Sunday, September 21, 2014

AOMORI- TOWADA LAKE 第一回八甲田グランフォンド

I have been wanting to go on this long ride all the way to Towada Lake for a very long time. It was always there on my list for rides I want to do in Aomori and my wish came true.

Today, September 21st 2014, me and friends from all over Aomori Prefecture and all over Japan gathered at 6:30 this morning in Aomori, in the Sanwa Arena's parking space, to take part in Hakkoda Gran Fond 1st Tour (第一回 八甲田グランフォンド).

There were 3 courses the competitors were able to choose from: 

  1. Super long Course, 160km
  2. Long Course           120km
  3. Short Course            50km
And because I think I know myself a little and know how fast I can ride, I chose the 2nd one! :)

BIG was the number of riders that went by, rushing towards the sunny Hakkoda. All of them were kind, as always, to cheer me to do my best. Well, I can't say that I was fast but I can say that I did everything I could to push myself up the mountain. After two hours I reached Sukayu, where hot Miso Oden was waiting for us. After chatting with the other cyclists and meeting new ones, we continued our ride towards Towada Lake.

Aomori city - Sukayu
Sukayupossibly the snowiest inhabited place on Earth

On the way to my next destination, riding through the gorgeous Oirase Gorge, it felt like I was riding in slow motion. Not because I am not that fast at riding the bicycle, but because of all the amazing landscapes the waterfalls, river, paths through the forest, and all that early autumn can offer was laying in front of my eyes. There were so many places I wanted to stop by and just inhale its beauties. I couldn't help myself from taking a short break and gaze at the Kumoi Waterfall.

Kumoi Falls Oirase
After the long ride along Oirase River, the road took us to our destination, Towada Lake. We took a right and on the 2nd floor of a nice Japanese restaurant, 

子ノ口湖畔食堂, facing the lake, we had a delicious brunch( because it was 10:40 a.m.). While enjoying the nice dishes, which will come up in the video I will finish editing as soon as possible, the person sitting next to me at the table said: 

" You know, there is a big uphill about 200 m after we leave the restaurant, on our way back to Aomori" . I stopped from chewing for a moment, with a grin on my face, and decided to continue eating, of course! :)

Towada Lake
And he was right, the uphill continued for about 45 minutes which was well balanced with a 15 minutes downhill towards Oirase River. The next 30 kilometers of the course were AMAZING. Uphill, running out of water and snacks supplies, with riders from the Super Long course starting to catch me from behind. So many thoughts went through my mind, so many memories, so many songs and the nature was continuously impressing me. Starved and very tired, I had to ask for two more portion of a mushroom- vegetables soup at the Tashiro Aid Station. Three more bananas and I was ready to head to the final destination.   

Tashiro Plateau
The rest of the road towards Aomori was fun, with speed increasing rapidly after the curves. I had to wear my wind stopper on the last portion and at 15:30 I was finally at the finish line, happy to complete the 120 km on a beautiful autumn weather over Hakkoda in the company of great people.   

Hakkoda Grand Fond Finish Line

Hakkoda Grand Fond Course
八甲田グランフォンド ロングコース
Masahiko Mifune, a professional Japanese cyclist was invited to this event and he updated his blog, Massa's Eye.( The blog is in Japanese)

Videos are currently uploading and soon to be on this page too!