Mikuni Pass [三国峠」], literally „Pass of the three countries“ is called so because it was conquered one day by riders from three different countries. The day was November 3rd, 2009 and the three riders came from West-Germany, France and South Germany.
Jerome, Ludwig and me met at Odawara station at 8 and Jerome showed us the way out on a very nice road leading along the gentle slopes of the Hakone mountains. Actually he didn’t even know this road before taken us there, but nevertheless it was very nice. A lot of ups and downs and before we knew it we were on the ascent to Ashigara pass. This was the first climb of the day and it was not an easy one. There are many hair needle curves on the higher part but when we were finally up and over the pass, we had a beautiful view on mount Fuji and on the first snow of the season on it’s top.Note the hidden Belgium flag.
We went all the way down again, but not through the golf course hills but rather through a forest road which led us to a (now approved) family mart in the valley between Ashigara and Mikuni. And then we started the attack on Mikuni Toge.
After having heard much brutal stories about it, I was surely lacking self confidence when I started. Also my legs still felt weak from the Motegi race two days earlier. So it was a very hard climb indeed but luckily it is only less than 7 km long. I was expecting much more and before I knew it we were on the top and over where again we had a beautiful view on mount Fuji and lake Yamanaka. My guess? OWI = 2.0 as it is about double the distance and elevation.
We stopped at the approved 7-eleven at Yamanako and both Ludwig and me had a good Oden-lunch while Jerome was showing off his Ukranian army underwear and pretended that it was still summer. In fact it was cold. Very cold.
We continued to ride along the lake and then up to a new pass called Nijumagari Toge which was kindly introduced to us by Y I. Eternal thanks to you for that one. From lake Yamanaka it is a very gentle approach up only 150 – 200 meters and from the top one has again a nice view on mount Fuji plus there is another holy fountain providing water for the thirsty cyclist.The road that leads down to Tsuru (road 139) and further to Otsuki or Akiyama. One can also cross Dosaka pass and turn back to Doshi Michi (413).
And this road is not only complete void of traffic (except for some construction equipment trucks), but also full of snow on both sides as it is mostly in the shadows. The whole ride felt like a ride in the winter: the air was clear, the sky was blue, the rivers looked beatiful with the surrounding Koyo, it was 4 degres C or so and I was glad that I overdressed on the suggestion of Ludwig.
Also there are many other interesting roads branching off to locations which are called „DO NOT ENTER“ in English. Unfortunately a part of the road is pure gravel.
When finally reaching road 139 we ramped up the speed in the spirit of Motegi and made a fast run for the train station at Otsuki. An equally fast train brought us home within no time.A very nice day out in the winter – back in the city it was much warmer.
Eingeordnet unter 2009, Jerome, Mob
... as usual at Makuhari Messe from Dec. 11th (Fri) to Dec. 13th. Details in English.
Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob
Lap charts have been isused finally by powertag for the Motegi race and here we can nicely see our good performance.Explanation:
Left vertical axis : lap time in minutes
Right vertical axis : team position
Horizontal axis : lap number
Bars (lap time)
Left, Green : Fastest time in this lap
Middle, Yellow : Winning Team lap time in this lap
Right, red : Positivo Espresso time in this lap
Lines (Team Position)
Blue Line : Position of winning team in each lap
Orange (!) Line : Position of Positivo Espresso in each lap
Believe it or not, but we were in front of the winning team and in 8th position after the third lap……
Eingeordnet unter 2009, Jerome
I have been asked recently by a much younger and less mature member of our team, if or if not, there is an official date when to change from summer riding dress (short sleeve team jerseys, short team bib shorts, short finger team gloves) into winter riding gear (not existing long sleeve team jersey, whatever long trousers and anyway not warm enough gloves).
After all, we are living in Japan, and such drastic seasonal changes in appearances and habits cannot be done by everyone just as one feels that they should be done. No, there has to be a clear rule, a precise date when the change has to be simultaneously conducted by all affected:
- Open air swimming pools close on August 31st when the summer is over, regardless of the fact that the weather continues to be hot and humid for at least another month. North-Germans, British and Scandinavians can possibly continue to swim outside for another three months.
- School uniform must be changed precisely on October 1st from light summer into equally light winter clothes of a different color.
- Regrettably, the return of ties and the close of the cool-biz season seems not be aligned yet along strict rules on the other hand.
For compelling reasons, I would like to state clearly how the Positivo Espresso Team has handle the change of the seasons in it’s long and proud club tradition (since 2007). Most important I assume, is the ability of „blissful ignorance“ of the seasons which will help experienced members to withstand any adverse circumstances. In case of doubt, please note the club slogan noted on the very bottom of this page.
But secondly, yes, there is actually a date for team wear changes and this is the second Sunday on November, or, to be more precise the day on which the JCRC / Tour-du-Japon Saiko race is conducted. On the Saturday before the race team members are allowed and actually encouraged to ride training laps around the lake in short sleeve jerseys, however shortly before midnight of the same day, a huge bonfire is lit by a team member with a similar name in the village of Saiko before an old abandoned shrine dedicated to the goddess of mompe.
The members assemble and one after each other they throw their summer wear into the fire and mumble heathen slogans in English spoken today only in the city of Bradford. Thereby they get rid of their dreadful summer season racing or training results and prepare themselves for another season where nothing will be achieved but with much more expensive clothing and equipment.
David Marx from Assos Japan continues to sponsor the event and his booth with brand new Assos winter gear is conveniently located close to the bonfire so that the now naked and freezing member can enjoy the purchase of something not as expensive as Rapha.
Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob