27 October 2014

Chiba -- The Curse Lifts

Friends and regular readers may recall that I have tried many times tried, but never managed, to join a Brevet in Chiba.  The 2011 earthquake cancellations; 2010 business trips, and this year, unusually deep snow.

No more!  Starting Saturday night, I successfully rode the 2014 300km "Boso Classic (Ku-ju-ku ri version)".

After sleeping much longer than usual Sunday night, but still not nearly enough to recover from riding through Saturday night, it is now Monday morning and time for work, not for blogging.  Still, I will give a flash report.

The course was very nice.  We rode out across some more heavily populated parts of Chiba, then pretty much countryside, then again populated areas from near Togane and along Kujukuri, then again deep countryside.  Almost no automobile traffic after the first 10 kms, until after we rejoined the Pacific coastline a second time around Kamogawa.  But even then, Sunday morning there still only very light traffic, compared with Izu or the Kanagawa/Miura coastline, or even Mie Prefecture.
Chiba and Shizuoka are the only 300km Brevets I have ridden that actually stay within the prefecture the entire route.  We rode much of the Prefecture, just skipping the northern 25-30%.
The southern Boso coastline was dramatic ... plenty of rocks and surf, but also some beaches.  Most of the people out early had fishing gear, ... but a few were in wetsuits with surf boards.
South of Kamogawa on the Coast.  Remainder of rainclouds.

The Canyon Shark rides the (painted) waves leaning against a seawall.

Satoyama.  This is a Japanese term for inhabited mountainous areas ... farmable inland valleys and the like.  Just imagine "the Shire" from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.  Chiba is full of charming, well-maintained areas like this, and we passed many of them. This is very nice riding country, even if lacking the dramatic nature of high mountain passes.

Mothers' Bokujo. Our last climb of the day was to the "Mothers' Bokujo" -- a hilltop animal farm that is a major tourist attraction for families with little kids who go visit and see the mama and baby animals.  After 260 kms and no sleep, the climb seemed much longer and steeper than it is in fact -- the top is just over 300 meters elevation.  Nice view from the top and all downhill (then flat) from here!

All downhill from here ... except one more climb to the top of the next rise.
My new bike (the Canyon Shark) got plenty of admiring looks at the start and rode beautifully.  Or maybe it was the Supernova E3 light and SP dynamo hub that got the admiring looks?  There was plenty of time to discuss both frame and lighing at the start.  I was glad to meet a few new riders, and see plenty who had done the Ise 1000 (including Naganuma-san, who had the fastest time by far on the 1000 km event, and said last weekend he had ridden the mountain route from Osaka back to Tokyo!). Even one rider, Obara-san, was wearing a 2013 LEL jersey (though he said he had DNFed on the return leg at Thirsk).

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