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Ride Granfondo Myoko 2022

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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I am still toying with the idea - but Granfondo Myoko is coming up.
Nope, not one ounce of training and yep, if I do it, it will hurt - but hey... I have done dummer things!

Anyone done it recently with some feedback to help me make up my mind?
It is Sept 17-18, so I pretty much have no time to prepare, just go out and enjoy the pain!

 
I am still toying with the idea - but Granfondo Myoko is coming up.
Nope, not one ounce of training and yep, if I do it, it will hurt - but hey... I have done dummer things!

Anyone done it recently with some feedback to help me make up my mind?
It is Sept 17-18, so I pretty much have no time to prepare, just go out and enjoy the pain!


SDA OTAKI is on the same weekend. I think, as Japan's ultimate adventure MTB event, that would be more appealing to you?

General entry starts on Monday.

Andy

 
I looked online for any info I could find and I found an old youtube video. It looks like mostly double track. ( i did see a SS class... )
Probably something fun for the Fargo to take on!
But the Myoko info seems to be more readily available and I am pretty stoked about redeeming myself for DNFing a similar race in Virginia more than a dozen years ago. I know it has a LOT more pavement and off road is my thing, but I am going to make run at more gravel riding over the next year or so. Hopefully next year they are are different weekends so I can try and knock out both.
 
I spent some time on a call with Roberto from BackCountry Japan. He has raced Otaki 4 times and gets me a heads up on it.
I now understand why @andywood mentioned MTB when the pictures look so tame. The race is on logging roads that have fist sized gravel in spots, butvery jagged. It seems almost everyone will flat at some point. He also mentioned seeing broken wheels. We went through my bikes and he said if it were him, he would race it on my 29+ bikes and none other. He raced it once on a regular MTB and it left him wanting more tire. This is NOT A ALL what I was expectling from looking at the pictures.
His main complaint about some past races - the number of entrants. It seems this year, it has been limited, so that is no longer a legit complaint.
 
Judging from this video, your buddy is bang on. The rocks look quite big and very tire unfriendly. Of course, this is just a highlights reel and the video quality is not very good, but still.

The trails near to where I live, unless they get disappeared by a landslide, are often like that. In some places fresh rocks keep on falling on the trails. And these are not just big, but have sharp corners as they have freshly broken off. The thought of having to fix my tires while racing tempers my enthusiasm.
 
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I spent quite a bit of time watching some race footage from years past, and it really got me into the mood. Looks like a fun event, albeit a bit crowded at times. It could pay off to dig a bit deeper initially and avoid the crowds on the downhill segments. Surprisingly many ride hardtails …

Doing the risk-benefit analysis in my head of going really fast on the downhills vs. being more conservative was fun, too. I reckon if you really go fast, you could get unlucky and hit a rock or a slice open one of your tires much more easily.
 
The feedback I got was this....

Go hard at first and get ahead of the big group pile up accident that is bound to happen near the start.
Be courteous and let the faster riders pass as you will never see them again.

Roadies enter this event and out pedal many MTBer to the climb and up the climb, but struggle with bike handling for the descent.
Many cut tires come from rocks thrown up by someone else's bad line choice throwing rocks unavoidably in your way.
MTBr can/will overcook the downhill to make up for the lost places to the faster cyclists on the flats/climb.
Speed differential on the descents + loose rocks/gravel makes/requires full concentration.
 
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MTBr can/will overcook the downhill to make up for the lost places to the faster cyclists on the flats/climb.
Speed differential on the descents + loose rocks/gravel makes requires full concentration.
Yeah, exactly, that's what I meant with risk-reward: if you gamble, you can make up a lot of time. But you'd have to live with a sizable risk that is not just due to skills — or lack thereof, but just plain dumb luck.

I did see some of those drainage rubber thingies across the trails. They are common here, too, and very often deep ruts form on one side (usually the valley/downhill side), and you may have puddles on the uphill side. I somersaulted over my handlebars once because I hit one of these ruts the wrong way, I was too slow and did not time my pump correctly. I landed on my head and my helmet had a crack in the middle. When you are not alone, you might not be able to take the line where the ruts is least deep, so this is quite difficult. And I find that they are best taken at a goldilocks speed: if I am too slow, I cannot "glide" over them, but if I am too fast, getting the timing for unweighting my wheels and/or front wheel lift get tricky, and I might not have enough time to pick my line.

Also the red-colored rock and the sounds I hear when the athletes rode across it are quite familiar. I'm not a geologist, but that looks nigh identical to what we have in a few locations nearby. This rock is very prone to breaking off, and so you end up with a smooth side (former outside) and a sharp side (former inside). Every time I hear a hollow "phunk" from my tires I am a bit on edge, hoping that my tires are ok. Plus, the downhills become a lot more "interesting" if it had rained the day before or the day of the race.

The one thing I found weird is that none of the people whose videos I have seen said anything when passing people. I'd surely say something like "Passing on the right." in Japanese.
 
The feedback I got was this....

Go hard at first and get ahead of the big group pile up accident that is bound to happen near the start.
Be courteous and let the faster riders pass as you will never see them again.

Roadies enter this event and out pedal many MTBer to the climb and up the climb, but struggle with bike handling for the descent.
Many cut tires come from rocks thrown up by someone else's bad line choice throwing rocks unavoidably in your way.
MTBr can/will overcook the downhill to make up for the lost places to the faster cyclists on the flats/climb.
Speed differential on the descents + loose rocks/gravel makes requires full concentration.

Roberto always goes from the gun!

Andy
 
For Otaki, fast climbers and desceders will win for sure. I wouldn't put luck into the equation, preparation and the ability to deal with misfortune sure.

My friend Yuki Ikeda is reigning and multiple champion. You can see his palmares here.


He is at Leadville now preparing for Leadville 100 trail run after completing his 10th Leadville 100 MTB the other day. So for Otaki too endurance fitness is so important. He's as fit as a butcher's dog (only on a plant based diet!).

I have a rollover gravel entry for Otaki. But seeing the bikes of some of the "gravel bike" winners, basically hardtails with drop handlebars, I would like to go and do it properly on a MTB I think.


I would also train specifically for it in terms of endurance, technique and similar terrain.

Screenshot_20220817-134006_Facebook.jpg

Here you can see Yuki taking on the "mini Otaki" in the event here last month. He has his foot out ready as the eventual winner is forced to walk.

Zac Reynolds said the course as a whole was better than Otaki.

Sunset Street Official Cameraman Sida san's photos:

I have another event here on Oct 29th (5km HC TT) and 30th (110km, 2,800m), minor roads but suitable for road bikes.


I'll do a separate thread for it once the sportentry page is up and running.

Andy
 
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