We start today with a mini throw back to Sunday, thanks to some cool photos sent to me by my new BFF, Natsu, the Hanazono hillclimb race organiser that interviewed me after the race. Being a massive Dirty Nomad fan, she was pumped to pass on these photos of me and the Hawk getting business done:

The first break away of the day...

The first break away of the day…

Here I am being the world least helpful domestique for the rampant Hawk

Here I am being the worlds least helpful domestique for the rampant Hawk

Clear air of sorts... The little man chasing on is the ninja that sprints me at the summit... Arghhh!!!!

Clear air of sorts… The little man chasing on is the ninja that sprints me at the summit… Arghhh!!!!

The Hawk about to dispense with the cycling condom...

The Hawk about to dispense with the cycling condom…

A lone Hawk stalking towards the summit...

A lone Hawk stalking towards the summit…

And my personal favourite:

Hanazono HC race #6

  • Skinny Scotsman – “Shiiite you’re a big boy…”
  • Me – “Hold up, what was that cock head?”
  • Hawk – “He he he… He’s fat”

So… Back to the future and it was a lazy start today… Wait, I’m forgetting a small (no pun intended) update from last night, which was another major tick in the Japan experience box, we hit the Onsen! Not just any Onsen, but the Hilton Niseko one… Although, I’m assured that there are better (more local) versions than that one (I am such a brand whore). What exactly is Onsen? Let Wiki explain:

An onsen (温泉?) is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places and today play a central role in directing Japanese domestic tourism.

The main part it leaves out is that its FULL nude… So with that in mind, I shall leave this part of the update succinct… And up to the readerships imagination. We did hear the words ‘Godzilla san’ a lot though… hmmmm.

To today then… And it was a Ministry of Hawk chilled out session this morning, well for me anyway… I got to sleep in and lounge around while Monsieur Iron went to the lake to punch out a 4.5km swim (once again, glad I’m not an Iron person). Then it was into Kutchan-vegas for coffee and the 1000 Yen set lunch. May as well squeeze in a Rapha Urban porn shoot as well?

"Are you sure this shot won't me look like a total dick?"... "Ah... no promises..."

“Are you sure this shot won’t me look like a total dick?”… “Ah… no promises…”

"Did I mention I'm a lounge model?"

“Did I mention I’m a lounge model? Like, a really thin one, for narrow lounges”

Coffee here was excellent, if you’re hitting these parts, make sure you seek out Sprout cafe. Wankerish photo shoot optional. With our portfolio updated it was time to head back for the final Japanese ride!

Mt Yotei loop spin

Well, for those of you that have seen the epic move ‘A bridge too far’, you may be able to relate to today’s ride… After yesterday’s Queen stage and hill epic I knew it was going to be tough on the legs to get going, BUT, surely my Onsen experience and morning of chilling would aid my recovery right?

WRONG (best said with an austrian accent)

Yes, today was a death march… My legs actually ached… I couldn’t even get to the front to take a turn… I was getting dropped more than a ginga child. Not just on the climbs, but on the flat and on the downhills. I was indeed, a turd with wheels, on a death march.

Its never cool popping a gel 30km’s into a ride, but that’s where I was at today… Broken. Any way, I could go on and on about how rubbish I was today, but the scenery wasn’t, so lets hear from that instead:

I hate TT bikes...

I hate TT bikes… Hawk powering towards the ever present Yotei

A mountain of corn

A mountain of corn

An incredibly peaceful section of rural road… This was a great stretch, could easily be in NZ:

How's the serenity?

How’s the serenity?

"If I ride into this ditch, can I get a lift home?"

“If I ride into this ditch, can I get a lift home?”

"How fucking far to home?"

“How fucking far to home?”

On top of being massively rooted and broken, it seems that the 1000 Yen lunch had delivered an unenviable outcome: Unlimited gas… Cool if you’re a third world country, not so cool if you’re a struggling ‘big boy’. Whilst this is the usual for me, it also afflicted the iHawk. The only difference being I got dropped every time I tried to fart, well, actually I got dropped constantly today so its a weak excuse.

We both ended up crawling home from our 70km loop of Yotei, but I was glad to get a final spin around the awesomeness of Niseko before the mixed emotion process of once again packing up a bike to prepare to leave another fabulous place.

I will try and save some of my gushiness for the Japan summary post on the weekend, but I do want to say a MASSIVE thank you to the Iron Hawk for making this trip an amazing experience. Japan has absolutely exceeded expectations and this is mainly due to my tour guide and the legend that is the Hawk. Free accom is always rad, but Hawk HQ is even better than that, its Tranquilo, cool and the best place to rock up to for a boot camp training week!

I can’t wait to see how he goes in Ironman Japan at the end of August and I will be watching the live timings keenly, as I have had a front row seat this week to the transformation he has undergone and the brain melting speed he can now produce on the bike. We know the man can run, so it should be a great day!

Also, I know that I lead the charge with being opposed to animal pics being posted, but Mr Parker has finally broken me, so here we go, full canine crush:

Dogs got personality, personality goes a long way...

Dogs got personality, personality goes a long way…

Tomorrow is a travel day (car/flight/flight/taxi), so will be back on line over the weekend, thanks to everyone who tuned in for Japan and for the comments, its great to be able to share such a cool place.

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