Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tour de Okinawa

This weekend Chris and I participated in the Tour de Okinawa. This is an amazing series of bike races and rides that attracts participants from all over Asia. Looking in the catalog and counting the headlines, I believe there are 20 races. These races range from a pre-school age tricycle race:
to a multi-day 313 km (195 miles) island tour. Along with the touring division there is also the more serious race division:
These guys are looking pretty intense as they line up for their 200 km (125 miles) race.
On Saturday we headed up to Nago to pick up our race packets, but not before doing a little produce shopping:
That's right, we've discovered that it's cheaper to get our apples at the Subway on base than it is to get them at the grocery store. So far we've been very happy with the quality.
The race packet pick-up was very well organized, but that didn't stop these stupid Americans from getting in the wrong line. My English students had translated some of the brochures that we got in the mail and said that all foreigners needed to go to a certain line. We did that, but found out quickly that we were in the wrong place. Since we have an Okinawan address we simply went to the line that had our race number listed. It was very easy after that. We walked around the expo area and I was happy to see a marching band:
It's probably not a big shock to any of my blog readers that I was a major band nerd in high school. Low Brass kicks a$$!
After a quick look around we headed home to prep for the next day. We had to be back in Nago by 6:30 the next morning so it was going to be an early start.
I started by putting on some awesome socks that MaryBrown sent me:
They're power socks and make me feel good.
Then we loaded the van:
This van is awesome. It's got tons of clearance and the trunk door opens really high so you don't have to stoop when putting things in and out. Chris is already trying to figure out how to get this baby back home with us.
When we got to Nago the sun was just coming up, revealing a gorgeous Okinawan sky.
Here's Chris all ready to go:
Chris had a little more to do to get ready so I started making video clips:

While we were looking for Chris' friends, I couldn't help but snap another shot:

This is a little closer to the start line:

I loved this starting arch. Here's a picture of Chris and his riding partner BJ and another picture of me:

Before every race the taiko drummers would play. I love Okinawa!

After a little searching we found the third and final bike partner, Sha:

These 3 guys were ready to ride. Chris, BJ, and Sha were signed up for the 100km (62 miles)Challenge Ride. I think the key word here is ride because it definitely wasn't a race. They were riding directly behind the riders with "STAFF" shirts and believed they weren't allowed to pass them. At mile 15 there was a fueling station where people stopped and grabbed some grub. Just after this when the riders started up again they saw someone blow by the "STAFF" riders. Uh-oh - the challenge had been issued and now the real race began.

They quickly caught the breakaway rider and decided they were going to keep their position. They would only stop at aid stations long enough to grab some fluid and maybe something they could eat as they rode. They were burning the course up! It would have been easy to quit since the turn around point was less than a half mile from our house, but they pushed on. While they admit that other participants might not have known they were racing, they were happy to come in 1,2, and 3. They beat all other riders in their group by 45 minutes!

I participated in the Onna Family 70km (44 mile) ride. Again we did not know that ride would mean we would be lolly-gagging out on the course. Before the race started I figured I was in the right place because no one in my group was wearing clip in shoes.

Everyone was wearing sneakers just like me. My bike came with clip in pedals, but I haven't bought the shoes yet. One reason is it's harder to find shoes here, but the main reason is I'm afraid of eating asphalt when I can't get my shoes unclipped fast enough when coming to a stop.

I just want to preface this race with the fact that I just got a bike since we've moved to Okinawa and I haven't ridden in months because I was focused on running for another event. With those two factors, and the fact that I've never ridden more than 30 miles, I was pretty nervous.

I found out by mile 4 though that I had nothing to worry about. It was at this point that I had caught up with the pace car! That is just plain crazy, but here is photographic proof:

And videographic proof:

It was ridiculously slow. On the straightaways I barely had to pedal and on any downward slope, no matter how slight, I was braking. It actually got a little frustrating, but it did give me time to play with my camera. I love this shot:

I really can't complain because it was a gorgeous day - maybe upper 70s and not overly humid. It was a perfect day to be biking. It also helped that we were on a flat coastal road with absolutely stunning views:

This shot doesn't even do justice to the amazing shades of blues and greens of the water.

Besides riding slow the Family Ride also included a LOT of stops. We stopped every 7 miles or so. At the first stop they had some great mikan (local, sweet, seedless tangerine-like fruit) and yummy chocolate. I wasn't sure what this candy was going to be since it was wrapped in a golden wrapper with kanji writing, but it was heaven:

You can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

After another 7 miles of not-so-strenuous riding we stopped for an extended (30 minute) break. Despite getting a little testy that we were going so slow, this was my favorite stop. Why, you ask? Because they were giving out free icecream! I got the ube (local, purple sweet potato) flavor:

We reached the turn around point (22 miles) in just over 3 hours! That is about 7 miles/hour. I can run that - maybe not for 22 miles, but I can definitely hold it for an hour. It was crazy slow. Our turn around was Ryukyu Mura - a tourist attraction that shows traditional Okinawan life. Apparently our group was supposed to go in and watch a show. I couldn't believe it - this ride was going to take all day. I knew Chris was going to be waiting and I knew I didn't want to be out for another 3 hours so I busted out on my own.

I loved the second half of the ride. I was trying to push myself and I really enjoyed being out on the road. It was freeing. I was pumping my legs and having fun and really trying to challenge myself. I wound up completing the second half in under 1 hour 26 minutes. It was exhilarating! This ride made me realize that I really enjoy biking.

Once I got back and we met up, Chris and I saw kids doing unicycle relays. It was awesome. Maybe that will be our next challenge.

After our long morning, we were tired but happy:

Here's one final shot taken during my ride. What a great day!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You guys are awesome. Rob is super motivated to come to Okinawa and bike with Chris, he is off shaving his legs now. You rock the Hottie socks! - Marybrown

Anonymous said...

I didn't find much time for videos, I had to put the smack down on the locals. Boooyah!
-Chris

Courtney said...

I'm still not at the clip in bike shoes phase yet either..I'm just not that hard core!! But I do love biking. Looks like you had fun..what a great workout and a fun day!
Courtney
Adventures in Tri-ing

Anonymous said...

awesome! i'm with you about the clip in shoes...that would make me nervous. also, the word "family" and "44 miles" should never be in the same sentence. it's like a fun run 10 miler. (for me--that would probably consitute a fun run for you) ;)

Mary Lloyd

Tyler Tuszynski said...

I think it is hilarious that you were supposed to stop in the middle of your 'race' and watch something!

Okinawan race like I do!

maria said...

Way to go. I couldn't ride that far, that's for sure! :)

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. Candy, ice cream-what more could you ask for in a bike race? I love it. I didn't think I could do a bike race but after reading this blog, I'm thinking it is a possibility IF I do it in Okinawa and IF they go 7 miles per hour and IF there is free ice cream-though it might need to be a flavor other than sweet potato.
P.S. I liked the socks too.
Monica

Anonymous said...

ah at last, I could find this article once again. You have few [url=http://tipswift.com]useful tips[/url] for my school project. This time, I won't forget to bookmark it. :)

Anonymous said...

hello dudes. I'm actually into shoes and I was looking for the sake of that particular brand. The prices as regards the boots were approximately 250 pounds on every site. But definitively I found this area selling them for half price. I absolutely love those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]prada sneakers[/url]. I will probably purchase them. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

good evening bros. I'm honestly into shoes and I had been digging as far as something that meticulous model. The prices seeking the boots are approximately 330 dollars everwhere. But completely I found this site selling them for the benefit of half price. I absolutely love those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]prada sneakers[/url]. I will probably purchase these. what is your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

hi there people. I'm honestly into shoes and I have been digging as far as something that meticulous make. The prices seeking the shoes were around 220 dollars everwhere. But definitively I bring about this locate selling them someone is concerned half price. I really want these [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will absolutely buy these. what can you tell me about these?

Anonymous said...

hi there fellas. I'm honestly into shoes and I was digging as far as something that particular model. The prices seeking the sneakers are around 240 bucks on every page. But definitively I base this location selling them for half price. I in reality like those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will absolutely order these. what can you say about it?

Anonymous said...

hi bros. I'm honestly into shoes and I have been digging as far as something that particular brand. The prices due to the fact that the shoes were all over 250 dollars on every site. But finally I base this area selling them for half price. I absolutely like those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will absolutely purchase them. what is your opinion?

Anonymous said...

I've always liked things like sand clocks, lava lamps, and the like to good of virtuous dish out space staring at it as a form of catharsis. In a opportunity, it helps me with meditation, to relieve lay stress and decent assume just about nothing. That's why since I was a kid, in place of of dolls and cars I've in any case collected more of such pieces like sand clocks, lava lamps, dulcet boxes etc. So I was most enchanted when I establish the[url=http://www.dealtoworld.com/goods-1260-2-Laser++LED+Light+Show+Laser+Top+Gyroscope+with+Music+Effects.html] 2-Laser + LED Light Show Laser Crown Gyroscope with Music Effects[/url] from DealtoWorld.com protection the Toys section. It's like a harmonious belt, a spinning head, and a berate reveal all rolled into one. Which is capacious amusement! The gyroscope wishes concoct representing about a minute. The laser slight show with accompanying music makes this gyroscope a very unequalled toy that my friends be suffering with also been most amused with.

