Twistybutt 8 – Coast to Coast 2018

TL;DR: An awesome 500Km run across Japan, having a great time on bikes with friends before food and beer. No bad way to spend a day.

The Tunnel
The Tunnel

“This is not an easy ride! You will be on the road for the best part of daylight and maybe more than 12 hours with little time to just cruise and zone out. It is a true feast of twisties that even gluttons have trouble swallowing.” – Touge Express

The Coast to Coast Twistybutt is an informal event put on each year for bikers in Japan by the Touge Express site. We would be riding from sea level at Odawara in western Kanagawa prefecture by the Pacific Ocean, all the way over the spine of Japan to 2,172m on the highest national road in the country, and then on to Joetsu in Niigata prefecture, on the Japan Sea coast.

This was my second attempt at the 500Km route, having clocked in a 15 hour time last year, rolling in tired and wet to the hotel at 8pm. I loved it, I was hooked.

This year I had a few goals – to ride better, to ride smarter, but overall, to be better prepared.

I’d trimmed my gear down from not-so-much, to downright minimal, so that instead of a waistbag and a camping drybag, I was just using a jacket pocket and one of my bicycle’s panniers, down to puncture kits, tools, fasteners, safety kit and a change of clothes. I’d spent more time really understanding my navigation app (OSMAnd+), and understood how gpx GPS tracks worked on it, and spent a few hours in Kurviger.de making a track from the ‘official’ route.

This year I was riding with an old friend (CS), who has been riding far longer than me, but this was his first go on the C2C. We woke around 3am, got prepped, got that all important cup of tea in, and with gear safely strapped to the bikes, we set off into the dark, under that weird illumination of a full moon.

The few other bikes we saw en route were all fellow twistybutters it seemed, and rolling down the coast road to Odawara we were all waves and enthusiasm.

We met at the base of a toll road as it has a small but convenient car park, which we promptly filled with just over 80 motorcycles, from 110cc SuperCub copies, to elegant and classic Kawasaki’s, to big BMW 1200GSs and pretty much everything in between.

It’s a totally international field of riders as well as the machines, and everyone took photos, exchanged last minute tips, realised flaws in their plans and eagerly awaited the off. After a reminder from the Touge Express team about road etiquette and safety,  at around 5.15am we set off with a mere 500Km of twisties ahead.

Into the forest
Into the forest

I again found the first 50Km awkward as I was navigating for the two of us, and generally I don’t ride following a route, so I had to remember to check my turns and not disappear along a beautiful road, but which wasn’t the specific beautiful road I should be on.

(It also became apparent from the profanity levels at stops, that my riding partner’s Google Map / Smartphone system was not working for him at all, so it was looking like I’d be leading the whole way!)

Bounding along on my Tracer with CS’s Triumph Tiger 1200 Explorer’s familiar lights in my mirror felt good in the brisk morning sun, as we twisted towards Fuji, and I had to keep to a point I’d made: I wasn’t going to stop for photos every few kilometres early on like I had the previous year. It’s a difficult promise to keep as many of the views we’d pass by are stunning, and at one point we skirted Fuji, with low cloud barreling down a valley towards it looking like a wave lapping up on a beach. OK, maybe I should’ve have gotten that picture.

(I should also say we were riding with another chap, EP, but for reasons unknown he took another route, but thankfully he made it to Joetsu! )

Fuji from the mist
Fuji from the mist

The roads on the south end of the route were decent as some are well travelled tourist roads, so we made good time as at this early hour there were just a few cars around, mainly photographers looking for that early morning Fuji shot.

After the initial barrage of turns, as we neared Kofu, we traversed a kind of valley bottom between mountain ranges, and you’re reminded that there exist flat, and even straight roads, which suddenly feel wrong. It wasn’t many kilometers though before we were back climbing up into new mountains and more touge, meandering through small villages.

We really only stopped for fuel or for a quick snack, drinks and to stretch our legs around every 100Km. At the 200Km stop for refreshments (and for CS to get caught with his trousers down again, adjusting his knee protectors), we encountered probably Japan’s most minimally stocked convenience store. It was like some homage to late eighties eastern bloc shops I remembered seeing – empty shelves, and half of what products they had were local wines and other alcohol. The staff though were two very friendly old ladies who chatted with us, and made a point of bringing out their personal rubbish bin when I was trying to find somewhere to throw some rubbish.

Corner Torii
Corner Torii

This kind of interaction seems normal when motorcycling here in Japan, everyone in the mountains just has time for people, and if you’re on the road, then that’s a talking point. When we took on fuel around 300Km, we had a good chat with the old gents running the place about why we were on the road, where in Japan we had set off from, how long it had taken, and where we were going. In fact we were quite appreciative as we’d passed a few petrol stations which were either closed for good, or closed for the Golden Week holiday which had just started. (Oddly, I really start looking for fuel when I’m down to half, even though half would still likely get me ~ 150Km.)

We bumped into a fellow Twistybutt’r just a few kilometers later when we were looking for some more refreshments at a large Seven Eleven, and he was relaxing with a cigarette, his CBR600 parked up, and with that riding position for a few hundred kilometres, I can see why you’d be stretching out. We exchanged tales of the ride thus far, and other riders we’d seen.

One thing we’d both seen was another biker on a big BMW coming the other way with his pannier wide open at the back. I remembered as I was waving at him and pointing at the back of my bike and him. I don’t think I got my point across.

Detour
Detour

One reason for that is the ‘biker wave’ – we wave at each other as a salutation as we pass, to say hello, or to pass on information, but sadly I don’t know what the correct gesture is for ‘your side box is open and I think everything has fallen out’. I think he just interpreted my motions as sheer enthusiasm.

It has to be said though, as the day went on, the road quality started to get patchy. Or indeed non existent. We had a stretch of about 100m of basically gravel and stone downhill where they were looking to put asphalt down at some point. Going down this wouldn’t have been much of an issue for either of us, except that there were a couple of cars coming up who apparently had to be in the centre of the track, and would not negotiate, so we were left to get through the rough side sections. It’s all good practice.

I should say at this point that there isn’t much traffic on most of this route, and the vast, vast majority of cars on twisties will move to the side and wave you past. These were the exceptions to that.

We went over some quite badly maintained roads, down through some valleys where there was plenty of debris on the road, as well as the required tar snakes, ripples of asphalt and general subsidence leading to significant drops from mountainsides.

It’s part of the deal – we have great mountains and thus touge and twisties because of Japan’s location on the rim of fire, and the typhoons and long deep winters take their toll. Indeed this year there was a change of route due to one road being closed for nearby volcanic activity. That’s the trade-off – not all of these places can be maintained beyond adequate levels, and I’m fine with that.

We pushed on, savouring the views. At one point I got myself caught in a ragged trench running down the centre of the road when I was looking to overtake a farm vehicle, and had to wrestle the front wheel out of the rut and get back into a lane before anything came the other way, I managed it, but it made me a lot more wary of passing in that area.

Snow Walls
Snow Walls

Almost the only photo stop we made was at the snow walls on route 292, not far from the highest national road in Japan sign, and a truly beautiful view to see, and something of a tourist attraction, and after several hours of there not being much humanity, it’s a friendly reminder. I have to say this is my favourite section I think, riding between banks of snow, awesome vistas, small streams of melt rolling across the road, and the dedicated skiers getting the last runs of the year in before strapping things back to their cars and heading down, whilst the hotels reconfigure themselves for cycling and hiking season.

Winding down into the next valley, and cutting through a small town it was getting into later afternoon, and we were about to start on the last full set of twisties, which are mainly unmarked single lane farmers roads, and which the previous year I’d done in the dark, in the rain and hadn’t really enjoyed it. This time I was a few of hours earlier, it was dry, so I got to enjoy a wonderful ride down into Joetsu during the golden hours towards sunset, with the light bouncing off the fields and ponds.

We also passed a lady on a mobility scooter coming the other way.  Uphill. In the middle of nowhere. The biker spirit never leaves some people it seems.

Down the last
Down the last

The last section is a quick highway burn into the town itself, and we rolled into the Hotel car park literally twelve hours after we’d left Odawara, with the sun just about to set.

All that was left to do was a soak in the onsen and have a few beers with the other riders, make sure everyone was safe, exchange stories and bike scars and share a few laughs before getting some sleep, to be fresh again for the next day, where some would continue to other parts of Japan, but where I would be making my way back home.

All in All

It was another fantastic Twistybutt, good times with good people. It’s a great opportunity to challenge and improve your riding skills, or recognise where you need to put some work in. It’s also a good time to learn your bike, how to pack it, how to navigate on it, and if you’re riding with other riders, how to effectively communicate, or agree beforehand how you’ll proceed.

