[Special curse] Grinduro! Japan 2023


I have participated in Grinduro! Japan. I’ve been… It was a difficult event to evaluate because it was a mix of shit and godliness.

I can’t really say that I’ve seen a special curse.

race management

Timekeeping is bullshit and shit.

The timed event was held on Saturday as a prologue stage, but only about half of the riders were able to be timed. I have no idea if it’s a problem with the measurement chip or what. I tried to check again the next morning, but it was erased… The measurement system seems to be the same as the OMM (a popular logging event in Japan), so I think there may have been a problem with the operation. Maybe it was the curse spirits, lol.

Most problematic of all, the results were secretly changed on Tuesday morning after the race. The results were also changed, with people on the podium being taken off, no times being changed to times, etc…
No apologies or anything. It’s too much shit.

The results of the race showed 416 riders and 227 finishers (56%). No, that’s definitely not true, and a much larger number of people finished. The organisers didn’t do a very good job of measuring times, even SDA Otaki (a toughest MTB marathon in Japan) has a slightly better finish rate. In some cases, other people’s times were reflected in the results, so how much can we really trust these results?

If they were treated like this, international participants and sponsored riders would cry.


The website is shit.

The information is basically in English and is divided into a home country site and a local Japanese site. Information is posted in several places and it is not easy to get to the desired information.

For example, the camp information on the home site looks like this.

Camping Details For those looking for camping options, we will share some more information shortly.

However, the Japanese website has more details.


No reservation required
Limited availability

Open tent campsite 1/2
Tent only(no cars)
Toilet and showrers are available at the LAB(6am-12am)

Car tent site 1/2/3
Camping with car is possible
Toilet and showrers are available at the LAB(6am-12am)


That’s totally different!

I can’t get to the information I want because every single thing is like this. It looked as if the participants had not received the information that the start time was one hour earlier and that the course information had been published. I feel like I’m participating in a maniacal Western game by myself. We were able to manage it because we were a multi-participant group and shared the information, but if I had participated solo I would have been pissed off.


Reception at the race is shit.

For some reason there was a 1-2 hour wait for the reception for an event of only 400 people. When I entered the event, I was issued a ticket with a QR code, so I wondered if I had to hold it up to a camera. I thought I was going to be able to find my name printed on a piece of paper. The letters are super tiny, about 2mm square. It’s impossible to find something like that.

If the entry list was distributed to participants in advance and they were asked to report their numbers at the reception desk, it would take less than half the time, but why do they dare to make it so difficult?

Furthermore, they activate the measurement chip on the spot, but… I thought, there’s no double-checking and I’m sure they’ll get it wrong. And sure enough, they got it wrong. You should have done it beforehand! That would be a mistake!
Twitter reported that DNSed riders were being measured. Cursed spirits doing their thing, eh?

QR codes that were not used.

Queues like at Disneyland

Not telling me to change the course sucks.

It was not announced that SS3 was being shortened from the originally planned 8 km to 2 km.

It was a single-track traffic jam, which was shit.

I took it easy on the SS1 climb as it was not relevant for the time measurement, but there was a huge traffic jam on the singletrack downhill. I couldn’t ride at my own pace at all…
Couldn’t they have made MTBs go ahead or something?

Also, is the rumour true that they didn’t get permission from Iwatake (the organiser of the downhill course at the venue)?


Failure to take out insurance is shit

I asked if the organisers had event insurance, but they didn’t answer, so they probably didn’t.
As far as I could observe, it was only a serious injury and a broken bone, but this would have been bad if there had been a more serious accident.

I read on TKC’s blog that the organisers have a very slash-and-burn farming approach to things. I don’t care if there’s an accident or if they don’t have a permit, we’re not going to do it here next year anyway. There is no sustainability. I think it’s simply shit.


Camping (guidance) sucks

Camping is too shitty with no fires allowed. The information about camping was given about a week before the race (the website was updated). No, you can’t have a fire ban so late in the day, it’s a bit rusty in Hakuba in late October!

I was going to camp, but in the end I left my tent behind and ran away to an inn.

Why is the management such a dick?

Why is that?
I also hear that the old Grinduro! was really good, so maybe they changed the people in it or something. Well, I don’t know, but it sucks. In my eyes as an ordinary participant, Grinduro! itself and Ride Japan, the Japanese organiser, are all shit.

Everyone involved in this operation should be swallowed up by the “Infinite Void”



No, when you put it like this, it sounds like a 100% shit-event, but there were some god-like parts, you know?


God has treated us to a beer

I was having a bit of a lark after the finish line and some stranger handed us a beer.

Thanks for your hard work, guys! Well, have a beer! That’s what he meant, right?

