Some Riding Ideas

I had a telephone conversation with Juliane yesterday and we discussed some nice trips and races we could do during the month of May to July. Here are some ideas to test the feedback. Please let me know if the one or other proposal sound attractive to you.


Sengenzaka is a small minshuku located on the Itsukaichi side of the Tominnomori approach. We have stayed there in 2004 with the Veloz guys and it was a very positive experience. They have excellent food (grilled Yamame fish) and a rotemburo so you can watch other riders struggling up the road while soaking in the warm water. My idea would be to ride out from Tokyo on a Saturday to Takao, then continue somehow along route 20, cross over to Okutama and then the reverse Kazahari to Sengenzaka. There are plenty of possibilities (Wada, Tsuru, Tawa, Otarumi, Matsuhime, Enzan…).
On Sunday morning we would rise early to be back with our families for lunch or those who like can make another tour.


This is basically a similar idea, however we would not stay on Sengensaka but in Kosuge, which is on the Okutama side of the Matsuhime approach. I have crossed the village three times and there are many places to stay and an Onsen. We would also do some camping there. The idea would be to do a longer trip out on Route 20 and come back to Okutama, as we do not have to cross over Kazahari like in case of Sengensaka. Perhaps we can convince our families to go there by car and take the camping gear with them.


Also on this occasion I would like to reiterate Tom’s idea from 2007 to go to Enzan and then start to attack some of the high roads in this area. Tom can you provide more infos here in this post? OK, see below…2,360m


If I am not completely mistaken Miyakejima is the island that suddenly developed vulcanic activities in 2000. Toxic fumes were rising from the ground which eventually led to the evacuation of its 3.000 inhabitants [as Miyakejima is part of Tokyo, the refugees lived in Tokyo thereafter]. In 2007 they could return to the island and since 2007 there is a race, part of the Tour du Japon stage by Nikkan Sports. This year there will be a hill climb on June 14th and a road race (20 km or so ) on June 15th. But it can be an interesting race as apparently the ground is moving and perhaps you have moved 100 m elevation up on your bike, while the ground has moved down by the same measure. And imagine the excitement when suddenly toxic fumes take there toll on the leading peloton and you have all the time in the world to win the race! There is a tour organized which would leave Tokyo harbor on Friday night (22.30hr), then Saturday is free and hill climb (only 4km and 150 m up if the ground remains stable) and Sunday is for road racing. The boat back to Tokyo goes in the afternoon whereas the island will vanish in the sea forever and we can safely be home for a late dinner.


Another race of the Tour du Japon event. Tom, Alain and me must go there as we have to defend our podium places from last year. The race is on a NASCAR like speed oval in Ibaragi and it is easy to go there in the morning by car and return in the afternoon. There are classical road races of shorter distance in the morning (I guess 20 to 30 km) and solo or team endurance races in the afternoon. As you can see from the course layout the race requires advanced cornering techniques plus superior hill climbing skills. In other words, if you know how to speed along the Tamagawa, you have a chance to win in Hitachi Naka – the perfect Positivo Espresso race. The race strategy is simple and follows basically NASCAR racing strategy as explained on the Onion network.

CSC SHUZENJI TEAM KENS RACE 7/26 – 5 hours team endurance –
[the above photo is from the organizers web site]

I just spoke with Tom in Tuesday about our superior performance in 2007 (Tom, David, david and me) and in 2006 (david, Arndt and me). This is a very traditional race for the Positivo Espresso Team and we need to defend our hard earned and delayed trophy from 2007. By the way, where is the damned thing?

I got again an invitatin from the organizer yesterday – I guess they want some strong teams there this time.

We can attend solo or as a team composed of up to 5 riders. This time there is also a MIXED category team award, so Juliane must attend, otherwise we have no chance. I would like to remind that last year some of the solo riders where faster than our team.

If you like one or the other idea, please let me know.

Tom: Here’s the ENZAN-ODARUMI plan….

Pleasant temperatures and perfect time for attacking one of Japan’s most beautiful “hors-catégorie” mountain passes…the Ōdarumi-tōge 大弛峠 in Yamanashi Prefecture (not to be confused with the lowish Ōtarumi-tōge大垂水峠 near Takao!). I am proposing to be your guide & organizer of what I hope will turn out again to be an unforgettable event along the following lines. In consideration of everyone’s mongen, family and other (?) obligations, I have thought of 3 plans…..

