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The lap of Kyushu has been decided!


Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
December 23 – 30.

Saturday 23rd: I've got my plane ticket, and I fly from Haneda airport to Shin-Kita-Kyushu airport – I leave at 10:25am, and arrive at 12:10pm.
I'll ride from the airport about 1:00pm, and I should arrive in Fukuoka around early evening – hopefully while it's still light. When I get to Fukuoka, I'll have to look for a business-hotel, or a capsule-hotel, even a "sauna"! Then have dinner, and hit the pillow real early.
Total for the day: 90km (More, if I ride to Haneda airport)!

Sunday 24th: I'll leave Fukuoka early, and ride to Nagasaki. On the way though, there will be some hills. I'll be carrying my new Deuter 30 litre backpack, which will weigh in at about 7-8kg, so I won't be climbing very fast. When I get to Nagasaki, I'll have some "Nagasaki-Chanpon" - Like vegetable Ramen!
Total for the day: 150km

Monday 25th (Christmas): Nagasaki to Kumamoto!
I have a friend who lives just north of Kumamoto, in a small town called "Uekimachi", so I'll be able to stay there for the night.
Total for the day: 150km

Tuesday 26th: I'll ride from Kumamoto to a small town about 50km north-west of Kagoshima, called "Sendai" – not the one in Miyagi-ken.
I think this will be my hardest day! It looks like it will be a century ride, with a lot of "ups & downs", similar to Izu-hanto. I'll need a really early start.
Total for the day: 160km

Wednesday 27th: Sendai to Miyako-no-jo (where the Tokyo Giants baseball team take their yearly vacation). It's 50km to Kagoshima, and I might make a small trip around there before I jump on the ferry to Sakura-Jima. After I get off the ferry, I'll only have a short 50km ride into Miyako-no-jo – It's kind of my rest day after those three long ones!
Total for the day: 100km

Thursday 28th: Miyako-no-jo to Nobeoka.
I'll leave Miyako-no-jo in the morning, and ride 50km to Miyazaki, over up & down terrain. From there, I'll head straight up the east coast of Kyushu (along the Pacific Ocean) on what I think are flat roads – 80km. It might be easy, or it might be really hard (depending on the wind – I've heard that this time of year, the wind is from the north, and that could make things difficult).
Total for the day: 130km

Friday 29th: Nobeoka to Beppu (Onsen).
It doesn't look so far on the map, but there are some big mountains in the way!
I'll be carrying over 7kg of luggage with me, and I don't think I'll want to be doing too much "mountain-climbing".
I have a choice of 3 routes/roads to take:
1. I could follow the ocean road on Rte.388, but it's a lot longer.
2. I could take the shortest route possible – Rte.326 – But that one is a climb of more than 20km to near the peak of a mountain 1,408m high….. I don't think so!
3. The middle road! Rte.10, which follows the train line – I think this will be my choice on the day!
Total for the day: 110-120km

Saturday 30th: From Beppu back to Shin-Kita-Kyushu airport!
My last day. I'll jump in one of those hot-springs in the morning, and while I take my time heading back to the airport I'll be thinking, "I only have 100km to go!".
I haven't bought the ticket home yet, because I have no idea what time I'll get to the airport, so I'll buy the ticket when I arrive there.
From there, it'll be "finally back to Tokyo!!!"
Total for the day: 110km

All up, it will be about 1,000km over 8 days!
I think I'll have a really sore arse afterwards though.
If I can find some internet cafes along the way, I'll send some updates.
IF you can join me, GREAT! Otherwise, all I'm asking is that you "wish me luck" – I'll need it!


23日:航空券が取れて(10:25発 - 12:10着)。新北九州空港から自走で福岡へ向かえ、夕方ぐらい福岡に着くようにします(日が沈む前だといいな~!と、、、)。
福岡に着いたら、ビジネスホテルか?カプセルか?サウナさえもか?を探し、夕飯を食べてから、ぐーぐーと寝ます。 約90km。

24日:朝早く福岡を出て、長崎に行きます。途中で山の上り坂がありそう。荷物は、DEUTERの30リトルのリュックで、7-8kgなので、だらーっと登ります。長崎に着き、ちゃんぽん食い! 約150km。

熊本の近くにある「植木町」に、友達が住んでるので泊まらせてもらう事になりました。 約150km。

これは一番ツラい日だと思う、、、まるでセンチュリーになりそう。伊豆半島と同じ様な「アップ・ダウン」が多いみたいです。 約160km。

27日:川内から都城(読売GIANTSが毎年 休憩しに行く町だそう!)へ。
多分 一番楽な日。川内から鹿児島までは50kmぐらいです。鹿児島をポッタリングしてから、フェリーで桜島に行ったら、都城までも50kmしかない。なんとなくレスト・デーとなります。 約100km。

でもこの時季は「北風だよ!」と聞いたので、ちょっと心配。 約130km。

・ 海沿いなら、山坂より楽なんだけど、距離が延びる(国道388号)。
・ 一番近い距離なんだけど(国道326号)、1,408mの山の頂上に近くまで登らなきゃ、、、やめとこ!
・ 多分(国道10号)で「日豊本線」のそばで行こうかな~?

