21 November 2009

Bonking in Hakone...

Thanks David (the role of domestique carrying 2-liter bottles in his back pocket fits you perfect!), thanks Ludwig for the humorous write-ups. It was another beautiful day, weather-wise and comrade-wise. I enjoyed talking with Thierry on top of Otarumi-toge (hope you’ll join us more often Thierry), with Jerome at the foot of Dozaka-toge, with Ludwig at the foot of Nagao-toge while (endlessly) waiting for Michael and finally with MOB himself aboard the Shinkansen between Atami and Shin-Yokohama.

The riding itself was fantastic and even the “sanrenkyu” heavy traffic jams did not bother me at all; it was thrilling and fun. The Mikuni downhill was super fast and Rd. 20 taking us further down to Atami was awesome! Michael is right; this has got to be one of the top 10 downhills in Japan in terms of length, smoothness and beauty of the scenery.

Yes, as one can read in Ludwig’s comments below, Michael seems to have suddenly gotten “the bonk” (this is a condition more commonly referred in Japan as a ハンガーノック or a hunger knock), a serious bout of hypoglycemia without any advance indication of the major collapse which would strike him and leave his companions completely mystified. When Michael finally did show up with a big grin on his face saying: “sorry guys…I had been bonking,” he was instantly forgiven! What a relief! I don’t know about Ludwig but I was starting to have hallucinations of MOB lying by the side of the road with blood streaming from both ears…

As soon as we rode all three together through the Nagao-toge tunnel, the fangs of traffic violation ogres almost pulled Michael into another inferno. Luckily I could get hold of Michael’s leg while Ludwig was holding onto mine (we enacted several versions - including one with Ludwig about to be squeezed - pictures of this fearsome ordeal to follow soon!). We somehow managed to escape and it was circling around lake Ashinoko that Michael completely recovered….gone were the symptoms of depletion and this time around it was Michael who imposed the tempo till the end!

My dessert of the day was a sweet ride in the darkness from Hashimoto over Onekan to my place.


David L. said...

Tom: Thanks for the nice photo from Otarumi -- I see you managed to get all 3 Cervelos into the picture! Also nice photo of Ludwig in his champion's jersey. I wish I had brought a camera yesterday, given the incredible fall colors on Rte 76 and Doshi, with snow capped Fuji repeatedly appearing and disappearing at the end of the valley as we went around corners.

I see that the Ludwig/Michael/Tom team made it successfully to Atami. Based on Ludwig's GPS data it looks like there is plenty of gradual up and down along the way, with the very steep downhills from Mikuni and again down into Atami are the most notable features -- hope you did not have any overheated brakes. If I remember correctly, the road you took from Gotemba up toward Hakone ... has lots and lots of traffic.

Thierry, Jerome and I made it over the hill on Kanagawa Rte 24 between Doshi and Tsuru (Tom mentioned it yesterday but I don't know the name of the pass and don't see it on maps). We then headed along Rte 35 for a return trip via Suzugane Pass, back to Rte 76 and Fujino.

I bonked -- ran completely out of gas -- adjacent to the Linear Motor Car test facilities on the gradual climb up to Suzugane, and partially recovered with a few minutes rest, some Winder energy gel and a Snickers Bar. I rode ahead of Jerome and Thierry on the descent and so missed the official Positivo Espresso manjyu shop, where Jerome and Thierry were kind enough to stop and get me a cold miso manjyu that I scarfed down quickly when they arrived at my resting stop a bit further toward Uenohara. This more than made up for my "domestique" service for Jerome at the Daily Yamazaki shop on Doshi Michi.

At Fujino we parted ways -- Jerome and Thierry to try Ura Wada and me to limp home over Otarumi to Hachioji, where I hopped the train home having ridden 165 km and approx 2000 meters of climbing.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Wow, so you ended up putting in almost as many kilometres and altitude metres as we! My day was 185km and 2,500m of climbing.

BTW, I assume you went over Hinazuru Toge not through Suzugane. Suzugane is very nice, but higher up and leads you to route 20.

We had a lot more of Mount Fuji for the rest of the day - nicely visible from almost anywhere we went. What was less nice was the traffic - really very bad in most places, because of the long weekend. Most of the Hakone area was really busy, and we had to skip through a couple of long traffic jams.

Tom's choice of title for this posting needs explaining. Somewhere on the climb up route 138, Tom and I lost Michael. He had been right behind us at the start, and the climb up to the turn towards Nagao-san was so short, and we didn't go that fast, it didn't occur to us to check whether he was following. At the turn, we noticed we were missing a body. So we waited, assuming he must turn up any moment - he really couldn't have been far behind on this short stretch. But no Michael... We called him. Phone was ringing, but no reply. I stopped a motorbike coming up the road and asked whether he had seen a cyclist. No! Then Michael called. He was close behind us, nothing to worry, please go ahead and see you at Nagao Toge... No explanation of what was taking him so much time before he hang up. We had been waiting for 15 minutes by then. Strange. We did not feel comfortable just going ahead and risking losing him completely. So we waited. And tried to ring him again. After probably another 15 minutes he finally appeared - totally content and happy. Without the hint of any embarrassment, he said: "Sorry to keep you waiting, but I was bonking." As if him having fun was a good reason for us to be doing nothing for half an hour... So I asked: "If we now go up slowly with you, will you allow us to watch you next time?" To which he replied: "Thank you, this is very kind of you!" Which in turn I took to mean being his polite way of saying "Get the f*** lost!" So Tom and I took off and left him to his privacy on the climb to Nagao Toge.

James said...


It lookslikeI have been given pink tickets for team rides by the wife. If you could drop me an e-mail regarding training or leisure rides I would very much appreciate it as I would love to tag along.... my daily commute lacks anything in the way of serious hill climbing.

TOM said...

James, so sorry to hear you were not aware of last Saturday's ride. Sometimes, invitations get sent out by email in a very sloppy way. As much as we can, we ought to stick to the blog for announcing future rides. I'm happy you can count on your wife's understanding and hope to see you join mountain rides soon!

Michael, please post those traffic violation fang pics...thanks!