Up until a few years ago this race was a circuit race held around Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan. It was a continuous series of punchy climbs and a few longer, tough ones. There were no major elevation gains but it just never let up.
There was even a series of switchback climbs with boom cameras that would zoom in on the suffering and broadcast it on local TV. I have seen my distorted face being dropped more than once...
In the last few years it has been shortened and moved to a flat circuit race in the small town where the Giant head offices are based.
Every TV station and newspaper in the country plus International (Asian) media is in attendance. So even though the race is WAYYYY too short (80km) it is the best race to podium in if you are shopping for sponsors.
This year the race was cut in half. Yup. 44km. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, because we were an hour late starting they dropped a lap and now it was a 33km joke. The thing it is didn't feel like a joke. I certainly don't remember laughing.
They shortened the race because we were more than an hour late starting and there was a second event in the afternoon. I was hungry on the start line. Not good.
The *** goes pop and the attacks start. Coming into the finish stretch there is a break of 4 guys away and I attack and bridge across. As I get there I see the Giant rider on his radio and he sits up. I push him to the front and he just soft peddles. Crap.
Next lap I attack going into turn 3 and get a good gap. I am with a National Team guy but all he wants to do is drop me. I have no idea what he is thinking.
The group reals us in and it is clear that nothing it getting away.
Last lap and I realize that a break is doomed and I am not going to place in a bunch sprint. I decide that I might as well focus on my age group and at least win that. (The Elite and Elite Masters were racing together).
I start checking numbers and roll up beside the only other guy I can see in my age group. We are sitting about 20 riders back and he doesn't look good. I figure all I have to do is come around him and I win my age cat and get a good photo to shop for sponsors.
I sit on his wheel.
The last 3 km and it winds up. The National Team guys gutter the bunch but they don't have the horsepower to string it out and control the sprint. It is a huge, 80 rider cluster ****.
I am still on the wheel that matters to me then suddenly this idjut decides to swing right and jump out of the group. Bam! He crashes into me and I am spit out into the crosswind and lose 10 places. I try to jump back in and BLAM! another Injit.
Within 30 seconds I am hit 3 FRICKEN' TIMES and finally find myself at the BACK of the group with 1km to go.
Even as I sit there some newb decides he wants to sprint for 80th place and he crashes into me, too.
I sit up.
I have no idea of how the sprint played out.
I don't even finish on the podium for my age group.
I am pretty pissed.