Tokyo to Nagoya - 24 hours!

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#1
Some of you might remember the last long ride I did – Tokyo to Niigata (358km).
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=1443

This time, I’ll be upping the ante, going from Tokyo to Kameyama, 60km past Nagoya. At 430km, it will be 70km farther than my last effort.

The route is fairly simple. I’ll take Rte.246 all the way down to Numazu, thus saving myself from having to climb Hakone. From Numazu, it’ll be Rte.1 all the way.
http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/japan/-nagoya/769125689933331180

And once again, I’ll be riding all through the night – I’ll be leaving at 3pm, and it’ll probably be dark before I reach Hon-Atsugi. With any luck, I’ll be just inside Aichi Prefecture (60km S-E of Nagoya) by the time the sun comes up tomorrow morning. Nagoya will mark the 370km point, and I will only have 60km to go (on roads that I’m familiar with from last year).

Once at Kameyama, I’ll make my way to my (wife’s) uncle’s Temple – He’s a Buddhist priest. That’s where I’ll be staying for the next few days with about 20 extended-family members.

I’m a little bit worried, as I haven’t been on any long rides recently. Last time, I had at least done a few 200+km rides prior to going. This time, I only have my 70+km commutes – ie. I have to do SIX days worth of commuting in one day.
Psychological warfare may come into play; “It’s not a 430km ride, it’s three 140km rides… and anyone can ride 140km!” I only have to pull that one twice. The third time, I will simply repeat the “You’re already 2-thirds of the way there!”
Besides that, I know how sore my arse will be after only 200km. Other than that though, “just keep pedaling” will be the mantra of the day.:bike:

Suffice to say, I don’t think I’ll be riding back though.
Will write a full ride report when I can.

Travis
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#3
Good luck, Travis!

You must know what you are doing, but I wouldn't want to ride through a long night on these very major roads. There will be plenty of crazy trucks - I just hope none of them hits you. I think route 246 and route 1 are no comparison to your trip to Niigata.

I think if I was ever to do such a long trip, I would start before sunrise in the morning on familiar roads with plenty of lighting, the make full use of the day on country roads before getting into more urban areas for the evening and night. And I would avoid any large roads, no matter whether day or night time.

You seem to have different preferences... Good luck and hope you will reach your destination safely!

Cheers, Ludwig
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#4
Awesome plan, Travis! :eek:

But same as Ludwig, I suggest you'd be extra careful on 246 at night, when trucks are absolutely crazy. Riding at 4am for only 10 km on the stretch 20-30km on your route was enough of an adventure for me. Don't know what it's like outside Tokyo, though.
 

massa

Warming-Up
Feb 22, 2008
174
0
0
Setagayaku
#7
Hi Travis,

As you know R246 is one of the most horrible roads no matter what time you will take. The lane is rather narrow and with its drivers evading from other tall roads have to work more harder, because it wold take them more amount of time to drive through. At any of my considerations, I can't understand your preference to ride on this road during midnight. But at the same time I think this might be your dream to attain at any risks. I hope at your second thought to start your ride at any earlier in the morning.

Take care
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#8
A 'Novel' description.

The familiar whirring hum of rubber as it hit the asphalt would have been a comforting sound. The thundering of diesel truck engines as they roared past may not have been quite as comforting, but they would have been welcome. Any sound would be welcome! Any sound, but the rushing white-noise of the tempestuous headwind that was slowly beating our hero, Y.G, into submission.

The gradient rose from an almost imperceptible 1 percent up to a 2% slope. On any other day, this would hardly have made any difference, but not today. Y.G. would have to dig deep into a reserve of strength he never knew existed.
Up ahead, he could just make another sign that would tell him how much farther he had to go before reaching his next rest point, a convenience-store or heaven forbid, a McDonalds.

These signs had been nothing but disappointing on this ride. The last sign he saw read “15km to Okazaki” – That was 20 minutes ago. This next one should read about “5km”, or so Y.G. thought. He would have to wait until he was close enough for the numbers to become visible. WHOOOSSSHHH!!! There’s another one, he thought. Although the headwind was fairly consistent, allowing a cruising speed of 20-21km/h, every 2 or 3 minutes would come, “the gusts”.

This “gust” was an average sized one – It only slowed our champion down to 16km/h. A strong one would bring him down to 14km/h in about 2-seconds flat. Lighter ones would only slow him to 18km, and very, very occasionally he’d be assaulted by a “wall-gust”! A wall-gust was capable of slowing a rider to 12km/h in about one second – Literally, like running into a wall of wind.

These gusts however, were slowly becoming the only constant along the way. You couldn’t be sure of anything, except that within 2 or 3 minutes there would be a gust!
Slowly but surely, as Y.G. crawled his way up through the gears – back to 20km/h – he could almost make out the numbers on the sign ahead. “9km to Okazaki”.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” he thought. 6km in 20 minutes is outrageous! For someone who is used to seeing the sign mileage numbers drop with a constant rapidity, having to watch the numbers come down so painfully slow was ….. painful!

WHOOSSHHH!!! Just as he was making his way under the sign, he found himself back down to 16km/h. “At this speed, it’s going to take me over half an hour to get there!” he thought.
The gusts would usually take between 5-30 seconds to die down enough to get back up to cruising speed. Just after the sign, Y.G. could see that he was almost at the crest of a hill. “Here’s my chance to make up some extra time”, he thought as he clicked up a gear, and jumped out of the saddle. He seated himself perfectly at the apex, without even having to stop pedaling, and tucked down, hands on the drops. Looking every bit the “pro”, in a very aerodynamic position, he chanced a glance at the meter… “26km/h”.
Just then, another thought entered his head, and somehow made its way into the realm of audibility, “Just gimme a f**king break, will you, please!?”

It is at this point in our story however, that Y.G. had been on the road for almost 21 hours, and had ridden 339km. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he would ride for over another 7 hours, and cover a further 99km in almost the same conditions described above – 438km in 28 hours.

A full report, including times and places (breaks etc.) will be posted in the near future for your reading pleasure. Stay tuned!
T
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#9
Dude, Travis, awesome.

Super glad to hear you're in one piece and look forward to hearing about your epic journey in greater detail.

Deej

P.S. I know about that wind. On my ride to Shizuoka during the New Year break two years ago, the headwinds were so strong and so freaking constant that I was maxing out at about 20kph along route 1. But almost worse than that was the constant white noise, which threatened to drive me batty. And I rode only a fraction of your distance. Thing is, you were batty before you started, so you're probably fine. :p
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#10
congrats travis... I think most people would have given up.

I was looking at the weather (and wind) forecast, and saw that the strong storm that hit Japan was blowing easterly - aka mostly direct headwind for your.

Glad you made it there safely.
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#11
Riding for 21 hours.... Oh.My.God!
It's something completely unimaginable to me! Congratulations on completing this legendary ride!
*waiting impatiently for the details*
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#12
Riding for 21 hours.... Oh.My.God!
It's something completely unimaginable to me! Congratulations on completing this legendary ride!
*waiting impatiently for the details*
28 is even worse! Or shall I say, more impressive? Less imaginable?

I would have given up early. I really hate wind when cycling. Going up at 20km/h a mountain is a pleasure. Going at the same speed against wind is hell!

Glad you survived the trip in one piece!!
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#15
Full Report - Part 1 of 2.

Preface: During the Japanese Golden Week in 2005, I rode from Tokyo to Kyoto.
It was 560km, and took 4 and a half days.
Sun, May 1: Tokyo – Odawara, 100km.
Mon, May 2: Odawara – Shizuoka, 110km.
Tues, May 3: Shizuoka – Okazaki, 145km.
Wed, May 4: Okazaki – Hikone, 135km.
Thur, May 5: Hikone – Kyoto, 70km.

This information is relevant because I used roughly the same 310km of road between Numazu and Okazaki, as well as shedding some light on motivations.
----------------------------------------------------------

My original plan was to leave by 4pm. I then decided the day before, to leave at 2pm. On the actual day of departure, I pushed that back an hour to 3pm, and finally, I managed to start riding by 3:15.
3:15 on Wednesday afternoon, felt like the beginning of any other normal commute. Starting from home this time, (instead of Tokyo station, which only adds 15km) I rode the 23km to Shibuya, and without stopping, continued down Rte.246. With Ludwig’s words of warning ringing in my ears, there did actually appear to be more traffic than usual. It was as I crossed Tamagawa though, that I first noticed the wind. Usually you can fly over that bridge at over 40km/h, and sometimes, 50+km/h. This was like swimming-in-molasses slow. 246 became even more congested on the Kanagawa side, and traffic was almost gridlocked all the way to Eda. After that, it thinned out a bit, and by Yamato/Ebina, traffic was flowing smoothly again.
I stopped at Hon-Atsugi to have my first break – 65km – at exactly 6:00pm. The average speed on my meter read “25km/h”, which was consistent with the time, although I was hoping to get there within 2.5 hours. I only stopped long enough to chomp down a “Snickers” bar, and mail my wife before heading off again.

It was fully dark now, made more obvious by the lack of streetlights outside Atsugi. The next 20km were familiar, from having done the “Tanzawa-ko/Mikuni-Toge” ride a couple of times. Once past the 7-11 at the Rte.710 turn-off though, I was on unfamiliar tarmac. The road continues to follow the valley floor, with constant up-down motion, but was for the most part sheltered from the wind. Only as the road comes up and over towards Gotemba, did the wind start to pick up again. This time, with a noticeable frigidity in it.

I had my second, and slightly longer break at Gotemba – 119km – at 20:40.
From there, it was only 25km to Numazu, where I would stop for a full sit-down meal. As I left Gotemba, two strange things happened. One, was that the gloves that had worked just fine for the last 120km or so, were now useless! I had to stop and put on the fleece glove-liners. Two, either the wind had changed, or I’d just discovered the food combination that would be the cyclist’s equivalent to rocket fuel (Fried chicken, snickers, and canned coffee)… probably not! It seems the wind was blowing from the north-west, meaning that while I rode directly west, I would have a headwind. But the road was now heading directly south, so for the first time, I had a tailwind, and made it to Numazu within an hour – 145km – at 21:50.

Numazu was the one-third point of the ride, so I settled into a plush “Gusto/Skylark” family restaurant booth-seat, and ravaged a full-sized hamburger with thick cut French fries, a slice of chocolate cake, drink-bar juices and as much coffee as I wanted. All up, about 1,500kcal.

I left the comfort of the restaurant at 23:00, and continued on my way. This stretch of Rte.1 is exactly as I remembered it; 3 lanes each way. Although at this time of night, the road was almost empty of traffic, giving free reign to the wind. After crossing the Fuji-kawa river heading towards the town of Shimizu, I had to make a decision about whether to stay on the normal road, or take the “Seishin (Shizuoka) By-pass”.

(*Note: When I say “decision”, what I mean is that I’d already made up my mind to take the by-pass, but I needed to “make sure” I got on the right road without getting lost.)
That said, I didn’t have to make sure of anything. I just kept following the road, and before I knew it, before any warning at all, the usual “blue” traffic signs had turned to “green” traffic signs. I felt the beginnings of a ball of panic welling up in my stomach. “Not to worry. With any luck, the toll-gate will be on the other side of the by-pass, and then what can they do? They can’t ask me to ride all the way back again, can they? No, they’ll just have to let me go, won’t they? Of course I’ll be happy to pay the toll. The receipt will make a fantastic souvenir, won’t it?............”
There was NO toll-gate! No reason at all, that I could see, for the sudden change in sign color. Then just as quickly, the signs went back to blue. It was on this by-pass though, that I came across the longest tunnel of the journey – 2,027m – see pic 3!

After that, there were a couple of shorter tunnels, and then Rte.1 split again; To the north, the “Fujieda By-pass”, and to the south, (but running parallel to the by-pass) through the towns of Fujieda and Shimada. I decided not to push my luck with the by-pass, and to have another break – 211km – at 2:00. After a short break, I started heading towards Shimada, 14km away. This area is extremely flat, and hence, had very little to block the wind. I think I averaged about 18km/h to Shimada, and was so fed up with being pushed around like that, that I decided to take another, longer break in silent protest. “That’d show the wind who’s boss, Yeah!” I stopped at a “Mini-Stop” convenience store – 225km – at 3:00.

