• Dawn Barnable

The BikingWomen of Corsica: Meet Joyce Oikawa

The last edition of BikingMan Corsica, a 700km/13,000m self supported ultra cycling race took place in April 2019, starting a year ago today. Due to the current global pandemic, the 2020 edition, which was supposed to be underway at the time of publishing, has been postponed. To relive the magic of the 2019 edition, we’re taking a look back at the 8 women who competed in, and successfully completed, this painfully beautiful race.

The Facts:

  • Name: Joyce Oikawa

  • Age: 34

  • Nationality: Brazilian residing in NYC

  • Profession: Financial Analyst

  • BikingMan Corsica as a pair

  • Found on IG as @joyceoikawa

The Background:

For Joyce Oikawa, the biggest challenge of BikingMan Corsica was not physical. The New York-based Brazilian was no stranger to testing her endurance having completed no less than 7 full marathons, countless triathlons, and 2 full Ironman triathlons. Did we mention that qualified for and completed the Ironman World Championships that took place in Hawaii this past October? Yeah, that too. For Joyce, the idea of being unsupported presented the major challenge of the race. Taking on the race as a pair with her partner Thibault, and despite some challenges along the way, she finished in just 60h44 minutes. In her own words:

Why BikingMan Corsica?

The BikingMan race was on my bucket list race since last year but it was not on my calendar for 2019. Since I had to cancel my plans to run Tokyo Marathon in March 2019 due an injury diagnosed in January (a stress fracture on foot), I wanted to do another race in the first part of the year. Then, when Thibaut, my partner talked to me about the idea to do the Corsica edition of BikingMan together we decided to sign-up 1 month before the race.

Tell us about your training for the race.

Dealing with the injury and the last-minute decision to sign up to the race, I didn’t have too much time to train for the race. I was injured in January and was back on a bike by March, but just 1h easy per session. At the end of March, when we decided to do the race together, I started doing some long rides on the weekends and some short workouts during the week.

Thoughts on the start line?

I was super nervous about the race and the idea to be unsupported. It was my first ultra-cycling race ever! I did some bike trips with the same amount of riding and climbing but all supported. It was a completely different story.

What was your race strategy, and did you follow it?

Our strategy was finish in 55hours dividing in 3 parts with some sleep per night. We had some mechanical problems on the first day, a lot of flats due to my wheel and when we got Ajaccio (CP2) we decided to find a bike shop to fix my wheel. So, we lost some time to solve this but after this all good with the bike no more flats and we could enjoy more the race stopping in nice cafes for local food and stunning spots for incredible photos.

What was the most challenging aspect of the race for you?

What was the most challenging aspect of the race for you? For me, the most challenging aspect was to be unsupported. The equation of being light, not carry too much weight but at the same time bringing everything you need is the key. I was not expecting that cold we had up in the mountains, so I didn’t pack leg warmers nor proper clothes for that weather. The day we started riding 3am up the mountains and it was 0 Degrees Celsius… it was so brutal. I don’t deal well with cold weather (I’m Brazilian :) and descending in shorts with not much clothes either on my body, it was hard. My mind wanted to stop but I knew I needed to keep going and not thinking much about my feelings.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of the race?

Exploring a new place on bike (Corsica was on my bucket list to ride), meet amazing people on the race and share life experiences with them. For me it was an awesome adventure and experience and can’t wait to do it again.

What advice would you give someone thinking about doing an ultra-cycling race?

As everyone told me on the first day of BikingMan its life changing! An experience I will never forget! The environment is amazing because is not just about being fast or performing is about exploring, enjoying life on the bike and finding yourself.

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