04 April 2010

Blueberry and Sugar

Whilst many of your favourite characters were otherwise engaged on Saturday with either illness, or work, or family commitments, a surprising number of Positivistas (8?) gathered along the Tama on Saturday morning with a plan to tackle some climbs and get some kilometres under our belts.

Sagamiko marked the first point that our numbers declined with Jamie and Bryon heading for a climb up the back of Otarumi and then back to Tokyo. Jamie regretting the lack of a compact crank and a 'climbing' cassette, Bryon on call for a heavily pregnant wife due to deliver a son imminently.

The remainder continued on to Fujino for a turn north and into the hills on Route 522.

Stops here and there to re-group, fill water bottles or just generally enjoy the scenery were the order of the day, and Michael H. was therefore able to keep his peeing to his regular schedule of every 8 minutes. This is obviously his superpower. Mine is sausage eating.

It became obvious very quickly that David C. was struggling. Quite out of character and cause for some concern and discussion. Failing to find his mojo, David decided to head back towards Uenohara and then home.

We continued up Route 18 enjoying the brisk, clear conditions and the short but fairly steep climbs that characterize this great cycling road. Plenty of 12% inclines for the strong to power up, and for the rest of us to grind it out on.

Graham had by this point taking on the role of 'lanterne rouge', but I am beginning to understand the relationship between Michael H. and him. Graham's lower pace gives Michael plenty of time to scout out possible lunch venues and restaurants, and of course, to have a pee. It is quite surprising how many soba restaurants this intrepid duo have discovered in what are seemingly uninhabited villages. That said this route is certainly lacking in the usual compliment of conbinis that we are spoiled with riding in the Japanese countryside. Food supplies were low.

We arrived at Lake Okutama. Michael moaning that he still had another climb before he could lunch. Graham choosing to head down to Ome directly having done enough for his first bike ride of the year now his running marathons is done. Whilst we stopped to refill bottles, have a drink and consume the last of any food that could be found hiding in jersey pockets, Michael disappeared. Obviously time for another pee, but no! He returned clutching a secret weapon. Having chatted up the restaurant cashier, she had sold him some 'blueberry and black sugar' candy. It was pure sugar, no blueberry and not very tasty. We finished it all anyway.

Tomin no Mori beckoned and off we set. Team High5 of James and Yair zoomed off into the distance and I decided to stick with Michael H. who I thought might have needed moral support in order to break into the 2000m+ climbing gang. This proved prescient. Michael H. and I summited around the 60 minute mark, Michael now at a personal best daily elevation. We descended rapidly in the cold to then stop and consume cha-han, soup and sit inside reheating our bits. Oh, and for Michael to have a pee.

Some banter at this point as to exit strategies. Itsukaichi, Hachioji, Tachikawa were options, but with the time quickly passing and dusk falling in the not too distant future, Itsukaichi it was for Michael and I. Coffees and pastries could not be resisted before jumping the (slow) train to Tokyo at 5:07pm. James and Yair pushed on to Hachioji before calling it a day.

160ishkm, 2500ish climbing, 7hrs riding, 5hrs peeing, brilliant.

1 comment:

mob said...

One more very impressive ride during the last weekend. Addition the total of all rides (Ludwigs, Toms, this one, David, Jerome ane me) we may come close to the club annual total of 2007.