The 2015 Gourmet Century event schedule kicked off last weekend in the remote prefecture of Japan known as Aichi. This event was designed to focus on showcasing the fine cuisine from our home in Portland to the participants in Japan. The riders that came out couldn’t be bigger fans of the American hand-built scene and the appreciation emulated from every direction. No matter the direction you looked it was a different bike, t-shirt, or socks from our friends at Retrotec, Signal, The Athletic, Breadwinner, Hunter, Geekhouse, Firefly, Desalvo and Cielo Bicycles.
The morning brought riders to the quiet mountain area of Asuke, greated with a traditional American breakfast of eggs, fruit, croissants, sausage, granola and yogurt. With a misty mountain looming in the distance, riders climbed up into the clouded forest with visibility diminishing with every ascending corner. After 651 meters of climbing the riders were rewarded with a tight and twisting decent, keeping them on their toes and their heart rate peaked. Riders came into the lunch stop to find a fabled ancient fish hatchery where they enjoyed a spread of fish, rice balls, fresh fruits and vegetables. This, the riders got to enjoy all while sitting alongside a whitewater stream with an awe-inspiring waterfall overhead.
The afternoon brought riders up and down endless peaks of ancient tight roads. The course had it all with some sweeping descents that you dream about at night to paved single lane wooded technical riding that felt more like a mountain bike experience than standard road riding. Groups of riders rode proudly together enjoying the day with laughs, experiences and some solid effort behind their pedals.
Back at the finish the riders were greeted with American style beers, sake on tap and some hip-shaking jazz to keep your soul alive after a day of grinding up and down mountains. Chris DiMinno and Keita Odaira delivered a 3 course American-inspired meal of everything from raw salmon, to local specialty pork loin with a variety of Japanese green vegetables, to a ridiculous carrot cake made by a Nagoya-based pastry chef. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan there can’t be a better way to see it than by experiencing the Asuke Gourmet Century.
This event could not of happened without the amazing support and leadership from all of the 80+ volunteers and the Sim Works team. Thank you to everyone involved that made this a very special day. Visit www.gourmetcentury.com to see when one will be coming to your neck of the woods.