|A car turns into the parking lot at Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, as Jerome and Didier are visible below, climbing the steep slope.|
We headed out to Hachioji, then toward the base of Wada, but instead of the usual Wada climb, or the Rindo (forest road) approach, we took Daigo Rindo toward the North. As described previously by Ludwig, Tom, MOB and others, this is a nice alternative climb, tops out at just over 600 meters elevation, and there is a nice descent that brings you out near the Togura 7-11 just west of Itsukaichi (the "last convenience store" before the climb to Tomin-no-mori). There is a gravel stretch of maybe 1 km. on a lower section of the rindo descent, but we made it through without any flats.
We then climbed from Itsukaichi (175 meters elevation) up to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen and beyond to the pass above, a little higher than Daigo, maybe 625 meters elevation, and very steep from just below the onsen until the pass at the top. Instead of going down the dark, forested north side to Yoshino Kaido, we turned around and came back down to the South and then homeward. We toyed with the idea of stopping for a bath -- the onsen facility looks nice, and it was actually open for business -- but we decided to forgo hot baths until back at our respective homes.
I had swapped out my compact crank for my 53-39 FSA Team Issue crank with Quarq powermeter, so I was climbing the steep hills with a bit less gearing than usual, but had no problems. A recreational pace and two nice climbs, neither of which I had done before (though I had done Tsuru Tsuru from the other side), is really beyond all reasonable expectations for a late January ride.