You’ve gotta love Mini-Stops! They are one of the only convenience store chains that have seats inside, so you can sit down, relax, and warm up a bit. I stayed there and ate junk food while I checked the next 40-50km on the map. There are 3 by-passes in quick succession; Kakegawa, Fukuroi, and Iwata By-passes. Only the first and last looked to be toll-roads, but on the Kakegawa By-pass, the toll-gate seems to be in the middle… “and they won’t make you turn around and go back, right?” With my mind made up, I set out once again.

“They won’t make you turn around and go back, but they WILL make you get off at the nearest exit/off-ramp!” that I can tell you. About halfway along the Kakegawa By-pass, where once again I was surprised to find NO toll-gates, a police patrol-car came past me, going in the opposite direction. There was no doubt he had seen me as well – with a single lane each way, there was nothing else to do but stare at the cars in the opposite lane. I never dared turn around to check (isn’t that a sign of guilt?), and after about 3km, I thought I had gotten away with it…. But no! Sure enough, up they came behind me as soon as there was an exit ramp. They asked me where I’d come from and where I was going, laughed at my stupidity, took my name, and finally told me to get off the by-pass immediately. So, I went down the off-ramp, hid in the under-pass for about 5 minutes, and then continued on way, on exactly the same road – 249km, at 4:45.

(*Note: Afterwards, I checked the map, and it turns out the police had tried to kick me off an 8km by-pass, get this, in the last 500 meters! Dumb-asses.) Fukuroi By-pass, although not a toll-road, was actually much scarier, being over 5km of elevated single lane road – not much fun. After that, I was happy not to even bother with the Iwata By-pass, and stayed on the lower roads. But by then, it didn’t matter. I was at “Tenryu-gawa”, (pic 4) the main river just east of Hamamatsu – 268km – at 5:44.

Tenryu-gawa was a major psychological victory. I don’t know why, but it just seems that after that point, Nagoya is so easily within reach (in fact it’s just over 100km from there). I only stopped there long enough to take a picture. I was looking forward to my next “family restaurant” break!
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#16
Full Report - Part 2 of 2.

The family restaurant that never came… or never was! Here is where my memory let me down. I was sure that just after crossing Tenryu-gawa, there would be numerous places to eat. I went past the McDonalds that I had eaten at last time, and then I rode on further to pass a Yoshinoya, but no family restaurants! I had to eat something so I had a very quick break at a “Circle-K”, and continued on my search. I finally gave up looking, and settled for “Suki-ya” – 280km – at 6:35.

I can eat at Sukiya ANY TIME I want to, and that’s what I hated about it! I had the curry rice. That’s it. It was actually a real downer, not being able to sit in a booth-seat in a family restaurant… Disappointing to have to sit on a stool at counter… Annoying that I couldn’t spread my map, gloves and helmet all over a huge table designed to sit 4 people… You get the picture!
After I’d finished my curry though, I was able to see the sunrise through the Sukiya window – got a photo of it, at 7:05am. I left there at 7:20, and headed directly west. 9km later, I past a “Joyfull” family restaurant. Nothing to say! I noticed now though that the wind had made a slight change in direction; it was blowing directly west to east! No deviation this time. No bias for a northerly or southerly orientation. W – E, nothing else!

I rode past Hamana-ko at 8am (pic 1), and got a nice picture of the Hamana By-pass bridge. Last time, I actually rode over that bridge (*Note: During Golden Week, a lot of these smaller toll-roads had their signs covered up, and their toll-booths empty to try and lessen the traffic jams common to that time of year.), but this time, I actually took notice of the very large signs saying “No Bicycles!”, and stayed on the lower roads. Also, I think the wind would have been twice as bad up there. Next stop, Toyohashi – 319km – at 10:05.

