Two weeks ago Jerome and I rode up to 1475 meters elevation.
Last week I made it to 1000 meters elevation.
… And today we settled for 650 meters and 730 meters — Kobu Tunnel and then Wada Pass from the west (Ura Wada) approach — including an extra climb to around 730 meters elevation, as we left the top of Wada by the forest road (rindo) alternative.
|Jerome and David triumphant at Wada, December 18, 2010|
Tuesday evening (Dec 21) is the winter solstice, shortest day of the year, and there was frost on the ground in the shade as we rode up the lower part of the Akigawa climb. Definite signs of the upcoming winter … though nothing to compare to, say, snowy Northern Germany, and hopefully the Kanto vicinity will be still rideable at lower elevations until mid-January, and straight through until Spring on dry days.
Jerome and I were joined by his friend Didier, who lived many years in Japan, was responsible for introducing the „Look“ bicycle brand to Japan in the 1980s, rode with Laurent Fignon in his youth (according to Jerome — I did not remember to confirm with Didier), and who has returned to Asia this year after 6 years in Nice, France. Didier is living in Hong Kong, but his family moved back to Japan and his employer/company is based here, so he makes very regular trips to Tokyo. Amazing that he is able to keep in shape in crowded, bicycle-unfriendly Hong Kong, and could make it up Ura Wada … a hill that has our, and now his, respect.
|Near the top of the Uenohara „golf course hills“. Short, but painful as always.|
|Mt. Fuji was visible from Uenohara and Ura Wada, against a cloudless but slightly hazy winter sky.|
It was a very nice, recreational ride, with the hard work being the short climb to Kobu, the longer and much more difficult Ura Wada, and the „golf course hills“ of Uenohara in between the two. A winter version of the „reverse Paul Jason“ ride — a ride I did twice in 2009 (solo in winter and with Jerome in August), but had not managed yet this year. The descent down the „rindo“ instead of the usual route down Jimba Kaido, was great. The first time I have taken this route, favored by many P.E. members. No traffic, no dodging buses on the narrow approach road at the bottom. And yet another picturesque narrow valley on the lower section.