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Tour de Okinawa Report


Apr 23, 2006
OK! Here it is!

Friday 9th November

We arrived in Okinawa, load the bikes into the rental car and shoot up the road to Nago where we arrive just in time to reassemble the bikes at the hotel and get a 9 km ride up the road in time to register and collect the usual bag of goodies before going in to the Introductory Meeting.

It's a pretty casual affair. Just by chance we happen to sit down next to someone we knew from My Road (our bike shop in Kanda), so that was a bit of a fluke. The meeting had a bit of a waffle from the organizers mainly telling you how easy everything was. This was why this meeting later became known as the Usosugi Forum. There was an English interpretation for the few gaijin that were there, which had the interesting knack of being completely unrelated to the Japanese that preceded it.

Clutching the bag of goodies we headed of for an izakaya and the first of many glasses of awamori!

Oh! Delicious! Gloves!

On the way how we stopped by the nearby conbini to pick up some supplies for the next day. Yasuhiro left his gloves etc in his helmet on the ground and headed into the store. On his return, no gloves. We suddenly become aware that the stray dog that was hanging around the front was no where to be seen either. Could he have…?

We spent 5 minutes wondering around in the dark whistling for nice doggie, when finally Yasuhiro stumbles upon his glove, well slobbered and with a nice hole gnawed into the finger. Delightful! Tough guy that he is, he washed it out and used it the next day.

Saturday 10th November(120km Nago - Nago)

Up at the ungodly hour of 4.30am, had a lunchbox and headed down to the bikes for a another dark trek up the road to Nago. First thing you notice down this end of the world is that every road is pitch black at night and many places are undecorated with the ubiquitous red lighting you find in Tokyo.

7AM and we are off in a huge peloton of about 500 or so bikes. The sun climbs above the clouds and at last we can see the beautiful coastline we are running along. The wind is at our backs and the speed starts to climb. Yasuhiro and I get separated and there is a bit of confusion but we hook up later on at the rest point.

Riding with the Pro's!

The coastline is truly lovely and about 10 km before the second rest point I get passed buy these 5 young dudes with no numbers who are obviously not part of the race but they are MOVING, so I hop on the back and stay with them. Turns out they are the ISAAC pro team from Germany out here for the pro race on Sunday. The speed is quick but not a problem and this is a bit of a thrill for a pro-cycling buff like me because this is the first time I have ever ridden with pro's! And very interesting it was too to watch the way they rode and handled hills etc. We are up at 35-40kph and blasting past lots of folk in our event. I let them go when I see the rest stop and hook up with Yasuhiro again.

Our group head to the lunch spot near the beach and are provided with bentos. So far it has been very easy and we have done about 80km and are beginning to wonder if things are going to be this easy all the way. Have a chat to the cycling Leader, who says there are 2 hills to come, one being a 'bit long'. Anyway, we shrug and jump on the bikes and head off.

BAM! Round the corner we go and are presented with this screaming great berg about 2km long to the top. Downshift to the bottom gear and take it easy to the top. Huge descent, up to over 60kph and then straight up the second one, which was just like the first. Roar down this and think, well, that's that. 2 hills done. Where's the beer?

BAM! again, a third 2km climb. And a 4th. And then a 5th.

I stop counting at 10 hills, wondering what these organizers are on? At least 16 or so hills in total, all requiring the bottom gear basically from hill haters like me. Exhausting but more to come! Down comes the most intense tropical rain squall and you could not see more than 10 meters in front of you at one point. Going downhill in this with not much in the way of brakes was very interesting to say the least. The sun comes out, and we are soaked and pretty beaten up when we at last make it 50km later to the finish point, which fortunately is a spa.

So much for 'easy'!

We hit the beers, are bused back to the hotel and after dinner we are all in bed with the light out by 9pm!

Sunday 11th November (150km Nago - Naha- Nago)

4.45 am! The alarm bell rings and we are feeling like death warmed up. This is the first time I have done consequetive 120km plus days. Sort of wonder how the pro's do this for 3 weeks or so…

Very good Viking breakfast and today we leave from the hotel we are staying at so no trekking up the road in the dark. The bikes are pretty filthy from yesterday but seem fine, we were too tired to do anything the previous night.

We are told 'Day 2 is a completely flat 136km ride, a bit long but VERY EASY. We doubt this very much. But true to their word the ride down the coast to Naha is a pleasure, very pretty, wind at our backs , lovely scenery.

Then we hit Naha. One thing about Okinawa is there is NO public transport, so everybody is in a car. Traffic in central Naha is probably worse than Tokyo in some ways. The lunch point is in the center of the city, and I just DO NOT understand why the organizers feel we have to spend 2 hours of the day sitting at red lights. It is a real waste of time. Anyway, we are thinking at this point that we have 70km to go and it will only take us about 3 hours at most before we are hitting the beers at the celebration party.


Did they say 'flat'? Perhaps they missed the 20km long slope that heads north out of Naha? And did they say 'easy' (again?) Perhaps they also forgot to mention the 30knot headwind that required you to pedal GOING DOWNHILL. Otherwise the bike would have stopped dead.

The wind was the main problem though. For the next 70km it howled into our faces and we literally crawled back to Nago in the face of it. All around us people were dropping out like flies. The Broom Bus picking up the dead was FULL of bikes by the time we got to the finish line.

But we got there! It was a great feeling to have finished this one!

In short, it was a really exciting and interesting trip, but not one for the weak though.

I am off now to buy another saddle, because my bum was killing me after 2 days of this stuff!

Total mileage for the 2 days, with running around to and from Nago, just under 300 km.

Recommend this Tour highly! We will surely be back!

Thanks for your detailed report, Ash! It seems that you and Yasuhiro-san had a great time in Okinawa. :)

I hope we can make that an official TCC tour in the future.
Cheers for the great report Ash--sounds like a great two days. Must have been brilliant to join a pro team paceline for a while!
Nice one both of you for taking part in such great tour.

I travelled around Okinawa by local bus a few years ago. But, of course, by bicycle is the way to go. :cool:
I'm envious when compared to my dismal race in Yamanashi...

Some of our team usually go there instead of the Nakano Koichi race in Yamanashi...

Some guys I raced with last week said they'd go to Okinawa next year....

My only concern about the trip would be cost....
How much did it set you back?

Is it necesary to take the Friday and Monday off work to fit it in comfortably?
Yes, I suppose I should have said a word about costs and stuff.

The trip down was about 27,000, so not bad at all. If you book way in advance you get some cheap deals. There is no luggage charge for the bikes but we did buy 20,000 yen soft cases (ostrich) which were very popular for the planes and made it easy to get around.

one night accomodation is included in registration for the tour, but you need to take the friday off as you have to be there to register by 7pm. Nago is about an hours drive from the airport.

Hotels are cheap and nice and so is food. Yasuhiro found an excellent place in central Naha for 4,200 yen! the most we paid was about 8000 yen a night I think.

We took the Monday and Tuesday off to relax and I definitely recommend that as a strategy! All up including expenses and the new bike bag I probably spent 100,000, but it was WELL worth it! (glad the minister of finance never reads this site!:gun:) You could probably do it for much less though depending how long you stayed.

got to have a holiday sometime eh!



  • タラソテラピーの参加者は半数以上が女性であり・・・
  • 施設の利用開始時間が事前に予約で決まっており・・・
  • 北部は連続し厳しいアップダウンがあるため、時間を守るため去年多くの人が回収されてしまったらしい。






Thanks for posting the Japanese report mate, and also the pics!

Who are those handsome devils?:cool:
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