zaterdag 30 juli 2011

Quick 130km loop

Time: 04:48:14  / Elapsed Time: 05:01:27  /  Distance: 128.77 km   /  Avg Speed: 26.8 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 27.3 km/h   /  Max Speed: 64.2 km/h   /  Elevation Gain: 1,461 m
Calories: 4,032 C   /  Avg Temperature: 27.0 °C

zaterdag 23 juli 2011

Red Fujisan Higurashi vs. Minmin 1:0

Started from Koremasa bridge at 6:00 in the morning with Ludwig who had a different ride plan (cyclocrossing along R76 Tanzawako etc.). My plan was to ride clockwise around Mt. Fuji (Take 2) - a repeat of what I did earlier this year in February. Typhoon No. 6, having pulled in its wake northern winds, largely contributed to the pleasure of today's ride: "mild" temperatures and relatively dryness in the air. I went solo after parting from Ludwig at the last 7/11 before the R76 turnoff and continued non-stop until Lake Yamanaka. Fujisan appeared virtually snow-less and very reddish-brown...unmistakably a volcano! About to erupt? For the first time since I came to this country, Fujisan appeared fearsome to me - not adorable at all!! The sound of Higurashi-semi cicadas was overwhelming as I circled around Fujisan. Normally, Higurashi take the center stage AFTER the Minminzemi cicadas, but somehow this year, the order got reversed! Were they fooled by Typhoon No.6 that ushered in early September temperatures? Don't really know but I'm sure that there must be a lot of confusion going around the Minminzemi colonies right now! Today's ride was good for almost 270km in the saddle at a decent average speed of 26.2km/h. Looking forward to doing the same route again in Autumn!

Today's route here

maandag 18 juli 2011

Two-day ride out to Takayama, Gifu Pref.

The long “Marine Day” weekend was spent not on the beach but deep in the mountains of Yamanashi, Nagano and Gifu and mostly in the saddle…14 hours or so on Sunday alone! I had asked Ludwig (alias Manfred) to map out a three-day ride plan and this is what he came up with:

Ludwig’s original plan:

Day 1 (Sat): cycle over Yanagisawa and the Kofu mountains to Matsubaroko…at least 4,500m of climbing.

Day 2 (Sun): over Mugikusa-toge (Yatsugadake) and part of the Venus Line to Okaya, then into Kiso Valley and via Nomugi-toge (and a few others such as Sakai-toge) onto Kiso Highway and into Takayama…about 200km and again at least 3,500m of climbing.

Day 3 (Mon): via Toya-toge and R471 to the base of Norikura, then Norikura, then Shirabiso-toge, then into Matsumoto (or to Shiojiri), train home from there…about 150km, at least 3,000m of climbing.

As I learned afterwards, indefatigably energetic Ludwig even added another, Shirakaba-toge on day 3 before settling down in Shiojiri. 12,000+m elevation gained within the short span of 3 days! Who can beat him?  Some of the highlights…

Day 1:
  • Tabayama Natsu-matsuri performance featuring exquisite slow-motion dancing to the live accompaniment of a small hayashi orchestra as we refilled our bottles at the well
  • Puncturing twice on Yanagisawa-toge – once uphill, once downhill
  • Almost collapsing on the way up Yakeyama-toge / cooling down the radiator in the mountain stream
  • Crystal Line – a first for me
  • Puncturing a third time on Crystal Line and running out of spare inner tubes.
  • About to ditch my bike in frustration after patched tube deflated for the umpteenth time in the middle of the Kawakami cabbage fields
  • A good Samaritan (Restaurant Straw Hat proprietor) giving me a lift in his mini pickup truck all the way to Lake Matsubarako
  • Watching Ludwig suffer the final climb up to the lake from the truck
Day 2:
  • The climb up Märchen Kaido’s Mugikusa-toge (another first for me)
  • Venus Line from Lake Tateshina up
  • Suzuran-toge (but infested with Nikkoukisuge lilies gazers meaning a huge traffic snarl-up)
  • Me changing the ride plan by adding Wada-toge (not deliberately)
  • The scenic Lake Shirakabako and the superfast pink lady cyclist (with her BF or husband?)
  • Takayama-san of Takayama Cycle in Okaya fixing the cause of my repeated punctures
  • Touristic Nakasendo sections along the Kiso River including the famous Naraijuku post town (Shiojiri)
  • Riding through a couple ghost villages leading up Sakai-toge
  • Cresting Nomugi-toge
  • Getting annoyed and fired up by a Manfred comment
  • Effect of energy drinks fully kicking in after a brief tunnel cool-down leaving Ludwig miles behind – never experienced a second wind like this before
  • Feasting on Hida beef and other delicious dishes at Minshuku Iwatakan

Day 3:
  • No highlights for me except puncturing my back tire (again!) inside the long Abo 安房toll tunnel
Because of the excessive heat and the crazy amount of climbing, painful heat rash-like condition had developed around my "delicate zone". I could not possibly have followed Ludwig on another set of 4,000m+ climbing on Day 3 and am glad now I did not force myself to do so…I can hardly walk today.

I think I will do the Day 2 route again soon but only once it gets a bit cooler!

Day 1 (Home to Matsubarako) Day 2 (Matsubarako to Takayama) (Day 3) (Takayama to Matsumoto)
Summer matsuri in Tabayama

Sakai-toge (1,480m) on Nagano-Kendo 26

Ludwig aiming for the Crystal Line entrance

Woods and mountain stream near Yakiyama-toge

Overheated feet

Delicious mountain runoff

Norikura ahead

unridable bike in the back of mini-truck chasing Ludwig.  Driver of the mini truck is the friendly owner of the Straw Hat ストローハットrestaurant in Saku Uminokuchi (R141)

always in good spirits!

Matsubarako lake by night

Matsubarako lake morning glory

Slept in the room on the left (2nd floor)


Famous "I was / made it up there" photo location

Going down Venus Line

Posted by Picasa
Ludwig stretching his back riding through some deserted country road in Nagano
The famous Nomugi-toge..."AH...HIDA GA MIERU..."
About to speed into Takayama in Gifu Prefecture
If you ever run into mechanical or other troubles in Nagano, this is your savior: the great & super-experienced mechanic/shop owner Mr. Makoto Takayama himself (Takayama Cycle, Okaya-shi, Nagano Pref.)
2 days combining to  Mt. Everest equivalent.  Legs still OK / delicate zone a mess...had to forfeit Norikura on day 3.

maandag 11 juli 2011

Duo Damme Classic video stills

a gap of 10 meters already right after the first turn !
Come on, come on....Hans desperately trying to lasso me in
Posted by Picasa
Final curve...Hans miles ahead !