I headed out Saturday with the goal of finally getting in my first 100+ mile (160+ km) ride this calendar year, and getting up over one of the 1000+ meter elevation passes, having been thwarted by a broken spoke when I tried Kazahari last month. Mission accomplished — almost 190 km for the day and I made it over Tawa/Tsuru and Kazahari. I realize this would be a „short“ day for Tom or possibly Ludwig, but very satisfactory for me.
I headed out Onekansen, then along the „tank road“ through the park and climbed/descended the forest road along the N. Side of Tsukui-ko, took 412/20 out past Sagami-ko to Uenohara and finally along the always beautiful and quiet Routes 33/18 toward Tawa and Tsuru Passes and Kosuge-mura. Despite the forays into Chichibu, this remains one of my favorite roads. There were hints of Spring from new green on the hillsides, offsetting what seemed to be the brown tint of pollen on the fur trees.
All was fine until climbing the last part of Tsuru Pass. Just as I stood up out of the saddle and pushed on one of the steeper slopes about 125 meters elevation below the top, I heard the distinct „ping“ of a drive-side rear wheel spoke breaking. The tension on the remaining spokes was greater than when this happened 3 weeks ago, such that the rim was bent and the tire was now rubbing against both the fully opened brakes and the inside of the chain stay. …. but I could still manage to turn over the pedals and figured I might as well go over the top. I made it down the other side and to one of the villages on Rte 139 just above Okutama-ko, where I was able to borrow a pliers from a man who was doing some work on a little gasoline motor in front of his house. I managed to loosen the adjacent non-drive-side spokes enough to and make the wheel very close to „true.“ It felt almost as good as new.
The plum (ume) blossoms have come out at Okutama-ko, having made it up the valley from Oume over the past few weeks, and it felt almost warm in the sunshine at Okutama-ko.
I stopped at the traditional Positivo Espresso roadside cafeteria for sansai (mountain vegetable) udon, which was delivered as usual with some extra pickled vegetables and cooked carrots and daikon on the side. I did not ask the proprietors, but I noticed after leaving that they have taken down the sign on the front of the building — I hope only to touch up the signature beige/off-white paint, rather than as a sign of anything more ominous. They seemed open for business, with the usual crowd of two other customers (one 75 yr old man talking with the proprietor/waitress about not catching any fish that morning, and another even older man who was getting oxygen through a portable tank).
But if it was Spring at Okutama-ko, it was definitely still late winter on top of Kazahari, with plenty of snow on the side of the road. I did not break any records for the ascent, but at least made it up and down without any other problems.
The weather had started to go downhill by the time I made it back to the Tamagawa.
I’m not sure it was such a great idea to try to ride 100 km+ on my Mavic rear wheel AFTER a spoke had broken. At least I stopped shaving off the side wall of my tire after I was able to adjust the other spokes, but the wheel was no longer a perfect circle with one broken and two adjacent loosened spokes. I noticed a slow leak from the rear tire on the way back down the river and stopped near Y’s to change the tube. Then just before going under the Odakyu line, a second drive-side spoke broke with a „ping“ almost opposite the first one. The wheel is now 5 years old, and has been used for a majority of my riding each year. Time for something new.