Yesterday was such a cracker that it would be hard to top from either a riding or reporting perspective, so out of respect for the heights of yesterday I won’t try and match it today… Instead, just a few snippets from another day kicking it in Niseko.

First up – A ride of course… We were a bit pressed for time today (such are the rigours of an unsigned Pro’s life), so we set out for a Yotei spin, aiming for about 65km’s due to time restrictions and tired legs.

Straight away I felt like a turd on wheels… Not just legs, but all over… Not quite Stelvio levels of rootedness, but generally feeling a bit fucked. 15km’s later, same case and I was struggling to hang on to the iHawk on the simplest of inclines. So, instead of going into detail about how fatigued I felt, how about some pics instead? A much better call:

Rolling into town... Across the bridge to Niseko town

Rolling into town… Across the bridge to Niseko town

And yes, before you ask “What about those fucking socks”, I did bring it up, the iHawk clearly letting his inner Triathlete rage today. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he was on the TT bike, but I am pretty sure Mr Sagan would have a thing or two to say about wearing rugby socks while riding an Evo. Never the less, hard to question a winner, so back to the scenery:

Cruising the streets of Niseko town...

Cruising the streets of Niseko town…

Niseko town is a nice little place, sleepy yes, but quaint… Not what I expected of a small Japanese town and if you removed all the signs I could swear I am somewhere in the Wairarapa in NZ. Chasing the iHawk:

The ONY time the extra 10kg's comes in handy...

The ONLY time the extra 10kg’s comes in handy…

Unfortunately my Go Pro camera (now renamed the Go Fuck off camera) has developed a new trick of fogging up randomly, so all other shots are toast, perfect excuse to buy the latest version! Hawk did a time check and offered up a shortened ride via the bakery, to which I readily accepted.

And not just any bakery, but the coolest little funky French artisanal bakery hidden away on a dead quiet rural back block road in Niseko… Random? Yes, delicious product? Massively. Also, given its earthy construction methods and colour palette, the perfect place for a couple of Rapha models to bust out into a porn shoot, cue embarrassing behaviour:

"Yeah, I am really Gluten free..."

“Yeah, I am really Gluten free…”

"I'm not happy with this lighting at all... This isn't a portfolio shot"

“I’m not happy with this lighting at all… This isn’t a portfolio shot”

If you come here, its called Boulangerie Jin and is massively hard to find (well, for me any way), but they have a website. Its a small run set up, so once sold out its done… Appears to be a hot destination for in the know hip locals (hence we were there). Given the Artisanal theme of the moment, here are some sunflowers that were next door:

We're basically in France

We’re basically in France

So, a short 40km ride today and back to head to Otaru on the coast! Into the hawkmobile and road trip time, from turf to surf:

Oceans 14

Oceans 14

We had received a tip off from a local (a fisherman’s wife no less) that down a back alley way was THE place to go for Sushi and Sashimi that was well away from the tourist spots… Sure enough, it was one of those places that you’d never have a chance of finding yourself if you rocked up here with your hat on and a Japanese phrase book.

It was so authentic and good that I can justify breaking the ‘no photographing your food’ rule on this occasion:

No train in sight... But an awesome buffet of freshness

No train in sight… But an awesome buffet of freshness

We ordered this by looking at others eating and pointing and nodding, which worked a treat. As such, a couple of these items were… ah… Interesting from a taste and texture perspective, but we formed a pact to clean the plates. There was some grimacing involved a couple of times. Still, hard to beat the freshness.

Then it was time to hit the tourist spot for a dirty recon. How dirty? Well, Ray Parker got so excited about hitting town that he lost his shit, literally and spontaneously:

Yesterday a winner, today a shit kicker

Yesterday a winner, today a shit kicker

Yes, the hawk had to get busy cleaning up the incident while bemused locals looked on… Time to stop giving a small dog caffeine based energy gels it seems.

Back to Niseko and it was time for an Ice Cream from the local Ice Creamery, where we had the weirdest interaction of the day… Appears that Ray Parker attracted a team of extremely excited young volleyball players (we had trouble working out if they were male or female, you have a crack)… They then decided I was a bear and it was time for a photo shoot with the Niseko Bear and Mr P – Get your fever on:

Fever

What…. The… Fuck… BANZAI!

Its an extremely good chance that this is the weirdest photo I have ever been in… Forget the haircuts and peace signs, unfortunately we missed the shot where I did the Bear pose (arms up in the air and making the Grrr noise, yes, I made a total cock of myself) and they all did it back with screaming laughter… An experience in its own right. Who would have thought taking a small dog to get ice cream could lead to so much tomfoolery…

So, that appeared to be the peak of the day and as such, I will leave you with a bowl cut and a massive peace out sign to go and relax as there is a 5 hour ride on the menu for tomorrow!

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