for a walk in the surrounding area and then enjoyed a quick supper. We're feeling somewhat comatose after a long day of travelling and entering a new timezone. Our first impressions are of a place with a lot of dust in the air, many cyclists and pedestrians everywhere, and lots of noise. We're really looking forward to tomorrow.
Read the rest of Gunn-Rita's latest entry here.