|Dawn Looking toward Sekidobashi|
|Early Light Crossing the Tamagawa|
|Light shines from the heavens onto Futako Shinchi|
Unfortunately, the Gusto was closed! No signs of activity at 6AM. Too many of these places are no longer open 24 hours. I guess old people in the countryside do not frequent overnight restaurants. In any event, the Family Mart up the street had a place to eat (and sip hot coffee) inside the store, so we made do with it.
|Jerome checks weather on his ride route|
|We say farewell. Jerome puts on the warm gear for a cold morning ride up to Sasago and beyond!|
Stay tuned for any reports of Jerome's progress.
JEROME UPDATE: After we parted, Jerome made steady progress up Route 20 (Koshu Kaido) through Uenohara, Sarubashi, Otsuki and to the mouth of the Sasago Tunnel. As with the Fellowship of the Ring, Jerome knew that evil lurked deep in the mountain, and so chose the beautiful, deserted road to Sasago Pass.
I wish he would have asked me, since I would have told him this would almost certainly be blocked with snow. Indeed, it was blocked with snow when I tried it once in mid-March. So in late January ... not likely passable. Of course, it was not. But in addition, there is the well known "witch of Sasago Pass". We have only actually seen her once, as we climbed through mist up the other side of the pass several years ago, and came upon an old hag-like woman wandering around, who asked us if we knew of a "yado" (lodging) nearby.
But her work was in evidence on Saturday, as she had strewn debris on the road, resulting in a flat tire, even before he started the portage section on snow and ice.
|Debris blocks the road|
|Sounds and smells of the witch emerge from the pitch black tunnel mouth|
|Jerome -- near mad with frustration.|
Still, he logged around 200 kms. Not bad for a Saturday in January.
*According to his Strava track, Jerome now has recorded the fastest time in 2015 on numerous segments, with speeds of 2.6 kph on the upper part of the Sasago Pass climb (where he changed a flat then walked in snow). Strava really needs to get rid of the "fastest this calendar year" feature and try a "fastest in last 365 days" feature instead! And it appears that he actually DID make it through the witch tunnel and down the other side of the mountain, before returning through the main Route 20 tunnel and back to Tokyo.