It was definitely “Mac” time! I parked my bike, and tucked into a Fillet-o-fish set. After another map check, I found it hard to keep my eyes open. In fact, I was feeling quite light-headed, so I set my phone alarm to go off one hour later. Power-napping in McDonalds was not really what I expected to be doing, but it just happened to be the perfect remedy. I left there at 11:30, and set out for Okazaki. (Read “A ‘novel’ description” for details). I had a great motivation for at least making it as far as Okazaki. When I did the “Kyoto ride” in 2005, I stayed in Okazaki on the third night. I wanted to take a photo of the same hotel I stayed in, just so I could say, “Last time, it took me 3 days to get here. This time, it only took one day!” It’s a little childish, but it kept me pedaling the whole way. Now here’s the thing, when I got there, I couldn’t find the same hotel!!! Either the signs had been changed, or they’d renovated the front and it looked different, or something else, but I just couldn’t find it. I also couldn't be bothered to stop and look for it. But by then, it really didn’t matter! I had actually ridden, in one day (22 hours), to a place that previously took me 3 riding days.

From Okazaki, Nagoya is very close. I still had that blasted (blasting?) wind to deal with, but I was close. Once inside the Nagoya city limits, I had to do a little zig-zagging to get from Rte.1 over to Rte.23. Route 23 runs right around the top of Nagoya bay, hugging the shoreline, and crossing all the river-mouths as they enter Ise-Harbor. Rte.23 also has its share of elevated (bicycle-unfriendly) sections, and I got a great picture of one of them (se pic 3)! And there I was in Nagoya – 378km – at 15:15. I had actually made it to Nagoya in exactly 24 hours (The original plan was to in Kameyama within 24 hours, but ya get that!) even though I had actually planned on being there at least 4 hours earlier.

I had my second-last break at a “Sunkus” convenience store in south-western Nagoya – 382km – at 15:25. I called my wife from there, to tell her where I was, which was just enough to kill my phone battery. There would be no more photos after that.
55km to go! Straight down Rte.23 to Yokkaichi, and I earned myself a slight reprieve from the wind – only slightly, as it was now a side-wind while I headed south. About 4km past Yokkaichi, I stopped for my final break at a “Lawson” – 416km – at 17:40.

This Lawson was more similar to a Mini-Stop, in that it had an inside counter, where you could eat what you’d bought – very nice!
The last 22km were uneventful. I went past Suzuka, the former F-1 circuit, and finally arrived in Kameyama – 438km – at 19:00.

Time taken from door to door: 27 hours, 45 minutes.
Actual riding time [meter]: 19 hours, 57 minutes. (pic 5)
Average speed [meter]: 22.0km/h
Total distance [meter]: 438.36km (pic 4)

It was cold and windy, but I reckon in a wind-free situation, I probably would have ridden the equivalent of 550-600km. I’m beginning to very much enjoy this style of “touring”, over the usual '150km per day for several days' routine. You get more time to relax at the destination, and you save a whole lot on accommodation expenses.
I would really love to try some “brevets” or “randonneuring” of a similar distance.

Thanks for your encouragement along the way.
I hope you enjoy the report!
Travis
 

massa

Warming-Up
Feb 22, 2008
174
0
0
Setagayaku
#18
.......
Time taken from door to door: 27 hours, 45 minutes.
Actual riding time [meter]: 19 hours, 57 minutes. (pic 5)
Average speed [meter]: 22.0km/h
Total distance [meter]: 438.36km (pic 4)
.......
I hope you enjoy the report!
Travis
Magnificent Travis.
I enjoyed your precise report of the riding. I respect you for that you executed.
And at the same time your deed seems to me a kind of that of a monk inflicting something to devote to what he believes in.
Any way I'm glad you attained and are safe.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#20
Completely mind-bogging and beyond belief! You are a real hero - or rather a Giant!

Just curious about some minor details... How scary was the traffic? Any situations were you felt some truck or bus might run you over at high speed, especially at night?

And no pains other than the mental ones? Upper back, lower back, bum, legs, all fine? Overall physical exhaustion? (All but perhaps the legs would be a big problem for me.)

Cheers, Ludwig