Navigation

The main thing I learned from last year’s coast to coast, which not only saves time, but boosts enjoyment on the day: knowing the route is everything.

This could be by running it beforehand, or just having a solid mental picture of the turns from studying a map of Touge Express’s route. It also includes having a method of navigation which you know and understand. For me this also included having a far better idea of how GPS tracks, routes and maps work.

Last year I had the source route (the golden master) on Google Maps, and I exported it from Furkot as a GPX route and imported it, seemingly successfully, into OSMAnd+. It didn’t work so well. OpenStreetMap and Google Maps are subtly different, and when I missed a turn my smartphone would then try to recalculate to the next waypoint, which may or may not be on the golden master route. I also didn’t fully understand some of OSMAnd+s options, further adding to route recalculation. It all added up to wasted time and missed turns.

This year I used Kurviger (which also uses OSM) to make a 1:1 track copy of the golden master, which then looked 100% correct on my phone, and I set OSMAnd+ to just use that, so if I missed a turn, it wouldn’t recalculate, it would just point to where I left the track. that was pretty much exactly what I wanted, and was the key to making the navigation portion a case of checking turns in advance, and actually in 500Km I only missed one turn as it was a fairly small hook turn in a forest, forcing us to do a U turn a hundred metres later.

Touge Express

Since I talk a lot about touge and twisties on here and in some of the articles I’ve had on other sites, I thought I should give a mention to a friend of mine who is the Touge master, and runs the blog ‘Touge Express‘.

Craig has done a lot of riding all over the world, and has sniffed out some of the best routes I’ve ever been on  so check out his site which has a lot of tips and route reports, so there’s plenty to go at.

(He also does excellent water proofing videos.)

Ichinose 2018

On slope
On slope
On slope

The  annual family snow trips have been a popular event for  us for a while – it’s not too much of a drive (~4.5 hours / 320Km), to Nagano Prefecture’s Shiga Kogen area, and even better, the last 15Km requires [rubber] chains or snow tyres, and as we have the former, I do get to enjoy driving in the mountains.

some trees
some trees

We usually like to try different places to stay for a bit of variety, but this year we stayed at the same place for two weekends in the ‘village’ of Ichinose,  thanks to getting a deal staying at the Hotel Japan for a few days via Expedia.

bit of snow
bit of snow

Disconcertingly, this hotel we chose had a fire a couple of years ago in the main wing apparently, though from what we saw, it all looked like business as usual aside from lots of reminders not to smoke…   I don’t know why, but does the name ‘Hotel Japan’ seem a bit generic?  That said, breakfast was decent, it’s above an excellent Nepalese restaurant, and the onsen is nice and clean.

Car parks and snow
Car parks and snow

Anyway, for families, Ichinose is very decent – a cluster of hotels, some bars and restaurants, and access to much of the Shiga Kogen ski resort area, and even over to Kusatsu if you drive just a little bit more. We spent time around the Diamond area nearby – it’s not awesome powder or insane double diamonds, but it’s a nice family paced warm up area, then we drove the 5Km around to Okushiga, as they have a good ski school for the kids, and a good mix of steep,  S bend oriented forest runs for variety, and on a good day, some nice powder – it’s also just a bit of a slide over to the Yakebitaiyama courses.


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A Year With The Tracer 900

On the road

It’s difficult to believe it’s been a year since I got my 2016 Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, but it really has been. What a great year too!

Getting down to business, so far I’ve put over 6,400Km (~4,000 miles) on the Tracer, which for me is pretty respectable in 12 months, so here’s a very quick mini-review of the experience so far.

“It’s a great motorcycle.”

There we are, nice and to the point. Done.

On the road

OK, maybe I should add something to that.

To ride, it’s fantastic, there’s plenty of torque and power coming out of that CP3 triple engine, and it never gets old winding it up on the twisties.

Of the three throttle modes, I’ve mostly just been leaving it in standard for most of my riding, though I do slip it into the B mode for heavy rain in the mountains, where it’s effective for that – there’s a much smoother roll on experience.

The A mode is fun, and yes, on the highways it’s useful, but honestly it’s a bit too enthusiastic for the way I ride day to day – I don’t ride aggressively, at most I’m around ‘decisive’, sometimes I drift into ‘plodding’.

I spent a bit of time setting the suspension up, and generally I’ve been pleased with it, and adjustments are simple, though at one extreme on the rear the C wrench provided meant I had to move the chain guard to adjust the pre-load. Only had to do it that once though.