Travis, I'd really be keen on joining, can't tell how much I envy you! :)

Unfortunately, I have work until Christmas Eve. You'd be in Kumamoto on the 25th, right? Also, you said you are going to use Ostrich's "airplane-proof" rinko-bukuro. Will you leave it at Shin-Kita-Kyushu airport? I am using the same bag, it's basically not foldable (see below, pics taken in Beppu btw).

Thanks for your replies!

Thomas, maybe a slight misunderstanding - I won't be taking an "air-plane bag!" (I don't have one) - Just my usual "rinko-fukuro". I will just have to trust the airline staff to take care of the Giant! - If the bike gets f*****d up along the way, I will have enough tools on me to make the bike ridable until I get to Fukuoka, and then my first stop will be a "jitensha-ya-san" (bike shop)!
I will remember to let the air out the tires though - They can burst at altitude.

And Phil, "ganbaru shika nai" - I can do nothing else but just ride the course, and do my best! It might be tough in some places, though...

Kiwisimon, thanks for your good wishes (I'm an Aussie, by the way - so even though we're far apart, we're not THAT far away) - Hope you can make it down this way soon, so we can ride together! - maybe next year, if you have the time - March or April would be good!

Thanks again for your support! T


ツーリングのレポート楽しみにしています、走ったときだけではなく、どんなところに泊まったか?どんなところで飲んだか?教えてください。:D 九州なんで、温泉レポートも期待してますよ。

Good luck bro! Thats quite a trip you got planned there. Send me a mail to my phone now and then, let me know how you are getting on!

All the best

トラさん 本当凄い:eek: ! 1000キロのライドなんて考えられませぇ~~ん。


Looks like good weather!

Hey guys,
I checked the weather report, and it looks like I'll have clear skies for the next few days, at least.
My back-pack is almost full, but I'll carry my "rinko-fukuro" in my spare bottle holder.
This will probably be my last entry to the site for a while, but I've made arrangements with Thomas, and Ashwarren to keep you all updated on my progress.
After last week's race, I feel like I could do anything, but still, I'm still worried about the distance, the hills, the wind!
I can't express my gratitude for all the support you've all shown!
To all of you, thanks again! And I'll post the report & photos when I get back!
All you guys... Rubber down, eh! T
Hey guys,
I checked the weather report, and it looks like I'll have clear skies for the next few days, at least.
My back-pack is almost full, but I'll carry my "rinko-fukuro" in my spare bottle holder.
This will probably be my last entry to the site for a while, but I've made arrangements with Thomas, and Ashwarren to keep you all updated on my progress.
After last week's race, I feel like I could do anything, but still, I'm still worried about the distance, the hills, the wind!
I can't express my gratitude for all the support you've all shown!
To all of you, thanks again! And I'll post the report & photos when I get back!
All you guys... Rubber down, eh! T

Dude! Go For It!! Make arrangements for where to stay in the towns and villages along the way!
Day 1

Here's the update Travis has sent tonight. Seems he's rubbering down quite fine! :)

YellowGiant by keitai said:

I had a bonen-kai last night, but I managed to make it to Haneda on time.

After the plane landed, I put the bike back together, and pumped up the tires - I had to let them down for the plane trip. I left Kita-Kyushu Airport at 1:30.
The first 20km was into a nasty headwind to Kokura. But the roads were great - lots of room between the white line and the kerb; almost a metre for most of the way.

After Kokura though, the road condition wasn't as good.
I rode the next 50km with only one small break before going through my first tunnel (40km from Fukuoka).

It was very rarely flat, and the "ups" weren't steep, but they were sooo long! Although, there is downhill on the other side - but the wind kind of drained the excitement a bit.

Once I got within 20km of Fukuoka, the traffic picked up, and with a little "legal drafting", the speed went up too.

The main problem with the roads is there's a crease in the road, like a seem - and sometimes it's like a groove near the white line - my front wheel got caught in it and I nearly went down - I had to bunny-hop out before I lost balance. After that I had to ride further out from the line into the traffic area - that was the only scary moment.

The weirdest thing though, is the lack of 2-wheeled vehicles - There are almost NO motorbikes or scooters! And I only saw ONE cyclist on a road bike. After Tokyo traffic, not having any motorbikes to deal with was like being on a different planet - even mama-chari's are rare!

Anyway, I made it here, and found a business hotel for 5,500en.

Until tomorrow! T
Hi Thomas-san,

thank you for your acting post.:D

Day 2

Hi guys,

here's an update from Travis' Day 2 in Kyushu. :D

YellowGiant by keita said:






Day 3

More news from Travis the Brave... :thumb:

YellowGiant by keitai said:

It hurts me to say; unfortunately, I had to shorten my originally planned route for today. There are a few reasons for this:

1. Change of accommodation plans - I was planning to stay 15km north of Kumamoto, but my friend never got my e-mail (I called him last night, and he had no idea what I was talking about.)

2. The weather - It's supposed to start pouring here, in Kumamoto tonight (I felt a few drops when I arrived, but nothing since.)

3. I cannot lie! - Yesterday's ride took a lot more out of my legs than I expected.

If I had ridden the full original course today (with accommodation changes), it would've been 165km, and I would still be riding now, with the possibility of being rained on for the last 20km.

I still think I could've made it..... But it would've been the last day of this trip - ie. It would have broken my riding spirit, and I don't think I'd have the courage to clip in tomorrow.

As it is, I still managed 92km (with a short ferry ride in between). AND, I ain't broken yet!!! I'll be riding to tomorrow's scheduled destination, as planned - only 15km shorter than the 160 I thought it would be. Also, that 145km looks like it will be in the pouring rain.


And today:

I left Nagasaki (without a doubt, the worst roads in the country - Ash, Meiji-dori is a dream compared to Nagasaki) at 8:30, and headed for Tahira (多比良) ferry port - 56km. There was a nasty headwind along the coast, but I caught up with a guy on a MTB (nice carbon "SCOTT"), and we ended up working together quite well - taking turns in front when the speed dropped.

After I got off the ferry at Nagasu (長洲港) that same wind that made the first leg so hard, actually started working for me - Rte.501 ROCKS - dead straight and flat for 10km - with a tailwind.

I arrived in Kumamoto at 14:10, and met the friend I was planning to stay with. Had dinner, and then back here (to the hotel - 5,800en).



Day 4

And here is Travis' 4th report... :)

YellowGiant by keitai said:


Go figure - what I thought would be my hardest day, actually turned out to be my easiest so far.

I finally started riding sensibly! Before, I was constantly watching my speed, and if it fell even a little bit, I would pick up the pace - ie. burning myself out unnecessarily.

I've found my "ALL DAY CADENCE"! I stopped watchng my speed, and just started feeling my legs/gears/power-output, etc. It's not fast; Between 25-30km/h - Thomas, you would probably be so frustrated at the slow pace - but I know I can hold that cadence all day (as long as I eat regularly).

Anyway, today's ride:

I left Kumamoto at 8:25 in light rain. At about 9:00, the rain got a little heavier, and continued until about 10:30. After that, I had a break at the foot of a climb that lead to a series of tunnels (one of them, 1.5km long). Basic pattern: a long up to the tunnel, followed by a long down, then up again to the next tunnel. That long one was scary though - I got passed by about 18 trucks, & 2 tour buses!

After the tunnels, I came down to a small town, and had another break (Family Mart "Fried chicken" rocks!) That was about 2:00, and the sun actually came out, so I took off my rain gear and continued on - about 60km from the goal.

AND, that's when the wind kicked in big time - but at last, in a GOOD way - I had a full on gail of a tailwind... And I was flying!! At one time, I held 40km/h for a three km stretch.

From there on in, it was clear skies and plain sailing. I arrived here, SATSUMA-SENDAI (薩摩川内) at 4:45 - real quick!

All up so far:
DAY 1: 88km.
DAY 2: 154km.
DAY 3: 92km.
DAY 4 (TODAY): 149km.

TOTAL: 483km.

Tomorrow, a short 50km ride to Kagoshima, then a (scheduled) ferry ride to Sakura-Jima, from where I'll ride around the coast before one 3km STEEP climb. All downhill after that, to Miyako-no-jo (都城)- about 105km all together.

Pic 1: the climb before the first tunnel . where I had a break.

Pic 2: the long tunnel.

Pic 3: riding up to the last tunnel.

Pic 4: riding down the west coast - with a tailwind!

Pic 5: After riding in the rain this morning, my bike was (still is, actually) filthy! When I got here, it was still light, so I went looking for a gas station that had a high-pressure water hose. None of them did. So I rode around for a bit, and I saw a taxi driver cleaning his cab. I asked him if there was a H.P.hose, and he said, "yes, around the back", but it was just a normal hose (not high pressure). Anyway, I just went to the combini and bought a pack of three white towels, some medical gauze, and an ear-cleaner with a wool bit on the end - for between the chain links. I'm gonna be busy tomorrow, before I even leave.
Valuable lesson from Travis..

