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Tour de Okinawa rides in Nago

Date Posted: 2011-11-10

Bicycling enthusiasts wonít want to miss being in Nago City Sunday for the Tour de Okinawa, a series of eleven action-packed road races.

Itís much more than that, though, and the public will find Friday and Saturday both adventure days at Nago. Slated are a number of Around-Okinawa 323km Cycling Tours, Cycling Tours of Izana Island, and another Yanbaru Century 189km ride on Friday. Saturday features more of the same, and all are open to the public. All events start in downtown Nago City.

The 210km Citizen Road Race is one of the ultimate races serious amateur riders in Japan make a point of not missing. The nationís top cyclists, along with a smattering of foreigners who canít resist the demanding competition in the nature-rich Yanbaru region, are among the 450 competitors.

The 140km Citizen Road Race will feature 400 riders on a tough full scale course that challenges physical strength and race experience on a course that includes two hill climbs. The 100km Citizen Road Race, a middle-distance course, attracts riders wanting fast-paced completion from the opening gun. Another 400 participants will take on this course.

The 50km Citizen Road Race is broken into four age brackets this yearóUnder 29, 30s, 40s and 50 or overówith 1,100 competitors. The Course is rather flat over the first half, winding along the beautiful northern Okinawa coastline. A shorter 40km Citizen Road Race is actually tougher than the 50km, because the 150 participants must face a series of ups and downs.

Thereís also a 50km Citizen Road Race for women, with 150 participants age 13 or older, traveling the same course. The Tour de Okinawa also features a 50km race for Male Junior High School students, one of the few such bicycle road races in the country. Young riders from all over Japan are making the trek to Okinawa for this one. And not to be outdone, thereís 10km School Kidsí Road Race open to 30 participants from 5th and 6th grade elementary school classes.

The Asia Pro Tour 210km race starts at 6:45 a.m., with 50km races starting from 7:10 a.m. In addition to the noted races, tucked into the dayís excitement are an Ie Island 50km Family Cycling ride, a 100km challenge Race and a 70km Onna Village Family Cycling event. Last but not least, in the afternoon thereís a Grannyís Bicycle Race featuring gearless bikes at 1 p.m., and a tricycle race at 3 pm.

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