I like this kind of thing because it’s loose.
But they don’t give it to everyone, so it’s up to luck. I happened to see God. God is fickle. God was a bearded old man with a beer in his right hand.


The self-responsible part is God

I believe the requirement for a good gravel event is that the participants should feel accepted by the community, and they were perfect in that respect!

It’s all your own responsibility, the best!

But it’s the organiser’s responsibility to get event insurance.


Parties are, it’s hard for the shady ones

Not for me, but I’m sure the jolly old lot had a good time.

I think the entry fee would have been about half of what it would have been if the organisers had done without the bands they brought in for this party. I think, on the other hand, for the organisers, inviting a band and a hardcore course were inseparable components.


The event management generally sucks, so the next step is the course.



Tough track if you don’t have MTB. God? Shit?

The course is basic fun, for the MTBer.

From an MTB point of view, it’s a common course, but from a gravel point of view, it’s very hardcore.

The descents of SS1 and SS4 are so difficult that they are clearly designed to kill gravel riders. If you don’t have a certain level of skill and experience, and can’t choose the right equipment for the course, you will die at a high rate. Even my teammates, who usually don’t fall off the bike, fell off one after another and it was terrible… I was on a MTB so I didn’t have any problems, but if I’d competed on a gravel bike, I’d rate this course as shit.

Naturally, there were some serious injuries. Several people appear to have broken bones. The person who broke his arm in the middle of the Iwadake downhill course had to wait until all the riders had finished… grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Incidentally, this was the prologue on Saturday.

The downhill section was timed, so many people were flying and scattering on the first try.

It would be a super gamble to set this as the course for a one-day event, as the difficulty level would definitely cause it to be cancelled if it rained.


The philosophy that determines a true gravel grinder is God

The course of Grinduro! had four timed sections

SS①: Downhill on rocky terrain
SS②: Double-track gentle downhill
SS③: Flat, short double track
SS④: Climbing a steep hill and descending all the way down x 2

It has a well-balanced layout of climbs and descents. The winners here are the off-road riders who have the combination of ‘hill-climbing ability’, ‘downhill skills’ and ‘loose head screws (to be able to fly on the course for the first time)’. A look at the riders who were actually strong, well, they certainly have all three!

Last year’s Nobeyama Gravel Challenge was timed entirely uphill, which I know is a safety consideration, but isn’t that just a dirt hill climb? Grinduro! is an off-road event that answers the question: who’s the best at climbing and descending? was a course worthy of an off-road event, answering the question “Who’s the best at all the climbs and descents?

I think this is the philosophy of Grinduro! The management sucks, but the gall of the organisers to set up this course is really impressive.


So, as for the course, it was good for me on my MTB!


Now for the details.



MX International booth was good

It was good.
They were handing out Salsa goodies and were super generous!
I got a collaboration glove from HANDUP and Salsa!

The Cutthroat I test rode was also really good!

The Shimano booth was also good

I got a bandana! This bandana was super nice.

Aid food is not good

The food was not bad at all. It was good, but the quantity and variety was small and shabby, which is atrocious considering it’s a 30,000 yen event meal.
Breakfast was onigiri and apple, and aid was water, some kind of bread and Red Bull. Shoddy.

Accommodation was good

The accommodation was super good.
But is it really so bad that the price doubles when you book via Grinduro!

Entry fees are high

Even though it includes two nights camping, 30,000 yen is a lot of money. (And no camping firearms allowed.) No, I know it doesn’t make sense to discuss the highs and lows of the price because it’s an event where you don’t have a choice, but still. Expensive.

The slightly foreign atmosphere in Hakuba was nice

It was the first time I had set foot in the centre of Hakuba, an area with a concentration of inns and restaurants, but it had a great atmosphere. It had a very foreign feel to it. But if you stretch your legs a little further, you can see a Japanese landscape lined with private houses, and this gap is also good!
Niseko seems to be like this, and the whole area has been refined for inbound travelers. The food is good too.

Hakuba in the afternoon

Hakuba at night

Japanese landscape



He’s on a gravel bike and he’s very fast! The filmmaker of the video was first in his age group in this measured section


A special curse of shitty management and hardcore courses.

An event that people have very different opinions of.

Rumour has it that it will be held in Hakuba next year, but even if it is, I won’t be there – I think it would take a dominatrix to pay 30,000 yen ($200) for a taste of that shitty management.

So I can’t recommend it to people, hmmm. For those who travel to Okinawa, Hokkaido or overseas, the 30,000 yen entry fee is not that much of a burden, and I think it depends on the values of the participants. It wasn’t a bad event, apart from the fact that the management sucked.

Personally, I was happy to exorcise my lingering grudge from 2019; I had a regret in 2019 because I had to DNS due to a typhoon.
It’s so refreshing to wake up from a long dream that lasted four long years.