The elevator door slides open and my Japanese entourage is right in front of me, ready to go. It’s 6:45 a.m. and todays schedule is so precisely planned it feels like a race day. I’m in a remote area of Japan, riding a two day cyclo sportive called the Infinity Ride. I was invited by the local government who are on a mission to promote the region for its spectacular environment fit for any outdoor lover, including overseas cyclists.

When we arrive at the start in Sukumo, the parking is already filled with neatly aligned cubic shaped cars. Riders are prepping their fancy bikes and look fully equipped for a long day on the road. Unlike the Japanese riders, I came unprepared. I’m not sure how long the ride is, or how many feed stations there will be. I just slipped some bars in my back pocket and figured I’d be alright.

I take my bike and ride over to the start area to get my number. I’m a special guest for the Infinity Ride (not to be missed, thanks to the big sticker on my helmet) and as it turns out, I’m the only foreign participant.


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All images by Maarten de Groot