08 December 2014

Cold Manju in Akiyama

Sunday I rode again with Todor, joined today by Eric, Chris, and Ryan (Chris' brother in law visiting town).  Clear, cold weather.  We planned to meet again at the Yanokuchi Lawson at 8AM, ... but Eric rides out Komazawa Dori from Yutenji and pulled up as I was waiting for the light at Kampachi around 730AM, just after leaving home.

Another ride up the river, then out Onekan -- but nothing felt old, with the novelty of a new group of riders, sorting ourselves out on the climbs and descents.  We continued from the far end of Onekan, along the "Tank Road", then through the sprawl of Aihara NW of Hashimoto, then around the North shore of Tsukui-ko.  We stopped briefly at the top of the climb, then again on the narrow suspension bridge over Tsukui-ko, enjoying the tranquility of being suspended high over the water, no wind or other noise, and the heavily treed hills all around us, colorful with the changing leaves.
Todor, Ryan, Eric and Chris at the top of the hill N. of Tsukui.
Todor, Chris, me and Ryan, on the suspension bridge
Onto Route 412, then Route 517 with its climbs and descents, a short jog along Route 76, and eventually we ended up on Route 35 heading through Akiyama and gaining elevation on the lower part of climb toward Shin Hinazuru Tunnel.  I just did this route on the Nishi Tokyo brevet in early October, so at least had some memory of the nasty little climbs.  We were working under a 4PM return deadline for Todor to the Yoyogi/Shibuya area, and the weather was quite cold once we got past Sagamiko and started to get the inland mountain climate, so we set a goal to try to make it as far as the little manju shop before turning around.
The autumn flowers, green pumpkins and an oddly shapred daikon.

The original "O-no-ire manju -- both anko and miso filled
We made it to the manju shop a few minutes after noon.  Unfortunately, it seems at least at this time of year they finish baking the day's manju mid-morning, well before our arrival, so while the sweets were not quite as cold as the surrounding air (a few degrees C), they were not piping hot either, as they had been the last time I visited.  Not quite the treat I had anticipated.  At least the proprietor brought out a metal bucket in which he had put embers from the cooking fire, so we could eat out front in relative warmth.

On the trip back our riding was focused on the goal -- get home.  After a nice descent back through Akiyama, fewer beautiful country roads with short climbs but low traffic volumes.  We took a different route through the Hashimoto area -- Route 508 instead of 413 or upper Machida Kaido.  As with Saturday, the Strava segments for Sunday suggest I was riding at a faster pace than normal on many stretches, mostly trying not to get too far behind Eric!  150 kms, 1770 meters of climbing.  

A very good ride.  And we can be thankful to live in Tokyo, where it is possible to do something like this in early December!

Eastern half of the ride (first and last parts).
Western half of the ride (middle parts).

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