Racing Downhill in China’s GuiDe National Geopark

Bart Moore and Dennis Beare on a steep section of the DH course.

On the 13th of August 2017, GuiDe National Geopark partnered with the Qinghai Sports Association to hold the second TDRY GuiDe Geopark International Downhill Race. With over 110 participants from more than 12 different countries around the world invited, this event is setting a solid foundation for the future of gravity-based mountain biking in the Qinghai Province.

Reece Potter on his way to victory.
A local rider on a steep part of the track.

The GuiDe National Geo park sits at 2,260m above sea level and is listed in the Top 100 enterprises of China Tourism. It covers a huge 554 square kilometres of breathtaking scenery. To put the scale of this into perspective, that’s less than 100sqkm smaller than the USA’s famous Grand Canyon National Park. GuiDe National Geopark will become a World-Class centre of cultural tourism within 5 years, according to their future plans.

Elliot Smith and François Pedemanaud on the 2X course.

This year’s race had 4 different groups of DH riding (International elite, Domestic elite, Domestic open and Female Elite) and 2 groups (International Elite and Domestic) to battle it out on the new and improved 2X course. With a prize pool adding up to 236,000RMB – that’s over $35,000 USD!!- it was a race not to be missed!

Elliot Smith, foot out through deep dust.

For its second year, the Downhill course was extended in length by around 100 metres making it just over 1km. This extension was on top of dramatic changes to improve the flow of the trail and the addition of technical features. Don’t let the fastest times of around 1.15 fool you; the track was exhausting with back to back features, steep chutes and the natural dusty terrain.  With only one day of practice, the track continued to surprise riders throughout the weekend. With varying conditions over the event including short bursts of pouring rain, strong winds and blistering sun in between, riders were certainly kept on their toes. Luckily Sunday, race day, brought beautiful sunny weather and light winds for all racers to come down the mountain smoothly.

Epic battle between Aiden Varley and Elliot Smith.

The International Elite race was won by Reece Potter from New Zealand, followed dangerously close by Matej Chavat from the Czech Republic, Elliot Smith from Australia, Taha Ghabeli from Iran and Takuya Aoki from Japan. Some very competitive times were posted by the Domestic Elite group with Sihan Jiang on top, followed by Cong Xiao and Mengqi Tang. Bella Chen from Germany took the win in the Women’s Elite field, with Jiling Cai and Zhishuai Zhang from China in 2nd and 3rd position.

Reece Potter and Matej Charvat.

The 2X race was such an entertaining event! Having 2 riders at a time battling head-to-head over 6 jumps, berms and 2 sets of stairs provided constant jaw-dropping entertainment. This year, both groups rode the same course where the jumps had been beefed up jumps which were widened significantly and rode with effortless flow, allowing for some intense side-by-side riding, constant overtaking and close finishes. Matej Charvat dominated the event and shared the podium with Aiden Varley and Elliot Smith.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Our company, TrailScapes was contracted to improve and extend the courses from the previous year as well as to invite riders from all over the world to compete in this amazing setting. Being an international company based in Australia and specialising in MTB trail design and construction, we travel constantly around Australia and Asia but we can honestly say that this experience was one-of-a-kind! We would like to thank all the riders who participated in this well-run, professional event.

For info and updates on next year’s race and other races in Asia that we’re involved in, you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Lunch with a view.
Raking and baking in China.
Friendly locals.

Racing: DH in China at TDRY Guide Geo Park International Downhill

The inaugural TDRY Guide Geo Park International Downhill Event was held August 26-28 in Qinghai Province, China. The event attracted over 80 participants, including 10 international riders.

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Jai Motherwell, part of the construction team testing out his brilliant creation.

The event included downhill, dual compressor and dirt jump events, all held beneath the dramatic backdrop of the stunning Geo Park. All courses were designed and built by international trail specialists Dirt Art, who brought in an Australian-based team lead by World Cup Champion Nathan Rennie, to deliver the works.TDRY Guide International Geo Park Event-0734

For the pinnacle event riders were greeted by a world-level downhill course, which included a wide range of elements, throughout its short 1km length. From the steep, exposed ridge lines at the top of the site, riders faced numerous drops, jumps bermed and flat turns, ensuring that only a true all- rounder would claim the title.

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Tom Crimmins takes the win in China.
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Tom Crimmins picking his way down the narrow ridge lines on the fast, slippery and flowing course specifically built for the race.

In the international professional class the downhill event was taken out by Australian rider Thomas Crimmins, who edged out brother Andrew Crimmins by 1.10 seconds to take the win. Ex World Cup Downhill Champion, and construction manager for the project Nathan Rennie showed that he hasn’t lost a bit of his legendary ability, slotting comfortably into a valiant 3rd place, just 3.2 seconds off the win.

The Guide Geo Park site showcases a side of China that not many would be familiar with, a rugged wilderness far removed from the countries large cities. All event courses capitalise on the unique and dramatic topography of the site, with the stunning landforms of the Park acting as backdrop for all events.

With a commitment to host the event again in 2017, the future of gravity- based mountain biking in QingHai Province is bright.

Video: One Speed, One Heart – across China on a singlespeed

Following a bike trip in Japan, Craig Maddison was struck down with a rare and extremely deadly virus called Endocarditis. He underwent a massive operation to repair a valve in his heart yet 6 months later and with a massive scar right down his chest, Craig is heading back east and about to take on a truly immense challenge: to cycle across China on his single speed bike.

He will be on medication for the rest of his life but this is not going to stop him from taking on the challenge of his life which will involve cycling 1,900km in just 10 days One Speed, One Heart documents one man’s determination to do what he loves, put the past to rest and move forward into the future on 2 wheels and on a single speed.

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