James, Jerome an me planned to do a 250 km „weekend tour preparation ride“ on Friday which led us to some surprising places.
As it can be read on the ride announcement post, we were planning to attack Yanagisawa Toge (about 100 km away, over 1.400 m high) followed by Kamihikawa Toge and some other minor peaks. So we met very early in the morning at the Tamagawa and made good progress in direction Ome along the main road. We passed the brand-new Fussa town hall, followed by the Ome town hall under construction. What a waste of money (at least they could spend the money for road repairs). Fussa has a populationof about 60.000.
Until James rear wheel got a flat from a glass shard that penetrated his tyre. Believe it or not, it took the three of us more than 45 minutes to get his bike running again; wasting another tube along the way, ripping apart one of his tyre levers and fiddling around with three bike pumps before we got the thing inflated finally.
So we were late already. And by now it had started to fizzle as well. The general environmental feeling was rather unpleasant, so we had a long breakfast & coffee break at Ome Station shopping at the 7-Eleven, Aurore bakery and McDonalds where we had six cups of coffee for the price of three. James complained to the girl behind the counter that was speaking in a frequency band barely audible by bats, about the quality of the coffee, so we all got one for free.
Later, when we mounted our bikes, the weather has become even worse despite all nice looking weather forecasts. It was miserable. In the best tradition of Positivo Espresso we decided to give up our ambitious plans and ride to Umenoki, hoping that the weather would be better closer to the coast.
It was the first time for James and Jerome to climb up Umenoki and we were all having fun [of different degrees and magnitudes]. James was zooming ahead but suddenly I saw him waiting some meters in front: Because of the recent storms, some trees were lying on the road ahead. But not only that, the trees have fallen in a way that they have ripped off the cables of the nearby power line so we needed to be double careful when crossing all the obstacles to avoid sudden and instant electro-execution.
I made it up to the top in 23:48 min and included that time in a new Togebaka TT (No.21 see right below, James and Jerome might want to add). On the top it was cold (3 deg. Celsius), raining and we met a friendly MTB rider who told us that the weather would be more or less the same down the other side in Itsukaichi.
So we made the only possible and logical decision and headed 4 km to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, where we bought a towel (110 Yen), stepped into the outside hot water basin and relaxed and talked for almost two hours. We were still hoping that the weather might get better, but it didn’t. Finally we mounted our bikes and rode on. It was hard, because after the Onsen my body was in a mental state of „OK, well done for the day, let’s relax.“
James wife wants to loose some weight to be even more competitive in the next JCRC race so she planned to visit the hairdresser in the afternoon. Which in turn implied that James had to come home early. We parted in front of Itsukaichi Station and Jerome and me continued to climb up to Kobu tunnel. Where the weather was still miserable.
And then we rode down on the other side to road 20 and Uenohara where we stopped to have lunch for another very relaxed hour.
Finally we rode along road 76, taking a turn to include Magino pass (read correctly: Makime pass) in our ride. Makime-toge has a very steep last part with a donut-patterned concrete road but suddenly I felt super-strong again and sprinted up the final approach to the top.
And then we made our way along Doshi-Michi back to Hashimoto where I could convince Jerome that it would make sense to jump on the train home. Most of the riding and climbing was done after the Onsen visit but even by riding until 5 PM, we only managed to go 140 km in almost 12 hours.
In Shin-Yokohama I assembled my (dirty) bike and rode home, passing the skating rink where my wife and daughter have spend the last 5 years almost every day and night. And for the first time I actually met them there outside. So we agreed on a race, who would be home sooner: them with the car, or me on the bike. I won hands down. I even had time to undress and jump into the shower before they came.
Now I guess I should also clean my bike to be in good shape for whatever my bike and me have to endure on Sunday.