230 km Fuji west side training run

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#1
I don't really expect anyone to join me on this ride, but I'm posting it on the off-chance that somebody will :)

After the 227 km training run on March 11 and the Tomin no Mori / Tsuru pass ride on March 20 I want to a 230 km run on Sunday, April 1 (*) from Odawara to Gotemba, Numazu, around the west side of Fuji and back east via R35 and Takao to Machida.

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/79248330

This is again a shortened version of my May 19/20 brevet route, this time without the fairly flat first 70-odd km in Kanagawa. My 300 km time limit will be 20 hours, so I'm aiming for something around 15-16 hours altogether for the 230 km route.

I'll be starting from Odawara around 01:30 in the morning, after heading out on the last train on Odakyu-sen on Sat night (01:03 on Odawara). There is method to that madness, as that gives me 4 1/2 hours of night time riding: the first 6 1/2 hours of my brevet will also be before sunrise. I have my new Lumotec IQ Cyo 60 lumen with the hub dynamo to find my way to Gotemba and Numazu and before I head up the side of Fuji it will already be daylight.

The weather forecast for Sunday is 1-10 C and cloudy. I timed it so that I should reach the highest altitude at around 1100 m on the west side of Fuji-san at noon and to be back in Machida well before sunset.

(*) Never mind the date, it's real :)
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#2
It was an interesting day. I love Fuji and I love long bike rides and this day had both in abundance.

I planned it as yet another test run for the brevet ride in May, a 20 hour ride starting at 22:00 on a Saturday, which means I'd be riding 6 1/2 hours in darkness before 04:30 sunrise. So I wanted to test how I would cope with the disrupted sleep, how well the new dynamo light would work and how I would navigate in the darkness. It was also meant as a hill climbing exercise, because the brevet ride has four major climbs. The west Fuji climb (from Fujigawa to the R71 pass) is almost 1200 m with one unbroken section of 12 km of only up. From Odawara to Gotemba the climb is almost 500 m. There were further climbs at R35 and Takao-san, but I ended up skipping those (again).

I caught the last train from Tokyo on Odakyu out to Odawara, which was to get me there a little after 1, then I'd set up the bike and do the brevet except for the first ~70 km. It didn't quite turn out that way, but it was close.

The good news is, I think I did relatively well at climbing (I now have two more KOMs on Strava) and I felt in much better shape for the last 50 km of the ride than at my first brevet training ride with Jose three weeks ago.

The IQ Cyo (60 lumen) works really well, definitely recommended. I was riding on fairly rural roads in Ashigara near Odawara from 01:00 to sunrise and always had all the light I needed, at any speed.

Surprisingly, I had no problems with lack of sleep all day until I was finally sitting on the heated train seat on the way home with the bike in the bike bag... It's the adrenalin when riding, I suppose.

I got views of Fuji all day. The weather was fantastic for views.

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I managed to nap on the train to Odawara as planned, but woke in a panic and got off at the wrong station, so I started off 18 km away from Odawara. I didn't much care for having to take R246 for that.

It was much colder at night than I had anticipated. I should have worn every scrap of fabric I had brought along as soon as I got off the train. I gradually got changed at some conbini toilets, which got me off to a slow start. I needed three layers under my wind breaker, I needed the old sock covers for the shoes and I needed a second pair of socks (conbinis are great!) for my feet not to be uncomfortable, but I never really stopped shivering until after sunrise.

My navigation skills using Japanese brevet cue sheets leave much to be desired, at any time of the day. At some turns I kept going around and around until I finally figured out where I was supposed to be. Having taken screen shots at home with my Canon S95 of the route on MapMyRide proved a life saver at more than one occasion. I could double check maps without online data access.

Eating and drinking throughout the day meant I never hit the wall. I consumed two apples, ten bananas, one yoghurt, one onigiri and several litres of water. I felt completely capable of tackling Takao-san at the end even after sunset, but skipped it because I was running late with navigation problems and I still remembered the chilly temperatures in the morning, so I bike-bagged it from Uenohara like after Tomin no Mori.

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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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879
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
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#6
...and on a 20 inch Bike Friday. Amazing ride and great ride report. Congrats.
The Bike Friday may not be the lightest climbing bike since it's old school Cro-Mo steel (not carbon or titanium), but I can be comfortable on it all day, especially with the new Brooks saddle.

