Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Kinki Fall Brevet

Prologue This is really all about 61 dedicated Randonneurs riding on the left side of the road, cue sheets with Chinese characters, extraordinary sea food, hot springs, and, yes, 600km in 40 hours. As my Randonneuring season with its memorable Brevets in Maryland and Bavaria, the stunning Cascade 1200 Grand Randonee and the NCDC and PA Fleches was winding down, an unexpected opportunity came up – riding a 600k in the land of the rising sun. Joining 60 other riders from Ausdax Kinki and from every corner of Japan should be a unique experience. Not being able to decipher the cue sheets with its myriad of Chinese characters I would need to bond with fellow riders and follow them along the shores of the Pacific through tiny fishing villages and through the rugged mountains speckled with hot springs and monasteries. Hitoshi Okada, the Kinki RBA, was rightly worried that I would take a wrong turn and get lost in the West Virginia of Japan and thus he asked a volunteer rider, Yutaka W, not to let me out of sight. Yutaka is a true samurai rider who recently finished the Canadian 2000k Grand Randonee in 135 hours - Chapeau. As my friends know I often ride for hours by myself and I wondered already what it would be like to be with a fellow rider for 40 hours. I pray to the Randonneur and culinary gods that Yutaka likes unique seafood and takes every opportunity to refuel with whatever the sea has to offer. After all, this ride is about enjoying life for 40 hours and teasing taste buds and not about swallowing kilometers. Since the NOAA web site informed me of a complete lack of moon light during the weekend of the ride, my Bavarian cycling Spetzl Ulli Schoenemann set me up with the new BM light attached directly to the front hub, an excellent way to easily mount the light. I had not taken my SEVEN for a spin since the PAC tour and after a thorough cleaning job it went back into the suitcase. United carried rider and bike across the Pacific. The vast majority of passengers on UA885 were from Asia, probably a testimony to the weak $. The route The ride starts in Izumisano, a city south of Osaka. We will circle the peninsula and cycle through Osaka, Wakayama and Mie Prefecture and then cross over back to Izimisano. Rinding 450 km along the Pacific should be stunning - although I have not factored in any rain or wind. Day 0 I woke up at 4 a.m., with my brain stuck 13 time zones to the East. Got my e-mails done and read Garrison Keillor, who always gets me laughing. Miso soup, fish and rice for breakfast - time to get the carb loading started. Heavy rain sets in - it's Typhoon season.
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