31 December 2008

New Year's Eve Ride - 2008

In a break from my normal practice and to ensure that za German proprietor of this blog keeps talking to me I have posted verbatim my post for today's ride here as well. Missed you today Michael, but looking forward to seeing you on Friday :)

Up and out this morning a little later than usual - no-one to meet at Ebisu so straight to Kaminoge to meet David at 7:40am - a bowl of porridge and 2 slices of toast for first breakfast.
Sporting my new Rapha gear - Christmas presents from za wife, za daughter and even za pups. Some toasty Winter tights, a pair of Merino socks (you have to get socks for Christmas, it's a rule) and the usual Softshell over a rather nice Merino base-layer from Finisterre.

Why all the product placement you might ask? Well, I was rather impressed with how warm I stayed given the fact that it was a mere 1C at Takao this morning. It warmed up as the day progressed and I never got too uncomfortable - a good sign of great gear. Oh, and it's my birthday next week and just in case you might be looking for gift ideas, wink wink, nod, nod.

Out on the usual Tama river route and second breakfast at the 7-11. We popped over Takao with no great effort or drama. Watching for ice in the shaded spots all the way up - it was that cold!
Inevitably Fuji(Click picture to enlarge)
Rendezvous-ing at the peak and yet again a great view if Fuji on another beautiful winter's day in Japan.
David had suggested another twist this week.. adding a second significant climb, followed by a really steep bugger. Although not as steep or as high as where Lance was yesterday.
NYs Eve cycle team(Click picture to enlarge)
Here's the guys - Tom, David & Hiroshi-san - before setting off up the steep ascent.
Steep bugger(Click picture to enlarge)
That'll be Hiroshi-san powering his way up. You can tell it's steep as in Japan they use concrete with circles as you can see. I am not 100% sure what the purpose of the circles are. I assumed they use concrete so it doesn't melt in the summer and 'slide' down. I guess the concrete circles would be to disperse water during storms? Hmm, something to investigate.
Contemplating the last curve(Click picture to enlarge)
Tom contemplating life from the top of the climb. Our descent whilst on the south side of the hill was tentatively taken. The road was covered in salt. Amazing that they had been out to a road this remote to salt it to be fair. A first for me to be cycling with salt pinging up off the wheels.
We made our descent and then handed over path finding duties to Hiroshi-san who not only was going to show me the second half of my road to nowhere but also a different route back to Tokyo. Sugoi! We first had a pit stop for first lunch.
Fixing a flat(Click picture to enlarge)
Unfortunately David got a flat mere seconds into us setting off, but was as quick as ever in making repairs.
Small suspension(Click picture to enlarge)
Over a small, yet very high suspension bridge. We climbed a fair few metres and then made our way back onto our normal return loop. Then Hiroshi-san, as promised, showed a new route home taking in tank road where Mitsubishi Heavy Industries used to test their tanks.
View from Tank Road(Click picture to enlarge)
Quite a nice view from the top of the hill, although not much heavy industry now, much more commuter belt suburban living.
So Hiroshi-san's route was a fast rolling road which again was a first for me on a Tokyo ride - it's usually flat or up. The downside was more traffic lights, the upside was that it brought us back to Kawasaki and therefore not much of the Tama river to follow home (the river route can get monotonous to say the least).
A good tailwind saw us back to David's place in no time. He was feeling the pace/distance by now, but I suspect a couple of good night's sleep are all that is required. I felt reasonably OK, heavy legs for sure and not too much sustained power available. I got home around 2:15pm after 140kms and 7 hrs riding. Not too scruffy at all and a fantastic way to end the year. My sincere thanks to David, Tom and Hiroshi-san for their company, their pace and their directions today. Happy New Year.

View Larger Map
As usual the Garmin went and did about twice as much climbing as I did.. 1100m for me today.
(Click diagram for Garmin data)

2 comments:

David L. said...

James -- Thanks for the ride report. I see Tom also has one on his blog (am I the only one in our group who does NOT have his own individual blog?)

Here is a link to numerous photos and a Japanese language report by Hiroshi:

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/yo8661/22360666.html

Also, I would highlight for other Positivo Espresso members (Michael, Jerome, Ludwig take note) the routes Hiroshi showed us (and which can be seen in detail using the GPS data posted by James).

1. a much better way around Tsukui-ko, heading over to the deserted North side and taking a (barely) paved forest road for several kilometers until joining the short climb that I "discovered" and have used regularly on recent trips. This (the "Hiroshi twist") will probably supplant other routes for future trips, except where speed is the first and only consideration.

2. 南多摩尾根幹線 (Minama Tama O-ne Kan-sen) and 小山内裏公園 (Koyama Uchiura (?) park) route back from the Rte 16 area to the Tamagawa through Tama New Town.

This route is not as fast as Yaen Kaido, but has its advantages. The park involves plenty of twists and turns on the wide path that Hiroshi reported was used to test tanks back in the WWII era, and O-ne Kansen has a good shoulder, few crossings, and involves lots of rollers -- up and down and up and down short slopes, never more than a 3-5% grade, never more than 15-25 meters elevation change, but pretty constant.

There are traffic signals that involve real cross traffic and require at least an initial stop/look -- as opposed to Yaen Kaido. But it is a rare place in Tokyo to ride "rollers" and add some more training to a ride home.

This included some familiar territory for Tom, who frequents the Machida Costco and environs with his wife, but for others, some O-ne Kansen links:

http://nakajitm.fc2web.com/kotta2003/05_07B/onekan1.htm

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B0%BE%E6%A0%B9%E5%B9%B9%E7%B7%9A

TOM said...

Thanks a lot for your research there David. I was not 100% sure about the O-ne Kansen nomenclature ...now I know. Used the same O-ne Kansen approach to cycle to Enoshima from Fuchu (Koremasa-bashi) last Saturday. If the lights turn green at the right time in perfect rhythm, those rollers can get quite fast!