The stock tyres, Dunlop OEM  D222 Sportmax, are OK. Coming from Pilot Road 2s, they don’t feel as good, but they’re certainly not bad. I am planning to swapping them out for Road 5s though.

I haven’t modded it much beyond adding some frame sliders so I can’t speak to the customising aspect, but the whole MT-09 range seems to get plenty of attention on the mod scene.

It’s all about the riding though, and the riding has been great, from the mountains to hours on the expressway, to trips around town, and nothing to fault really, the windscreen and front fairings provides a bit of wind deflection, which is good when I ride the coast roads, and the seat-height is pretty much the highest I’d feel comfortable on.

Have you dropped it?

Of course I have!  Nothing exciting – did a U turn on an incline, foot was on some loose stones and slipped, leading to one of those slow, inevitable lowerings which deserves a round of applause. Nothing damaged though, save a minor bend in the brake pedal.

Best ride so far?

It has to be the Coast 2 Coast Twistybutt. Over 500Km of touge twisties from the the Pacific to Japan Sea coasts in a day, and the Tracer did it with comfort and ease – this thing loves twisties, and if there’s one thing Japan has piles of, it’s twisties!

2 Up?

After sorting the suspension for my slightly over-fed self, a minor tweak for my significant other, and it’s a fine two-up bike, where reports say the pillion seat is comfortable with a decent view, but not out in the wind.  I tried throttle on B, but standard is still fine for two.

Downsides?

One odd thing for me might be the mirrors. They’re OK after you’ve messed around with them, if a bit narrow for me personally, but I found the stem nuts would vibrate loose now and then, once leading to the left side one spinning around whilst riding, forcing me to pull over and look for the correct spanner in the micro toolkit Yamaha provides – of course there wasn’t one which fit in there, so I bought one (17mm?) from a local DIY shop which has now saved me on a couple of days out.  Also, the fuse on the aux outputs are for 2A, so beyond a phone, USB etc., you may want to be careful. Don’t ask me how I know.

Let’s face it, if they’re the only downsides, that’s not too bad at all.

The way back

2017 Tokyo Toy Run

Last month a large group of us got together for our annual toy run in Kanagawa. I did a brief write -up on RideApart.com if you want to have a quick look.

I’ve done a few ride reports for the toy run on here previously: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and indeed 2017 made it our 9th continuous event!

Thanks as ever to the kids at the childrens homes for having us, and all those who rode in, or donated gifts.

 

 

 

Baby Face Frame Sliders

I’ve been looking around for some frame sliders for the Tracer, and indeed found quite a few which seemed to fit the bill with it being based on the fairly popular MT-09 and all.

As you could expect, the two two main types for my model were the ‘single bolt and puck’ type, and those which used two bolts per side with the slider puck somewhere in the middle on a bar or mount.   Despite being a little more expensive, I decided to go for the latter two-bolts-per-side type as I think they’d disperse any inpact force a little better, and frankly I quite like the look of them. I also thought it’d be something different to install, as I’d only had the single bolt type on previous bikes.

Truthfully, I’ve been lucky over the years not to drop or slide my bikes too often, but the Tracer is quite tall for me, and I’ve felt it almost go when doing some slow, tight U-turns down mountain roads which had suddenly stopped being roads, so once more I thought I’d get some sliders on, just in case.

After a bit of thinking, reading, more thinking, and several cups of tea, I’d narrowed it down to either a set from German manufacturer SW Motech, or some from a Japanese company called Baby Face. The Motech ones look nice, they’re well made and angular like the Tracer. The Baby Face ones look more traditional, with the more tubular style puck but the two piece bar is a very nice piece of engineering. Partly because they looked chunky, and partly because a friend is a distributor who tends to only represent decent kit, I thought I’d give the Japanese manufacturer BabyFace a go.  Price wise here in Japan they’re quite similar.

Slider Kit
The sliders arrived in a well packed box with the contents shown above – all in a kind of vacuum bubble wrap, and with some very basic instructions. Very. Basic. Those instructions had an odd blowup diagram of the assembly, some generic warnings (‘don’t fit these when the engine is hot’), some general torque guidance for their bolts, and a request to consult your bike’s service manual for specific mounting bolt torques. There’ s also a parts and spec list, but none of the parts themselves have numbers on them, so be sure to measure and know which part is which.

