CX Open in Beijing!
Saturday ended up being a free day, as the BMX'ers and the Inline crew were scheduled to have their qualifier. Turns out that it rained all day and they had to cancelle the comp. The skate crew had plans to head to the Silk Market for some shopping and then off to the Great Wall. Because of the rain, we only hit up the Silk Market and joined in with all the tourists looking for deals on knockoffs and imitation stuff. It's an amazing place and a must stop on your visit to Beijing! If you know how to barter, you can walk away with some amazing deals. Check out these shoes I found...
That night Leejay, from Shanghai, a WCS Judge the past few years at the X Games Asia and Andrew Guan from Kickerclub, a popular skate website in China and I, were invited to dinner with Nana the director of the Chinese Extreme Sports Association. We had Peking Duck, which was prepared so nicely! The restaurant dated back to the 1400's, wow! Meanwhile the rain continued all day and night!
The next morning I didn't hear rain outside. I took a look and discovered why. It had turned to snow late in the night and it was all white everywhere. My first snow of the year and it was taking place in China during a skateboard contest, go figure.
It continued to snow on and off for awhile. All the competitors went to the Bird's Nest at 10 AM. The event was planned for live TV at 1 PM. I t was very cold and it seemed pretty doubtful that the contest would even happen. When we arrived the course was covered with plastic, but it was pretty wet. The promoter was freaking out and worried about the TV Show and his sponsors. I spoke with him for a while. Then around 12 noon it stopped snowing and an army of people started working on drying the course. It took about an hour. They finally got the BMX'ers on the course and were able to finish their contest. Next up were the skateboarders and it started to snow again very lightly. Somehow the skaters managed to get in 2 runs on the icy slick surface. During practice it seemed that Manny was the one to beat. But when the 2 runs format went down, it was Tomas Vintr with a flawless second run, making every trick. He did a kickflip to flat off a large drop off, which under the icy conditions was insane - and somehow managed to stay on his board, taking the win! Manny Santiago placed 2nd, with 2 falls at the end of his best run, while a kid from China placed 3rd.
Then the Inliners got on the course, the weather actually got better! Or at least it seemed so, they turned on the lights in the Bird's Nest which made it feel warmer. It's weird to think that there are still inline competitions any more, but these guys are into it and carrying the torch. I don't think anyone has ever told them the rest of the world has moved on, but it didn't matter, these guys were into it.
A few bands ended up playing, I felt sorry for them because of the cold. It was a great scene though. I loved seeing and hearing the rock music, Chinese style!
Leejay, Nana, Mr. Wie and I went to dinner near by at a Korean BBQ, which was really good! Then we went back to the Bird's Nest for the Best Trick comp. Manny cleaned up. They also did a cash for trick deal and Manny was on fire, making the most money by landing the most difficult trick after trick. Everyone was able to make a little, including Felix Arguelles who they handed the final 500 Yuan ending the jam. It was pretty cool.
The BMX'ers then put on a demo. The announcer, Catfish, was on the mic and did a great job keeping the crowd warm and energized! He then got on the main music stage thanking everyone for coming, etc and did a Rap with all the BMX'ers on stage dancing. I have it all on video, good stuff for Utube.
After a long cold, wet, snowy day everyone loaded up in the bus and was happy to head back to the hotel for some warmth and drinks. Thanks to the skaters for hanging in there and putting on a great show for the crowd who stayed strong throughout the cold wintery conditions! WCS looks forward to next year's CX-Open as a points event on the World Cup Tour with plans of opening up the comp to more international skaters. Big props and thanks to Hao Jun of Envie Promotions, Andrew Guan, Leejay, Nana and Mr. Wei
See you there next year!