A muddy Revelation
Before I started writing this, I had to go back a bit. I wondered what got me into cyclocross in the first place.
I remember the circumstance bright as day; a triathlete with both legs injured from running and a body that floats like a fit brick. However, I come to wonder why cyclocross, and not any other endurance sport at that time of realigning my passion. I had to dive back down into the most precise and unforgiving tool out there, my Facebook timeline.
From there I was able to find the date I officially took the leap to shop for a cyclocross bike; August 14th, 2014. And if I stalk myself even deeper (stalking is not as creepy when you do it on yourself…or is it?), I found my first interests for cyclocross/gravel riding dating in the area of July 2014, thanks to a North West American race called Rasputitsa Gravel Race.
I never was much of an athlete, even an outdoor enthusiast growing up. I was a good student, overweight, lazy, loved movies, chips… I took me until my first adult year, where at 18 years old I went on a backpacking trip followed by a bachelor in physical activity. The body and how it performed always interested me. That was the beginning of me integrating a healthy lifestyle. I became a gym trainer soon after, then a biomechanical research intern then back to a more serious physical preparator role for the general public. Before I knew it I was already hooked on cycling; the speed, the effort, the components…
but before all: The freedom. That freedom of being a human so much more capable with a bike between your legs, cruising a city faster than public transport and reaching distances without paying a dollar/yen/pound/Euro/(…) on gasoline. Being the fitness consultant that I was, I also wanted to be an athlete, and it made sense that I go for running and swimming in addition to cycling.
Back to the summer of 2014. My body was injured and my motivation was sinking just like my big legs in water. I was looking for something to thrill for, not to convince myself into. There came Cyclocross… Must have been one of those youtube videos, of a funny photo of a poor man drenched in mud. Any way it was, it got my attention and I decided on jumping in the project without ever had experienced it. It fascinated me, got me obsessed with it.
Taking the leap
I bought that bike with a loan from my dear mother, which at the time was the most expensive bike I ever had. I figured that the bike would be so versatile I would only need that one. Road? Yeah sure, my bike is carbon and had 22 speeds. Gravel/Trail? Any day, my forks can take up to 40mm tires! Cyclocross races? In a heartbeat, that bike is super reactive and lightweight to handle anything you can throw at it.
I went on to 3 progressively faster and more dedicated cyclocross seasons, but that’s not the most important. Weirdly, by throwing myself seriously in a sport I never experienced before, Iit got me into other cycling related passions I didn’t think about. I never knew I would go on to love and crave 100-150km epic gravel rides when I never considered myself an endurance or a climber cyclist. And off season? I figured I could find another way to prepare for cross; so I started being addicted to fixed gear, on a track and in a criterium format.
Moving to Japan
I moved to Japan for my career in Aerospace Ergonomist in September 2016, and one thing that was the most important was to keep on crossing, and to discover off-the-grid of Japan. Again, the cyclocross bike is the ultimate answer to that. And how can I discover and experience more of that international passion for cycling? By looking forward to cyclist in that country. That’s how I came to meet the people at Circles, the super-bikeshop of Nagoya. And trust me when I say that cycling is a language of passion, and an international one. Not speaking japanese, unable to understand the words, I sure do understand the passion of the people surrounding me. I highly relate to that kind of passionate people, for which adventure is a must, and freedom has two wheels. They helped me find people to question about cycling related events, cyclocross events and a whole bunch of wonderful gem of cycling.
Cross is coming
With now one japanese cyclocross season under my belt, making my way from 4th category up to 2nd category, I’m super excited and motivated for the upcoming 2017/2018 cyclocross season, with the local Tokai Cross serie, the iconic Rapha Supercross in Nobeyama, Cross Tokyo in Odaiba and a few other race around the country.
My goal? Get my category 1 upgrade and race with the big boys in Nobeyama this year
My strengths? Technical, muddy, icy terrains
My weaknesses? Sand and climbing
My motivation? The incredible warm environment of the cyclocross community and the fabulous dedicated organizers out there
It will be my great pleasure to share my experience as a trainer, as a racer and as an overall passionate cyclist for what I consider the most fun and accessible sport out there.