I dry assembled them, and beautifully labelled them with premium masking tape, in an attractive shade of pink. You can see the two parts which form the bar are quite chunky, but they’re light, and even when only lightly tightened, they feel incredibly rigid.

Next up was fitting them to the bike.

Per instructions and experience, I’d need some threadlock, for which I defaulted to Loctite Blue 243 which hasn’t failed me yet. The rest are the usual hex bits and the required torque wrenches.

The BabyFace bar bolts just require 5 & 25Nm torquing, with the engine bolts requiring 45Nm.

The instructions recommend an engine jack, but since I don’t have access to a specific motorcycle one, I simply put the  bike on its centre stand, then  a car jack under the engine until I could feel it taking some weight, and the bike didn’t move.

From that I just went one bolt at a time, doing first the left, then the right slider. It was actually simpler than expected. Only one of the original Yamaha bolts had any threadlock on it, but for scale I put a small drop on each of the four engine bolts. Each bolt I removed I labelled and put in a ziploc. Force of habit.

Basically, remove a bolt, clean the theads and washer (as it would be re-used), thread the new BabyFace bolt through the slider assembly and washer and into the hole,  hand tighten, then do the second bolt for that side and then torque them both down. No problems.

As you can see, they suit the style and colour of the Tracer, so I’m really pleased with them, and despite the sparse instructions, fitting was a breeze likely thanks to the quality engineering.

As expected, they feel incredibly solid on the bike, fit in to the design and in a good way, disappear.

Left Side Slider

Ride Side Slider

Pros:

  • Look and feel well made
  • No installation issues

Cons:

  • Instructions are very generic, and not immediately clear so spend some time absorbing them.

Coast to Coast Twistybutt?

Coast to Coast Twistybutt
Coast to Coast Twistybutt

At the tail-end of Golden Week this year (May 5th to be exact) I took part in Touge Express’ 2017 Coast to Coast Twistybutt, an invitational run across Japan from the Pacific Ocean to Japan Sea purely via the mountain pass roads or ‘touge’ as they’re known. 500Km of turns with the occasional short local road connecting them.

If you were on a straight road, you were probably on the wrong road.

So where is the tale of this crossing? I did write one, but it’s not here, it’s on a real motorcycle website, so thanks to Chris and everyone at RideApart for bringing tales from the touge to the broader world – they’ll be all the better for it!

The Twistybutt – Japan’s Iron Butt Challenge

ride apart

Nanikore’s Podcasts – Motorcycling

I have a bit of a commute for my job, so I’ve tried to find different ways to make use of the time in a more constructive manner, and one of those ways is to listen to podcasts.  As I have quite a few on my list right now, I thought I’d break this up into two posts – ‘Motorcycles’ and ‘The Rest’.  As an aside, I’m currently running a cheaper Android phone (a Lenovo Moto G5+) and the DoggCatcher podcatching app. (I did a round-up of my podcasts in 2009 and 2011; a few I still listen to, some have gone away.)  Anyway, on with the list:

Adventure Rider Radio RAW – Out of Canada, this is a monthly panel show, usually running 90-120 mins. of experienced overlanders discussing situations, kit, their books etc..  I’ve not done anywhere near the travelling they have, but it’s often interesting for tips and funny anecdotes, as well as differing perspectives on how to travel for long periods. The same production team also make the weekly Adventure Rider Radio, but this can be hit and miss as there can be a lot of native advertising in some episodes – probably worth a try though.

Front End Chatter – Two motorcycle journalists from the UK discuss street bikes as well as some racing content and usually runs for 60-90mins every two weeks. There’s a lot of light banter and some very decent Q&A in most episodes.

Two Enthusiasts – Two American chaps, based out of the Pacific north west of the US discuss bikes, with a slant to technology and the motorcycle industry itself. This is an extension of the usually decent news website Asphalt and Rubber, and each episode goes for  between 60-90 minutes.

Moterrific – Two American ladies this time make this podcast on a semi-regular monthly schedule, with each episode running around 60-80mins. They discuss areas to ride, gear, and dip in to some of the challenges women face in the hobby from perception, to decent gear, to bike height.

Tabibike Ladies Bike – A Japanese podcast which doubles up as both motorbike podcast and Japanese study for me, where the two hosts discuss bikes as well as bike culture, all the way into food and happenings during rides.  This podcast is a little shorter at around 40 minutes per episode.

