18 April 2011

Time to Climb - Sasago, Kamihikawa, Yanagisawa

Inspired by tales of the Positivo Espresso Europe ("pee") training camp in Mallorca, still trying to catch up with my own Transalp training after too many weekends off the bike from mid-February through March (work, earthquake, visit to the U.S. with my son, etc., etc.), and with spectacular weather forecast, it was time for a big ride, with some real climbs.  I thought I should return to Kamihikawa Pass, a long climb that was one of the key days on my April 2009 Transalp training.

Jerome and I left early and rode together out One-Kan and the tank road, and as far as the South side of Tsukui-ko. From there Jerome headed for Yabitsu Pass and then on to Zushi to meet some business contacts for an early lunch.  I continued on to the West, joined Rte 20 and took it as far as Sasago -- cannot hurt to ride the first leg of Tokyo-Itoigawa a few times this year to have it fresh in my mind for May 21, and traffic was light after Uenohara.

Resting before the Sasago climb, in Euro-cylist gear -- Assos jersey, bib shorts, socks and (not visible) inner layer today, with plenty of white (though the shoes are red and silver/grey).
I left the main road for the always beautiful climb up to Sasago Pass (1050 meters). 

The ghosts were nowhere to be seen in the sunlight today, but I felt their cold breath in the haunted tunnel.
Entering Koshu City, at Sasago Pass.
Even Route 20 looked nice today -- this photo in front of from the Kai Yamato 7-11.
After the descent, I stopped for spaghetti at the 7-11 in Kai Yamato, then headed up Kami-Hikawa. 
The town was full of sakura, still in bloom.
If this is Yamanashi, then there must have been a battle involving the Takeda family nearby ... this statue of Takeda Katsuyori ko, 4th son of Takeda Shingen. 
In this case, it was the last stand of the Takeda, against the Tokugawa, in the battle of Tenmokuzan -- Takeda Katsuyori died in Tano (田野), early in the climb up the Hikawa.
Kami-Hikawa was just as long as I remembered it, from 650 meters elevation at the base of the Sasago descent up to 1625 meters, just above Kamihikawa Pass.  But it was not quite as steep, perhaps, as the impression from my first visit.

Then a second refueling stop with Houtou (Yamanashi flat noodles in miso broth, with vegetables and, the house specialty, pork that had been marinated in wine), and then the last climb of the day up to Yanagisawa, followed by the long ride back to Oume.  At 210 km and 3400 meters of climbing, I hopped the train home at Oume.

I took the big climbs slowly, but had better legs than in 2009, managing a third pass (Yanagisawa) and a much longer ride this year.  Now I just need to get faster.

1 comment:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Congratulations, this is a lot of decent climbing!

I suffered immensely today, doing slightly more than you. Looks like I have developed a solid allergy...