01 February 2009


小春日和 - a balmy day in autumn may not exactly describe the weather today, but is the only beautiful Japanese word I know which comes close to describe a feeling of spring. This normally will be followed by 三寒四温: three cold days, followed by four beautiful warm days.

I wanted to stay in bed rather long, so I opted for a 8.30 AM Tamagawa rendezvouz with Ludwig instead of the earlier alternatives with David, Jerome and James. Outside the wind was very strong. When I crossed the Tamagawa it was extremely strong - and Ludwig was not at the meeting point. Perhaps blown away on his superlight Canyon bike and with 3% body fat? No he was in bed, so I decided to take an easy spin alone.

Painful slow progress along the Tamagawa due to the strong headwind, it was difficult to ride faster than 20 km/hr. I decided to go to Takao, anyway away from the Tamagawa. I skipped the break at the 7/11 and attacked Otarumi immediately but was terribly slow again. But the weather was nice, very warm, so I decided to take on Yabitsu. Apart from Route 20 between Hakone and Jukoku Toge this is my favourite road/climb in Japan.

Before I started I had soba with duck meat at a restaurant at the Miyagase lake, the first longer stop of the ride. The soba was good, but the duck must have been very, very old.

With a tailwind the climb was surprisingly fast, only 1.26 min slower than my best time from last year. On the top the view was beautiful, the best ever: Not only the coastline, but also the sea was clearly visible with Oshima, Nijima and Kotsujima lingering in the background.
I still felt good when I arrived in Hadano and I briefly thought about climbing up Hakone, continue on route 20 and take the Shinkansen home from Atami [the Ekiden route]. But when I reached national road #1 I recognized that I was still 14 km away from Odawara and reason and logic took charge again. So I continued in the opposite direction along the coast in direction Enoshima and then further on to Kamakura.

I had coffee & cakes at Seacastle, the old German restaurant at Kamakura, my second longer stop in 8 hours of riding . The rest was an uneventful ride through Kamakura, then back by train from Ofuna, all in all 160 km.
The weather was really fantastic today and I was glad that I went out riding. Other riders must have thought the same way; rarely I have seen that many on the road. As if the official riding season has started on February 1st.


Manfred von Holstein said...

Sorry to have missed it! The wind was just a bit too scary - most of our plants gone blown away so I didn't want the same to happen to me on the road.

We need to make a habit of checking mobile phones and voice mails before leaving so nobody waits in vain.

TOM said...

Michael: wasn't it a great day! Another observation: Miura Hanto is quite popular among cyclists...I saw so many and the number of sleek flatbar bikes seems to be dramatically on the rise.

Ludwig: You really got to add some kilograms to that frame of yours!

TOM said...

Michael, as I was re-reading your very graphic (as usual) account of yesterday's ride, I got the idea of a new "monster" route for the longer days:

Fuchu -> Takao (Otarumi) -> Yabitsu -> Hadano -> Enoshima -> Yamato -> Machida -> Fuchu

What do you think? Feasible?

Also, let's do all of us a Tour of Miura Hanto!

One question if I may, why would you want to board a train in Ofuna when you are already so close to home?...just wondering.

mob said...

Hi Tom,
good idea for the monster ride. I know your preference for returning home on your bike, otherwise you could also continue from Enoshima on the West side of Miura Hanto down to Jogashima, the ride on the East side to the first station and take a train home.

The roads between Ofuna and my home are really messy. I don't like to ride there, it spoils the good impressions one get after Yabitsu and Kamakura and it takes considerable time to arrive at home. I always take the train. It is some kind of tradition, I guess.

Let's go to Miura all together and eat maguro at Jogashima.

mob said...
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Manfred von Holstein said...

Tom, your proposal sounds very feasible, but it would be good to map it out on www.mapmyride.com to check how long it would really be. I also like to tool because one can check the elevation profile before setting out.

TOM said...

Thanks Ludwig...let's go for it soon. Mapmyride is not very accurate but you are right about the elevation profile - this is helpful and if you add +30~40% the distance should be about correct. I just ordered a new Garmin GPS via Wiggle (the cheapest one without HRM) so I can transpose those GPS data onto the map like David L. (and you too I believe) does. I really like the route between Enoshima and Arasaki...nice "rollers" and not too heavy a traffic...if the rest of the Peninsula is similar, that would make for a great day in the saddle!

Manfred von Holstein said...

Tom, mapmyride is now pretty accurate in my experience, both in terms of distance and elevation profile. It is important though to draw the trail as accurately as possible on the road if you don't have the benefit of a GPS recording. (In other countries, there is auto-tracking available in mapmyride but unfortunately it does not work for Japan - it could save a lot of hassle.) I know mapmyride used to give an inaccurate elevation profile, but that has been solved in the latest version. Because it relies on the google map elevation data, it is actually better than using the raw data from a GPS or barometric reading. The problem with the latter is that they tend to be too sensitive to changing satellite availability (e.g. under trees) and barometric changes not due to changes in altitude and thus record far too many altitude changes. And the good thing about mapmyride is that it seems far less sensitive to the GPS device than trail.motionbased.com which seems awfully biased towards Garmin.

TOM said...

Thanks for the update on mapmyride Ludwig...you're right the more time you spent behind the screen drawing your way through all the little bends the greater accuracy...rather do all the mapping in the saddle though! Can't wait for my new Garmin to arrive - will be using motionbased I guess.