Nobeyama Cyclocross Photos
Perhaps the highlight of our trip to Japan was the time spent in the mountains near Nagano at the Nobeyama Cyclocross race. Nobeyama is Japan's largest cross event and part of the Rapha Super Series. It draws the best racers from all over the country and many internationals like top U.S. riders Tim Johnson and Zach McDonald. It was not only one of the best run races that I've attended but also the muddiest by far.
The most interesting aspects of the race were just how familiar it all was and the prevalence of steel bikes. The whole trip was of the world shrinking variety where you realize that people are just people and life is just life, no matter where you go or how superficially different our cultures may be. At the cross race, this was especially prevalent as bike people are bike people in any country in any land. The accents and food may change but largely this had the same feel as a race in Minneapolis, or Los Angeles or Portland.
One of the key differences though was that steel was the dominant material in all classes. Here in the U.S. you can count on one hand the number of folks keeping the steel torch going in the 1's, but there the field was full of Hunter's and Speedvagens, and Kalavinkas, and thankfully a few Macho Kings. High end beautiful steel getting raced to pieces. It tickled my heart.
Here are a few favorites from Nobeyama weekend, super stoked to share them with you.
I thought this was pretty funny, the Italian National Champ and a UCI chaperone at the vending machines so she could get hydrated to provide a urine sample. They then just sat at the picnic tables as she pounded bevvies getting ready to make.
See what I'm saying? For the most part this could be any race anywhere, cycling is the universal culture. It was beautiful and world shrinking to see.
Also, and you'll have to forgive my self indulgence here, this race will always be doubly special because it was the first cross race I've ever won! I had to go to Japan to do it on a tore up course that played to my strengths (mud and running) but I did it. First step of the podium, the first “official” race I have won since my mtb racing days in college. Stoked.
So happy to have been able to represent All-City well at the race. It's a day I'll never forget.
If you'd llike to see all of our photos from the day, you can check out the entire album on our Flickr.