Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 4: Ultra marathon and a new riding companion

June 28, 2009: After organizing our gear and getting the bikes ready, Sho and I started the day with an 8am picnic breakfast by the road, while watching runners in the Saroma Ko Ultra Marathon pass by. It was cloudy and cool, perfect for long distance running, and we wondered how our new friend, Sato-san, was doing, now 3 hours into the event. We said goodbye to Ishiwata-san (see pic), the friendly proprietor who had rented us the room. He sent us off with a hug and a gift of a volunteer's jacket from the ultra race.
We biked alongside the runners for about 2 hours, shouting encouragement ("ganbare!") as we passed. We even got a few cheers ourselves from onlookers.
Sho and I met Eiko and Saya in a small, comfortable town called Tokoro. After a little searching, we found an excellent sushi restaurant that put us all in a good mood. My legs were full of sushi energy during the afternoon's ride, as we followed a cycling path and enjoyed gorgeous views. I took a picture of Sho in front of a roadside patch of flowers that we both thought his Nona (my mom) would love. The route was almost completely deserted until we came across Saito-san, another adventure cyclist we had met 2 days earlier. 61 years old and retired, but full of infectious vigor, Saito-san started biking on June 9 from Yamagata in central Japan. He is riding solo around the entire coast of Japan, planning to finish by mid-October. We rode together for the rest of the day, and checked into the same hotel (Yasuragi B&B) in Abashiri.
Eiko and Saya met us there, and Eiko took Sho to a game room (Sho: "It was awesome!") while I stayed behind and took a bath with Saya in the B&B. We shared dinner with Saito-san, discussing the possibilities for enlightenment and despair from spending months on a bike.


  1. Hello Sho and Charlie. I really enjoy reading your blog. It's good that the thief was only a crow because I believed it was a real one until I read the blog! You two seem to attract many friendly companions on the way. Can you cope without Eko and Saya to cheer you up oon the way from time to time? Enjoy the ride and Gambare! Saga

  2. Dear Son and Sho,
    We are at your home in Ossining with Aunt Dale and enjoying Booboo and the house but missing youall. What a gift for Eiko!What fun to read about the trip and actually see your pictures. Thanks to Intel's special equipment. We love you and will look forward to following along. Tomorrow we're going to the city to see Billy Elliot. Greetings from John and DAle. Nona

  3. Hey Sho and Charles,
    Wish I were riding with you. Maybe Jon Jon can do it in 7 or 8 years. Looks like you are having fun. Watch out for those pesky crows!

    Mr. Gage

  4. Shokun, Charlie! Good to see you are having fun and enjoying the adventure!
    It is good to know that you met nice Japanese other than me!heeheehee
    Nagata Family will follow you on the blog,as it is good English excercise for my mom and dad! See you soon! がんばれ