Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:54 AM

China: Tour of Quinghai Lake, 24th Birthday and sick as a dog.

After a 12 day stint at altitude in Italy on top of Passo Stelvio (2760m), I headed to China for the Tour of Quinghai Lake. We arrived on the Monday 4 days before the start in order to be able to adjust to the time zone and for the first couple of days everything went well and we got a few nice training rides in.

As soon as the racing started it was all down hill for me. The first day was a criterium as a prelude to the first stage the following day but was not part of the tour (the same way the Down Under Classic works for the TDU). The weather was terrible for the crit and the roads here have A LOT of dirt on them here, although they are sealed..., and as a result we got absolutely FITTHY. I don't think a mountain biker would expect to get as dirty in a race as we managed!

The night after the criterium I came down with a temperature, somach cramps and a few other ailments that I wont go into. This absolutely stopped me in my tacks and for the first two stages I found myself battling to stay with the groupetto (back group) and to just finish within the time cut. I was contemplating pulling out but thought if I can just sick out this ordeal I should be able to come good in a couple of days. 

With Stage 2 falling on my Birthday I found myself once again struggling to produce the power of an ant but managed to crawl to the finish. My day was brightened by my team though, as they bought in a massive specially made Birthday Cake which was enjoyed by all.

Today, being the day after my Birthday I really bounced back and felt much better. I managed to stay with the front group of about 30-35 and finished 11th in the stage. Hoping to be back to 100% in the next couple of days and be able to give a stage a real crack.

Keep posted as I will keep you informed on how go.