Turn that computer upside down and ride to your condition. I never used to look at mine during the day. They play on the mind too much, out of sight is out of mind and the touring becomes a lot more enjoyable. Valuable lesson there for people from Travis ride to your legs not a machine. Keep going mate and you really are traveling light. Oh and hold your place on the road in the verge is cruddy, the cars and trucks can make room for you.(either that or you'll be dead). Thanks for the reports. 追い風に!
I've read the report every day. I'm really looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing. "気をつけて" そして "Goof luck!!" :)
Day 5

And he's still rubbering... Day 5. :cool:

YellowGiant by keitai said:


Yesterday was supposed to be one of my hardest days, yet it was the easiest. Today was supposed to be my easiest day, yet it was one of the hardest.

Firstly, anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a stickler for maps and distances - so I don't know how I managed to be out by 17km... Today's total, 122km.

Secondly, while I was looking for the "climb", (It was on the map, but the map LIED TO ME!!!) I started walking up an abandoned service road in the hopes of finding the start of the steepest climb (but there were roadworks, so I couldn't just go straight up). As I pushed the bike up - way too steep to ride, and slippery with moss - it started getting more and more overgrown with thick vegetation. But I felt that I'd already come too far to turn back, so I pressed on. A few times, I was afraid it would turn into a dead-end, and I'd be forced to turn around and go back down.

Anyway, I ended up hiking for about 2km (30 minutes) before I finally found civilization - tin sheds and shacks. I made it Rte.504, and up to my last turn-off, Rte.10. But by then, it was already starting to get dark (5:30-ish), and I still had 25km to ride.

I'm not sure which was scarier, walking up a deserted dirt track in the middle of nowhere, or riding more than 20km's on unlit country roads in the pitch dark. BUT... I made it here at about 6:45, and checked in to the hotel - safe & sound.

The beginning of the day went smoothly though. I woke up a little late, at 7:30, had breakfast and gave the bike a full clean - frame, wheels, chain, gears and brakes.Then set out at 10:30. I got to Kagoshima (54km) at 1:00, and caught the 1:45 ferry. I had lunch on the Sakura-Jima side, and set out again at 2:30. From there, it was a 30km ride to the "climb", where all my troubles started.

It was a long and arduous day, but I'm still on target for the ride to Nobeoka tomorrow - the signs say 142km.

Still rollin'! 5 down, 3 to go!

Total so far: 605km.

Until tomorrow! T

Pic 1: half-way to Kagoshima.

Pic 2: Sakura-jima, from the ferry.

Pic 3: 10 minutes into the hike.

Pic 4: where am I?
Day 6

Day 6 for Travis... :D

YellowGiant by keitai said:


I woke up at the usual 6:00 - I learnt my lesson about sleeping in yesterday - and set out at 8:30. From today onwards, I only have one road to follow - Route 10 - So, no more navigational errors like the one yesterday.

Only one mistake I made was, before I turned my bike upside down to clean the chain, I took my water bottle out so it didn't leak. But I forgot to put it back in the holder. I'd already ridden about 8km when I went to take a sip, and realized what happened. I decided not to go back, because it was too much trouble. So now I'm riding with a 900ml bottle of POCARI SWEAT, which fits in the holder just fine.

The ride out of Miyako-no-jo was flat for about 10km, then a long up (not too steep), followed by a series of ups & downs for about 20km, then a long down into Miyazaki (56km).

The wind was blowing almost perfectly W to E, so the ride to Miyazaki was pretty quick. But then, I had to make a left (still on Rte.10), and head north. That's when I first noticed the wicked side-wind coming from my left (blowing me into the traffic) - one or two side streets were really gusty. It remained like that for the rest of the day.

However, if the road was heading even slightly NE, I felt it as a tailwind. But when the road turned westward, the headwind could be pretty fierce. Fortunately, it was mostly north-east.

As for the trucks....You know! Another thing, was the cold. I didn't notice until I was almost here (Nobeoka), but my feet were freezing. I got here just before sunset, about 5:00.

The only hairy moment was a long straight bridge over a really wide river, with the wind blowing hard directly from the left. I was leaning over to counter-balance, but everytime I passed one of the many steel pillars, it would block the wind for a split second, and I would almost fall into the guard rail. I could only manage a speed of 22km/h, and I knew the traffic was building up behind me - all I could do was keep pedalling, try to keep my bike upright, and make it to the other side.

Apart from that, it was just another day in the saddle. BTW, the road signs were spot on - exactly 142km (I was expecting a discrepancy of 2-3km).

Tomorrow (according to the signs), it's 125km to Beppu. It's hard to tell on the
map, but it looks like two fairly big climbs, then down to Beppu.

Anyway, till tomorrow! T

Pic 1: Where I noticed my bottle gone..

Pic 2: The turn in Miyazaki where the wind turned "side".

Pic 3: Starting to cheer up!

Pic 4: First beach on eastern Kyushu - 60km north of Miyazaki.

Pic 5: Cheered up! But cold feet!

Pic 6: Real happy!
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