We went to see Seoul’s #1 baseball team in action.
With a VIP pass and full kit (with custom embroidery), I was looked after by Jan and the team. Good times!
Jan’s nephew showed us the ropes. He’s a regular of course, and knew all the chants.
The Heroes took the win against the Giants, after a slow start.
Koreans are mad for baseball.
The little fellas thought the cheerleaders got in the way of the game.
My souvenir from Adrian Burnside, Aussie (from Alice Springs) baseballer playing in Seoul for the Nexen Heroes. I remember him from the Atlanta olympics. A very down to earth guy.
What do you do if your hotel doesn’t a fire escape? You get a ‘Simplicity descending life line’! .
You basically hook the rope onto the window and absail down like a swat team.
No cool poses and no head spins.
Ready to Burn!
The veggies are always so fresh, ready for the pot.
‘The Bike’ Guys
Lim and Hae-Lyun from The Bike Magazine did an interview with me, then we went out for hot pot.
Face the music
Trying to get motivated to face the bucketing rain outside.
More dirty tan lines.
The nearby water park provided a good day of much needed R&R. Although climbing all the stairs was like training anyway.
The time didn’t seem to change.
The speed slide. This one got a workout.
What happens when you smash your collarbone into a few pieces? They replace it with metal. It didn’t get De-Gyun out of hit 2 years army service though.
Nothing like a pile of BBQ chicken after a long day in the pool.
The roots of Korea’s language also lie in Chinese.
The bike paths, normally along the rivers and/or under freeways, are usually decorated with graffiti. In this case, framed pictures. Real frames!
Old men playing cards or other games, or just drinking, also lined the bike paths.
Leg? Wing? Breast? Just give me the whole thing, in the broth.
Grand Master Champ and Young Champ
Two generations of mountain bikers in Korea. It’s a growing sport and it looks like cycling will boom soon in South Korea.
Bets are on!
Lounge Room Golf
Our golf tournaments didn’t help my skills, but did cost me some Won.
Dr Ha and Dr Chyon enjoying a night on the town. Luckily both of them speak good english, which isn’t so common in Korea.
Will these help me??
The fresh stuff.
Soju and Beer – the standard South Korean ‘bomb’, as they call it.
Dr Ha, the BBQ guru.
Old School Item #1
Our BBQ background music was old school music played on an old school player.
Old School Item #2
These yellow rubber-filled things (complete with V-Brakes) brought back memories, circa ’96.
Not what I wanted to see in front of me after a huge day riding in 35 degrees, with no food or drink left.
Back in Town
After a massive day in the saddle, with lots of climbing, on unknown roads, it was a relief to see the town sign.
The little Korean battler, De-Gyun, made it eventually.
Jiri-San provided it’s fair share of uphill.
Jiri-San is Korea’s second highest peak. 45 minutes of hard climbing later and the view was awesome.
We collected plenty of these guys on the way to Seoul.
Japan has trained me well for Korean living. Shoes off, even in public restaurants.
The best Soju so far – 100% premium, no crap.
Side Dish Efficiency Methods
With the amount of side dishes you get at a standard Kirean Restaurant, it usually takes ages for staff to server them all up. We’re talking up to 30 dishes in one dinner sometimes. So it seems some places have looked at saving time and effort…
Efficiency Method #1: Take the food around to the tables (in this case in their own huts), on little trolleys on rails.
Efficiency Method #2: Take the whole table out in one go.
These little guys, along with the liquid, are Korea’s standard hangover remedy.
Mrs Jan makes the best stew in Korea. Experiencing the genuine stuff, rather than restaurant food, was special.
Dragon flies clearly aren’t shy here.
Dark, raining, thongs, no lids, no problem. Korea’s delivery scooters rip around the streets like there’s no tomorrow.
Piling it up
What happens when you have free and unlimited ice cream?
You get brain freeze.
Korean Lunch Box
Step 1: Grab an old-school, genuine Korean tin lunchbox.
Step 2: Make sure it has the best ingredients in it.
Step 3: Shake it up, open, and eat!
