Spring 2014 NSP Tour (1: Compete!)

On April 19, I took part in a street riding event called “Bunny Hop Camp 2″ organized by Tubagra, a Tokyo-based MTB crew, held at Minato-no-Mori Park in Kobe. The event format included an interesting fusion of MTB, BMX, and fixies all shredding together to go for the same medal.

After an almost a full day-long ferry ride, I landed at Tsuruga, Fukui, jetted by Lake Biwa, and headed for Kobe. A road trip like this, where I would take a round trip on ferries and drive around the mainland in between to do some competition and some business visits, hadn’t happened in a while.

As always, there is no visual coverage of the event. Sorry. I’d get decently nervous on such occasions, like I’d worry about how hungry or stuffed I should be at certain timings. So, on a solo tour like this, there was no extra capacity in me to do the recording. Speaking on which, though, there is a series of information on the Tubagra website so don’t forget to check it out.

The event had 3 classes for different levels. I joined the High Class, and there also were Novice (beginner) and Middle (intermediate). For Novice and Middle, partly due to the limited number of participants, there was no qualification but just finals, where each of the 5-6 riders gets about a minute to ride around the park, jump, spin and whatnot. Riders would take turns and there were second and third rounds. Meanwhile, there were several judges who put down numerical scores in the score sheet in hand. The High Class had more people, so it was divided into 3 groups of 5-6 riders and the rest of the format was the same. Though that was for qualifications, and then the final session was held between the top 8 riders. The final went the same way, despite that there was no third round. Then the scores were calculated and awards were given out.

Simply, for the record, I finished second. Super stoked. Of course it was a shame I couldn’t win it, but I was actually surprised at the result more than anything else because there were at least like 10 other riders I thought I couldn’t surpass. Especially so, as there were lots of small mistakes I made. Nevertheless, I managed to ride to express my own message about the current scene and its future, and I can’t be happier if people appreciated it.

Another cool thing I noticed was that it really didn’t matter what kind of bikes we rode. In the event results, based on the height cleared in the bunnyhop contest in between, or in terms of the atmosphere of the riders, the only sources of differences were the skills, personalities, and imagination that each rider possesses, and nothing else mattered. And the resulting differences would just emerge and interact in positive ways.

It was great to ride, compete, and talk with the cool bunch. Totally worth the travel. Big thanks go to Samo for organizing the event, Seima for on-location preparations, and Ashi for the great message that motivated me to go.

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