I had to be aggressive from the start, literally leaping over my seatmate on flight 31 from Vancouver. We’d both spotted the empty row of seats to the right at about the same time, but I’d been slightly quicker. She was from Shanghai, and I needed to stretch out and sleep more than she did. I needed to bank the rest desperately for the race, 48 hours around Taiwan.
The race was a marathon, the second year it was to run, bringing 150 of the crème de la crème of the Asian cycling scene for a tenacious 1000 kilometer slog around the perimeter of the leaf-shaped subtropical island, and, having scored a place on a team’s support vehicle I was committed, specifically to somehow being as close to several places simultaneously as possible. Yes, the Taiwan Trade Association had invited me, sprung for a fine hotel close to the convention center with a generous meal stipend in exchange for which I’d be writing up the show itself, four days of the finest, latest and shiniest in the bicycle kingdom.
But there was the matter of the race itself, which was, as these things go, connected with the show in the ethereal way that connections often exist in Taiwan. The race would start at the Cycle show mid-way through the first day before taking off in a sprint to circle the island. And somehow I’d be following it, while at the same time maintaining something of a presence at the show itself, or at least showing up with enough energy 48 hours later, which would be midway through the third day of a four day event, to cover the final day and a half of the event.
So the reader can understand why I jumped with great aggression at the chance for a halfway normal night’s sleep on the plane, risking the stigma of rudeness to do so.
After a brief rest and brilliant breakfast at the Proverbs Hotel in Taipei, I headed out to Nangang to start work, attending the opening ceremony for the show. In the midst of listening to a presentation, leather-clad arms grabbed me from behind. It was Vicki, with whom I worked last year, and who was now expecting me to ride shotgun for the increasingly detrimental to my sanity 48-hour race around the island. She pulled me away from the main convention over to the north entrance, where some riders had already gathered for the pre-race laying out of rules, about which I’ll write with greater clarity when I’m back from the race, which kicks off in 3 hours.
Off to the convention center for a few hours of business journalism before being sucked southward in a whirlwind of extreme marathon sports journalism, followed by what promises to be an extremely disheveled return to the Taipei Cycling Show for another day and a half of business journalism. I should have been born twins. Follow this spot. Tell your friends.