27 March 2009

Izu Hanto Training Ride

Ludwig and me decided that it was finally time to ride out to Izu.

So we one morning we took the Shinkansen out to Atami - living now close to Shinyokohama makes these types of adventures quite easy for me. We started to ride along the coast instead of riding up the killer Atami Toge straight out of the Shinkansen. Then we climbed up at Usami which was much nicer and with better views and headed straight for the CSC Shuzenji.
Ludwig had his 2nd 2009 JCRC E class race scheduled there the next weekend, so we made some training laps on the tracks and discussed possible race strategies. From there on I remembered that I had once taken a small road to the South, but I could not remember where that was. We searched for quite a while but got lost or on gravel roads and in the end we decided to take route #80. Which was nice, small and leading to the South. And just might have been the road we were looking for.

From there on we followed the main inner Izu road #349 and #414 in direction Shimoda. One escape attempt to find a smaller roads through the woods led to some significant climbing before we ended up in front of a gravel road again. Back again to the main road.
The wild boar sanctuary closed down due to the economic depression it seems.

Then we reached Amagi Tunnel, the highest point on this road and we decided not to take the boring, modern road tunnel but climb even higher to the old Amagi tunnel which was constructed in the 19th century (Meiji). Of course another half gravel / rotten asphalt road but I didn't minded any longer.
For every civil engineer a wonderful tunnel, just straight out of forgotten engineering wonderland. An older couple asked Ludwig to take some photos and I complimented them on their good choice of the photo motive: Meiji tunnel plus Meiji car in front (plus almost Meiji couple in front of the Meiji but I refrained from saying that).Of course the tunnel has not only an entry in the "spooky place of Japan" list, but it was also the scene of some love adventures described in the book "Izu no Odoriko" by Kawabata, later made into a movie, even later made into a major express train.

Then the descent including the famous 414 loop. Due to our main attempts to shortcut we lost a lot of time and when we finally reached the coast it was already pretty late. So we started the after-burner and rode fast along the East coast. Traffic was not great but OK and after a further detour, we finally reached Ito station where we had to wait quite long before we could finally catch a train home.

A very enjoyable trip with a lot of climbing but also some fast runs. I hope that there will be more opportunities to ride in Izu this year - there is still so much more waiting to be found down there.
http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/izu/191123738286321953

3 comments:

TOM said...

Another nice ride by Positivo Espresso's most ferocious duo! The tunnel resembles the Sasago tunnel, which reminds me I should go on my monster loop again soon!

andy said...

Hi MOB,

I always enjoying reading your stories of adventure ever since I came across your Tokyo-Itoigawa write up last year.

Izu is great isn't it? We usually head down there every year for a week before the Challenge Road Race. Unfortunately we couldn't go this year.

The coast rode on the west side is beautiful (R17, R136) as are the roads that run across the top of the ridge there (R59, R411). I've done lots of exploring around there so let me know if you need any tips.

Also, if you ever do make it to the end of the world that is Niigata (!), I'd be glad to show you around.

Looking forward to your posts,

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com

mob said...

Tom,

I could imagine that the old tunnel at Sasago is equally spooky. My children still believe my story that octopus are dwelling in holes in the ceiling and let their tentacles hang down to grab unsuspected cyclists.

I would guess that the complete loop we did would be in the range of 200 km from your house.

Hi Andy,

good to know that you read the blog and like it. I have heard about you from Tom and about your undertakings at Itoigawa and Hotaka. I am not that a fast cyclist, but I perhaps can give you some hints about child care. And later blog about.