Two Days with Bikes, a Compass, Maps, and Friends
- Jup Brown, Point6 Ambassador
Just about 6 weeks ago I teamed up with Salsa Cycles Japan and they invited me to join in the OMM Bike/Run Orienteering event which was happening just down the road from where I’m living here in Hakuba in Japan.
I jumped at the chance, packed my favorite socks & jocks and we arrived on the Friday afternoon to set up the booth and bikes.
The chance to escape to my playground of the trails and mountains was exciting enough but to ride my new “Blackborrow” bicycle was just too much. It’s just my second time to spend some good time riding on it after cycling back 250kms from the Office of “Motocross International Japan” where I went to help build it up and get to know the team more.
It was myself and Nakai san who would do the event and ride together. Nakai san is a great man who is always keen for an adventure. Learning all-things-bikes from him was also awesome. I do need to learn a lot more.
I was also stoked when we got the ok to have my bus as part of our booth. I bought myself a 29 seater Micro bus and after pulling all the back seats out, I have been living in it for about 2 months. I love it so much. It lets me feel like I’m traveling even though this year I’m actually working full time.
I am not great at staying in one place so the bus gives me a feeling every night that I’m going somewhere new. I can also pull up to a lakeside and go to sleep with the stunning mountain views that I have now.
I might be tricking myself in a way but I’m also saving for more future adventures. One goal is to help a school in the remote mountains of Nepal next year so it's all part of a big plan.
We arrived early at the OMM Bike/Run Orienteering event so we could have everything set up before people started to roll in. The bus was an eye catcher and many people came over to see what or why it was there. I would show people in to chill out on a hammock or show them other ways to live. I love watching people's eyes light up and their minds start thinking of if they would do it or not. Most people love the idea.
The first evening we just registered for the competition and showed people our range of Salsa Bikes. We had a few beers and chilled with the excited group of cyclists, runners and outdoor lovers.
The first morning was go time and we would be out riding in search of map points in the surrounding areas of Iwatake and Hakuba for 6 hours. Everyone was super excited and some were dead serious about winning, Me and Nakai san were there just for fun and I was happy that he too was keen to just get a ride in. The gun shot off and people went in every direction, The area to search was probably 40kms long by 15-20 kms wide but full of crazy trails and mountains to climb/push your bike up and rivers to cross. If you couldn’t read a map, you would be stuffed.
I had only done a little map-reading work myself and a crash course the week before but I was probably not much help most of the time. But I kept the smiles coming and we had a blast.
We both found on the map what we thought was a wicked little short cut. Unfortunately that resulted in us riding down a water channel as the trail that ran along beside it just disappeared. But man was it fun trying to push on to only have to turn around and find another way out. Then I crashed trying to ride down a steep hillside. Got it on video so lots of laughs watching it later.
We finished in time and came in around 20th spot of 60 teams which we were stoked about. With beers, yummy Japanese food and so many new friends being made ,I was in my element. I do live for this kind of atmosphere.
It was a great opportunity for so many people try out our bikes and also get some to test ride my big adventure Fatbike. It is quite a bit longer than normal bikes. The fat tires also make it look hard to ride but it is actually smooth and light-feeling when you try it.
3 too many beers later we both crashed - me in the bed and Nakai in the Hammock.
With a shorter day of just 4 hours, I quickly learned that you could more easily find the way-points than on the day before. I tried the ” Salsa Spearfish “ bike today. Wow, what a machine. I think I’ll need to work hard to get myself one.
We rode fast on the second day and I think we were even a bit competitive in our own way. We smashed our points from the day before and found a few new ones including the the 1998 Olympic ski jump area. We then raced home within 3 minutes of the final whistle. We got heaps more points from the day and we moved up the standings a few spots. What was more important was that we made some great friends and had fun riding and getting lost in this beautiful area of Hakuba in Nagano Japan.
Huge thanks to the whole OMM team and Hakuba Iwatake Ski resort for a great event. I will be back next year for sure and if you are keen to join us please just drop me a line.
As always my feet could not have been happier in my favorite “Point6 Socks” .
Super stoked to be a part of the Point6 family and look forward to sharing more adventures and Merino wool sock stories with you soon.
Have a sweet day out there in your playground. Smile and always inspire in your own way.
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