zondag 27 februari 2011


Home -> around Fujisan -> Home Time: 10:57:12
Time: 10:57:12
Distance: 264.42 km
Elevation Gain: 3,623 m
Calories (not that it matters): 8,557 C
Avg Temperature: 9:3 °C (very pleasant)

Who doesn't like to brag? A few years ago, I would be so proud to tell all my buddies I cycled all the way to Yamanako and back. Well, things have changed...or rather, they keep escalating. Today, I realized a long-held dream of cycling from home to Fujisan, circumnavigate the mountain and then ride back home. Today, no spokes snapped...my titanium bike and Dura-Ace wheels rolled ever so smoothly although it was at times extremely windy. Very lonely roads at times, unusual sights and a taste of the haunted forest although I tried to stay away from it by taking Rd. 72. Had a fantastic endorphin shot and am feeling still very elated...

Wore the new TCC maillot today for the first time...feels very pro & fast!

Long sleeve maillot a bit thinnish but easily compensated with a windbreaker
Same spot as yesterday

Showing off the TCC brand-new maillot (excellent design!)

Getting cloudy as I circle around Fujisan

Passed a Safari Park and a "Kodomo-no-Kuni" (= haikyo?)

Fujisan slowly disappearing...

Impressive road views....

Getting hot again...time to show off the TCC maillot again...

Lonely roads...(but in perfect condition)
Once in a while, Fujisan would show up...

Clouds clearing away again....

a typical "kasagumo" in the making

Home again!

zaterdag 26 februari 2011

All the way around Fuji ???

Ludwig and I arrived at our appointed RdV exactly at the same time. At 6:15 the sky above was already quite bright. It was another typical winter morning though, the air feeling cold and dry. Yesterday, the yearly Haruichiban winds caused the temperature in parts of Tokyo to rise above 20 degrees (!) but later in the evening the wind started to blow from the north again. This also meant we were in for splendid views of Fujisan. So why not try to circumnavigate Fuji-san?

Ludwig knew it takes exactly 100km to circle around Fujisan so a quick calculation taught us the ride was feasible! Relying on our Garmins, we tried some new roads in an effort to get onto Doshimichi within the shortest possible time. Once on Doshimichi, we rode in one stretch to the Doshi Yamazaki for some re-fueling. After we crested Yamabushi-toge, speeding down to Yamaguchiko, Fujisan appeared in full view, always breathtaking when she exposes herself like this. Once down at the lake, we wasted no time and stopped only 3 minutes for a few pictures. Kagozaka-toge is easy to climb from the lake up and before we knew it, we were rolling down again.

The first part of the descent towards Gotemba is quite long and as there is very few traffic, also very thrilling. Once you hit the section where the traffic coming down from the Subashiri Intersection flows into R318, however, the road turns ugly...tourist buses and large trucks passing by very near aggrevated by bumpy road conditions. Fortunately, we were only going to be riding on this hell of a road for only a little while before turning right and then to the other side of Fujisan...or so we thought!

Suddenly, something quite violently shook my bike as if I had hit an immense pothole...I could hardly control my handle...it was shaking like crazy so much I first suspected the carbon steerer had gotten broken from the impact of the "pothole hit". A few hundred meters further down, I spotted an open field and managed to get to a standstill. Ludwig had already gotten ahead of me just before my "pothole hit" but shouting out his name was to no avail with all the traffic noise. I examined my bike and discovered the front wheel steerer was intact...the problem was in the back. My back wheel was completely blocked and I could feel the heat of the rim through my thick winter gloves...the wheel had obviously been rubbing against the brake pads...but why? Then I saw an open nippleless hole in the rim...and one spoke bangling from the axle. Shoot! Ludwig called and came to my rescue. Always thoughtful as he is, he had checked behind him and was waiting for me the moment he realized I was no longer following. I was panicky and immensily disillusioned knowing I had no choice but to abort the long-hoped-for ride around Fujisan but Ludwig helped me calm down and guided me to the nearest Gotemba station.

