Looking for the next great challenge and adventure:
It looked as if the most difficult portion of my segment was behind me. I reached the top of Mount Norikura in Japan, and joined Guillaume and Pascal Viout (#8) who headed, long minutes before me, for a warm and dry place.
Dark clouds covered the sky. And I knew for sure that the descent under that heavy rain would be more than challenging.
Torrents of water rushed on the road. Disc-brakes were unable to stop my engine. And I was left with little choice but to ruin my cleats on the asphalt.
From there I am unable to say if what followed is what really happened or if it is simply the figment of my imagination. But at one point I closed my eyes. And I saw snow flakes getting heavier, turning into golden pearls, and forming a snowstorm.
When I opened my eyes again, I was sitting on the street. Our 3 bikes were leaning on the window of a 7-11 konbini. We were gulping food.
All was silent.
With Guillaume when we started to imagine the Japanese Odyssey and to work on the event, we had in mind something wild. We were dreaming of an event with a high mileage. We were dreaming of an event exploring the wilderness of Japan.
This year the adventure motto is: secondary, unnamed and untraveled roads.
As an inspiration, we would like, to quote one of Matsuo Bashō’s haiku:
Along this road
Goes no one,
This autumn eve.
Forget the mildness of autumn and its favourable weather, the third edition of The Japanese Odyssey starts on Saturday 12th August.
Entrants will start off from Tokyo and will have to reach Kitakyūshū. Depending on the route choices it is a “voyage” of about 3,200 km. Entrants are free to choose their routes as long as they go the 9 imposed segments, which will lead them into a secluded Japan.
This event is gathering interest and on Saturday Sept 17th sixteen riders will leave the Nihonbashi Bridge in Tokyo to take on the quest to climb many of Japans iconic climbs. We say quest because once again it is not billed as a race and there is no set route.
Riders have 14 days to pass through 11 mandatory mountain passes and check points until the finish line in Osaka, the order they attack them is entirely up to them. The event is tracked (see website when live) so we should see riders zigzagging all over Japans islands.
We will be following friend of the site Daniel Johnasson with interest and hopefully he will provide his usual in depth stories of the adventure afterwards.
Interested for 2017; you might like to see the Ride with GPS files for checkpoints and the climbs
Despite the rain and low rider count for 2015, the organisers are once again promoting this unsupported Trans Japan trip. Will it be a race this time, the website is under review but you can register an interest if you have any spare time left by September 2016.
A message from the organisers:
We are pleased to present you the second edition of the Japanese Odyssey.
The event will start from Tokyo on September 17, 2016. Entrants will have to reach Osaka within a 14 day time limit. They may take the route of their choice, as long as they go up the 11 mandatory climbs. Those imposed detours will take the riders in various regions among which the Japanese Alps and the island of Shikoku.
In the 60’s, a mountaineer, Kyuya Fukada, detailed in a book his 100 favourite mountains in Japan. His Nihon Hyakumeizan became a hit. The book was widely read, and those hundred mountains became a goal for many hikers. Today, the word: Meizan refers to an “eminent”, unique and admired mountain, and the Hyakumeizan are now strongly embedded in the Japanese mountaineering sport.
The second edition of the Japanese Odyssey is about taking the entrants up a series of famous climbs in Japan. But it is also an attempt to place them in touch with the traditions, customs and culture of the country. It is an attempt to make them “breathe” Japanese air.
Discover the route at: http://www.japanese-odyssey.com/
and keep in touch on https://www.facebook.com/japaneseodyssey/
This is our second edition of the Japanese Odyssey. First edition took place last year (sept-15). 6 entrants took part in that 1st edition. 2 Australians, 1 British, 1 coming from Singapore, and me and my partner coming from France. As you wrote it in one of your post, we don’t see our event as a race. Or I should better say: it is not a race against the others. It is a race against the clock. Make it to Osaka in 14 days, and you are a winner.
Here, you will find some photos from last year event. I hope you will get a glimpse of the idea of our event.
There you go 😉
BDR: 2015 information post here shame non of the riders appeared to have written about the experience yet.
In the world of unsupported events, the Japenese Odyssey starts on Sunday September 13th.
A 14 day, 4 stage, self supported 3,000km race across Japan. Covering the 4 major islands including a 38Km ascent to the Norikura pass at 2700 metres, and the stunning vistas of Mount Aso, it looks like an amazing experience.
As far as we can tell from the F.Book page there are only 6 riders taking part. Is this low entry entirely due to the far flung location, or partly because the event is not a race? It does seem to us that Race events bring about that extra commitment from riders.
It’s good to say that we have a BDR member Brian Stewart on the start line, so lets hope we have some way of following the adventure. (Updated: Tracker page here) The organisers indicated there would be blue dots to watch, but regardless it looks like Brian could be grabbing a few blue dot points in September.