After reaching the highest point on route 1, I continued to ride fast down to lake Ashinoko and then further to Hakone Toge, which includes another 100m plus climb. Normally I take then route #1 down to Mishima, which is a very fast descent. But Mishima is not exactly in direction and Shimoda and I would have lost the chance to continue on the East coast road down the Izu Peninsula, so I decided to take route 20 from Hakone Toge through Jukoku Toge to Atami Toge.
This was one of the best decisions I ever made. This statement is limited to the selection of routes for riding out, naturally I made some other good decisions in my life. Some of them were even better than taking route 20. I just cannot recall one right now.
So on route 20, there is virtually no traffic, their is a 2-3% gradient downwards, just the right amount of fast curves which allows you to go in the 40 – 50 km/hr range all the time. The view is nice to the left and the right as the road is located on the top of the hill basically for the next 10 km or so. Really, this was clearly one of the best roads I have ever ridden on and it would be nice to go by Shinkansen to Odawara the next time, make the climb to Hakone and then take this road just for the fun of it.
I came to Atami Toge where the Izu skyline tollroad starts. Juliane, David and me went up there in 2005, coming untrained directly from the Shinkansen and immediately starting a 600m plus climb which had four interesting results:
- I had to stop in the middle and walk up.
- When we finally reached the toll road and found out that it was closed for bikes, david threathens the guys at the booth to sue Japan Highway Corp.
- We made a photo on top next to a map, showing where we are and where we want to go. Suddenly we started to realize that the goal was far away.
- We nevertheless made it to Shimoda, even crossing Kazehaya Toge and we completely exhausted and almost sleeping in the train home.
Now I had the choice: East cost along route 135 would be the most boring but also most shortest route. Through the middle of Izu on route 136 and 414 would be also short and it would include the „spiral of death“, which I always wanted to ride anyhome. But there was no train station in case I wanted to give up. The west cost road on route 136 would have been the most beautiful one, but there would be still massive climbing involved and again no alternatives in case of failure.
So I decided to go through the middle of Izu and headed down route 11 and then later along route 136. I have taken this road many times by car with my family and I remember it as something like an up and down thing.
Of course I was completely mistaken. After a certain time in the flatlands of inner Izu, the next climb started at Shuzenji and again it was a very long one, almost 600 meters up. Then I finally reached Amagi Toge, or better to say the new tunnel below it. From there on the descent starts to the spiral of death.
Wow. I was a little bit afraid, that this wonderful engineering masterpiece would be off limits to bikes, but there were no signs in this respect. Then I was also afraid that there might be spiked in the extension joints as in case of the rainbow bridge but again there was nothing like that.
I followed the road until the town of Kawazu, where I found out to my dismay, that it would be another 19 km to Shimoda. I had already done more than 200 km this day, including more than 2,000 m of climbing and even going only another 19 km seems like really stretching it.
But I had no choice, took it easy and arrived just before the darkness at the Sunny Side shack in Shimoda [the dog wasn’t there]. Great day. I have covered quite a distance in the horizontal as well as in the vertical, I done my Hakone ride of the year plus I did the spiral of death for the first time.
I than enjoyed a lot of good food, even more cold beer, some cigarettes and the pleasant company of Juliane, david, DaviD and Stephan.
I wouldn’t do the trip the whole distance again, although. Riding out by train to Oadawara and starting there is enough I guess.