Ironman China 2009 Travel 

I've moved my Ironman China travel photos on a different page.
Click here to view my China travel photos

Ironman China 2009 Travel Update 4: Tuesday, April 29th

I'm back in Austin after a great trip and race in China. Following the race, I relaxed in Haikou for another couple days and then traveled up to Shanghai and was able to stay with my great friends, the Carbonneaus for several days. I had an absolutely wonderful time with Paul, Lori and their children: Jack, Will, and Abby. They were took great care of me and I really got to experience what life is like for an ex-pat family in China as well as got to see Shanghai with local tour guides! It was really a fun weekend. I was amazed by the city of Shanghai. It was a stark contrast to Haikou. I've posted pictures of Shanghai on my China photo page.

The last two days in Austin have been dedicated to getting my life back in order as well as recover from the trip. Flying back east again always gets to me much more than flying west. I was wide awake at 4am this morning, so I thought it was a good time to update my website. I'm also trying to be careful and take it easy for the next few days to allow my body to recover from the race and travel. When I came back from Malaysia, I was much too active in the first couple days back and ended up getting the flu for a week. So this time, I'm going to be more careful.

I had a wonderful time on my trip to China. It was an insanely hard race, but I'm happy I survived it. Now it's time to recover and have several months focused on 1/2 Ironman training.

Pat

Ironman China 2009 Travel Update 4: Tuesday, April 21st

I just posted more travel pictures from our post race excursion. I'll try to put my race report up on my site tomorrow. I'll save all of the race stories until then, but I will say that the race was nothing short of a doozie, 113 degrees F with a heat index over 122 degrees F. I've never experienced anything like that and I train in Texas in the summer.

Our post race day was filled with going into downtown Haikou to explore more of the city. We went to the most unique market I've ever seen. Check out the pictures I've posted on my photos page. We also went to the awards ceremony. It was really great to see our new buddy Rasmus take the win.

I decided to stay at the race hotel for two more days. My original plan was to check my bike in the airport and travel around Hainan island with a backpack for a few days, but after that race, I'm just too drained to backpack around right away. I'll stay here tomorrow for another relaxing recovery day and then on Thursday I head over to Shanghai to stay the weekend with my close friends, Paul and Lori. I'm excited to see them and experience another part of this country. Then on Sunday I head back to Austin.

More writing tomorrow with my race report and race details.

Ironman China 2009 Travel Update 3: Saturday, April 18th

 

Yesterday was my rest day, two days before the race. I only left the hotel room to go get food. I needed a little down-time because the last several days had been pretty busy. I feel really rested today. We turned off the lights and TV at 8pm last night after the carbo-dinner and got a solid night’s sleep. I’m posting a few more pictures below from the last couple days.

 

Two days ago we tried to drive the course. Once again it was a cultural experience, but really fun. We looked into renting a car (not advisable), renting a car with a driver (too expensive), so we eventually bargained with a taxi to drive it for 300 RMB (~$45). So four of us piled into a taxi with a wild driver who spoke absolutely no English. Then add in the fact no Chinese maps are accurate and it made for a neat experience. I think we saw about 85% of the bike course. We didn’t even attempt the run course as it winds through the city. It would be an exercise in futility to try to preview that course. The swim is in the river and all of those who have gone out there say the currents are REALLY strong. I didn’t want to swim too much in the river before the race because of water quality issues, so my plan was to do a 10 min swim this morning (the day before the race) to get a feel for the course. But since there’s a massive thunderstorm this morning, I’ll just have to wait until race day to get a feel for the currents.

 

This bike course could be a really fast one. That’s depending on the weather. If it’s storming or windy, it could be tough. If we have a calm, dry day, it could be wicked fast. The weather forecast is pointing towards a wet and windy day. So we’ll see. Then I think the run course is really flat. Again, it’s been nearly impossible to go out and see the course, so I guess I’ll find out on race day!!

 

It is absolutely dumping rain right now. There’s a big thunderstorm rolling over. The forecast is for all day thunderstorms today. It’s supposed to be raining and 87 degrees tomorrow for race day.

 

We lost power in the hotel for a bit. The ceiling at breakfast was leaking all around us. Check out the picture of the water pouring through the light fixture at breakfast. Last time I checked, water and electricity are not the best combo.

 


Lighted waterfall near our breakfast table
 

That’s all for now. I’m feeling good and ready to get out and race. My next update will be after the race. I’m a little bummed about the weather, but you can’t control that and every race last year with the exception of Kona, it rained!