My dogs are also nice-looking curious around the laser gyroscope I got from DealtoWorld.com. They unceasingly cleave to the gyroscope as it spins, although at earliest they kept barking at the laser light advertise, and also because it produces music. But after they got used it, they've stopped barking but simply keep following the gyroscope whenever I start spinning it. Kids are also attractive amused by it. Occasionally it's good to have fun toys on all sides the lineage so that you can pull out the toy on while the kids are being amused or playing with it while you go provide for food or sock changed. The gyroscope is a particular such toy with this purpose.

The gyroscope I bought from DealtoWorld.com has a dragon as a pattern on it, and produces a taper show with red, dispirited, and unripened colours. Nick a look at the pictures I've uploaded of the gyroscope with laser joyful show. The music produced from the gyroscope is not that enormous but facts plenty to treat any new customer to the house. The gyroscope is red and black, making it look extraordinarily cool, and slightly virile with that dragon imprint.

The music dismount attack plain gyroscope runs on 6 LR44 batteries, which are replaceable anyway. I've also used this gyroscope to surprise my girlfriend during our anniversary celebration. I did the cheesy thing of decorating the b & b room with roses and when I led her in, I started up the gyroscope as correctly so that the laser brighten clarify produces a ideal effect. I also had some battery operated candles so all the moonlight effects created a degree dreamt-up atmosphere. She loved it, at near the going, to my relief. I also bought the candles from DealtoWorld.com. These days it seems to be my default shopping placement suitable all gifts and ideas for romantic occasions.

Since Christmas is coming, this laser go down playing gyroscope can possibly be a talented Christmas favour for the toddler or in spite of the mollycoddle! Alternatively, the gyroscope can absolutely be a gracious addition to the usual Christmas decorations. I can imagine placing it near the Christmas tree and maybe spinning it when guests hit town in the house. Looks like [url=http://www.dealtoworld.com]DealtoWorld.com[/url] is getting my duty yet again!

Anonymous said...

A shared trap hosting advantage or essential hosting repair or derive host refers to a web hosting checking where diverse websites reside on harmonious web server connected to the Internet. Each locale "sits" on its own break-up, or section/place on the server, to maintain it detach from other sites. This is mainly the most economical choice for hosting, as numerous people apportionment the overall cost of server maintenance.
[url=http://hostinghouse.pl]hosting[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hello. Facebook takes a [url=http://www.onlinecasinos.gd]no deposit[/url] wager move in reverse on 888 casino apportion: Facebook is expanding its efforts to alliance real-money gaming to millions of British users after announcing a deal with the online gambling cast 888 Holdings.And Bye.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://longchampsoldesk.angelfire.com/]sacs longchamps[/url] All our Tiffany GUCCI BVLGARI jewelries are exactly manufactured 1:1 with the original Ones. 2)We can offer more than 500 different styles. What is more, we can offer you silver jewelry according your The Latest Women Mulberry Somerset Shopper Bag Black,70% Discount Mulberry Handbags For Sale In our Mulberry Factory Shop. personal requirement (such as engraved your logo or without logo).3)our price is factory price and come with high quality, Bulk order come with discount.
[url=http://longchamppaschers.blogmonster.de/]longchamp soldes[/url] Reviewers liked that it's small enough to fit in a gym locker but still big enough to carry workout clothes or essentials for an overnight trip. Some did worry that it might be too small when they Find Mulberry handbags at Shop Style, Well-known Mulberry Zip Natural Leather Card Purse Light Coffee for Women in cheap price ordered it but most were happy with the size and the quality they got for the dollars. If you're looking to pack everything but the kitchen sink, you probably should consider other bags.
[url=http://longchampmoinse.bloguez.com/]sac longchamp[/url] Traditional brown leather handbags are classic and understated. There are even little details on these bags including grommets, studs, cut outs, and hardware. In the fashion and accessory world, nothing says style like hardware.. Therefore, there are plenty of manufacturers that are producing quality designer pieces to meet the demand of the handbag market. All ladies hope to make themselves fashionable and look great when they are going outside. They match their vogue style with modern Affordable Mulberry Women's Daria Leather Belt Black Bag supply cheap, Mulberry Handbags UK Online Shopping Outlet Store bags just like designer shoes. The perfect destination for online shopping in India for perfumes for men and women is Majorbrands. It is the most reliable and well established online shopping store that caters its customers with an extraordinary collection of perfumes for women and men from some of the high end brands like Reebok, David Beckham, Guess, Ed Hardy, Esprit, Miss 60, Paris Hilton, Nautica and more. The store carries various other products that includes deodorants, apparels, lingerie, lounge wear, sunglasses, watches, handbags, fashion accessories and cosmetics.