24 September 2008

Izu Ride

Labeled 'David's Sayonara Ride', it was to be his last ride in Japan. And what a ride it turned out to be. The participants: Jerome, David, Graham, Juliane and myself (yes, I finally made it out of bed in time)

We met in Shinagawa, from where we took the Kodama to Mishima. The train ride only took 50 minutes - short - but long enough to catch up (having seen those guys in ages) and to discuss the route we were going to take. First step of action: Taking copies at the 'conbini' to be sure about the route.

The first hour (!!!) was spent finding road 17 - we had to ask for directions oftentimes. It was worth spending that much time finding this road - it led along the coast and saw little traffic. Just perfect ! The road eventually turned inland requiring us to do some climbing in order to reach Heda. We had a lunch stop by the harbor - where we had the opportunity to eat BBQ'ed fish from a street vendor. The ride out of Heda also required climbing ... all bearable,even enjoyable.

... the road eventually merged with road 136 - with the traffic also getting busier. We did not continue on the 136 for too long...as the most interesting part of the ride was yet to come ... the climb up Nishina Pass. Graham decided to skip this climb and continued on the 136 to Shimoda, where we would eventually hook up again.

The climb turned out to be a real challenge for all of us ... 8 km straight up ... with a steady incline between 10-14%. I had to stop more often than the others to catch my breath ... i dragged myself up very slowly considering more than once to give up. It took us close to an hour to reach road 59, where we would split paths. David, Juliane and Jerome headed back towards the west coast, heading for Shimoda, while I headed for Ito, from where I would take the train back to Tokyo.

Barely making it the top, my strength and energy was fully consumed. The descend was fun, but the remaining 40 km to Ito along busy roads was painful.

Nethertheless, it was a fantastic ride. Thanks to David, Juliane, Jerome and Graham to have made this a memorable experience. I will miss riding with you guys and the all the others who did not make it for this ride.

No comments: