31 December 2017

Early December Nishi Izu

Views of Mt Fuji for many, many kilometers from Nishi Izu coastline

The last week of the year has been taken up with many short rides, more time along the Tamagawa than any point in the past year. But I did get one spectacular ride in December a bit farther afield, in Nishi Izu from Mishima down to Matsuzaki, then via Jaishi Toge (that's "snake rock pass" -- sounds like a place out of a western!), Minami Izu and Shimoda. A classic Positivo Espresso route on a perfect late autumn/early winter day, but a road I have not taken since an early 2015 brutally tough 400km Randonneurs Tokyo brevet.

An early shinkansen to Mishima and a long train ride back from Shimoda. Next time I may stay the night and ride back ... or do a different loop and return via Shuzenji.

Next time I will experiment with better route between Mishima Station and the coastline....

Nishi Izu has plenty of climbing. Nothing more than a few hundred meters tall, but it adds up!

According to Strava 2900 meters elevation gain. In fact? Less, but still probably close to 2000.

There were so many beautiful vistas it was difficult not to stop every few minutes, and now it is difficult to select among photos.

A cold morning at the start ... but warmed up gradually with the sunlight

Bike leaning, mikan at the bottom of the staircase
One of many small working harbors

More Fuji

I wish I had had room in my rucksack for some mikan and kiwi fruit!

One of the earlier towns heading down the coast ... I think Heda
The climbs do have their rewards!

Toi Onsen Footbath

At Toi Onsen

More and more

Sun is getting lower ... at Dougashima

More Dougashima

Sometimes a video tells the story better, even a few seconds.

Here either route leads to Minami Izu and Shimoda. Both involve climbing. I went straight.

Jaishi is a bit lonely without the collapsed Positivo Espresso members, as in the traditional photo
Another foot spa, another bike leaning. This one at Minami Izu.
This is where Steve R. and I warmed up after official closing but before they drained the water back in early 2015.
And it is at the base of a hill where there was a site for one of my company's solar PV projects.

I will not wait 2 1/2 years before my next visit!

03 December 2017

Late Afternoon Tsukui - Strange Guests at the Colombian Drug Lord's House

Jerome and I had a great midweek ride Wednesday , and I had other commitments yesterday and this morning (searching for and buying a new car takes time), so I headed out at a relaxed pace, after 130PM, and found myself pointing toward familiar routes -- Komazawa Dori past Komazawa Olympic Park, Onekansen then the Tank Road and finally around the North shore of Lake Tsukui, where I arrived just around dusk.

Komazawa Park

Komazawa Dori at Komazawa Park. Ginkgo trees.

On the short climb around the North side of Lake Tsukui

After some photos of the beautiful view from the road's high point, I headed toward the forest road. But after stopping several times to admire the view, it was nearly dark when I got to the last house -- the Spanish style place Positivo Espresso members have always referred to as the Colombian Drug Lord house (or sometimes "Casa del Pablo Escobar").
I noticed a dark figure scaling the side of the house, along a cable duct, with remarkable dexterity and power. A rival gang? An anti-narco special force?  A second, then a third figure climbed a nearby tree and JUMPED onto the edge of the roof. On a closer look, it was a roving band of monkeys!

The monkeys were not quiet, jumping and stomping around. I can only imagine what it would have felt like inside, if anyone had been home!

In any event, the sun fell, the moon rose, and I headed back for Tokyo. In all a bit over 110 kms, and leaves me with a wee bit of energy to get ready for the week ahead.