16 January 2011

Snowing everywhere except Kanto

A quick check of the weather forecast for today last night -- typical Kanto January winter weather, dry, sunny and cold, lows in Hachioji and westward of -5 degrees C or lower.  But today it seems to be snowing some along much of the Japan Sea side of Honshu, in the mountains, of course, and even on the Pacific Coast -- as far south as Sendai and Iwaki approaching Kanto from the North, and as far east as Nagoya/Aichi approaching from the West.  It looks as if even Kyushu is supposed to get snow showers just about everywhere around the island at some point today.  And it is certainly cold enough in Tokyo so if there were any precipitation tonight, it would be snow.  Jerome and I hopped on our bikes for a quick morning ride, dressing against the cold and taking advantage of Kanto being the one rideable zone today.
A quick ride -- back by 2:30, no photos, minimal stops, so we went for maximum climbing (1500 meters, or 1760 if you believe Garmin Connect).  We rode up Wada via the rindo (forest road) alternative -- which takes you about 40 meters above the actual pass and has no traffic at all, then went down the rear descent, climbed the road to Bijo tani from the NW toward the SE, then returned home via the North shore of Lake Tsukui, the tank road, Onekansen-Doro, and down the Kawasaki-side of the Tamagawa, in the road with light traffic and a tail wind that made it relatively easy to go 35-40 kph along the river.
As usual, Jerome started weak and finished strong.  I pulled him out, he pulled me back.  I was first up Wada, and he was first up the second big hill.  No speed records were set, but it was a nice surprise to get in two good climbs on a very cold and blustery day. The Wada climb is approx 7.4 km distance and 488 meters elevation gain, measured from the point where the approach to the "rindo" departs from the "normal" approach up to the top.  It is pretty flat at the lower section and only gets steep after it turns into a rindo.  The "ura Bijotani" climb is 6.9 km and 431 meters elevation gain, with various steeper, less steep and almost flat sections.  Both have plenty of 12-15% grades.

5 comments:

Richard said...

I wasn't aware of the Wada rindo. I have used 521 a few times, and various sections of it are so funky I couldn't imagine anything more grungy. How does the rindo compare with 521 in terms of road surface and steepness?

mob said...

Thanks David for this inspiring post. This is a good loop to do a lot of climbing on deserted roads and still be back home early.

Now that the road up from Bijo Tani has been reconstructed, I assume it is OK to ride it not only up but also down which makes the loop rideable in both directions.

Daigo Rindo might be a nice addition to this loop, one more climb on a deserted rindo:

You would start at the last 7-Eleven before Tomin-no-mori and take a left turn from the road leading to Kazahari just in front of the 7-Eleven. When you come to a T-junction, you take a right turn and cross over a bridge. There is a short stretch of gravel, but only for 400 meters perhaps and then the road is paved again.

It will lead you ober Iriyama Toge to the North rindo road up to Wada. There you take a right turn and climb up Wada.

Ludwig, Steve, James and me tried Daigo for the first time one year ago:

http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.com/2010/01/fateful-day-out.html

Ludwig made a map, including also some other minor passes as suggestion:

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/kanto/449126433848019488

There are also some posts and photos about Iriyama on the TCC website.

Richard,

I pesonally think that the road surface on the Wada road is not that bad. The North road is in much worse state.
Wada is steep, yes. And so is the North road, there is not much difference if I remember correctly. I wouldn' recommend to ride down, in particular in autumn with a lot of wet leaves on the ground.

Richard said...

Thanks MOB.

Oops. the link to the Garmin activity in this blog post has suddenly gone dead for me. Is it still working for anyone else?

David L. said...

Thanks, MOB and Richard.
I will try Daigo Rindo as well -- I believe I saw where it joins the road we took. And yes, Bijotani is now "descendable" toward Sagami-ko with a nice surface where it was previously almost not passable.
Richard - the Garmin Connect website seems down for maintenance. I'll fix the link if it does not fix itself once they are back up. But this road is easy to find -- just go straight, instead of turning left with 521, a few kilometers from the bottom of the usual Wada climb (the bottom being at the bus stop, turn around, restroom).
After you go a few kilometers up the road and are just getting onto the steeper climb, you bear left at a fork in the road (where there usually is a chain across one or both forks and the real "rindo" starts). If you make a mistake and bear right you end up on the Daigo Rindo that MOB mentions. Other than that, you just follow the road to the top.
As for steepness, I think the climb is a bit less steep average grade and a bit longer distance than Wada, but still plenty steep. The road surface was not bad Sunday and would not have been a problem to descend. We did find a few ice patches on each of the hills we rode--but they were very short and visible well in advance, so I dismounted and walked along the edge of the road at each.

Manfred von Holstein said...

David, the rindo to Iriyama Toge does not start where the rindo up towards Wada splits. I think the right-hand path is a dead-end. The turn is quite a bit earlier, at about 250m altitude. It's in a forest, and there are a few houses on the right.

I recommend doing this from the Wada side and not vice versa, because the Wada side has lots of stones and rocks spread over the surface, while the north side is pretty clean, apart from that gravel stretch. Did it in this way a few weeks back.

I also descended the Wada north approach as part of the same ride. Basically it is just as safe or unsafe as the Wada descent on the Takao side. Requires quite a bit of breaking and always a bit of risk of hitting some slippery surface. Actually similar to Bijoutani.