On go the gloves, in go the ribs.
Getting some pork into us after a big day on the bike.
Kim Chi dumplings. Big, soft and tasty.
OK then. No problems.
It’s good to see local markets are still thriving here. It’s the way it should be everywhere…
Rain rain rain. But it’s drier than Japan at the moment, and warmer than Australia. So it’s all good.
It rains a lot here, especially at this time of year. So forget your old newspaper. Bring in the shoe driers.
Dinner on the go. There are more people without helmets on motorbikes here, than those with helmets. And most drivers seem to forget where their indicator lights are too.
Crossed the line
+1 filthy tan line. Still not cool.
I’m not about to start learning another Asian alphabet, so luckily my mates were there to translate.
Korean style appetisers. Wack in what you want and voila!
Their little eyes make me feel somewhat bad for eating them, until I taste them. So good.
This little guy was roaming the back of the restaurants. Why did he look so stressed, I wonder?
Jang serving turning more cow over. This stuff was marinated in the local ‘secret sauce’, so I’ll never know why it tasted so good.
BUT, Sanghoon took it out for our camp. So we were all smiles.
Trying to work out why neither of my front or rear gears worked. Maybe it was the piles of sand and mud in my cables?
Despite leading a lap, my race was over before I knew it.
Korean Pottery Class
First section of my first Korean National XC Race. And the mud was like clay. Clogging up and killing my drivetrain.
At the race site waiting to see what the weather does, before choosing tyres. My chunkiest mud tyres ended up being the go, with 2 days of non-stop rain hitting.
Go the Red Shirts!
Cheering for the Red Shirts (South Korea) on World Cup night in Uslan.
The ride on Suncheon’s main river involves a lot of dodging crabs.
Training on this chunky bad boy for a month, even on the road, should get me toughened up a bit.
Stocking up for a big week. Korea’s prices are about half of Japan’s.
I never thought I’d say it, but Japan’s Unagi (eel) has been beaten. New winner – Suncheon’s fresh eel with special sauce.
Spot of trouble
We found these guys deep in the mountains, one with a broken rear mech. A long roll (and walk) home.
The Main Man
Dr Ha and I in Suncheon Bay. This is the man that makes it happen, supporting riders in Korea is one of his many ventures.
First ride in Suncheon, along the river. This city has a good feel. Not too big, not too small; nature all around; plenty of action.
Even these tools couldn’t save Korea from a world cup loss that night.
Jang the Billiard master. I was crap.
The beef stew (Blugogi) was even too hot for the locals, who were sweating like pigs.
When he’s not shooting top fashion brands, Tae Kyu frequents MTB races.
Kul Chon is Korean’s equivalent of pizza, with oysters wacked in.
I was average, but still got a prize.
After 2 years of military service (standard for South Korean men), Sanghoon hit every target with precision.
Sanghoon looking relaxed and ready for action. He won his race the next day.
I finally got to try geniune Bibinba, the real day. The best ever, 2 nights in a row. I think it’s all in the hot pot, the sticky rice and fresh veggies.
Tae Kyu and Jang – #1 photographer and #1 manager enjoying a feed after a hard day’s work.
Another cosy setup, Korean style.
Sanghoon and De Gyung (aka Plus One) winding down.
My team for the week hanging in the park before practise.
Ulsan is the most industrial town I’ve ever seen. Hyundai own the place. Contruction is going on everywhere, in many forms. Mainly new apartments and massive ships being built.
No fat tyres!
We were greeted at Ulsan’s race site with protests. Luckily they weren’t protesting the MTB race. Something more important I’m sure.
Na’s hand-made steel creation.
The region’s famous sweet bread. Too good.
Na taking us to Ulsan in Korea’s south-east.
All you can drink pumkin tea. Most meals here come with something that’s free and unlimited.
Na Sanghoon, Korea’s no.1 rider and all round nice guy, about to enjoy some beef.
Side Dish Heaven
The land of the tasty side dish.
Koreans know how to do sauce.
First meal in Korea. Spicey, tasty, healthy, awesome. The first of many.