01 December 2008

More Chichibu!

Twenty years from now, when most people are asked what they remember about the Fall of 2008, they will answer with some story about the greatest financial crisis since 1929, the election of Barack Obama, or maybe a international political crisis set in motion by Pakistani militants' attack in Mumbai on luxury hotels, train stations, restaurants and a synagogue. But for Positivo Espresso members and fans, the dominant events will be, first, David J. and Juliane Prechtl's relocation to London, and (a distant) second, the discovery and expansion of our riding territory into Chichibu, in addition to Yamanashi, Kanagawa and the far western reaches of Tokyo-to.

Tom led the way, Michael followed, and now Jerome, Juliane and I are catching up. Even David J. managed one sortie before leaving the country to help save the European financial system. But we owe a special debt of gratitude to Ludwig, who actually discovered Chichibu in 2108(?) and mapped many of its passes, before leading the only road building crews ever seen in Chichibu that did not place unnecessary barriers in places that were likely to cause a cyclist to crash, or at least flat his/her tire.

Sunday November 30 it was Jerome's, Juliane's and my turn.

Jerome and I rode up the river with James Knott and his group of merry men, who were headed toward Takao/Sagami-ko on their fast pace/early curfew trip. James was on his spectacular 2008 Cervelo SLC-SC, and stayed with us as Jerome took off. ... something like 5 km later we noticed that the three of us had ridden away and the rest of James' group was nowhere to be seen (flat tires caused the delay). Jerome and I said our goodbyes and pushed ahead to meet Juliane at Aurore Bakery in Oume just after 9AM.


The road was quiet, the air crisp, and the fall colors were spectacular after we left Oume.

On the descent after Shomaru Toge, despite explicit warning signs ...

Someone wanted to go faster than everyone else:










Fortunately, a cyclist had left a spare road bike nearby, so the driver could become a rider, and join us for the rest of the day.















Jerome and I celebrated our victory about 2/3 of the way up the hill to Karibazaka-toge, after stopping to change a flat tube and enjoy the view.


We did get to the top without other problems, and the vista to the NE was spectacular.



After riding along the ridge and climbing some to Shiraishi Toge vicinity, we turned left past the Ken-min no Mori parking lot (Saitama's version of Tokyo's To-min no Mori) and then took the Maruyama Rindo ("forest road") all the way down the hill into Yokoze/ Chichibu-Shi, a route that allowed us to get to the Seibu Chichibu train station with only 150 meters or so riding along the crowded stretch of Rte. 299, then had an almost civilized lunch and hopped the 2:25PM express train to Ikebukuro.



*The title to this entry, "More Chichibu!" is to be said loudly, in the tone of Christopher Walken addressing Will Ferrell in the 2000 SNL sketch "More Cowbell".

3 comments:

TOM said...

Lovely story David! I can tell you all had a real fun day out there in Higashi Chichibu. I'm glad we finally ventured into this new region and I'm sure that there are still many beautiful roads left to be discovered!

David L. said...

Ludwig/Manfred:
I'm sorry the entry did not give credit where credit is due. You can see that I've modified it to replace the text:

"Somewhere along the way, Ludwig joined in and passed most of us--well, me at least--with his hill climbing."

With something a bit more imaginative.

Seriously though, Jerome and I did do a trip to Chichibu on Sept 14 (on the blog), and a bunch of Positivo Espresso members (David J., Juliane, Tom and I all joined the TCC trip on Sept 6 (noted on Tom's blog), although Tom/TCC took a different path and went further, faster and higher than we did. So I think I will stick with giving credit to Tom for "planting the flag," unless you were riding in Chichibu on your old bike in the spring/summer?

Chichibu -- its Japanese for "Belgian Congo."

More Chichibu!

Best,
David

Manfred von Holstein said...

I concede unconditional defeat and have deleted my initial comment!

Hopefully I can take credit for creating the bhiking tradition - see separate new post.