|Nikko's famous Iroha-zaha|
|An aerial view -- at peak fall foliage|
Last week, there were photos of riders going over Imagawa Pass, eating venison at Tabayama, continuing on to Yanagisawa Pass, cresting it in the eerie mist, then making their way back to Tokyo via Sasago Pass. An incredible ride I have not done in several years, and never at this time of year. Indeed, the photos of Fall colors were spectacular.
So this Saturday morning, Jerome and I decided to head for Iroha-zaka.
No, not THAT Iroha-zaka. Rather, the Iroha zaka in Sakuragaoka, just up the Tamagawa about 15 kilometers from Futako Tamagawa. We first crested Byo-in-zaka, the "hospital hill" on Kawasaki-Kaido and made a treacherous high speed descent down the NW slope. Then we hit the big climb of Irohazaka, with its four (4!!) curves of almost 180 degrees each and massive 60 meters of elevation gain!
|The map lets us plan our ascent strategy|
|We hit the bottom section hard -- full gas!|
|A crazy driver careens past as we hit the first S curve.|
|We climb next to sheer walls of rock!|
|More S curves -- this time a German sports car zips past descending!|
|Debris on the edge of the road makes it a bit treacherous!|
|Finally feeling like we have made a real climb -- Tokyo stretches out in the distance below the "sakura" in "sakuragaoka"!|
|The walls get higher and higher as we dig deep, climbing through the curves!|
|Finally light at the end of the tunnel, the last, more gradual, right hand turn!|
|Up on top, Jerome awaits me.|
I said a bittersweet farewell to Jerome at the end of the ride. We each have some travel plans in December so will not ride again together until 2016. But we have each signed up already for the Okayama Audax 1200 km event in April. So look forward to some REAL epic riding in the coming year!