07 May 2017

Golden Week - Isabella Byrd's "Unbeaten Tracks of Japan" 1500kms #tohokudeyokatta

Jerome and I joined many friends for the AJ Kanagawa-sponsored series of rides in Tohoku over golden week.

The ride was a spectacular series of events -- 300, 400, 200 and 600 kms in length.
I did all but the 200 km one (instead I rode 125 kms to get to Aomori and do a short side trip). Jerome rode all 1500 kms.
The route offered a great mix of mountains, seacoast, farmland and everything else. Beautiful weather except for rain the first day.

I rode the Renovo Firewood -- it was extremely comfortable and fast, and the Di-2 shifting worked without recharge for the full event, while the hydraulic disk brakes worked like a dream. One flat rear tire (clincher) and a creaking BB (grit in the threads) were the only extremly minor hiccups.

You can see my photos here on Flickr.

You can find the routes on RidewithGPS.

First 300 kms.

Next 400 kms.

Third event - 200 kms.

Final leg -- 600 kms.*
*We were offered the alternative of going up through Oirase Keiryu to Towada-ko, and doing a short extra loop later that evening to make up the distance.

My favorite areas:
(1) Ouchi Juku
(2) Mogamigawa and Shinjo at dawn
(3) Kakunodake and the long climb and descent over Ani Pass
(4) the sea coast of western Aomori (Fukaura)
(5) the small peninsula east of Aomori-shi
(6) Oirase Keiryu, Towada-ko, and the descent to the South
(7) climb to Appi Kogen
(8) early morning stretch in the hills just above the plain of Ichinoseki, and along a river toward Ishinomaki
(9) gentle climb up the Abukuma River in S Miyagi and N Fukushima.

Quite a lot for one week!


Manfred von Holstein said...

Amazing achievement! Sounds like a more rewarding environment than the normal brevets around Tokyo. You took many really nice shots! How much climbing was there? The ridewithgps totals seem gross exaggerations, like so often.

David Litt said...

Hi Manfred:

Thanks. Yes, the environment was good or great EXCEPT passing near Sendai. Really from Matsushima until we left the coastal Miyagi Route 10 in Watari-cho, it was awful. This is partly because other roads are still shut since the tsunami.

As for climbing ... not as much as Okayama 1200 or rides in Yamanashi/Nagano, definitely. The first 300km had a lot. The 400km had much more gradual climbs the first 40%, then a long relatively flat section, then more gradual climbs, then some nasty bumps along the sea coast. The 600km was pretty flat for 100kms, then real climb to Towada-ko and the pass to its south (maybe elev 650), then another climb to Appi Kogen, then quite flat. It would have been an easy 600km, if it had not been preceded by the other rides!