The starting point of the event was The Nihombashi Bridge in Tokyo, From there, each contestant would have to pass through twelve checkpoints, but was otherwise free to build their own route.
An unsupported tour of Japan, with no official route other than 12 checkpoints spread across the country
On October 31, 2018, the fourth edition of the Japanese Odyssey began. Organizers Emmanuel and Guillaume were part of a group of 36 adventure cyclists from all around the world who tackled a challenge that would take them through the deep forests of Japan on a ten-day trip of over 2,600km.
Riders Emmanuel and Guillaume used their Karoos to help navigate through Japanese forests.
The Japanese Odyssey is a unique ride that requires all riders to pass through twelve specific checkpoints, but otherwise provides no other route requirements. Emmanuel and Guillaume needed a fully capable navigation device to complete the ride without a hitch, and they chose Karoo to navigate them through small forest paths called Rindo.
Riders were free to design their own routes through Japan’s incredible scenery, some choosing straight shots along busy roads, while others traversed meandering forest trails. You can follow each competitor’s route choice on the Japanese Odyssey’s interactive map.
An essential tool for endurance riding.
After four grueling days, Guillaume crashed just a few miles into day five’s effort, seriously injuring his back. The severity of the injury meant that Emmanuel and Guillaume were not able to make it through the entire journey.
The two riders were frustrated by cutting their experience short halfway through. “It was a tough edition. Seems like we will never learn,” Emmanuel said, adding that the elevation was intense and daunting. Completing all 2600 km in a short 10 days would not be easy.
Emmanuel and Guillaume want to entice more riders to join them for next year’s Japanese Odyssey.
The pair is already anticipating next year’s ride and thinking about how to make it even better than the last.
All photographs in this article were provided by Eigo Shimojo. Check out japanese-odyssey.com for more details on this once-in-a-lifetime cycling event.
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