Notes From China's Spring City: XC Racing

Jan 31, 2018 at 7:10
by Scott Rapoport  

All photos taken by Mao Jie, AKA 'Magic Mike'.

Kunming is the capital city of Yunnan Province in southwest China. Though a bustling city with a population nearing seven million, Kunming's mountain bike trails (and there are many) are never more than a short pedal away from any point in the city. Sitting at an altitude of over 6,000 feet, Kunming, like the rest of Yunnan, is surrounded by mountains: these foothills of the Himalayas are beautifully green and roll through the landscape like waves. Known as the Spring City for its temperament year-round climate, Kunming is an ideal location for cycling of all kinds. In recent years, the mountain bike scene has exploded; ride anywhere in this city, and you are sure to see a number of mountain bikers headed toward the trails.

On January 20th, more than a hundred mountain bike enthusiasts, both from inside and outside the province, participated in an XC race held at the Black Dragon Pool Park in the north of the city. Co-sponsored by Specialized, IWE Sport, and many others, the race featured amateurs and some of the top provincial and national professional racers in China.

In typical Kunming fashion, it was a warm, sunny winter day.

IWE China Cycling Team captain Wei Kui sips a coffee before the race.

Segafredo Zanetti provided coffee and sandwiches for some pre-race fuel.

The open group eagerly waiting at the start line.

Zhang Xi Hay at the beginning of the 5.2 KM loop (3 laps)

At the top of first climb, this rider is ready to charge into the downhill.

The track was designed for flow and speed. With few technical spots, the racers were free blast through the woods without hesitation.

Inside or outside line?

A beautiful day for some climbing.

Three riders battling up the climb.

A small river crossing in the second half of the course.

The pros discussing the track before their start.

Paying tribute to Nino Schurter with this no-hands manual.

A few of the fastest racers in China: 2016 Rio Olympic Games mountain bike athlete Wang Zhen; two time runner-up at Chinese Nationals, Ma Hao; and Chen Mingrun, winner of the 2017 Cycling Grand China international road race.

And the Elite group racers are off!

Pu Jin gearing up to make a pass.

Wei Kui, captain of the IWE team, is all smiles.

Wang Qiao pedaling hard.

Yang Qijun crossing the finishing line.

Zhou Zhiqiang, southwest China's Specialized sales manager, opens the medal ceremony.

The top three of the open group: Rodin, He Huasong, and Tue Songjiang.

IWE Specialized Director Zhang Yujun gives the top two medals in the Elite group to Li Yuan (winner) and Wong Kar Lung (runner-up).

Race winners shared prizes worth over 19,000 RMB.

The IWE team looks forward to a great year of racing after a solid start to the season.

All photo credit to this man: Kunming's favorite cycling photographer Mao Jie (AKA Magic Mike).


  • 1 0
 Hey man. Note: 1-6 month is a forest fire prevention season in Kunming, and some forest trails may not be allowed to enter.But some forest trails are still allowed to enter. You can't use a fire source.
  • 1 0
 Hey hoop. Yep I know about the fire prevention. Thankfully they don't close off Bao Zhu. Let's ride sometime!
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  • 1 0
 yeahhhhh buddy
  • 1 0
 Murph! Until we ride again at the mighty Wiss...

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