I boarded the train to Matsuda/Shin-Matsuda, then changed to the Odakyu Line all the way to Shinjuku (what a detour!) and then back via JR to Kokubunji. I was very lucky...for each change of train no waiting time and always the fastest train and all this rinko-less! I arrived home on a heavily wobbling bike before 2 'o clock under still bright blue skies...ZANNEN DESHITA!!!!

Splendid views

Ludwig taking his snapshots

Ludwig coming to my rescue...Ludwig afterwards rode back a few hundred meters to take a picture of the "pothole" but couldn't find any. Perhaps, my backwheel must have taken a bad hit when I was speeding on the sidewalk a bit higher up...will never know.

On an almost empty train from Gotemba to Matsuda/Shin-Matsuda

Next time for sure!

zaterdag 19 februari 2011

Mostly cloudy ride

Lora in all her usual glory was never there ...the skies above failed to clear up in spite of the sunny weather forecast. Rode the first lap of today's ride in the company of Ludwig who - on his cyclocross - was my guest for some drafting direction Odawara. When we hit R1, I turned left to Miura and Ludwig right to Manazuru. On Miura peninsula, I tried a few new roads running crosswise and was surprised at the abundance of residential areas. Halfway, I turned to Kaneda Bay where I visited the nice bakery facing the bay. The rest of the ride was an exact repeat of last Sunday's route to Lake Tsukui. Today, my Edge 800 almost failed on me again producing the LOW BATTERY warning about 190km into the ride. I had tried everything - no backlight, no sounds, no navigating, no contrast (0), no auto zoom...the only feature I left on was the Automotive Mode to show a perspective view of the map...could this be the culprit? Disabling all those nice features just in order to save the battery (and trip!), reduces my Edge 800 to a very dull device. On my next rides, I think I will take along the Edge 500 in my pocket!

zondag 13 februari 2011

Icy start

Following yesterday's snow and rain until late in the evening, icy conditions were to be expected. First warning came as I was about to leave home trying to open the gate...frozen stuck! The road to Koremasa bridge was very slippery in places and at the Fuchu horse race stadium, I avoided the road and rode on the sidewalk instead where guardmen were busy sprinkling salt. Barely made it at the appointed time of 6:30. VLAAMS Nagashi-san had indicated he would ride and Ludwig had written he was also very eager to ride. Ludwig arrived on his cyclocross, clearly intent on doing a repeat of that fantastic Saitama snowmobiling ride we did together last year. I stuck to my plan and joined Nagashi-san direction Yokohama riding on major roads that were not so slippery (except some bridges) and - in the early Sunday morning hours - not so crowded with traffic. We rode non-stop until we hit Hakkejima Sea Paradise. Nagashi-san stayed with me as far as Kannonzaki before he doubled-back. I found a nice bakery facing Kaneda-wan and treated myself to some freshly baked piroshki-style pastry while watching the waves. The rest of the ride was a classic Miura-hanto loop. Passing Enoshima, I did not want to ride home along a congested R467 and went for R129 instead, riding through Hiratsuka first, then Atsugi and then direction Tsukui-ko (along R412) for at least a little bit of climbing before heading home over Hashimoto and One-kan. Arrived home at the early time of 15:30 but still with 220km in the saddle (took no conbini stops at all). Enjoyed some lazy afternoon tea time with my wife followed by a bowl of great spinach soup.

