Written by Nooky Lair of Team Oasis
Here is the second edition of the OCM Travel Magazine. This time we venture into colder regions as we have manager Grimsey from the Icelandic Lundar Cycling Team as guest. Just yesterday he managed to get his first jersey with the YC at Fast on Wheels, just outside the podium in the GC with 4th overall. It is with the peculiar trained Gunnhvatur Vifillsson.
He has been around very long though. The oldies out here might remember Falur Sigfinnursson who was trained to a very respectable AV by Grimsey himself, but rose to stardom with further training by Die Tour Phantome. One of the first riders to reach AV 57. Falur later won Vuelta de los Castillos in season 22 and was 6th on the rider rankings of the same season.
1a. To which race location here in OCM would you like to go for a holiday?
“I would like to go back to Japan, more specifically to Osaka. So I would choose Osaka TT for a race, but I would like to stay not only for the TT race.”
1b. Why is it that you picked this place?
“I spent 2 months in this city and it's such a lovely and crazy place to enjoy good time. I have good memories from this city. Visiting Osaka could be a good start to discover Japan and all the treasures of this country.”
1c. What would you like to do there?
“I would like to spend most of my free time eating, drinking and singing. I would like to eat takoyakis, and okonomyaki, hanging out in Dotonbori all night long after, crazily singing in a karaoke session with friends and ending the night with a small cup of hot sake in one of the several rooftops of the city.”
1d. Would it include some real life cycling as well?
“Of course ! Osaka is a fantastic place to enjoy cycling, inside and outside to city. There are a lot great place to practice cycling. Osaka is surrounded by several mountains, where you can practice your climbing and downhill skills!”
2a. Were you already interested in Japanese food and karaoke before you went there?
“Before my trip, I was not so familiar with Japanese culture, so these interests grew day by day as I travelled in several parts of Japan and met a lot of Japanese people. I would say today, Japanese culture is a little part of me as I use to eat more often Japanese food, use to watch anime, thing I've never done before.”
2b. So could you share some of your karaoke or anime favorites?
“Hmmm, it's really hard to sing in Japanese, unless you drink some sake before ! But I would definitely choose Japanese pop songs from the 80's, like Plastic Love from Mariya Takeuchi or Someday from Tatsuro Yamachita.
To be honest I'm not a huge fan of animes or mangas. But everybody should at least watch Porco Rosso from Studio Ghibli, a wonderful anime masterpiece. I recently discovered on Netflix a Japanese TV-serie called Midnight Dinner: Tokyo Stories (based on a manga). Every episode focuses on a particular customer, it's a good way to discover some extra sides of the moderne Japanese society and Japanese famous dishes.
3a. What is actually your own homebase?
“Well, it's complicated, as I'm a virtual manager of an Icelandic squad based in Akureyri, but I'm a Portuguese guy living in France! I'm currently living close to Clermont-Ferrand, in France since almost 2 years.
To be honest, I think it's one of the most wonderful places in France! It's surrounded by amazing landscapes, like volcanoes, mountains, lakes ... It's some kind of paradise for the nature lover I am. Before I lived in Metz (France), a few weeks in Iceland, in Akureyri, and in Coimbra, my birthplace
3b. Is there any interesting to do nearby where you live(d)?
“My current area is very famous for its volcanoes. So, if you go to Clermont-Ferrand, you absolutely need to climb the Puy-de-Dome! If you go to Portugal, please visit Coimbra! It’s a very interesting city that need to be discovered, and there are such amazing dishes to taste over there!”
4a. And how about elsewhere in your country, what would you recommend?
“There are so many thing to visit in France, Portugal and Iceland. But if I had to pick a place in these countries, I would say the Serra da Estrela in Portugal, the Puy de Sancy in France and the Súlur, a mountain close to Akureyri in Iceland.”
4b. Do you also have some cycling tips?
“I’m more a mountain bike rider than a road cyclist. That’s why I would choose forests or mountains to cycle. The area of Sancy is a fun place for mountain bike lovers, but you need to be really careful!”
4c. Is there enough for a holiday destination in your opinion in your area?
“All these places are amazing for a holiday destination. Be sure to spend at least 4-5 days to visit the main city and the natural areas around Clermont, Coimbra, or even Akureyri. I don’t like to give an itinerary. The best thing that could happen when you travel is to get lost and discover amazing places without being prepared!”
5a. Now next episode we have Doctor Love in our show from the Midwest, USA. The place is known as flyover country. Would you care to make a stop there?
“Absolutely! I've never been to the USA and I would like to visit this huge country asap. I'm more fascinated about San Francisco, but would be glad to visit Midwest of course ! If I'm not mistaken, Chicago is part of Midwest, but I'm sure there would be a lot of thing to visit there and a lot of wonderful dishes to taste. I would be pleased to have some advices from Doctor Love for my trip there ;) “
5b. Cycling-wise you can't test your climbing or downhill skills where he lives. How's your attitude towards a more idyllic ride along cornfields, passing by barns and places where time might have stood a bit still?
“Sometimes I enjoy a more peaceful ride with my girlfriend in less technical paths. In my area, there are a lot of idyllic landscapes with only flat road, where you can ride on a wonderful sunset through some chestnut trees, counting how many squirrel you could see during your ride. These paths still offers wonderful views of the surrounding volcanoes and mountains. So, yes I’m up to that as well.”
5c. Doctor Love will mention something interesting next time for sure. Meanwhile can you help him with his soft spot for spicy food. What should he try with your knowledge of different food cultures?
“Well, French, Portuguese or Japanese food are not so spicy. In Portugal, we use to put some piri-piri to spice the food (and it turns to be really spicy !). Portuguese BBQ chicken (frango de churrasco) with some piri-piri is one of my favorite meals. Otherwise, I would recommend Japanese Curry, it turns to be spicy and it has an unbelievable taste.”
5d. One more thing. How does a warm-blooded Portuguese person end up in Akureyri? Or were you Lucky enough to be in Iceland in the summer season?
“Haha, this is a good question. Unfortunately I went there during summer season for an university internship (Yes yes, I said unfortunately!). I stayed there 2 months from May to July and I really enjoyed it. Icelandic people are really lovely, fun and open-minded. I feel attracted to Nordic countries and the way they live.
I could spent time to visit Grimsey Island as it was summer, a small island close to Akureyri and famous for its puffins (lundar in Icelandic). Too bad I was not able to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). I prefer winter above summer and really enjoy to hygge in my apartment. But I would not trade Portuguese food for Nordic food, no way!”