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S. S. S. S. S.


Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
This acronym very loosely translates to "Seaside to Seaside; Rte. Seventeen Suicide".

The seaside to seaside part is fairly self-explanatory. And Rte.17 is the chosen method of making one contemplate ending it all. In short: Tokyo to Niigata, via Rte.17 …in one go (365km).
At first, it sounded a little bit daft, but after thinking it through it definitely seems possible.
The main precedent for this ride is the "Tour de Fuji Tozan": https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=358 in which we rode from Tokyo to Mt.Fuji and back again, totaling 335km over a 21-hour period (I swore to myself I'd never do anything like that again… but thank God for short memories, eh!)
The second, is a mainstay ride of the Positivo Espresso team – "The Itoigawa long ride", which is 290km at race speeds no less – nearly 30km/h average speeds!

What I'm proposing here, is more like a "brevet / randonnee" or "audax": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevet_(cycling) . Even at a moderate pace, we should be able to cover that distance in 18-21 hours. Add to that the 2-hour Shinkansen ride back to Tokyo, and we should all have completed the round trip within 24 hours – That is the GOAL!
The other really cool thing about this ride is not that the distance is over 360km, but that because Niigata is almost directly north of Tokyo we'll be covering over two whole latitudinal degrees north! If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will! I am NOT a nerd :confused:.

Another thing to note, is that it will include riding at (in fact all through the) NIGHT – sometimes on unlit mountain roads. This means you'll require some serious illumination. (There is a thread about lights somewhere – I will add it when I find it.)
And finally, the timing of the ride is important. I've tried to arrange it so that no-one will have to descend in the dark:
This will mean leaving Tokyo at around 8pm, and arriving in Numata (155km) by 4am.
From Numata, there is a 30km steady climb – not steep at all, but constant enough that even the fastest riders won't arrive at the summit (185km) before sunrise (5:15). That should make the following descent a tad safer. Once at the summit, all riders should continue downhill for the next 70km to a small town called "Horinouchi" (255km) – Following Rte.17 all the way, I might add!

After breakfast at Horinouchi (let's assume 8am-ish), there's only 110km to go on almost completely flat roads; and most of that following the coastal road along the Sea of Japan.

All we need to do to break the 24-hour GOAL is be on the 17:38 Shinkansen from Niigata, and we'll arrive back in Tokyo by 8pm – The exact time we left the previous evening.

Obviously this is not the sort of ride one can do at the drop of a hat, and it's not one I'd like to try in sweltering heat either, so I'm setting it quite a ways in the future. That will give everyone who's interested (assuming ANYONE is actually interested) time to re-arrange schedules, buy lights, get last wills & testaments ready, etc.
How about early-mid September, just after the summer heat has lost its bite?
The other choice, is for a Friday night departure; 9/4 or 9/11? Or, a Saturday night departure; 9/5 or 9/12?
*Note: These options are to allow for the maximum number of riders (actually, "Randonneurs") to participate – I will NOT be doing this ride four times :eek:uch:.

The departure time can also be adjusted slightly – 8pm is the earliest we can leave, or we run the risk of having to ride down that big mountain in the dark. And the latest we can leave is 12-midnight, or we run the risk of missing the last train back to Tokyo (21:31 from Niigata).
Here is the map:
*Note: On the elevation guide, ignore the "spikes" towards the end of the ride. It is FLAT!

Oh yeah, this would also be the perfect ride to start off the "Hotaka Training" series – anything after this won't feel "long" at all.
Please reply to indicate your willingness to participate (or your willingness to dispute my sanity).
Rubber down!
Oooh, I like this. Count me in as definitely interested. :thumb::thumb:
Sounds like a good plan to me.

The 4th of Sept or 5th of Sept options would have my preference rather than the following week.
I'll get some decent lights before then, no repeats of last year's dim and dodgey dusk descents (D.D.D.D. while we are the acronym game.)

Looks like an interesting challenge.

I'm also very interested in this proposal.


P.s. Exactly how ghastly is Rt 17? is it like 246?
Sounds like a winner

I'm a huge fan of long painful rides at night down dark mountain passes. September sounds good...
Is the SSSS still a goer? Not that I can get down for it but would like to know if it is happening. Haven't seen Travis on the boards for a while either.
Sounds like fun (of the "Will my ass ever recover?" variety). I'd like to do this. Any of the proposed dates work for me, but it would be good to nail the date down soon.

Also - does anyone know if there's a convenient bath house near the end? It would be good (for me at least) to get cleaned up before catching the train.

Great minds think alike?

Coincidentally, I was in one of my local LBSes the other day, and the guy there happened to mention that the shop team is doing the exact same thing in September, riding up to Niigata and taking the train back. Wonder if it'll end up being on the same day...

Firstly, thanks to those who've expressed interest in coming along:
Clay (Echothree)
Lee (Wolfman)
Nick (Nickbeer)
Mike (Msimswil)
Phil [maybe?]

The general consensus seems to point to the weekend of the 5th and 6th.
That's less than two weeks away, so I hope everyone's ready.

