23 February 2010

39th Annual Tokyo-Itoigawa Fast Run, 294 km, Saturday May 22

I received a mailing for the Tokyo-Itoigawa event recently with the application materials.  This was one of the events that created the legend that is Positivo Espresso today.  At least it created the legend that is the Positivo Espresso blog.

Tom S., our medal contender in the event, will be riding with the Vlaams team as he did last year, going for the gold.  We need at least a 4-5 person team who are willing to draft/ride together (well, much of the time) to make this a success.  If we can get a team together, I'm planning to aim my training toward this event and then Fuji Hill Climb a few weeks later. 

Entries are due in a few weeks, and are capped at 290 persons, with a lottery in case of over subscription (so no guarantees).  Team entries only, not individuals.  Start is from Takao at an ungodly hour, and then after celebrating the victory overnight at Itoigawa, one returns by train on Sunday morning.  I believe there is a bus back Saturday night as well, if needed.  The materials are all Japanese language, so I'm happy to act as team secretary to organize this if others are interested and willing to commit well in advance of the deadline (March 13).  Let me know.

6 comments:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Thank you for posting. This is certainly quite a cycling event. Despite the desire to finally break my 230km/day mark, I will not participate in the Itoigawa fast run again. Last year, I started with Tom, and made it until somewhere before Chino, where I gave up because all those trucks irritated with all these cyclists on route 20 became just too scary for me. If I ever do this ride again, it will have to be on a Sunday, without that many trucks and fellow cyclists. But then I might just find quieter roads to go for 300km.

David L. said...

Manfred:

Thanks for your comments on the Itoigawa ride -- I suspected I would hear from you since you said pretty much the same thing last year.

I disagree. I think the best way to ride this route is in a group of other cyclists, in mid/late May. Yes, there is traffic that might be better on Sunday, but it is manageable, and there is strength (and good morale) in numbers. There are long, beautiful stretches, with the Southern Alps on the left as you climb toward Yatsugatake, and again with the snow capped peaks near Hakuba. Just look at the photo of us finishing in the dusk 2 years ago and you can see sense of celebration and accomplishment.

It does require some sacrifice -- a night in a business hotel near Takao (Hachioji) and a ridiculously early start (4AM? 6AM?). I would suggest we experiment with an earlier start this year than 2008 (when we were the last group), to get through the first urban area (Kofu) before the traffic builds.

I and some others will remember your comments before the 2009 Fuji Hill Climb ... something about us being miserable in the rain and wind and dying a terrible death, just 24 hours before a glorious, sunny, warm and memorable event. So I'm hopeful we will manage to raise a great team! So far, it is James K. and me.

Best, David

TOM said...

Couldn't agree more on that David. This is a fantastic event, almost surreal at times...as a matter of fact, I have never enjoyed a greater sense of accomplishment. I intend and hope to be able to participate in this classic until I'm well over 64!

By the way, I'm not really riding with the Vlaams team but like last year with "parent team" BEACH Cabagnolo...

Manfred von Holstein said...

I obviously don't share the excitement (though riding with Tom and two unknown Japanese riders from Takao to Sasago Toge at 30km/h average between 6 and 8am in the morning was fantastic!), but am glad to know that there are people out there who enjoy the event. If everyone was like me, clearly this race would never take place...

Nonetheless, I wanted everyone who has never participated know what they are getting into. I don't want to have to blame myself for not having warned anyone that they may get crushed by a truck on route 20 around Yatsugadake or beyond.

Good luck and safe riding to those who decide to take the risk upon themselves! I certainly wish Tom to win this time, and am happy to help him up to Kofu.

TOM said...

Manfred よ,cheer up! You really ought to change your MvH nickname to PdU....Prophet des Unheils!!!

Just kidding. Hope you will be my Guardian Angel again this year (even if it is only as far as Kofu). Like last year, I applied for a 6:00 am starting time.

Cheers,

Tom

Froggy said...

David

this year I am considering giving a try to this famous ride. I am therefore glad to join the team for this event