Monday, May 17, 2010
Ironbutt Ride from Tokyo to Kagoshima
The concept of the IBA (Iron Butt Association) is simple. Ride hellllla far in one day.
I loaded up the CB1000, attached the camera (video in the making), and headed off at 5am.
Remember Pooey? Anyways, this ride was with my friends from SBKJapan, some sort of motorcycle club I guess. I don't know what the acronym stands for.
The idea was to shoot down to the southern tip of Japan, then spend a few weeks touring around. Someone worked out a map:
The direct route was only 1400km, but to officially be an Ironbutter (yeah, there's paperwork involved), you need to do at least 1600km, 1000 miles, in less than 24 hours. So we actually had to first travel north of Tokyo, up to the Sea of Japan, then over and down.
Some of the dudes I rode with:
With an official start time of 6:10am (time stamped receipt), we were off. It was raining, but looked clear in the distance. By the time we got up to Toyama, it was sunny and beautiful.
And my rear brake was gone. My bad. If I wasn't always listening to some hyphie mix tapes on high volume when I ride, I might have heard the grinding, metal-on-metal sound that I was making.
$60 and an hour or so later, I was back on the road, with shiny new brake pads.
I was also a bit behind. Turns out, though, that I was actually somewhere in the middle of the pack, as a few dudes had run out of gas along the way. Playing catch-up, I rode on.
Here's the thing about riding a thousand miles in a day. It fucking sucks and no one should ever do it (on a normal bike). Seriously, it sucked. The first 14 hours, in the sunlight, were ok. Enjoyable even. But once it got dark, shit went sour. It was cold, my brain was tired, and my motorcycle was designed for shorter Asian fellas, not 192cm tall, lanky dudes from America.
I went from doing 250km between stops to about 50km. Music wasn't helping me concentrate, but standup comedy was. I listened to the Aziz Ansari routine as I slowly made my way over the bridge from Honshu to Kyushu.
Finally, 23 hours later, I pulled into a McDonalds in Kagoshima, drank some coffee, and looked for the nearest onsen.
I did it. I may have fucked up the paperwork though. You are supposed to get all sorts of witnesses and receipts and shit, then submit it through the official channels. Whatever, I don't need a plaque on my wall telling me the stupid shit I did in Japan.
That's what this blog is for.
After soaking in the Ibusuki city onsen, I was greeted by the local cops, lights flashing. Some things never change, and like a darker skinned man in Arizona, this white guy in Japan went for his papers. I know the drill, it's not a big deal anymore. Just as I find my wallet, the cop gets out, hands me a map to local attractions, and in broken English says, "Welcome to Ibusuki, please enjoy." Then he drove off. Life's different down here.
Next time: Relaxing in Ibusuki, an onsen city in the far south of Japan