Tour de KATSURAO bike safety class, June 23, 2018. (ツール・ド・かつらお 自転車安全教室 に参加 2018年6月23日)

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(Paddy field view at Katsurao Village, June 23, 2018. 葛尾村 の 田園風景 6/23/2018)
I visited Katsurao Village today to attend a bike safety lesson by a professional instructor who runs Kinofit, a bike road racing school. Katsurao Village was lifted the evacuation order two years ago, for the first time in 5 years since the nuclear plant accident occurred. Paddy fields for rice growing have been restarted and they grew to such beautiful greenery today as shown above. A character shown on the bottom right is “Shimichan” which symbolizes the local specialty rice cake called “shimimochi”.

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The lesson started at a brand new venue “Fukkokoryukan” which means “revitalization and interaction hall” just opened this month as shown above. Today’s lesson was free of charge thanks to the Tour de KATSURAO organizer.

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At the beginning, we had a short lecture on how the bike is controlled in terms of tires and brakes. Tires touch the ground with only limited area which is the same as the thumb face. The brake is effective on choices between forward or side, not definitely effective on both choices at the same time. This is why you have to slow down at first with forward braking before turning the corner with tilted side braking and with NO forward braking. Photo above shows how the short lecture was given.

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Then we moved to a spacious ground nearby and each experienced the braking technique with its own bike following the instructor’s demonstration. One of the scenes is shown above. After the practice session, Q&A session and physical stretching session followed. It was a very high level class for me but I learned an essence of how to control the tires, brakes and pedals, which was highly beneficial for me. I only attended this lesson this year, no other cycling or road racing events. Last year, I participated in the first ever cycling event of Tour de KATSURAO with almost the same route of 31km as this year, shown in the blog of 2017.

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After the class, I returned to Fukkokoryukan facility and had a short lunch break. Photo above shows an inside view of the facility, with free table and chair space and sales corner of the local specialties. There were other tatami rooms as well for local people’s interaction space.

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On a corner of the outdoor ground of the facility, a young offspring plant of the famous Miharu-takizakura cherry tree was planted as shown above. It is expected to grow much bigger in the future years.

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In the neighborhood of the facility, I found a new restaurant “Ishii-shokudo” as shown above. This was the only restaurant in the village as of today.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Cycling event “Hashitte-mippe” in Minamiaizu Town, July 17, 2017 (走ってみっぺ南会津!サイクリングに参加 2017年7月17日)

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I participated in a cycling event “Hashitte-mippe” or “let’s go cycling” held in Minamiaizu Town on July 17th, 2017 which was a national holiday “Marine Day”. The route covered western part of the town area, which was mostly mountainous with green forests and rivers making it really refreshing to ride. About 700 cycling fans gathered for the event from across Japan including many from Tokyo metropolitan area. A photo above shows Byobuiwa Site with rocky landscape along the upper stream of the Ina River. The site was located at the southwestern end of the route near the border with Hinoemata Village. We had a light lunch and a short break on the rock at this aid station.

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A photo above shows a scene just before the start at Takatsue ski resort located 950m above sea level.

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Major part of the cycling route ran south to north along the Ina River which was beautiful as shown above. Many anglers enjoyed ayu fishing soaking into the river.

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At a roadside station “Kirara 289” located along national Route 289 in the northwestern part of the town, new wooden bike stands which were made from local wood were installed as shown above.

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Luckily I could successfully complete the course and got the certificate as shown above. The last 3km hill climb to the goal was extremely hard for me being already exhausted.

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The day before, I packed my bike and traveled to Aizukogen-0zeguchi Station which was the nearest to the event site, although it still took another 18km bike tour including a mountain pass to get to the site. I was lucky that I could experience a new limited express train “Revaty” as shown above between Aizutajima and Aizukogen-Ozeguchi Station introduced from just last April. The limited express train was comfortable and required no extra charge between the two stations.

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Also on return trip, I could again take the limited express Revaty which came from Asakusa, Tokyo. Photo above shows the train coming into Aizukogen-Ozeguchi Station where I got on.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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You can trace the route and altitude on the map below.

Tour de Katsurao cycling event, June 11, 2017 (ツールドかつらお サイクリング 2017年6月11日)

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Today, I participated in Tour de Katsurao cycling event at Katsurao Village in Hamadori Region. It was the first cycling event ever held in evacuation lifted area affected by TEPCO’s nuclear plant accident. The course mainly went through beautiful mountain forest area. A photo above was a view of iconic Mount Tatsugo (921m) which was also called Katsurao-Fuji or Mount Fuji of Katsurao.

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A map above shows the cycling course which is about 30km long with the highest mountain pass of 752m near Morimori Land campground.

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The event was promoted jointly by Link TOHOKU and Katsurao Village. Today was one year anniversary of evacuation lifting last June. Photo above shows a cute Katsurao Village character “Shimi-chan”, the Minister of Reconstruction Yoshino, and village mayor Shinoki, who also attended the opening ceremony as shown above.

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Photo above shows a view when cyclists are waiting for a start. About 150 cyclists from east Japan participated in the event.

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Luckily, I was able to make the goal successfully within the time limit as shown in the certificate above. I would like to thank all the people who organized the event and all the volunteers who supported it.
運良く、私も時間内に無事ゴールできました。(完走証です。) 大会の開催者、地元や学生ボランティアの方々に、深く感謝致します。

You can trace the route and altitude in the map below.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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