Pat

Ironman China 2009 Travel Update 2: Thursday, April  16th

Yesterday (Wednesday), we took the shuttle into town and just looked around for the day. This is where we got the real China experiences. Too many stories to recount here, but most of the pictures I posted below speak for themselves. There are absolutely NO Westerners walking around Haikou, so we were the objects of a lot of staring. It was a really fun day. The next couple days will be more geared towards resting for the race.

Pat

Ironman China 2009 Travel Update 1: Tuesday, April  14th

Here’s my first travel update for Ironman China. It’s Wednesday morning, 5 days before the race. So far, everything has gone really smooth. I arrived in on Sunday night to Hainan Island. I had a 6:10am flight out of Austin on Saturday morning, flew to Chicago, had a 2.5 hour layover, then 15.5 hours to Shanghai, a 4 hour layover, then the final leg of 3.5 hours to Haikou. This was a much easier flight plan than the Ironman Malaysia trip. Everything went really smooth.

 

I do want to thank the flight attendants from American Airlines from my Chicago to Shanghai leg. I was really paranoid about my bike because of the whole bike-getting-lost-on-the-way-to-Malaysia fiasco. In Chicago, I asked if there was any way to check to ensure my bike made it on the plane. The flight attendant was very very nice and she checked for me and let me know it was on the plane after I told her about my Malaysia travel experience. That was a huge stress relief. Then after I was seated on the plane, she came up to me and asked me to come with her. I thought “oh no, what did I put in the bike box that got me in trouble?” Sometimes I try to sneak my CO2 cartridges into the box so I don’t have to buy new ones at the races, but I didn’t this time because a few friends had had real problems lately with getting caught and in trouble with TSA. So I didn’t bring any this time. Actually, the attendants brought me up to Business Class and moved me there!!! They told me that they race triathlons, one of them races Ironmans (we’ll both be at a same race later this year). So out of the kindness of their hearts, they chose me to bump up to the super comfy seats! I kid you not, that made a huge difference on good I felt after the flight. I’ve never felt that good after a long international flight. All the good meals, movies, reclining seats into beds. It was amazing. So I want to thank those American Airlines employees for their kindness.

 

I was the ONLY non-Chinese on my domestic China Southern flight to Haikou. That was the beginning of the fun cultural experiences. I have to say that the fun part about China isn’t so much the sightseeing (so far) rather just the fun of experiencing the cultural differences and fumbling through the communication gaps. Of the places I’ve traveled so far, China is by far the hardest to maneuver around because of the language barrier.

 

On Monday, I met two new friends and have been hanging out with them since. Rasmus Henning from Denmark and David, a dentist from my original hometown of Detroit. Dennis and I have a mutual friend from home, Brad Seng. He also happens to speak fluent Chinese, so he has really helped us in some of the awkward situations. Rasmus is another pro triathlete. He’s one of the top Olympic-distance guys in the world and this will be his first full-Ironman in many years. Both are really great guys that I’m glad I met.

 

My good buddy from Austin, Stephan came in Monday night. Stephan and I are sharing a room and our other good buddy, Lon is arriving in another couple days. I’m really glad these guys are here, because it’s made it a lot more fun. There has been a lot of laughing about all of the “cultural experiences.”

 

The last couple days have been pretty low key. We’ve done our short warm-up workouts and relaxed in the hotel room. There’s a few English TV stations so we can veg-out in the room. Rasmus, Dennis, and I went into town on Monday so we could get food and bottled water. My only complaint thus far is that our race hotel is out in the middle of no-where. We’re like 5-6 miles to town and there is nothing else out here. No restaurants or markets anywhere, so it’s pretty much a pain to get out to do other things. It was a good 1.5 hour trip for us to take the shuttle into town, go to the market, and take a cab home. I bought and carried 15 liters (~4 gallons) of bottled water so I didn’t have to go back to town for a few days. You can buy water in the hotel, but they charge you like $5-$8 per bottle!!!!!! The race hotel is really nice and the rooms are cheap, but they are definitely taking advantage of us in the restaurants knowing that it is a royal pain to try to leave the hotel.

 

So far, its been a great trip. I’m having a great time with Stephan, Rasmus, and Dennis. I’m also feeling really good. I’m posting a bunch of pictures below from the first couple days. I’ll try to do another update in a day or two.

 

Pat

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