This weekend I had the option to go on a ride over numerous hills and mountains west of Tokyo with a bunch of masochistic and fast climbers from various clubs, or to join Juliane and david for a leisurely weekend in Shimoda.
After some eleborate thinking, balancing the pros and cons of each option, I decided to go for Shimoda. But, in order to make the trip not too leisurely and not too expensive I took off a day from work and planned to go all the 200 km plus to Shimoda by bike. And furthermore I decided not to go the straight and somewhat boring way to Atami down the Eastern coast of Izu, but to climb up to Hakone first and then find a way to the South, depending on my performance up to that point.Thereby I could also do my annual Hakone climb, a tradition dating back to 2003. Actually perhaps earlier, but there are no records left. Well almost no records – I found this very impressive photo from 2001, showing me at Hakone Toge.Obviously I had already my Cannondale bike, but otherwise I can only say that I have come a long way since that. I now own variety of much better looking jerseys and shorts (Id did own only one set in 2001) and I don‘ t steal any longer the helmet of my six year old daughter when sneaking out for a ride but bought an own one.
So I left the house rather late, around 9 AM, bidding first farewell to Natascha, one of the countless aupairs we have given shelter to in the last seven years. Now that I think about it, I should have introduced Natascha to David, as they originally come from the same beautiful country: Kachastan.
I enjoyed a strong tailwind and made good speed up to 384 km/hr – that was at least what my Ciclo speedmeter was showing when I crossed below the railroad bridge at Tamagawa station and had the usually interference with railroad signaling equipment. My heartbeat went up to 360 bpm. But really I made good speed and enjoyed the ride. I never take anybody else on this ride, because for the most part it leads along major roads through the environmental polution that divides Tokyo and Yokohama (aka Kawasaki), through heavy traffic and most other riders don’t enjoy it. I don’t care so much; when I started to ride out from Tokyo I went often to Odawara, simply because I could get home fast by taking the Shinkansen back.
The road s pretty boring in Yokohama, with many many smaller ups and downs. There is a nice and fast stretch at the military installation at Atsugi, followed by industrial wasteland. At Chigasaki, the road joins route #1 and then the traffic is still bad but not that bad and the traffic lights get fewer until Odawara. I reached Odawara in almost 2:30 hr, not bad for a distance of almost 80 km. I looked for my favourite Mosburger outlet at the station, where I used to have my lunch on the annual Hakone rides, but it was replaced by a (non operating) Bamiyan family restaurant. Instead and as usual, I opted for a quick lunch at a Seven Eleven. At this particular 7-11 I found a poster for a live concert of my favorite Japanese punk band: To be honest, I don’t know the band, I never heard a single song. But a band that has the creativity and the right mind to come up with such name must be a punk band and furthermore most become my favorite band. After lunch I rode the boring 9 km or so from Odawara to Moto-Hakone, which is about level 100m and to the start to the climb on route #1 up to Hakone.