16 July 2009

Une partie de campagne [Yabitsu]

Don't worry this post is not about the movie of Jean Renoir as you might have suspected in the first place. And if a movie by him, I assume that you would most certainly prefer "La grande illusion" which is equally not related with cycling.

Juliane and me rode up from Miyagase lake to Yabitsu pass for the first time perhaps in 2004 or 2005; it started to rain before we reached the top but nevertheless I noted that this is one of the best cycling roads in the Kanto area.

After this I went there many, many times. There is one point on the road perhaps 3 or 4 km from the start, where the forest opens to the left side and one has a wonderful view of the river (Kiyokawa, I assume) and the gorge meandering towards the higher hills. Every time I ride by this place I think "I should come here with my family some day", or if I ride with somebody else, I make an acclamation to the same effect. But usually there is no time to stop as the clock is ticking and one wants to achieve a sub 50 minutes time in the togebaka records to the right.
But finally yesterday I could convince my family to go there. I set off early in the morning by train to Hachioji and over Otarumi while my family was travelling by car and we planned to meet on the top of Yabitsu.

Perfect blue skies. Incredibly hot and humid plus a strong headwind, not the best conditions to attack Otarumi, but I did nevertheless. And I needed to stop because of a construction site. No new records, no togebaka entries.

It is really difficult for me to ride during these weather conditions, all energy gets gradually sucked out from the body and I was moving really slow. Subsequently I arrived late at Yabitsu where my family was waiting already. It took them less than 90 minutes to travel by car from Yokohama to there.

I assembled the bike of my son (He needs a new one as this one is now to small and I am thinking about this or this or this) and then the both of us started riding down the slopes in direction Miyagase lake while wife and daughter went ahead by car. I taught my son the basics of rolling downhill and maneuvering curves although I think that David would have been a much better teacher.

Much emphasize was placed on a) looking into the mirrors b) shouting "car" or "car back" and c) crossing all red lights between Yabitsu and Kiyokawa.
We then arrived at one of the camp sites at the river and jumped into the water. Wonderful, the water was cold, clear and of turquoise color and partly it was so deep that we could jump from the rocks and swim. A most wonderful place as expected and not crowded at all as Japanese summer school holidays have not started yet.
My children then suddenly developed at interest to add further creatures to our assorted portfolio of pets at home (turtles, gold fish, spiders and cockroaches) and started to look for polliwogs.

I told my wife the story of the famous German Enka siren "Lorelei" and she kindly tried to enact the story on a rock high above the river.
And then we rode to Miyagase lake and had lunch/dinner at one of the two approved soba joints (登山) until our kids forced me to buy them french fries, crepes and soft cream at one of the not-approved supply dumps.

I then wanted to conquer Yabitsu one more time while the family was heading back to Yokohama for figure skating training. But I had a flat tire after riding for 10 minutes and honestly speaking I was not too unhappy about. My family picked me up and together we drove back.
A most enjoyable day, combining the pleasures of cycling and family life.

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