The planning this year is entirely at the TCC site (to the extent you can call it "planning", given Ludwig's absence this year). The group will use his instructions from last year. Details can be found here on the TCC BBS.
For anyone not familiar with this glorious event, reports of 2011 can be found here. And links to prior years can be found here.
Well, another Ekiden ride has come and gone. I had hoped to ride with both my sons, but Henry awoke with a mild fever, so it was just Geoffrey and me. We stayed off of the Ekiden route until somewhere past Yokohama Station so that we could make quick progress without all the red lights, spectators and police, and so keep ahead of the runners despite a late start. This worked fine and we joined we were only waved off the runners' route once, by a policeman who seemed to be sending all of the cyclists off of the "bypass" route and onto the old road past Totsuka Station. The routes reconnected a bit later. We were presumably behind the TCC group from the point where we joined the route -- did not see any familiar faces.
We rode past the thousands and thousands of spectators to Odawara, where we took a long stop and watched the runners pass, then hopped the train home. Mt. Fuji was obscured by clouds, and it was not quite the same without doing the final climb to Hakone -- not nearly as much exercise and not the same intense cheers from the crowd as on the climb. But the seaside was spectacular, the roads were dry, and it was great to do this with Geoffrey during his short winter break visit to Tokyo.
|Done with our ride, at an Odawara 7-11|
|The final left turn before the Odawara checkpoint|
|Toyo University has a big lead already in Odawara.|
Kashiwabara, their "king of the mountains", extended it to 5+ minutes
breaking his own record on the climb to Ashinoko/Hakone
|Waseda is in second place at the end of Day 1|