20 October 2013

Welcome back, Nishibe-san

The weather forecast for Sunday was grim -- rain, then more rain.  So I planned to get in a ride on Saturday.  Jerome was not available, but I was delighted to hear that Nishibe-san, who returned home to Kobe last year, is back in Tokyo for the month, and would be available for a short ride.

We planned to meet at Sekido-bashi at 830AM.  I was late, as the rear tire on my Canyon had gone flat since last weekend.  The Vittoria Open Pave tires had made it over 2500 kms without a single flat -- including all of LEL, the week in Spain, and the second SR600 try and more.  But this was the 4th flat in the last 3 rides, none with an obvious trigger, and with a careful check for wire, nail etc. embedded.  So time to bid farewell to the Open Paves.  I sent an SMS telling Nishibe-san I would be 10 minutes late, then changed to another pair of tires (Vredenstein Fortezza Tricomp 700x25, bought on sale awhile back).

We rode out toward the base of Wada, stopping at the usual 7-11 on Jimba Kaido.  Nishibe-san seems happy back in Kobe.  His son is in high school and doing "ju-ken" for university and, more importantly, in the high school cycling club, riding competitively.  He will try for the "kokutai" (national athletics meet) next year.  We reminisced about the Positivo Espresso/Beeren Pyrenees trip in summer 2012.  The members delighted to see this summer's Tour de France passing some of the same climbs.  He said Beeren wants to hold a similar trip to the Alps in 2017, making it a once-in-five-years tradition.  (I am not so patient!)
Nishibe-san in pristine white Beeren kit; with his beautiful Colnago which has had a recent Dura Ace drivetrain upgrade
Nishibe-san did not have time or inclination to head into the mountains, so we said farewell at the Jimba Kaido entrance to the Wada approach, with Nishibe-san heading toward Itsukaichi.

The roads were a bit damp from sprinkling rain earlier, and got more so as I reached the base of Wada.  I did not want to climb Wada -- either the frontal assault or the Daigo rindo -- on wet roads.  I opted for Bonbori rindo and Iriyama Pass, the now entirely paved road through the hills that takes one from the base of Wada to Itsukaichi.  Compared to Wada, this road is a bit less steep, tops out a bit lower (at 625 meters elevation), and is more open (and, I hoped, would be dry) on the upper stretches.  Nevertheless, the road surface was covered in many places with debris -- a dramatic contrast with last weekend's Kazahari rindo, and the result of Wednesday's passage of Typhoon 26 with its heavy rains.  For the entire stretch, I passed 2 other cyclists and 2 hikers.

I took the descent very slowly, then enjoyed a tailwind a good part of the way home, for a 110km ride with one good climb, some shopping at Y's, and a return home before 2PM.
Upper section of Bonbori Rindo -- after Typhoon 26
Northern section of Bonbori rindo -- after Typhoon 26
The Canyon, amid the clutter of signage at Iriyama Pass.
Typhoon 27 is heading slowly north as it strengthens in the ocean north of the Philippines.  It is expected to arrive in our area late in the week, perhaps on Thursday, maybe on Friday, and maybe it will drift off toward one side and miss eastern Japan entirely.  In any event, it is great now to be in a typhoon pattern where at least the big storms do not hit on the weekend, unlike last month!

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