So those are the ones I’m currently listening to, but feel free to recommend others.

Review: The Fourth Phase

The Fourth Phase is the third snowboard focused film / travelogue from Brain Farm, mainly featuring the ideas and riding of Travis Rice and  friends.

The very short version:  It’s a well shot video of snowboarding and life following the water cycle across the north Pacific with some wit and wisdom from Travis Rice and friends thrown in. I enjoyed it the first time around on my home BD / TV, and I even enjoyed it second time around on my phone during my commute into Tokyo.  It’s re-watchable.

The Nighter

Still reading? Thanks, here’s the slightly longer version.

This video came five years after the excellent Art of Flight (2011), and almost nine since That’s it, That’s all (2008). I recommend both of those previous ones by the way.

It notionally follows the cycle of water around the north Pacific, meaning it starts in Wyoming (as ever with a Travis Rice part), then scoots via Travis’ catamaran across the Pacific to Japan, then to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands in Russia, before heading back to Alaska.  The Fourth Phase of the title alludes to some wonderful property water possesses beyond solid, liquid and gaseous phases, derived from the book by Gerald H. Pollack.

That’s the metaphysical bit behind the title, but what about the film itself?

Compared to Art of Flight, there are fewer of the epic slow-motion and dolly shots, and more point-of-view and drone footage. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion, making it feel more personal. As for the other personnel, there are a few guests per region, but it’s anchored around Travis Rice and Mark Landvik. They’re both personable on screen, whereas some of the other riders look overly self conscious. Landvik always comes across well I think, so a good choice there, especially as things develop, but there needed to be more of them together.

Fire Festival
Fire Festival

The time in Japan I especially liked. I’m biased I know as I live and snowboard here, but those scenes more completely captured what it’s about – great tree runs, hikes out, the very surreal feel in the countryside during the epic amounts of powder snow and deluges of water the islands get, and the people who live in the mountain regions. The standouts were the fire festival footage, and the eerie illuminated night tree-runs, so well done to the team for the location work and cinematography.

Music is always a key part of snowboarding videos, and this one moves from classical to rock to synth pop, and it broadly works, though some bits don’t seem to work as well as others. The orchestral sections in Russia are excellent for example, but some of the synth-pop for the Japan sections seemed a little disconnected to the visuals. Much of the soundtrack was done by musician Kishi Bashi.

The Russian section is interesting even if there isn’t so much riding, just through the geography of the place, yet there are snowboarders there, even if the set-piece of the crew giving some local kids a board feels a little clumsy, a bit more explaining what the local boarder community is up to would have been more useful than the surf scene, which whilst fun, didn’t really add as much as more with the local kids would have.

There is of course plenty of big mountain riding, hikes, great heli-drops and at least a few nice ramps.  There’s also the hospital section which is now either a requirement or a tradition at this point.

One minor disappointment with the BD version I have are the extras – not as many fun outtakes as previous discs, and even the behind the scenes sections seemed a little forced.

If you see reviews, reception was mixed – maybe they wanted Art of Flight 2  which is a little unlikely as this wasn’t directed by Curt Morgan, it was from Jon Klaczkiewicz,  and as I understand it, there was an Art of Flight series which should’ve covered that?

I think there’s a few things going on here.

Firstly, as this is built around Travis Rice, he’s getting older, and whilst he brought other younger riders in, this is more about his thought process, and what he’s into, which was doing runs he hadn’t done before. Yes, his first world philosophizing about being a seeker is a little cringe inducing, but you can tell he believes it and to his credit, is getting out there and doing it.

Also, given all the snowboard videos available online these days, it’s difficult to know if the sponsors would go for yet another flurry of epic jumps in Alaska by itself, or whether Red Bull, GoPro, Skullcandy and all the other very obvious sponsors would want to do that, given they’re already saturating those markets online.

On the ‘missed opportunities’ side, I actually wanted to see a bit more of Travis Rice on the catamaran, beyond the philosophizing, actually following this water cycle the premise hangs on.  I’m always keen to hear more from Brian Iguchi too, who just seems like a very calm chap to sit down with.

Ultimately it’s a great film to watch but it’s straddling two different genres – it’s not an hour and a half of shredding and epic jumps, but it’s not really a travelogue either since there really isn’t enough about what happens locally – even the Russian shutout wasn’t really explained for example.

If you want straight riding and tricks with the odd laugh, probably better to go back to That’s It, That’s All in this series.

 

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