Tokyo here we come!

Today was the final day in Kyoto and we managed to spend an hour inside the Pokemon Center playing arcade games. With plans to visit another three Centers in Tokyo everyone is excited to go back. 

Pikaaaachuuuuuuuu

After navigating our way through the station we found ourselves lining up to catch the bullet train to Tokyo. These trains speed is matched by their beauty as they seem to gracefully shoot through the countryside. So far the sights from the window have been filled with a mixture of city streets, green fields and mountains. 

Zoom zoom.

If all goes to plan we will be in Tokyo tonight and be ready to take on the big city! 

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Rainy Days

After overshooting our station and getting a little lost we finally made it to our accommodation in Kyoto. Instead of heading out we decided to have an early night and go sight seeing in the morning. 

After grabbing an umbrella while most the guys picked up raincoats arguments started over which option would keep us more dry. Luckily for me, that option was the umbrella. 

Should have got an umbrella

Due to delays at the train station we chose to spend the day walking around kyoto instead of waiting for the train. After a two hour stroll we finally made it to the temples of Kyoto. The walk was definately worth it as these temples were beautiful. 

Towering Shrine

The Golden Temple was the hightlight of the day. Surrounded by a still lake on a rainy day the temple stood out in all of its glory. 

Golden views

After deciding not to walk for another two hours we took train back and everyone purchase an umbrella for the rainy days ahead. 

On top of the world!

After another brief confusion of trains this morning we found ourselves at Universal Studios Japan. 

Thumbs up!

We started off by heading straight to Harry Potter world and checking out Ollivanders wand shop, the merchandise shop and then headed to the rides nearby. The 4K ride was easily my favourite of the day and also offered a small tour of Hogwarts Castle. After a quick butterbeer we headed off the to next section of the park. 

A quick pitstop

The Hollywood dream and the Jurassic Park Flying Dinosaur Ride were the largest roller coasters at the park and offered plenty of butterflies in our stomachs. 

Hollywood Dream

The regret of the day was not spending 400 yen on a raincoat for the Jurassic Park boat ride. Most of us walked around soaked for the rest of the afternoon and immediately regretted our decision. 

The Flying Dinosaur

Here is hoping the rest of our trip ends up just as amazing as today!

Fine Dining

Matt’s face after realising he ordered a raw egg

We’ve safely touched down in Osaka and decided to head straight out to try some of the local dishes. The highlights of dinner were sliding a door that said push, finding out English menus available actually doesn’t mean English menus available and getting told they didn’t have what we all ordered. 
Even though we didn’t know what we were ordering the meals turned out to be delicious and the locals next to us commented  how we used our chopsticks with the hand gesture 👌 so we ended up doing something right.
Lets hope the rest of the trip turns out like our chopsticks 👌

All abroad!

Travel tip #1 for those heading off overseas. Pack a towel! I was the only one to throw in a towel out of the seven travelling.

Always bring a towel.

Travel tip #2: Never pass up free alcohol. The duty free at Cairns airport had free taste testing on almost all of their stock. We all took full advantage of tasting a few drops outside our normal price range. 

Getting on it early

Paluma push 2016

After riding a mountain bike for 10 months I thought it was time to start taking things a little more serious and start competing in races throughout the region. After making a new years resolution at the start of the year i decided to race the paluma push intermediate course (53km). 

Leading up the the event i did a couple 20km+ rides with my longest ride before the race being only 25km. The week before the race my chain broke while attempting sprints up Castle Hill. After sorting out a new chain 3 days before the push I was starting to get a little nervous. 

The day before the push i packed up my bike and headed to registration with my girlfriend who I was trying to convince it’s perfectly safe to ride a bike. We met up with our friends, signed up and drove up to Paluma. Its was a chilly night but after a good feed and movie we settle into bed excited for the next morning. 

The race day started with a big breakfast, a quick snack and a walk down to the start line. 

Ready to ride

At 9:15 the race began and off we went. The ride to the dam was fairly easy with a few short hills and a climb over the last section. I had been told the dam loop would be the hardest section of the course and had saved my energy for this. While the single trail loop was an amazing ride which I plan to visit again, the mud throughout the trail took the energy out of me. After passing 25km I noted this was now the longest ride I had been on. After passing 26km I had my first cramp. At this point in the race i realised my body was not ready, stopped and had a muesli bar to get some energy. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my cramp but I figured once i stretched it out I would be alright and continue going. At around 30km i made it out of the dam trail and had another cramp. I ended up having one every 5km from here. I would later be told one word. Salt. 

I made it to the last checkpoint with 12km left in the race. After losing time to cramps I was pushing myself to make up every minute. After starting to pedal down one of the last hills my bike slipped and off I went. I can’t remember the exact details but I did land on my feet, took two steps and landed on my ass shortly after. After checking for any serious injuries it seemed I could move everything with minimal pain. I stumbled back to the checkpoint and got patched up. I’d lost another half an hour. 

After confirming I would be right to finish the race I hoped back on my bike and sped off (a little slower than before).After the first few kms my body was back into it and ready to finish. A few creek crossings later and i made it to the finish line where everyone was waiting. 

Creek crossing

Although I didn’t get the time I was after, finishing my first event felt good. My goal for next year is to prepare myself and take an hour and a half off this years time. Hopefully the ride next year is just as memorable!