Juliane, david and me met early in the morning at Shinagawa station as planned and off we went by Kodama Shinkansen to Mishima. Nowadays even Kodamas are running on the basis of 700 series Shinkansens which were previously only used for Nozomi services. This is what I would call a nation in progress. Unfortunately one cannot fail to notice that the roof of the Shinkansen is not well cleaned. In fact, it is not cleaned at all which is a national disgrace.
[Comment: Later after the event it reminded me of something else as history is repeating itself, something you can verify when you reach the age of 45. When I was working in China on a construction site and our head office top management came to visit as, the site agent decided to paint the eastern and southern walls of the site office, as only those could be seen from the approach.]
We had not only a good time but also breakfast in the Shinkansen and were rewarded with a beautiful sight of the northernmost south-west side of eastern mount Fuji, still splendidly covered in snow.
In Mishima we found out that we were not the only cyling guys with the idea to ride out: About 20 – 30 cyclists, all in very competitive gears, were assembled at the station exit and got ready to ride somewhere. Quickly we assembled all bikes and rode in break-necking speed the first 230 meters to the next 7-Eleven where we took our first break. In fact we needed maps to navigate our way down the Izu peninsular and we continued our argument where to go. We decided not to go along the western coast road as we had done this some time before; instead we opted for a straight approach through the center of Izu bypassing the Maginotline and the main French defenses and heading straight for Dunkirk. We made good speed riding down south on route 136 and 414 respectively then turned left on route 50 at Yugashima Onsen, a sleepy small down located on a river.
From there on we started to climb about 700 meters up. To my surprise our climb came to an end at Kazahaya Toge, a pass I reached barely alive in 2005 with Juliane and David, after we have traversed Atami Toge before. It is the place where the Japanese authorities erected a cross in memorial of the cyclists who have given their lives in the vain attempt to reach the top.
„Put the Belgian waffle back in my month“ is inscripted on it, in memory of Tony Simpson.
It was a very nice climb and we were still full of energy, so david did not hesitate to provide special excerpts from the customer relationship training he has received at his place of work. We were very impressed while a couple taking photos in the vicinity left in panic.
We then went another 130 meters up to come to Nika Toge at elevation 900 and then started the descent towards Nishi Izu. In 2005 we opted for the wide road down, but this time the small road branching to the left was not closed so we took this one. It was a very nice descent through the forrest, not too steep. Suddenly at app. elevation 350 m I saw david sliding on his bike in a curve – he stopped and I checked the pressure on his backwheel – almost flat. But no problem, david had two spare tubes with him and Juliane 3 and me 2 CO2 cartridges to inflate them. So he exchange the tube and we found out that one of my cartridges was almost empty already. Four left. So we took the other one to inflate the back wheel which went well. Three left. Until the tube exploded and blew the tire off the rim. david took another tube and mounted it on his back wheel while I checked Julianes repair kit for the forecasted 3 cartridges. I could only found 2 in a mess that reminded me of a typical women handbag, but without the cosmetics and instead repair stuff filled. Two left. One of them was empty. One left. Juliane mounted that one on her valve adaptor but forgot to check if the valve was closed. So when connected the CO2 content evaporated in hot air. Zero left.
Let this be a lesson to you : This happens if you do not properly bury your used tubes in the backyard of your house as taught by ancient Japanese tradition !
Ok, it also happens to you if you do not take enough cartridges with you on your rides, or at least a pump.
Anyway, it was time to say goodbye to david as nothing could be done and Juliane and me rode on. We went to Nishi Izu to collect help and on the way we asked some black clad guys with black polished cars wether or not there would be a bicycle shop in Nishi Izu. They said something I did not understood which sounded like that we need to go to „DANMOTA„. Hm. On the way to Nishi Izu we got a phone call from david, a car gave him a lift and he arrived at the town almost at the same time as we did. At a gas stand we were not able to fill his tube with sufficient amounts of air, so I asked if there would be a bicycle shop in town. The answer was, yes there is, and it is „DANMOTA“ right on the left around the corner.
I rode there and it turned out that „DANMOTA“ is actually DAN MOTORS, the local machinery shop supplying the farmers with all kind of agricultural machinery. The guy running the shop was the typical grumpy farmer mechanics who had the most wonderful things displayed in his shop. After searching for quite a while he did not only find two cartridges which he sold to me, but also a Presta adaptor which we could use at the gas stand, so all our problems were solved.
We then rode on to Matsuzaki, where we had lunch and then further via route 15 to Shimoda where I said good bye to Juliane and david. They staid at the Ozawa Onsen close to Matsuzaki while I headed back by Super Odoriko to Tokyo.
All in all a very pleasant trip with some good climbs and very nice scenery, sometimes relaxed, sometimes very exciting. Should be redone with the other team members as well this year.