Not only was this my first triathlon in China but also my first visit to the country. I have to confess that China is indeed a beautiful country and if you haven’t visited China, make sure you jot it down on your ‘to-do’ list!
As with all my triathlon races abroad, I like to combine the experience with a family holiday. My parents had never visited China either so it was a great opportunity for us to explore the country. Thanks to the great support from my friend, Chi Zhang, I was able to enjoy the culture and beauty of China. We started off our journey in Shanghai which in my opinion is a stunning city. If you like your tall buildings then Shanghai is definitely the place to visit. It is a rapidly developing city and is very ‘international’. Apart from boasting to have the 3 tallest skyscrapers in the world, Shanghai still contains a lot of culture on its outskirts.
After Shanghai, we moved to Weihai which is located in the Shandong province. This is where the ITU World Long Distance Championships was hosted and what a perfect location it was. The skies were clear, the sea temperature was lush and the scenery around the coast was majestic. I truly want to revisit the city and spend more time exploring the province. Apart from the tourist attractions, I had to focus on my race. I had spent 10 months preparing for it and felt confident in my training. The Bristol Post featured an article summarising my preparations. I participated in 2 middle distance races; the ICAN Malaga and the Cotswolds 113 and had performed well in both races. This race in Weihai consisted of slightly odd distances; 4km swim, 120km bike and 20km run. I had a fantastic race overall but suffered on the run! You can read more about my race performance that featured in the Gibraltar Chronicle.
The capital of China was our next and final stop. As per the Chinese tradition, “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. Therefore visiting The Great Wall (Mutianyu) was definitely on our to-do list and we were fortunate with the weather to be able to soak in the experience of such an engineering marvel. We also visited the other main tourist attractions and grabbed a few bargains at the Hongqiao Pearl Market!