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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Japanese " SUPA" buddy

For about 10 years now, I’ve been getting emails from a guy in Japan that I met one time at a world cup in Arai. This guy is a “SUPA” fan of all things bike. His name is Keisuki Kitamura. He often sends Christmas or birthday gifts, which can range from one of his research grant submissions (he’s a science teacher) to a home-made photo collage of bike parts, to an origami kit.

My friend Kit was finally fed up with the politics in his country, he recently told me. So he quit his job and came out to California, the “SUPA” Land of the Free-riding Americans. Here he wanted to get a job as a science teacher, and ride the gold rush trails of Tahoe, the streetcar steeps of San Francisco, and the Hollywood hills of L.A. Kit also wanted to ride with the American ‘legends’ on the trails he has read about for a decade in all his colorful, cartooned Japanese mountain bike mags.

marla streb
Marla and Kit...

I’m sure his calendar is packed with epic trips to Yosemite and Big Sur, and peppered with ride dates with famous west coast mountain bikers like Julie Furtado and Brian Lopes. This guy had done his research and networking, and now it was paying off.

In his first call to me last month, he bragged that he had already bagged a ride with Gary Fisher in the infamous hills of Mt Tam. That’d be a tough one to beat, I thought.

Today, Kit surprised me that he was in my town and informed me that I was to ride with him. He also asked through his crackly cell phone signal, “How many hour… can we ride… on your trail?”

“Well,” I hemmed. “Today’s the shortest day of the year,” I hawed. But really, that morning, I had just done a brutal hamstring workout, and winced at the thought of an epic.

“We ride with flash lights,” Kit asserted.

We met, like many rides, at the local Starbucks. I brought extra water, Clif Bars, a jacket, and knee warmers. He brought a camera.

I never really had to eat any of the bars or layer up. But what I did was stop riding every few minutes to pose for his many pictures.

Kit took lots of “SUPA” shots; he was happy.

My quivering hamstrings were spared, and I never even had to invent a legendary excuse. I was super happy, too.


Rich said...

Hey Marla,

Good to see that your back here in the good ole USA. It's also good to hear that there are still a few people out there that think the US is still a great place to come to. It seems that all we hear lately is people bagging on the US.

It's sounds like you got Kit going in the right direction.


11:33 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hey Marla, I always wondered what would become of you. Needless to say you may have exceded my expectations. Baltimore hasn't been the same without you! Drop me a line

Congrats on everything, sounds like you're having a blast!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

Dear Marla,

I was recently in Bangkok where the pollution got the better of me and I spent a few days taking it easy...with your autobiography for entertainment.
I have to say it made me feel more miserable because I could not bring my bike with me and I was missing riding like crazy!
No really, I thought the book was really cool!
I left it at the hostel in hope that someone else would become a mountain bike convert.
I started riding at 23. I was bored of smoking dope, trampling into pretentious nightclubs. I was alarmed that my hips were getting wider. I wanted something better in my life, and I needed to set an example for my daughter. She was 3 at the time. Sure I was at uni, but whats working hard and studying when at home your a miserable blimp?
I didn't have bikes and stuff growing up, I was brought up a 'lady'. Without going into ridiculous amounts of detail, I loved your book because I could relate to how bikes changed your life, as they have also changed my own.
Anyway to cut a long story short I am now in the North East of England visiting family for xmas.
I hope someone buys me a bike!:P
If your ever in Australia (&I am back home) Email me on and you probably end up handing me my ass.

4:46 AM  
Anonymous said...

I missed out some workds there! it probably sounded a little rude!

I meant if you have time email me, I'd like to go riding with you. But you probably end up handing me my butt.
I'm not some type of pervert!

4:48 AM  
Repack Rider said...

Hey Marla!

Who knew you had a blog? Now I'll have to keep readng it.

You know me. I'm the piano mover you interviewed at Sears Point.

Too bad you left Marin before they graded Repack. The course is the fastest it's been since "back in the day." Hittin' it every chance I get.

10:38 PM  
Zuke said...

Great story! How neat to be able to inspire someone like Kit to go gung-ho into the world of mtn biking - American-style! You're an international ambassador of mtn biking! Good show!

8:55 AM  

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