Tour of Qinghai Lake, first few days

arriving at the duoba olympic training base, ~7,000 ft. going to the team presentation, which was crazy, and relaxing in our dorms, acclimating to food, altitude and the cooler weather.
 kyle and I roomed together for all but 3 nights during our 19 days in china
 the entire race travelled to Xining to this gigantic sports complex for the teams presentation
 here is a glimpse of the armada of vehicles that went everywhere with the race. also a glimpse of the rain
mike does not want to walk in the rain. 
 our team shoe sponsor, cushe, hooked us up with some fresh trainers for the race.
lots of standing around, waiting for the point where the riders go out on stage 

 the mascot for the race is some sort of yak/deer/antelope. unfortunately, this was the last time we would meet this life-sized version.
 at some point kriel and phil took my camera. here is our frenchies, thomas and matthieu
 our cheerleader would lead us, (us on our bikes) up the ramp and over the stage, the stadium was filled with people applauding
"put this in your pocket" 
 this would wear off very quickly...
my absolute favorite photo from this whole trip. thank you phil 
 the birth of my nickname for the trip
 time to go
 the fleet always travelled with police escort, they would shut down highways for us, close roads, and block traffic anytime the race transferred anywhere.
ghost cities... 
the area we raced in was 100% manicured, every foot was landscaped. 
 the duoba base. we would be here for a few days, one stage even started here. it was where the chinese teams prepared for the beijing olympics in 2008, now it is more or less some type of campsite/hotel. the mountain behind the base was very dramatic.
the pathways from the dorms to food hall to bike storage were really awkward 
this was the scene