05 May 2009


Looking at the weather forecast, I realized that Monday would be the last good weather day of the Golden Week. As I did not enjoyed some serious riding so far, I thought that this would be my last chance. I felt inspired by Tom's Kazahari-Matsuhime loop.

But still there was a lot of work to do, so I could leave the house only at 11 and headed for the Tamagawa. The cycling road along the Tama was extremely crowded and I was happy when I could take the shortcut via "Charles Village Road" to Itsukaichi. Finally after 2 hours I arrived at the 7-Eleven before the start of the Kazahari climb just outside of Itsukiachi. I mean, where else would I take a rest?

Met two other riders there, one of them, Greg, I met three or four years ago exactly at the same place and also last year at the Itoigawa Fast Run where his girl friend drove his "support vehicle" and I was totally envious (of the service of course, not so much of his girl friend). I guess the chance that my wife will support me on such race is slightly lower than that Germany will occupy Poland again by force within the next few weeks.
When I said that I wanted to climb up Kazahari and Matsuhime (it was later than 1 PM already) they looked at their watch and I decided, yes, definitely it was time to go.

Instead of going all out from the beginning, a tactic which is also called "litty approach" after a famous rider from the Positivo Espresso team who blasts along the Tama at the start of each ride [the opposite being called a "froggy approach", after a Positivo Espresso rider who gets better and better with the distance of a ride. Then, to list them all, there is the "spilly approach" which is going all out for 24 hours, regardless of climbs and distance] I tried to do my own tactic: Staying in the 150s BPM range for all of the climb and then exhausting myself on the last 3 kilometers.

So when I came to the Y junction, the fork to Tomin no Mori on the right and Kobu Tunnel on the left, I was running at slightly below 20 minutes. Which is good, but there were times when I was glued to the wheel of Tom and I made it in 15 minutes. It is more difficult to do alone.

The second part, up to the tollhouse was done in less than 32 minutes, which is very good indeed. All the way I could keep the tension and I was able to keep my legs pedaling all the time.

Then the third part, from the tollhouse to Tomin no mori is here I normally run out of steam. But today I had my best time ever there, it only took me less than 13 minutes, including a furious sprint at the end.

DONE. 1:04:25 min is a very good time for me and probably hard to beat without loosing much more weight. This is not as fast as Tom, but at least it is a time which allows me to see Tom picking up his ordered Soba noodle from the shop, rather to see him sitting outside with the finished bowl in front of him.

After a very brief stop at Tomin no Mori I continued to climb up to Kazahari. A lot of stupid racing bikers were assembled on top, navigating the curves with their knees on the asphalt, friends and girlfriends taking photos.

But the road down to Okutama are now in perfect conditions and I reached 66 km/hr going down. Instead of taking a break at Kosuge, the village before the Matsuhime climb, I decided to eat while riding which saved more time. When I arrived at the village there was some kind of local festival (matsuri) going on. I never saw that many people in Kosuge, which was for me so far the typical 過疎村 (deserted village), only consisting of farmers in their seventies. The village is in a valley along a river and a huge number of big carp streamers 鯉のぼり was suspended from a steel wire fixed between the hills on the East and on the West side.
Very beautiful, but also a lot of traffic. As I was very tired from the trip up to Kazahari, I took it easy but I tried to maintain a constant pace. After all the traffic and people in Kosuge it was nice to be alone in the mountains. Although still a lot of bikes and cars up the road, even some strange tricycles were overtaking me.

After a very short break on the top I descended down, always careful of the traffic. Arriving at the lake I checked out for the entrance to the O-toge road which I easily found. But by now it was already past 5 PM so I decided to head home and took the easy way down to road 20 and then further to Torizawa Station.
Traffic on road 20 was a complete mess. also I had to wait 30 minutes for a train bringing me back to Takao - unbelievable, these are German conditions! Have you ever waited for a train 30 minutes in Japan ?

Anyway, a nice ride and at least some compensation for not going down to Izu.


David L. said...

Glad you had a good ride on Monday. I regret that I must inform you that your time for the Honjuku->Tomin no mori time does not qualify for your personal record, as the tailwind significantly exceeded the permissible 2 meters per second. How do I know? ... On Monday afternoon I followed the same route ... as far as the turn off to the Koubu tunnel. I went up and through the tunnel, down to Uenohara and back home via Otarumi/Takao -- 145 km in 5:30 total time, one stop only, averaging 27.7 kph speed. Perfec riding weather.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a good route sorted out there. Girlfriends taking pictures of their boyfriend's doing turns?! That is a little too dedicated.