The scene of the crime: SHIMANAMI...
SHimanami is a string of islands in southern Japan that are connected by elevated bike paths. Along the way you can take in the sea breeze or marvel at the suspension bridges or even stop at some of the museums like the Towel Museum.
My friend Anthony and I went out on the road and headed across the islands. It is 150k round trip and as we set out, I was already getting tired. usually you don't loose energy until the very end. Bicyclists call this "bonking" or running out of energy. This happens because as it turns out cycling is a very fuel intensive activity and it requires lots of energy. More so that you would initially suspect. It isn't uncommon to be eating 5 meals a day. On the first leg of the journey I was already bonking. We came to the last bridge and crossed it and coasted down to this beautiful hotel that was located along the sea side. I took a chair and went to sleep. There was a 30 minute wait for the meal, which turned out to be perfect. I slept. Then I ate a large meal (vegetables, pizza and tomato cheese) and I was ready to jam again.
On the way back we went off the path which proved to be a top idea (tip of the hat to Anthony). The side roads allowed us to explore the island. As it turns out, the bike trail follows the mail highway and it is more geared towards getting to point B as fast as possible. But the side-roads took us through the countryside and the alleyways of island life.
We were out on a limb and we had a gander at the map again. We were far out as it turns out with many a mile till our finish line. We came back and it was getting darker. Anthony got a terrible headache. We stopped at a pharmacy. We found some Bufferin and this Japanese power drink. Anthony immediately got better and we immediately set off in the dark with a new spring n our step.
At 8 o'clock (12 hours after we originally started) we came gliding up to the last ferry. We paid the 100 yen for the ferry crossing and soon we were on the other side back at the finish line. Anthony wanted a ONSEN (Japanese hot bath) so we took a taxi driven by the Japanese version of mad Max down these alley ways and finally at the site. The bath proved to be a brilliant idea (another 2 points Anthony!). By the time we crawled back to the hotel it was 30 minutes to 12. We eeked past the midnight deadline. Tired and exhausted (but clean) we made it to our beds and disappeared into a deep sleep.
Oh and did I say crawl...?!?!?!
Another story. We were looking for a hotel. And there was NOTHING left (because it was a Holiday). But then Anthony found a 1 and a half star hotel. "Don't expect too much" said Anthony. As it turns out, the hotel was a top of a hill...
...and the only way to get to the hill was to carry your bike and all your luggage to the top of this hill.
But the hotel was great (another 2 points for Anthony???). The dorm room had thick futon beds. The price was cheap. And the food was delicious. It was Thai themed restaurant and there was nothing wrong and everything right about what was available. The atmosphere and the view and the price were all so cool that it would be difficult for me to find something I didn't like. The climb was a doozer though. IT was a boot camp every time you wanted to go home.