Glorious sunshine greeted tour participants as they woke in Beppu, coincidentally on the morning the Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby team, would be playing a World Cup match in the same city.
After a quick breakfast the entire tour assembled and hurtled off down the hill toward the beachfront.
A ferry ride from Kyushu to Shikoku awaited, and the team rode onto the huge ship, tied up the bikes and moved upstairs for the long ride.
Repairs and adjustments were made to bikes on the boat trip, but upon alighting, cyclists immediately rode off up the river until reaching a mountain standing in the way of the path to the destination of Uchiko.
A grueling, but visually stunning ride lay ahead up a series of switchbacks with mandarin and other types of citrus trees dotting the mountainside. Views downward became increasingly spectacular as the rugged terrain of Shikoku became increasingly evident.
The ride down was exhilarating, but cautious due to the large amount of debris on the track.
It was a ride along the plains from that point, passing through Ozu, with its castle overlooking the town, and hitting the river in the very extensive set of bike tracks in the area.
There was still a lot of time left in the afternoon as the tour rolled into town, but the time could have been spent better as luggage had been delivered to the wrong places.
Once things were sorted out, Kangaeroo headed off with the tour organizer to recce a possible route for the following day.
Heading up a mountainside offering spectacular views, hopes of a great ride were high, only to be dashed upon learning the mudslide that had closed the road some years ago remains perhaps years away from being cleared up.
It was back to Uchiko, a delightful town filled with Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1925) era buildings. There, we ate a delightful dinner courtesy of Ze Germanz, and spent a blissful night’s sleep.
Tomorrow it’s off to the Ehime prefectural capital of Matsuyama.
Brommie didn’t have the greatest of days today. Having struggled up the slopes the past couple of days, he was relegated to the reserves bench and spent the day idling away in the back of the truck. His day will come again, though.