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bike racin’ in Jeju AKA spankin’ the boys « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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bike racin’ in Jeju AKA spankin’ the boys

loading up the Cervelos

loading up the Cervelos

Last weekend while Ironman Hawaii was going on, I was reluctantly pulled away from the live Kona broadcast on my computer by local pro triathlete Mr. Cho and his friends to participate in a local bike race here in Jeju.  I tried to get out of it but Coach had the final word, so off I went…just as Chrissie entered T2.

GO!  Jeju Cycle Team!

GO! Jeju Cycle Team!

We would be representing Mr. Cho’s favorite local bike shop, Jeju Cycle.

the boys of Jeju Cycle. 4 out of 5 would get chicked today.

the boys of Jeju Cycle. 4 out of 5 would get chicked today.

It ended up being an all-day outing, starting with an opening ceremony and short parade through the streets.  From what I gathered, it was a bike festival promoting bicycling as a commuting alternative to taking cars.  That’s what I’m told the flag on my bike said anyway… 

very aerodynamic addition to the Cervelo

very aerodynamic addition to the Cervelo

We got to attach flags to our bikes for the parade.  It was cool promoting bike commuting in Jeju, very much like the Bike Boutique’s “I Want 2 Bike 2 Work” initiative.  When I am working at home I also bike commute the 25 miles (40km) each way to work, twice a week.  It’s such a great way to start off the workday while getting in a training session and reducing air pollution.  Practice what you preach!

rigging the flag to Blue Steels rear end

rigging the flag to Blue Steel's rear end

I tried to get out of the opening ceremony so I could properly smash my legs with a hard training session before the bike race, but sneaky Mr. Cho persuaded me to stay.  Turns out the people in charge ended up calling the two of us up during introductions, as we are the two local Jeju triathlon superstars.  I didn’t know what they were saying about me other than “Mei-gwok” which means American, so I just smiled and waved.

making the politician pledge to be a bike commuter!

making the politician pledge to be a bike commuter!

Mr. Cho was actually on the phone with his wife during the boring parts so she could give us some Kona updates.  So that’s where I was standing when I found out Tereza held on with a strong marathon for 4th place!  Go Super Housewife!!  After the ceremony we went on the parade, a very pedestrian 30-minute spin which I used as my warm-up to my pre-race bike session.

promoting bike commuting in Jeju

promoting bike commuting in Jeju

 

Mr. Cho and his Cervelo

Mr. Cho and his Cervelo

Mr. Cho then “introduced” me to one of his favorite stretches of road for training so I could smash the crap out of my legs before the race.  It was only a 20k road race, really no use going into it fresh since it was just for training!  It is very cute here in Korea, they tell you they will “introduce” you to a place instead of saying they will show it to you.

looking aerodynamic in the new Scody skinsuit!

looking aerodynamic in the new Scody skinsuit!

After lunch was the bike race.  I was under the impression that it was a 20k time trial, but it was in fact a draft-legal road race.  And we were allowed to use time trial bikes!  The field was pretty small though, as we lined up the official tried to tell me I had to go to the back row because I’m a girl!!  Can’t he tell how fast I am from my supertight Scody skinsuit?  I was very amused and Mr. Cho negotiated with the official in Korean, maybe saying something like “this girl can actually beat all the other guys here” and then I was allowed to be in the front and center of the starting line!

dont put me in the back row!

don't put me in the back row!

The gun went off and my plan was to stick to Mr. Cho’s wheel.  HA!!  He is a very strong cyclist and with 4 other guys took off in a big sprint.  Oops.  Well good thing I had my tri bike since it was basically a time trial now anyway!  In less than 5 minutes I got into a groove and moved up to 3rd place.  Mr. Cho and one other guy were already out of sight, crap…  I pushed and pushed, after all, when I told my mom that the race was only 12 miles, she said “What!  That won’t even take you half an hour!  See, even I know that!”  Oh Mom, I’m so proud :)

crunching up the final hill...

crunching up the final hill...

The pavement was a bit sketchy at times and there were some sharp turns, so I went as hard as I could without “going stupid,” as Coach would say.  My legs were definitely burning like crazy from both the effort and the effects of my first bike session.  At about 9 miles/15k, I was surprised to see a lone rider up ahead…another rider from the Jeju Cycle team!  I snuck up behind him and then made a hard and decisive pass so he wouldn’t get a chance to jump on my wheel.  Whoa, really, I’m now 2nd overall?!

Yep I ended up beating all the guys except for Mr. Cho!  The Jeju Cycle team won the big team trophy, I think they would’ve done it without me anyway since they swept the first 3 spots (4 if you include me, hehe).

Mr. Cho with the team trophy!

Mr. Cho with the team trophy!

dammit my size 2 jeans were snug when I bought them 4 months ago!

dammit my size 2 jeans were snug when I bought them 4 months ago!

Here we are with the Kim family, the owners of the Jeju Cycle bike shop.  Mrs. Kim had also raced the 20k road race!

Keeping up with the Kims

Keeping up with the Kims

There was a local all-women’s mountain bike team that came to race as well (there was a MTB division) and they were very excited to meet me.  They had been admiring my new Scody race kit during opening ceremonies!  After we took pictures together many of them grabbed my arms and felt up the muscles in my legs.  They exclaimed a lot in Korean about how strong/skinny/fit I was.  I just laughed a lot because this kind of behavior in America is considered invading your personal space.  It was obvious that they aren’t used to seeing very athletic women around here, so I was a good sport.  It’s my duty as Asian Triathlon Superstar to inspire more Asian womens!!

the womens MTB team LOVED us!

the women's MTB team LOVED us!

I made a lot of new Korean friends and the guys offered to pay for my dinner.  Broke pro triathlete girls never refuse a free meal! 

infinite varieties of kimchee

infinite varieties of kimchee

One of the teammates (the guy I passed actually) owns a restaurant so we had a traditional Korean dinner there with all the little dishes of kimchee, sitting at the really low tables that hurt your legs after a while.

Im smiling but my legs are aching from sitting on the floor!

I'm smiling but my legs are aching from sitting on the floor!

I had a lot of fun and got in some great training.  So thank you Mr. Cho and the Jeju Cycle team for dragging me out of my antisocial hermit state that began after the TBB teammates left!  It is good to get out and I also got a chance to work on my autograph skills once again…

I think Mr. Cho has a prettier autograph than I do

I think Mr. Cho has a prettier autograph than I do, but I've got the "Wongstar" logo...

Anyway I am now a week out from the next ironman, the GreatMan in Taean, just southwest of Seoul.  I am feeling the fittest I’ve ever been and looking forward to having the best race of my life.  It’s kind of fun to keep saying that every time I do an ironman this year.  ;)

Let’s keep it rolling!  2009 has been the best year ever!

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