Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cycling in Korea :: Updates on MTB touring & related photos

I think it's becoming a more popular choice for some MTB riders using their bikes for distance touring. Tom has fully converted his Kona for longer world touring expeditions. I enjoy using my MTB on longer rides in Korea. If you ride a high-end bike, the offroad options are plenty here. If you ride a lighter-quality build as I do, offroading is good, but seeing these OEM -SR Suntour forks bottom out on descents isn't fair play. I don't have the extra money to toss into high-end, tough builds that are available in this market. So, I enjoy a little XC riding, and usually take to paved roads to cover the extra ground required to get a good physical workout. My last three 'revival rides' from the respiratory attack I experienced cycling for a few hours in the Asian, "yellow dust" -made life hectic for about 8 weeks of brutality. Since then, I have finally recovered from extensive antibiotic treatments, then natural yogurt treatments and fresh fruit to restore the healthy bacteria again in the bowels. What a rough ride, hard to describe. So, cycling has returned in my routine here in South Korea. Recent photos are posted covering some of the scenes. There's a few photos taken in Gangneung, Gangwon Province where I now live with my family -Mi Sung and Matthew, and baby is coming in less than two weeks!! Back to riding, recent rides southbound and northbound from Gangneung (you can take an Express Bus here from any part of Korea, your bike in the storage compartment below the bus, remove front wheel, load, easy and welcomed by bus drivers too). Recent rides: to Donghae, Mureung Valley (with my friend Brian), and return to Gangneung in a day covered 129.7km. Yesterday, an exceptional day on the bike, 148.4km return trip to Sokcho on Hwy 7 and return to Gangneung. I also enjoy the trail riding around the beach area in Gangneung, there are a few pine forests to weave through while making your way north. The bicycle network continues north to the municipal areas furtherest rural extension where there is minimal development, a great area to ride to relax. I prefer high-mileage rides to cover the greatest distances, the residual feeling is incredible.

Refueling on the Rides:
I have also become an advocate of fueling on fruit through your rides. Remember to drink 1L of water per hour, hard to forget when you really need it. Raisins, apples and bananas are my favorite fuel on the road. I don't eat lunch after leaving home, it's all fruit and water and the power for the riding will continue throughout the day. I strongly recommend giving it a try, avoid the Powerbars and all the other snack foods that were designed to help you, it's nothing but junk! Go natural!

Stats: Refueled on 250g of raisins, 5 apples, 5L of H2O. No snacks, no power bars, no unnatural ingredients. I can swear by this, fruit is best fuel during the distance rides, and water.

Distance: 148.4km
Ride time: 6 hours, 8 minutes.
Avg speed: 24.1km/h
Max speed 56.5km/h

So, there's lots of riding and many aspects to Korea's terrain that make it a great place, just protect your lungs from dust, pollution and other hazards as I learned this spring, it can become almost a lethal dose of dirt. Peace from the rides, keep pedaling and enjoying nature's gifts -health, nature, fruit and the great places we can see from the saddle of our bikes. ^^!

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