① BASIC TŌGEGOE PLAN (one overnight/one day of cycling)
By train to Enzan/one overnight at onsen/one day of pure cycling bliss
Sat. RdV (
集合):17:30 in Enzan(塩山)@ Sasamotoya-ryokan(笹本屋旅館
Onsen + dinner with excellent food / local wine / local bar / local….
Sun. : 6:30 Breakfast / 7:30 Starting the attack of Ōdarumi-tōge (total of 66km) / 16:00 return to Sasamotoya / 17:00 train back to Tokyo.

② MEDIUM TŌGEGOE PLAN (two overnights/two days of cycling)
Day 1: by train to Enzan / Day 2: attack of Ōdarumi-tōge / Day 3: ride back to Tokyo
Sat. RdV (
集合):17:30 in Enzan(塩山)@ Sasamotoya-ryokan(笹本屋旅館
Onsen + dinner with excellent food / local wine / local bar / local….
Sun.: 6:30 Breakfast / 7:30 Starting the attack of Ōdarumi-tōge / 16:00 return to Sasamotoya /
Mon.: 6:30 Breakfast / 7:30 Check-out /7:45 Starting ride back to Tokyo (less than 7-hours for those of you living in the Hiroo/Azabu area)

③ FULL-COURSE TŌGEGOE PLAN (two overnights/three days of cycling)
Day 1: by bicycle to Enzan / Day 2 : attack of Ōdarumi-tōge / Day 3: ride back to Tokyo
Sat.: RdV (
集合):9:00 at Sekidobashi / Arrival @ Sasamotoya at 16:30
Sun.: 6:30 Breakfast / 7:30 Starting the attack of Ōdarumi-tōge / 16:00 return to Sasamotoya /
Mon.: 6:30 Breakfast / 7:30 Check-out /7:45 Starting ride back to Tokyo (less than 7-hours for those of you living in the Hiroo/Azabu area)

Main event: Attack of Ōdarumi-tōge
This mountain pass/ridge boasts Japan’s paved road at the highest elevation (2,360m). The length of the climb itself is 29.7km at an average (and rather mild) inclination of 6.3%. We will start at about 500m and climb up to 2,360m…once above the 2,000m line, one feels the air becoming thinner! Views are simply breathtaking. Going down you see the entire Kofu Basin opening up in front of you.


Accommodation: Max. 6 persons (expandable to more persons…) at Sasamotoya-ryokan
Excellent food / great hospitality…
10,000 yen/person (inc. dinner & breakfast)

For the Medium & Full-Course Tōgegoe Plan, the climb of YANAGISAWA-TŌGE is on the program, a long but very rewarding mountain pass (but you know that already!)

“Must-bring-along” items: windbreaker/winter gloves (or inner gloves)…last October, it was 28C when we left Enzan…when we reached the top of Ōdarumi-tōge, temperatures had fallen down to 2C….if you add to this the wind-chill factor going downhill, your fingers will be frozen meaning no way to pull your brakes!!

4 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2008

4 Antworten zu “Some Riding Ideas

  1. YES! — great ideas, Michael! thanks.David and I would be in for the 153.5m / 4k hump climb on Miyakejima. I checked the TDJ website and unless 500 people have registered, application still seems to be possible.(2008年2月12日(火)~6月4日(水)必着)Could it be that both links in your blog are the same? I didnt find the organized tour. Would luv to do that tho. Went to Hachijojima and Nijima often in the past. Beautiful!Did you register already?Any more trackers?!

  2. mob

    Hi there,the weather doesn’t look good at all for the weekend. It will be rainy all the time and become very cold again.I will try to make a run for Jerome hill on Saturday morning perhaps.Let’s see how Sunday develops.

  3. Indeed. Not good riding weather this weekend, … saving the good weather for May 17!As for the other rides, I would enjoy doing Enzan and the „real“ Odarumi (2360M, not 392M), and maybe one of the Sengenzaka/Kosuge rides with an overnight sometime. But I will probably be unavailable for Hitachi Naka and CSC Shuzenji.I’ve scheduled a ride for 6/21 or 6/22 with a lawyer I’ve worked with who will be visiting from HK — train to Fuji (Gotemba?), ride to 5th stage, then down to Yamanakako for lunch, then ride back to Tokyo. I’ll let you know when the details are worked out … he says he has done it before, and I can’t do a „Paul Jason“ ride with this fellow until next year when our project is all complete.

  4. sunday weather looks a little better than today. Lets speak later about a ride tomorrow…

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