Triple Crown, Hat Trick, Three Strikes (I hope not), Gold/Silver/Bronze, Win/Place/Show, 3 point shot, 3-point field goal, 3 time loser, whatever, … events that include a series of „3“ have always had special significance in the world of sport. So I was delighted to get in 3 rides over the past 3 days.
— Friday morning, Jerome and I played hookey and left very early (6:45), went up the Tamagawa and then took Yoshino-Kaido/Oume-Kaido to Okutama-ko and rode to the far end of the lake. We were thinking about going back over Kazahari, but Jerome was suffering after effects of his no-training marathon run. We turned around and parted ways at near Tachikawa. I hopped a train and was at the office just after lunch. With the commute home at night, 160 km riding … and an unusually high (for me) average pace up to Okutama-ko and back to Tachikawa (approx 29 kph — some light, but favorable winds?).
–Saturday, Michael and I got a late start (ended up meeting at 9:30AM at the Kawasaki side of Tamagawaharabashi), went out Onekan-sen, along Tsukui-ko forest road, out to Sagami-ko and Rte 20 to Uenohara and Sarubashi. We started the climb to Matsuhime Pass from the South, but parted ways at around 650 meters elevation, as I needed to turn back in time for the train from Sarubashi to meet my „mongen“ (Japanese for curfew — in this case, a scheduled telephone conference instead of the usual spouse-imposed limit). My legs were anything but fresh — I think I pushed too hard on Onekan-sen! I got a fast train to Tachikawa and rode home from there — 140+ km.
After David and I parted on the approach to Matsuhime, I continued to climb to the top. This is a long climb of more than 20 km and 900 meters up and all in all it took me more than one and a half hours to complete it. It was the first time I did Matsuhime from the South side, except for an abandoned try with David and Tom after the great Tamagawa floods in 2007. One can see from below the road winding up in endless serpentines and it is quite discouraging.
On the way down to Kosuge a light drizzle started which I choose to ignore. I told David that, if I feel OK I would give Kazahari a try. Well the weather situation was turning for the worse, I felt so lalala and it was getting late. So, what to do? Kazahari, of course, I needed some topic to blog and brag about at the next Davis Planning Meeting.
The light drizzle continued until elevation 800, when it became a very heavy drizzle and then, at app. 850 meters, it turned into full scale rain. I hadn’t packed even a windbreaker so I was getting wet fast. I hoped though that either I might climb over the clouds at Kazahari and/or that the weather would be better on the other side of the mountain. In any case I was very motivated to ride up fast and this is what I did.
Neither was the case, I descended in the rain and the rain and drizzle continued down to elevation 400 meters. Then the roads were dry again.
I stopped at the 7-Eleven (the other one, you know) and bought, among other things:
– a T shirt size LL
– a pair of socks 25 – 28 cm
– a towel
– packs of self-heating adhesive patches
At Itsukaichi station I undressed, put my wet clothes in the bike bag and covered my cold body with warm patches as best I could before jumping on the train home. 175 km. 2,700 m of climbing. Much money spent on clothing.
–Sunday morning I dealt with other matters, then headed out around 1PM. After a conversation with Laurent who I had not seen in quite awhile, I again headed out Onekan-sen.
Just before Tsukui-ko, I turned north off Rte 413 and climbed up to Lake Shiroyama and Hon-zawa Dam.
This is a very nice, quiet road and short climb through woods and with views over Tsukui-ko to the Southwest. The top of the climb is around 300 meters elevation — 80 meters higher than the hill we usually ride along on the North side of Tsukui-ko.
It has the disadvantage of being a „dead end“ to the West — no way to keep going Westward out of town without coming back down.
But it is a great option for a shorter ride out of town, and there is another way down the hill toward the East/Northeast. The lowest stretch of the road needs repaving, but once you get into the climb it is a smooth, deserted road. This would be well worth „repeat“ climbs (2-3-4 times in one ride for training), with more variation in the grade than some other really short climbs.
If others try and like it, perhaps it should be added to the Touge-baka? It is a detour that could easily be added on to half-day (or less) rides. This new discovery, plus the beautiful Cherubim bicycles from Hashimoto shown at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show earlier this year, make me think that I may have underestimated the charms of the Tsukui-ko, Eastern Sagamihara, Machida, and Hashimoto (which I believe I previously referred to as „the armpit of Kanagawa Prefecture–located amidst endless suburban sprawl).