The only other detail that needs clarifying is whether everyone is O.K. for a Friday night departure / Saturday return; or to leave on Saturday, and come back on Sunday. Personally, I'd prefer the Fri/Sat option, but I will bend to the wants of the majority.

In response to some of the other queries:
1. Rte 17 is not that bad. Once we've crossed Arakawa and are out of Tokyo, it's a fairly standard road up to Omiya. After Omiya though, it turns quite rural and is pretty much straight and flat until Maebashi. (I can't tell you much about this section, as the only other time I rode on it was also at night.) After Maebashi, the road will start to ascend.
2. YES! There is a sento (public bath) in Niigata, not too far from the station called "Midori-yu".

Also, I found a 24-hour family restaurant in Numata. This will probably be our longest (and main) food stop at around 3-4am. The place is called "Joyfull" (two L's).
http://www.joyfull.co.jp/ , and MAP
http://www.mapion.co.jp/m/36.637797222_139.03846111_8/v=m2:ジョイフル 沼田店/

I think that covers everything so far.
Please post your preferences for a Friday or Saturday night start.

Rubber Down!
I'm quite excited about this. Hope I don't slow you chaps down too much on the climb.

Shame that the tunnel at Mikuni-toge here prevents us from going truly 'up and over'. Nor is it a proper mikuni, being at the border of only two prefectures (I'll allow that political boundaries may have changed while the name stuck).

Wonder if the sento is tattooed-gaijin-friendly. Let's see!

Sleep is for the weak... (and I'll sleep for a week)

wanting a long ride

this sounds like fun.. wish I was getting to Japan 10 days earlier.. Doing 400 K rides here in northern california you can't get hot food in the middle of the night unless you bring a cooker!! I qualified for my 400K with 30 minutes to spare a cooker and 3 spare tires...
ANYHOW all the best on your RAID (?) keyohtsketaneigh...
erik ZO
Looks like Friday, it is!

All right, guys?
This Friday night.
As we're doing a "loop", so to speak, it only seems appropriate that we start from the very place we'll be arriving back at - Tokyo Station!
West (Nishi) exit - the same side as the Palace.
(URL edited).
If we are going to head off by 8pm, we should probably get there about 15 minutes earlier.

I imagine we'll all stay together as a group, at least as far as Numata.
There is a chance that we will get split up after that though, and so that we can at least all stay on the same road(s), I've drawn up a more detailed map of the last half of the ride.

Peruse it at your leisure. There are a only a few turn-off points that need to be remembered. Other than those few though, it's pretty straightforward.

Really looking forward to this one!
See you all there! Travis

P.S. PM me for my keitai number, if necessary. T

P.P.S. I rode past Tokyo station today, and they seem to be doing a lot of construction / renovation work there.
The easiest place to find is a large wide traffic island right between the "Shin-Marunouchi Building" and Tokyo station proper.
It's easy to spot because it's the only area with trees and shrubs. Here's the new map:
Clumsy me

Ouch! Yesterday afternoon I walked into a low wall and tore my knee up pretty bad. I could probably ride by the weekend, but a monster ride like this would be a bad idea so I'm going to bow out gracefully at this point. Hope it all goes well for you chaps!

chickening out

Travis, sorry for the late update, but as I hinted last time we spoke, I won't be able to make this. Have a concert to attend with the wife on Saturday, not to mention the brevet the following weekend...

Honestly sorry not to be joining you guys. Have a good and safe one. Will look forward to the ride reports.

Whew! It seems I must rename the ride - with the final "S" meaning 'Solo'.

It's not really that big a deal, as I initially thought about doing the ride by myself over 2 years ago.
In fact, I quite enjoy riding by myself because I don't have to worry about the other people in the group... "Am I going too fast?". "Am I going too slow" etc.
At least when I'm by myself, I know that the answer to both those questions is "YES!" ie. 'I AM burning myself out', and 'I am still behind schedule'.:eek:uch:

No, the last minute cancellations - Clay, with family obligations. Mike, with a banged up knee. Lee, not feeling his best. And Phil, also with family duties - have had more of an effect on my self esteem :cry:
Maybe I should change my name to 'Nigel', and move to a deserted island.
I know my mum would tell me she loves me (if she ever returned my calls:confused:)
"I am a valuable human being!"
"I am a valuable huma......":eek:

Anyway... since I've had this ride planned for nearly 2 months, my wife has made plans without me, and to not go would mean sitting
around my apartment all weekend, staring at a really really shiny bike with too many lights on it.

I also feel it is my civic duty to all of the intrepid readers out there, who are dying for tales of wonder and woe. I shall not let you down!
It is in this spirit, I shall head north tomorrow evening, across the country to the sea o'er yonder. Bid me dogs' speed, and I will return!

Oh yeah, I will still be leaving from outside Tokyo station at exactly 8:00pm. If you're in the area...

Massive chapeau...

and best wishes for a splendid solo...

God`s speed even...

Be safe Travis.
Very jealous and wish I could have joined you. I imagine with the extra km from your house, this will be true double century. Look forward to your report.
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