17 July 2009

Odarumi attack Sunday -- Success!

Partial Ride Report [by David L.]:
Michael and I made our early morning train connections as planned and attached Odarumi after filling our water bottles and stocking up on some provisions a 7/11 (approved) near Enzan Station.

As it was 8AM and cloudy, the humidity and heat were still contained somewhat, and we reached the bottom of the climb without difficulty. I urged that we take the "direct" climb rather than going over Yakiyama Touge ("Burnt Mountain Pass") since Jerome and I had already climbed via Yakiyama last month.

Just after we started up, Michael got a call ... from Hiroshi, who had decided to join us and driven from Tokyo, but did not tell anyone until his arrival (delayed somewhat by traffic). Michael spoke with him as we continued to climb. We know that Hiroshi is faster uphill than we are, and it sounded from Michael's description as if he was already near the entry to the climb, so we kept going, expecting to see him reach and pass us somewhere along the climb.

Hiroshi's (Japanese language) report and a few photos are available here.

The climb was MUCH easier than when I did it with Jerome last month. While I would like to believe this is because I succeeded in reaching a "new level" as a climber by participating in the Transalp, I am afraid the much more obvious causes are (1) not having started the day by riding 100km plus from home, over Yanagisawa, and (2) weather that was probably 5-7 degrees (C) cooler than the climb with Jerome and without harsh direct sunlight.

As usual, Michael climbed a bit faster than I did. We stayed together, trading front positions until around 1600 meters, then Michael pulled ahead. I could still see him around some of the bends in the road as we went through the flat-ish 5km section between 1700-1750 meters elevation, but from there to the top I kept up my plodding pace, while he accelerated, taking advantage of a slightly reduced grade of the climb, and the confidence that he could make it up without difficulty.

I was glad to make the entire 35 km from the 7/11 in Enzan to the top of Odarumi, over 2000 meters of climbing, without stopping. The only time my foot touched down was when I stood to climb out of the saddle and my cleat slipped out of the pedal (time to replace that cleat!).

The clouds darkened dramatically and the wind gusted on top. We put on our windbreakers and had just started the descent ... when we saw Hiroshi coming up. After waiting for him to summit and start back down (and, in fact, going back up to the top to make sure that he was, in fact, planning to spend not too long up top), we started the descent. Hiroshi and I ended up ahead with Michael nowhere to be seen. We pulled over to wait and, after 5 minutes, had decided to head back up to see what was keeping him (tire puncture? crash? other????) when Tom can zooming up, having ridden all the way from home. These photos are mostly from Tom, and his full trip report can be found here.

The 3 of us went up until we met Michael, who had changed a flat tire tube. We descended together, turned off the main route halfway down, climbed over Yakiyama Touge and descended through the adjacent valley. We rode through light rain, but just enough to cool us down, not enough to make the road damp or slick.

After farewell to Hiroshi, and a ramen stop, Tom led Michael and me through the Enzan/Katsunuma area and toward the west entrance off Rte 20 to Sasago Pass.

While Tom was right that going through Enzan/Katsunuma saved us from the hilly Fruit Line, the air was oppressive -- way too much humidity, mixed with some auto exhaust and a blend of diesel particulate. I had not gotten nearly enough sleep the night before, and was suffering from a combination of modest stomach issues and pain in my feet (really need to experiment with other cleat locations). In the end, I hopped the train home from Kai Yamato, while Michael and Tom headed up Sasago.

Michael will need to report on what happened thereafter ... and add any photos of note.

David L.

(added a few photos, Tom)
David and I are finally going to climb Odarumi Toge [2.360 m] on Sunday (19). Previous attempts were unsuccessful for various reasons, including a too ambitious climbing program in 2008 on the previous day's approach which killed 3 our of 5 riders.

Now this time we would like to do it properly and therefore we are going by train:

06:35 Hachioji - 07:50 Enzan (Chuo Line to Matsumoto)

It will take about three hours of climbing up and one hour down, so we should be back in Enzan by one. Whereas we will reassess our strength and go for some more leisurely riding in the vicinity (Yanagizawa, Kamihikawa, Sasago) or take the train home again.

Would anybody like to join (who has not refused so far) ?


TOM said...

Am planning to be "in the vicinity" Sunday. No train for me though. Will attempt a super-masochistic route starting with Wada then the golf courses, Tawa, Tsuru, Inagawa, Yanagisawa, Kamihikawa, Sasago, Suzugane, Hinazuru, Makime, Otarumi....

Heavy rain in the late afternoon and extremely strong southern wind is predicted for tomorrow. This will only enhance the suffering!

Might pass you guys perhaps on Kamihikawa?

How about Odarumi combined with a stay in Enzan (with Snowwhite)?

David L. said...

... I'm not seeing the same weather forecast. Both weather.jp and mapion weather suggest the worst it gets anywhere between Kofu and Tokyo is a 30% chance of rain later in the afternoon, and wind from the West/SW -- perhaps even a tail wind?

I guess I'll check again before I leave in the morning.

Manfred von Holstein said...

The Crystal Line is definitely worth a ride. I took it on my way down when I climbed up Odarumi via Yanagisawa two weeks ago. It takes you up another 150m to Otome Kogen, then more or less continuously down into Kofu, passing by Shosenkyo, a really beautiful gorge with an enormous waterfall. I'll post the GPS trail when I have found to paste it together (my GPS failed to record the full 12 hour ride and so I need to do some manual manipulation).

There are also many other forest roads up in that area that are worth exploring. On another occasion in April, I explored the highest pass in the area that has actually paved roads in all three directions, so gives many more options for how to combine for a nice ride. There is almost no traffic on any of these roads, so very nice for going up. Going down takes some care because of rock fall etc.