Text and Photos: Hannah Cowie
The TDRY 2016 international Danxia downhill cycling race, was held on the 27th and 28th of August. The event was set in the mountains in the middle of China’s rural Qinghai province. The track was a short dusty trail that offered spectacular views, which made the event special. The event saw many international elite riders including Australian downhill legend Nathan Rennie and other Aussie talents including the Crimmins brothers Thomas and Andrew, and Tim Eaton, Japanese rider Hajime Imoto, Canadian Doug Sharpe, Markus Ruchti from Switzerland and not forgetting the riders from Hongkong, Taiwan and China itself.
Nathan found that some of the challenges along the way were utilizing laborers who couldn't speak English, using machines and equipment that they never used before. Overall Nathan was happy with the end result, in which they managed to get the trail from the top of the hill all the way down to the bottom, which takes around a minute and a half. He was happy about some of the fun sections, nice rollovers, jumps, especially as they made do with what they had.
Nathan thinks that the Chinese riding scene can only get bigger and was highly impressed by people’s enthusiasm at the event and the level of bikes that they had. He thinks that the riding is in the developmental stage, but with the Government attending the event he can see the sport growing and could see himself coming back to China in the future.
Nathan was riding his Santa Cruz Nomad, which he had over the 4 weeks. With the idea that he would cruise around the area, he left his down hill bike at home. He felt like he had an advantage on the 4X, as it’s so light. He was pretty happy with the turn up of international riders considering that it was the last round of the world cup, but happy that so many international riders made the event.
It was Tom’s first time in China. He commented on the unique terrain and how fun the track was. He found it quite similar to those he’s used to back in Australia but the length of this track was pretty short. He found the organization of the event ran pretty smoothly, he felt busy with demonstration rides and thought the opening ceremony was an interesting one, bigger than any in Australia.
He thought that there was a lot of Chinese talent and some entertaining spectating taking place. At this stage Tom is mostly competing in Australia but finds it nice to come to international races during the Australian winter off-season. He usually goes to Canada or Europe and now China. Tom would definitely recommend other riders to come over to China as he’s had a great experience and definitely would come back.
Tom was riding his Giant Glory Advance Zero. He didn't make any changes to his bike during the race as the conditions were very similar to ones at home and found that the track was not too demanding.
Doug thought that the track was an equal playing field for all riders. There weren’t too many lines to take so he thought you had to hold your speed and get through the loose corners. Doug said he was enjoying his time and thought that it was a great effort from the guys who built the track especially with the terrain they had to work with.
Doug found it a little bit of an organisational nightmare compared to the other downhill events he had been to in China. He found that the food wasn't very good and although there were no lifts he thought the course was awesome. He thought that Chinese riders were killing it, coming up slowly. He thought that the elite class will be a good show and saw them post some good times even in the open category, some of their times were up with the international elite qualifying times.
Doug can see the levels of Chinese riders going up and believes that with more international riders coming over to compete the Chinese level will keep rising. Names he was looking forward to seeing were KK, he wants to see him getting some more landing skills and actually being able to control his speed and getting to the bottom of the mountain. Doug said that he always thought if KK could go through a run without crashing he would be unbeatable. He believes that he is getting better and better. Doug thinks that guys like Gaopeng Jie (Anton) are ones to watch out for, as he is an all round good rider. Doug is looking forward to seeing their future runs and believes those two guys are the ones who everybody has their eyes on.
Patrick is a 34 year old from Hong Kong who has been riding since he was 17.For Patrick, the track was very dusty which was the first time to race in this kind of situation. He found the course very fun and slippery but found that it was too dry from him. Patrick said that he is used to the humid climate in Hong Kong. He was happy with his result, he thought he could have been a bit better but the main thing is that he was safe and didn't hurt himself. In his words, he is getting old for it.
Patrick thinks the Chinese racing scene has gotten bigger and bigger in the last 2 years. Chinese rider levels are getting better which is really good. He says that they are building trails in the mountains now for racing and it's a very positive thing as they have many more places to practice. In Hong Kong Patrick can only practice on two or three legal trails.
Patrick thinks that KK is up and coming and has improved a lot since he has got his new bike. He also thinks that Tiger Soul is someone to look out for in the future as he is also is very good rider.
Tiger enjoyed the track very much – he found it pretty challenging as it was very short and had many technical sections. He wasn't so happy with his result on his final run but enjoyed riding the middle section as he had a lot of power. He mentioned that he couldn't train so much last year so his muscles weren’t so strong, but this year he trained more and can see a big difference in his power. Tiger said that he is a trail bike rider so he’s got skills but not much muscle. The last section he crashed because he was going too fast and his mind couldn't focus so much. Tiger is looking forward to more races later on this year within China.
Julie – from Taiwan
Julie has been riding for over 10 years. She found this track very beautiful and loved the views from the track. She felt that this was a special event and felt like the Chinese riders also found this event very special.
Julie has always rode in South China so found these mountains were very different to what she is used to as the altitude was much higher here. She was also not feeling so great after suffering from a bad cold but felt her final run was very good. She tried her best and was very happy with her result. Julie works and races in China, so will always come back here to race. Her next international race is in Yamaguchi, Japan.
Simon French – DirtArt
DirtArt is an Australian based company that has been around for 8 years and have done a lot of work in New Zealand and Australia. This was their first project in China. Simon said it’s been a challenge to operate in a new country but it’s been a fun experience so far. Simon thought that the downhill looked very good considering the hills were not too big and the fact they had lots of restrictions so was happy with the end results.
Simon said that working with the Chinese had been really fun, Obviously there was a big language barrier that had been a challenge but all in all it was a positive experience. Simon was impressed by the number of riders who attended which was a lot more riders than he first expected. He hopes that his company and others can build these types of tracks for Chinese riders in the future and hopefully the whole industry will grow from here.
Read more about the Event here
SPORTS2US is a new established Australian company but the team has been working in sports industry for 6 years. It is aiming to bring the best Aussie sports brands and services to Asian markets including China. It is the main partner in TDRY International DH event and brought the trail design and construction company Dirt Art to China, also organised the international riders from overseas to attend this event.
The team of SPORTS2US has mentioned their excitement when they first confirmed to operate and promote this event together with the Chinese business partner QingHai AoPo Sports. As part of the event management team, SPORTS2US is responsible for selecting a high reputation trail design and construction company and manage the whole project during the event. The success of building the trail has proved the capability of SPORTS2US and its professionalism.
The team from SPORTS2US has first came to XiNing in April to check the feasibility of building the trail in Guide Geo Park together with DirtArt and again in July before the start of the construction. During the event in August the team was still impressed with the trails for its creativeness and perfection. Together with all the international riders, SPORTS2US has climbed the top of the DH trail many times a day, Yiya has claimed she became more sporty after this daily exercise.
SPORTS2US told mtbmagasia that there are sometimes difficult moment to coordinate the construction team and the park and the local labour due to culture and language difference. However both parties have learnt a lot from each other and she believe in future project the process will become smoother. Something interesting is Australian all like beer after the day of hard work but it is hard to find cold beer in their hotel. The event organisation TianDiRenYuan has managed to bring a fridge to the hotel just for the Aussie team to have cold beer. To Yiya this is an understanding of different culture and great consideration of each other.
Yiya said in future her team and the mtbmagasia team will bring more international MTB professionals to China and have talks and rides with the Chinese riders for each other to understand their countries more and exchange riding experiences.
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