06 February 2009

Crisscross through wild Chichibustan

... is actually a parody on a book title by Karl May, the author which is beloved by Germans for his Wild West stories and almost completely unknown to the rest of the world. Military intelligence indicated clearance of the Chichibu area so Ludwig and me took off on Wednesday for a longer ride.

We met at 8 AM at Tamagawara bridge and proceed under cloudy skies along the Tamagawa to Ome, where we had the traditional breaks at (1) Aurore bakery and (2) 7-Eleven on the other side of the road. I filled my bags with food as we had quite some ambitious plans in front of us.

From Ome we crossed into Chichibu and paid our first homage to a temple on the long pilgrimage still in front of us. Monshuin boasts a beautiful garden that has always caught our attention while pacing by the road in front of it at 45km/h - but this time we actually stopped for it.


Having left the temple, we followed road #53 leading towards Shomaru Toge. However before we reached the pass, we took a right turn to road #395 and made a shortcut to road #299. This was the first charter into unknown territory this day. It was much harder than expected, the road was nice and in good shape but partly a little bit steep and in the end leading us to elevation 465 meters. 
The descent was equally fast and before long we found ourselves on road #299 and climbing again - relatively steeply and immersed in rather too much fast traffic. Before the long tunnel we turned right and started attacking Karibazaka Toge. As I was slowly coming into shape, that went much better than I expected.
I made a silly joke about whale penis in relation with Japanese food, hardly hammering down my point while trying to suck enough air in to keep me going. Ludwig insisted that I should write about on the blog.

On the top we took a break ate our rations and finally blue sky was filling the gap between god and us above us. But is was bloody cold, only three degrees so we went on. Luckily no ice or snow in sight. So far we have always turned to the left in direction of Ono Toge, Shomaru Toge and Sadamine Toge, but this time we went to the right in direction Iimori Toge.
But we didn't continue for too long and took another small forest road on the left which led us down, down and down. Within no time we have lost substantial elevation and we felt pretty cold. There was also one stretch of the road that was not paved, but this continued only for a kilometer or so. Unfortunately it was enough for both or us to warrant a new round of bike cleaning.

We visited another temple along the roadside (Tatsugaya) and then came to a small village (Ogose) where a cafe called "Die Sonne" ("the sun", but not a newspaper) was closed except for Saturdays and Sundays. And probably also for all month which include the
 letter "R". The local
 supermarket offered nothing to eat but Shoju, rice and flour but luckily we were able to find a nice Soba shop shortly before the entrance to the prefectures natural forest reserve. Ludwig was running out of steam but after he had his power-soba lunch he was winded up like an old tin toy racing car tuned with a titanium spring. From elevation 150 m 
we had to make our way up to 650 m again on road #61.
Our final goal was to reach the legendary temple called Takayama Fudoson. (This is NOT a real estate temple, because then it would be called Fudosan). Well to be honest, I don't know if the temple is legendary or not, but it looked very tempting to ride there on a map.

Finally we made it, the last 300 meters or so really steep going down on a "concrete circle surface" type of road, easily reaching 20% inclination. The temple was OK, not great, so we started to crawl up this crazy slope again - which is really crazy without compact crank.
It was already close to 4 PM so instead of going back to Ome, we decided that we continue on road #299 to Hano and take a train back home. Due to all the climbing (2.320 meter in total) we have covered only 115 km in 8 hours - unbelievable. So once we were finally on a slightly downhill road we speeded ahead at 30 Km/hr plus average more or less continuously.

And then after 140 km and 9 and a half hours our ride was over. We really did a lot of new roads, some serious climbing and saw a lot of interesting things. I guess a lot of these roads have been already covered by Tom in the summer of 2008 though.


Now only a short train ride home was waiting for us.

But what was that? We had to wait almost 30 minutes before a train arrived - and finally it took me even after this 30 minutes two hours to arrive at home. OK, better than riding in the dark and cold on busy four lane roads home, but this was not after my taste.

Anyway a good ride and training. for Tsukuba. Anyone in?

Photos, map etc. will follow in different blog entry.


TOM said...

Didn't quite get the whale penis joke...you must tell me this one next time we're doing Dozaka-toge (but before you collapse).

TOM said...

Checked out the route on the mapmyride map. This shortcut to R.299 is not unfamiliar to me. You guys were very close to those 2 imposing blue and red guardian gods at Nenogongen...another crazy slope!

mob said...

Joke / Tom

Well it has been a while since I told the joke and I do not remember all details, however it had something to do with the fact that Ludwigs parents are scheduled to travel to Tokyo and we talked about our experience with visitors in general. I mentioned that most visitors constantly want to know what exactly they are eating in Japan, while I am not very interested any longer - I just shut up and eat - even it is whale penis, I couldn't care less.

Don't bother to love, my wife was also not laughing yesterday night when I made a similar joke (not realated to her dinner).

And all this, while we are going up a steep slope and I was running out of breath.

Nenogongen / Tom

I checked that out on the google map right now. It is a pity that we didn't know before the ride because we could have included another climb. But never mind, we can drop in the next time we are in Chichibu.

Can you approach Nenogongen von both sides, i.e. road #395 where we road, as well as from road #350 from the South?

TOM said...

Joke / never tried it but it is a good one nonetheless!

Nenogongen / Yes, it is possible to reach the temple both from the east and from the south. Another unusual place nearby is Takedera.