10 May 2010

SHHHhhhh no talking we're training!!!

My morning actually started badly with the valve extended venting air from my SRAM wheels and I didn't release until after I had swapped out inner tubes. With 5 minutes to eat breakfast, switch my climbing cassette to my Ultegra wheels I set of with 50 minutes to cover the 25km from my house to Tamawagarabashi. 43.33 later I was at the meeting spot... with the blood up I was ready to train.

Once everyone was assembled we...... well ...I headed out... as people were still making idle chat as when I looked behind they were still at the bridge... ok i thought, there is a few of them and Jules and Clay will bridge the gap! Wrong.

Finally reaching the next stop at Takao 7-11 Steve and Fumiki were waiting for us and in true Positivo tradition the plan amongst the traditionalists was changed. (As a newbie I'm still not used to this riding style and maybe in another 10 years I would have learned to uphold this tradition)

With only Fumiki and me sticking to the original plan we headed out with Clay and Jules who had decided to climb O-Toge and would be with us along Route 20. With Clay setting the pace of the Delorean from “Back To the Future” we shot off up Otarumi, Clay taking the victory easily and leaving myself and Jules to fight for the scraps and on the second to last bend I launched my attack taking 2nd and completing the TT in 11:46, not enough to beat my record but still a fast time.

Jules and Clay pass two hikers on Otarumi

Fumiki was taken by surprise of the sudden race to the summit and failed to catch a wheel, he still came in very strong and the 4 of us descend Route 20 towards Sarunobashi where we would part company with Jules and Clay.

As it happened a few unlucky reds put a gap between us of around 200meters and we would only get a glimpse of the two now and again before finally losing them altogether in the twisting roads.

We made a very brief stop at to get water at Sarunobashi before heading up towards Matsuhime. Not wanting to get caught in the midday sun we attacked the mountain without remorse and I reached the summit at 11:06 – 116km in 4hour 11 minutes of riding time. Fumiki was going strong and with me shouting encouragement from the goal he put in a valiant and heroic sprint for the line.

Fumiki looking very composed after his final 100m sprint up Matsuhime!

A quick stop to take a photo as this was Fumiki’s first ever time to climb Matsuhime and we were off again. A very fast descent to the village where we used the farmers tap to refill our bottles and sprinted off towards Okutama.

We stopped here for Fumiki to get some Calorie Mate and some honeycomb that reminds me of seaside walks in Brighton and Southsea and to try and reach Hiroshi-san who wanted to know how we were doing as he intended to meet up with us.

Alas with no signal we decided to press on and we attacked Kazahari (Is that correct??) at 12:17....not so much fun in the heat of midday, I love this climb also and we both made good progress. We slowly started to drift apart and it became a solo battle between us and the mountain. I was feeling on form and was passing cyclists at a very good rate. I have no idea where this time trial finishes so all of my times have been at the Sasanogone Car Park (SP?) which is the first car park right after the Tomin no Mori rest area if you were to climb it from Motoshuku. I didn’t take this as a TT as I was starting to feel the burn but made it to the car park in 00:43:33.

There were a lot of bikers on the mountain and they were only riding half way up.... those that rode to the top were in for a surprise as the police were out in force with a drag net.... they must have made a pretty penny that day.

With Fumiki back in tow we headed to Tomin no Mori rest area to get some food... probably due to all the motor bike riders waiting for their tickets to be issued anything remotely nutritional was gone as was all the bottled water. Fumiki showed me the location of a tap and free water... Good Lad!

We descended the mountain and blasted through the country lanes, Fumiki is a lot more cautious than I on these narrow roads and we were separated until Hinohara Village Hall.

Once assembled again we blasted off down Route 7 towards Fussa and the Birugoya, Fumiki used the last of his energy to take a pull at the front and once on the Tamagawa we made another quick stop for liquids and to comment on just how hard we were going.

I pulled Fumiki along the Tamagawa and as we came to Y’s Road and the 7-11 we both looked at each other with that “I need food please stop” look. Finding a warm bit of concrete we both tried to replace the calories we had burnt and commented on the epic journey behind us the ridiculous pace we were setting.

We donned our helmets and mounted our steeds like war weary soldiers knowing that they had no choice but to push the attack and we headed out on the final stretch. We decided to use the road as the cycle path was busy and would not allow us to keep the 34-35kph pace we were setting and before long we had a Tama warrior sucking wheel.... I decided to have a little fun and make a sprint... even after 200km I was pumping away at 50+ kph just to have some fun with the guy.

We quickly reached the Tamagawara Bride were we posed for the second photo of the day and headed out for home.

211km behind us and Solo rides ahead, back at Tamawagara Bashi ready to Die.

I finally reached home smack bang at 5pm with a distance of 235.8km, 3,380 meters of climbing at a pace of 28.6kph, with a riding time of 8 hours 15 minutes.

Fumiki it was a pleasure riding with you, it truly was an epic ride and I hope you not in too much pain today!


Manfred von Holstein said...

Impressive ride, esp. in terms of speed! You had the wind in your favour yesterday, which must have been fun.

Not sure what police was doing at Tomin no Mori - probably routine check. It is fine to ride up by motorbike from Itsukaichi but not allowed to turn around or ride in the opposite direction. There were too many crashes in the curves after the fast long down stretches, as the owner at Watanabe's explained to me the other day.

James said...

Only for half the ride Ludwig.... we were still averaging over 33kph in to the headwind on the way back.

TOM said...

28.6 km/h...that is incredibly fast James !!! I can already see you triumphing on the Itoigawa podium !!

James said...


I really don't think so! I will be happy just to find all the checkpoints and finish the ride.... The battle will be between you big guns Tom V Andy!!

I wonder if J-Sport 1 will show it?

TOM said...

Andy is unbeatable. Nishitani-san may have a good chance though as many of his O-Vest team followers will be supporting him and taking turns to protect him.

If not this year, next year you surely will be a strong candidate for a podium place!

I doubt this event gets any TV coverage; remember this is NOT a race and you are not even supposed to mention Itoigawa and race in one breath!!

The Jitenshajin magazine every year devotes 4 pages to this event.

Fumiki said...


Thank you so much yesterday!
I really enjoyed,and did one of the best training day in my life.

You cheered,helped,picked up me every time.
So I could do such ultimate training.

Hope to ride again!

James said...


Im glad you are ok.... I was worried about you.

Let's do it again soon!