I remember Golden Week („GW“) for bizarre traffic jams like the one Michael mentions in his blog post earlier today, or this one that I encountered on the forest road up (and down) Wada Pass back in 2007 — total gridlock, cars unable to pass, and once stuck in line unable to go back either, and the line getting longer minute by minute:
On Saturday morning, I did run into an unusual traffic jam heading out of town, about 60% of the way down the back of Otarumi Pass outside of Takao on Natl Route 20. I went by the line of cars and trucks, and was amused to find several road cyclists, Japanese of course, patiently waiting their turn in the line of cars. I realized it must go several km further, to the traffic light at Sagami-ko station or the entrance to the expressway, so I turned off at the bottom of the hill, cut over to Route 412 and took Charles‘ once secret route (Rte 517) on the hillside south of Sagami-ko. The GW traffic there looked like this:
I’ve been taking advantage
of the work holiday and my kids‘ school schedule, until the rain came Tuesday afternoon and work returned today (need to run in to the office this afternoon). So far, my rides have been:
1. Wednesday — „The Ride“ over Yabitsu and Hakone Passes — as fully documented in a previous post. 155 km and lots of climbing.
2. Saturday — out past Takao/Otarumi, Rte 517, then back over Wada (ura Wada) and home. 135 km and one real climb.
3. Sunday — recovery ride with my son Henry, by train from Chofu to Takao-san guchi, then riding over the hill and back home via Tsukui-ko/Yaen-Kaido („the other Route 20“). 75 km. recovery, true recovery.
4. Monday — Fast afternoon ride to Itsukaichi, up to and through the Koubu tunnel, and home via Uenohara and Takao/Hachioji. 145 km and one real climb.
5. Tuesday — Out early, via Oume into Chichibu as far as Yamabushi Pass, then back to meet Stephen C. near the start of the Nariki/Tokyo Hill Climb, and together via his place (water refill) over Umegaya Pass, and with Stephen showing me the Southern entrance to the Tsuru-Tsuru Onsen climb … before we parted ways and I rode home in gradually increasing rain. 150 km, one climb (Yamabushi) and a fair number of smaller hills.
None of these really worth its own blog post, but still a good set in total.
Some of you may (or may not) be wondering — where is Umegaya Pass? I was asking myself the same question when Stephen told me it was his preferred route to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen … as opposed to the forest road from Yoshino Kaido that TCC and Michael took (not sure if Stephen knows that way). As for Umegaya Pass, Stephen led the way up a climb that looked quite familiar, even in the darkening clouds. As we approached the top, it occurred to me that this little steep nasty climb from the North is what we call „Jerome Hill“ when approached from the South. Mystery solved.