Nagashi-san leading all the way to Hakkejima

View not too far from Kannonzaki

Kaneda Bay
Fujisan seen from Misaki
On R129

Today's complete ride...

vrijdag 11 februari 2011

Andy and the (Flemish) Lion

Snowing in Tokyo...with feelings of deep sympathy for courageous & hard-training Andy in Niigata, I got onto my hometrainer this afternoon for a full hour of non-stop high-velocity rotations.
Also created a "around Fujisan and back" 262k-long route, I'd like to try out as soon as the roads are dry again.
More snow expected tomorrow...such a shame! Hopefully I can go out on Sunday for some revenge.

zondag 6 februari 2011

Mimase-toge Loop

No pictures today… simply wasn’t in the mood to take any. Musume stuck in bed with fever, I left home solo at 9:00 with no definite destination or purpose in mind other than testing how my new GPS navigation map would perform on Edge 800. Yesterday, I was rather disappointed in the auto-routing function with the device sometimes forcing me in impossible directions and tiny alleys draining the battery so much, the entire ride went lost unrecorded as my screen turned blank. This “Japan Digital Road Map Navigator and Topo 10m for Garmin GPS V3” is produced by a small (?) company called UUD Co., Ltd. near Asakusabashi staffed by very friendly and helpful people.

Once on Onekan, I decided to attack Yabitsu-toge, selected the pre-entered coordinates and hit GO! After a while, I realized the automatic routing was guiding me onto “omote-Yabitsu” and not the intended “ura-Yabitsu”…yareyare! I was starting to feel a little agitated and tried to adjust the routing by entering a new location “Lake Tsukui”. Constantly trying the catch routing instructions on the screen (while keeping an attentive eye on the road and traffic around me of course!) considerably slowed down my pace and I soon found myself in the company of many tens of Nalshima riders, making me even more nervous. Sometimes the devise would instruct me to make this or that turn. Unfortunately, though, these maneuvers are not instantly reflected in “real time” onto the screen…often there is a 5 up to 10 second lapse sometimes long enough to get on a wrong route and - to make matters worse - activate the device’s recalculating function which can take quite long to complete. In short, I was several times literally “put of my track”.

UUD of course was not to blame for my malaise…the road map is simple awesome with incredibly lots of detail. Ludwig afterwards gave me several useful hints on how to utilize the software without exhausting battery life too much. For my next ride, I will create my own route after making some significant changes to the Mapsource’s 環境設定 configuration. I was obviously using “too much map and too much detail” on the settings of yesterday’s ride.

Anyway, I discovered this nice little pass called Mimase-toge 三増峠 as I was circling around Aikawamachi and that pretty much saved my day. Mimase is famous for the so-called “Battle of Mimase Pass” back in 1569 involving 30,000 warriors when Takeda Shingen advanced from neighboring Yamanashi and successfully drove the Hôjô clan back to Odawara…or so the legend goes. Lots of literature on this and the Mimase battlefields are still there bearing witness to the massacre. The hilly area seems to be popular among cyclists as an oval-shaped training course. I got passed by a bunch of eager youngsters chasing each other as I was climbing my way up to the darkish Mimase Tunnel. Another athletically-built foreigner was trying to hang onto their wheels. Normally, I like to mark such climbers as my prey and give chase but today I simply didn’t have the legs and the guts.

This taught me a good lesson though…never put the cart before the horse! I clearly mistook the GPS for the ride.

zaterdag 5 februari 2011

Kagosaka & Ashigara Loop

Left home at 6:00 and got back at 17:00...almost non-stop (only 2 more or less longer stops - one at Yamakako for some ice-skating and one at the top of Ashigara-toge)...at least 250k covered. Made the stupid mistake of activating the "run-against-yourself-Garmin" program which incredibly drains the battery. Worked fine scaling Yamabushi-toge down to frozen lake Yamanaka and then over Kagosaka-toge et ensuite onto Ashigara-toge (only third time for me following 2 earlier scalings with TCC) but after hitting R1 and wanting to follow the pre-selected return route, the dreaded LOW BATTERY warning popped up...30 minutes later I was completely unplugged... Lesson learned: those Garmin Edge 800 batteries promise 15 hours of life...just don't trust that!!! Luckily, I was by then in familiar territory again and easily found my way home over Tsukui-ko.

Route here: sorry error....blame GARMIN software engineers
Inspiration: Fighting Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Aged 6 years 103 PROOF (=51.5% alc)
Today's BGM: Adagio con espressione MOZART STRING TRIO Beethoven, String Trios