04 November 2009

Berezina Crossing

Mikuni Pass [三国峠」], literally "Pass of the three countries" is called so because it was conquered one day by riders from three different countries. The day was November 3rd, 2009 and the three riders came from West-Germany, France and South Germany.

Jerome, Ludwig and me met at Odawara station at 8 and Jerome showed us the way out on a very nice road leading along the gentle slopes of the Hakone mountains. Actually he didn't even know this road before taken us there, but nevertheless it was very nice. A lot of ups and downs and before we knew it we were on the ascent to Ashigara pass. This was the first climb of the day and it was not an easy one. There are many hair needle curves on the higher part but when we were finally up and over the pass, we had a beautiful view on mount Fuji and on the first snow of the season on it's top.Note the hidden Belgium flag.

We went all the way down again, but not through the golf course hills but rather through a forest road which led us to a (now approved) family mart in the valley between Ashigara and Mikuni. And then we started the attack on Mikuni Toge.

After having heard much brutal stories about it, I was surely lacking self confidence when I started. Also my legs still felt weak from the Motegi race two days earlier. So it was a very hard climb indeed but luckily it is only less than 7 km long. I was expecting much more and before I knew it we were on the top and over where again we had a beautiful view on mount Fuji and lake Yamanaka.
My guess? OWI = 2.0 as it is about double the distance and elevation.
We stopped at the approved 7-eleven at Yamanako and both Ludwig and me had a good Oden-lunch while Jerome was showing off his Ukranian army underwear and pretended that it was still summer. In fact it was cold. Very cold.

We continued to ride along the lake and then up to a new pass called Nijumagari Toge which was kindly introduced to us by Y I. Eternal thanks to you for that one. From lake Yamanaka it is a very gentle approach up only 150 - 200 meters and from the top one has again a nice view on mount Fuji plus there is another holy fountain providing water for the thirsty cyclist.
The road that leads down to Tsuru (road 139) and further to Otsuki or Akiyama. One can also cross Dosaka pass and turn back to Doshi Michi (413).

And this road is not only complete void of traffic (except for some construction equipment trucks), but also full of snow on both sides as it is mostly in the shadows. The whole ride felt like a ride in the winter: the air was clear, the sky was blue, the rivers looked beatiful with the surrounding Koyo,
it was 4 degres C or so and I was glad that I overdressed on the suggestion of Ludwig.

Also there are many other interesting roads branching off to locations which are called "DO NOT ENTER" in English.
Unfortunately a part of the road is pure gravel.

When finally reaching road 139 we ramped up the speed in the spirit of Motegi and made a fast run for the train station at Otsuki. An equally fast train brought us home within no time.
A very nice day out in the winter - back in the city it was much warmer.

2 comments:

TOM said...

Extremely envious! Beautiful ride; hope to join you guys again soon.

Manfred von Holstein said...

It was really amazingly cold on the downhills, though uphill Jerome's wardrobe still felt more appropriate.

Here is the GPS trail of the ride:

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/kanto/101125724371348407

Some TCC riders have known Nijumagari Toge for a while:

http://www.tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?p=15658#post15658