Episode 2 – Natures Playground (2015 – Season 1)

Synopsis : 

YOU voted for the team to go south and that’s exactly where they went, down off Fuji and into the beautiful and natural wonderland known as Izu Peninsular. They make their way to a campsite deep in nature where a mountain river is the perfect place to dive into nature – literally! They continue on to the beautiful beaches of Shimoda and eventually to Izu’s most southern point, Irazaki. Here, on the final day, Dean trades the bike for a kayak, but with bad weather moving in, they are forced to withdraw from the 30km Suruga Bay crossing, leaving them stranded approx. 80km short (by land) from their goal!

Cast

Dean Newcombe, Duncan Buckley, Megan Page and Natali Jacobsen

Locations

Shizuoka Prefecture

Points of Interest

Mount Fuji, Izu Peninsular, Jourentaki Waterfall, Amagigoe, Shimoda, Irazaki and Suruga Bay

Day 1:

Coming down the Mountain

The team celebrate at the peak of Fuji and take some time to enjoy the top, but weather changes quickly and they must descend while being beaten by strong winds and rain. Part way down the mountain, Dean reveals his new outfit and vows to complete the next 50 days in a shirt and bowtie no matter what the challenge! As they continue to descend, they bond with other climbers and everything seems to be going to plan until they reach the car-park of Fuji. The support van was not able to reach their position, meaning Dean’s plan to bike on from here is no longer possible. Despite having just climbed and descended the highest mountain in Japan, Dean must now run 18km to reach the support van and his bike. Luckily he doesn’t meet a bear as he runs solo on this route, and can finally pick up his bike to finish the day. He rides the same route that he had struggled up 1 year ago with Dario. After learning from his mistakes last time, Dean now flies down the hill at a high pace, on his Neilpryde professional spec racing bike. The days ending point is a Japanese Onsen bath, where the team can rest their tired bodies, ready to explore Shizuoka Prefecture.

Day 2:

Home of Wasabi

After staying in a local Japanese minshuku, the owner of the hotel decides to help the team by escorting them out of town and deeper south into the Izu Peninsular. Dean’s challenge on the bike continues through a mountainous route and deep into nature, where they decide to stop at ‘Jourentaki Waterfall’, a natural landmark in an area also famous for the production of Japanese Wasabi. After Duncan demonstrates his strength by ripping an apple in two, it’s time to taste the more local delicacies. Ayu- fish, cooked whole on a skewer – has Megan feeling squeamish, but is followed by Wasabi flavored ice cream, which is far more pleasant than you might think. The waterfall is magnificent, but somehow, Dean spontaneously beginning to dance with a local shop owner and her bizarre stuffed dancing cat, becomes the highlight! After the fooling around, Dean must ride on over a notoriously tough mountain range called ‘Amagigoe’ to reach a campsite deep in nature. The girls reach here first and laze in hammocks in the evening sun, before Dean catches them up, having survived his first big cycle day, having covered over 100km. While they still have light, the team all head down to the river and cool off in its waters, before returning to camp and attempting a BBQ for dinner.

Day 3:

Life’s a Beach

Dean wakes and notices that Duncan is missing. He decides to bathe wild in the river while the day is young, but catches Duncan naked and in his element in nature, having had the exact same idea! They bathe and then they head off to reach the famous beaches of Shimoda. Dean rides in by bike, stopping to see the ‘Shimoda Ryu Jinjya’, meaning ‘Dragon Shrine’ in English! Luckily, only a cute cat is found, and it’s soon time to take a break and to dive into the beautiful clear waters. The girls swim out and make friends with locals in a boat, while Dean continues on by bike to reach the ‘Irouzaki Lighthouse’, the southernmost point of Izu Peninsula. After the team check out this spectacular headland, which feels like the end of the world, Dean tries to continue on, but progress is slow on the mountainous roads and it’s soon so dark that he cannot ride on safely. Far behind schedule, they retire for the night, again seeking refuge in a remote camping ground.

Day 4:

Paddling the Suraga Bay

They must start at the crack of dawn. Dean still has to ride a long way to complete the 139km of cycling around Izu peninsula. Once Dean reaches the north west side of Izu, after circumnavigating the entire peninsula, he reunites with his team and trades the bike for a kayak. A local guide named ‘Shiojima-san’ leads them around ‘Suruga Bay’. The original plan had been to cross the 30km wide bay to reach ‘Shizuoka City’, but due to their delay and because of the incoming bad weather, the team are forced to follow the land, and progress as far north as they possibly can. First Megan paddles with Dean to reach a small port town called ‘Heda’, where Natali takes over and gets them as far as ‘Osezaki’. After a smooth journey, Dean capsizes the kayak with Natali, for some excitement in the port! They then bring the boat in and finish on the shoreline, but almost 100km short of their goal if they were to travel around Suruga Bay by land from this point. Even so, they had come a long way, and consider it a successful first episode to the adventure!

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