05 November 2012

Tsuru Toge Again!

An overdue post from a ride 2 weeks ago.  Stephen C. was back in town, and Jerome visited his place in Oume, staying out there Saturday evening.  Didier and I headed out to meet them for a Sunday ride, in spectacular riding weather.

We rode fast to make the 10AM rendezvous point, at Kori between Oume and Okutama-ko.  Stephen had already headed up toward Okutama-ko, wanting a head start.  I took a quick rest and continued on toward him, while Didier and Jerome wanted a bit more time at Kori.

I waited for them at the far end of Okutama-ko, the bridge where Route 139 leaves Route 411.  There was way too much traffic on Route 411 for me to want to climb Yanagisawa Pass, again.  But Stephen was still farther up the road, already at Tabayama.  We tracked him down by mobile phone (lucky) and agreed he would come over Imagawa Pass to meet us.  We would go via Route 139/Kosuge and climb toward Imagawa Pass from the south side.

We met Stephen near the top, descended back to Kosuge ... with me getting a flat near the bottom as my rims overheated from constant braking.  Imagawa is deceptive.  It looks like a beautiful forest road -- kind of like the nicest sections of Sasago Pass.

But it is all over 10%, much of it 13-15% in grade.  I made the mistake of stopping for some photos, and needed to walk at least 50 meters up the hill to a slightly wider road area before I could remount.

We climbed from Kosuge again to the base of Matsuhime, but Didier and I decided that we would only get back to Tokyo if we instead went via Tsuru Pass, down Route 18/33 to Uenohara.  Jerome and Stephen climbed with us to the top, then headed back down to Okutama and Oume -- they would ride again the next day.

At the top, as we said farewell, I could not help noticing the power lines that blocked the view to the South.  I used to think of these as visual pollution.  Now that I am trying to develop some solar power projects, I think "6.6kV, high voltage line, appropriate for interconnection of projects up to 2MW peak output."
And when I look at the pole at the top of the pass, I think "automatic load balancer; is there any place nearby that would be a decent solar project site?"  (In this case, ... no.)
Anyway, we said our farewells and Didier and I headed for home, quickly.  It was over 180 kms for me, and about 200 for Didier, at a good pace.  I felt strong most of the way, as if I am getting some benefit from regular rides over the prior month, plus commuting more in town on bike than I was during the summer heat.
On the way from Tsuru Pass toward Uenohara.  A beautiful road!

Looking back toward Tsuru/Tawa Passes, as a nearby resident approaches.

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