The geometry for the rider is the same as on a full size road bike, though it does bounce more on really rough surfaces.

With the triple chain rings I have all the gears I need, which may actually make this easier for me than on a full size bike with a narrower range of gears.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#7
Here is the ride on Strava. The rides to and from the stations bring the total to 200 km.

My moving time is only 62% of the total. More than a third of the time I was doing something other than pedalling, which had not been my intention.

Half an hour of that was a nice chat by the roadside with a guy up in Fujiyoshida who started talking to me when he saw me and my Bike Friday when I had stopped to check Google Maps on my phone. He was a local cyclist and we talked bikes and rides for a while.

The breakdown of my USB battery after the Tomin no Mori ride (and possibly connected failure of the USB dynamo adapter) cost me a lot of time. I rely on my Google Samsung Nexus S for GPS logging and navigation. To provide power for it all day, I kept having to feed AAs (both Ni-MH and alkaline) into a USB gadget I had bought at a conbini. This thing eats sets of AAs faster than I eat bananas on a ride!

Taking too long to figure out which way to go along the new sections of the route was another time killer.

To complete the randonee within the time limit (20 h for 300 km) I need to come up with a foolproof scheme for my navigation and I need reliable power for my Android again for logging and navigation. Even then I have my doubts if I'll be able to make the whole loop and all the check points within the specified times on May 19/20, but it gives me a great incentive to go out and train for it.

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Village shop found during the R71 climb (yes, they had batteries too).

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Numazu

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Warning sign in a Lawson in Fuji city (they did a good latte)
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#9
Joe are you riding with flat pedals or clipless? Great ride report. The more I read your exploits the more I love he Bikre Friday brand. You're a great ambassador for them.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#10
I'm using SPD pedals that are flat on one side, clipless on the other, but I find I never use the flat side. Really, not once in all the months have I used them with my regular shoes. It took me a long time to give clipless pedals a try, but once you're used to them it's hard to go back to anything else. My 50+ year old knees don't like grinding and it's easier to pedal at a high cadence when the shoes are firmly connected to the pedals.

The SPD MTB shoes work well enough as general purpose shoes for me (like last week, when I cycled to a business meeting).


It occurred to me today that the only part of my body that still felt sore when I went to bed were my shoulders where the straps of my back pack had been resting all day. With all the clothes, food and bike bag the pack had been fairly heavy. Everywhere else I was fine.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#11
I'm using SPD pedals that are flat on one side, clipless on the other, but I find I never use the flat side. Really, not once in all the months have I used them with my regular shoes. It took me a long time to give clipless pedals a try, but once you're used to them it's hard to go back to anything else. My 50+ year old knees don't like grinding and it's easier to pedal at a high cadence when the shoes are firmly connected to the pedals.

The SPD MTB shoes work well enough as general purpose shoes for me (like last week, when I cycled to a business meeting).


It occurred to me today that the only part of my body that still felt sore when I went to bed were my shoulders where the straps of my back pack had been resting all day. With all the clothes, food and bike bag the pack had been fairly heavy. Everywhere else I was fine.
Great report and ride, as usual Joe!

You said....
Joe said:
and possibly connected failure of the USB dynamo adapter
I hope you are not talking about the mod I did on the dynamo hub for you?

Tim G's set up with the Tout Terrain Plug and the Cache battery seems to be working well, I'll ask him to post the make and model of the battery, it has an input USB port from the charging system and has two out put USB ports, one is a higher voltage than the other, for example one will charge the iPhone or Garmin, while the other will charge his iPad.

Tim G....???

Cheers!
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#13
I hope you are not talking about the mod I did on the dynamo hub for you?
You didn't mod the hub connector for me, you only attached the wire to the connector the standard Shimano way and that worked great. You did a great job!

However, after the Tomin no Mori ride on March 20 both the battery and charger stopped working and then my Lumotec IQ Cyo lamp arrived, so I removed the charger and instead connected the lamp to the dynamo.

I wrote about the battery death here. The normal Li ion operating voltage range is from 3.0 V (discharge safety cut off) to 4.2 V (overcharge safety cut off) with 3.7 being the nominal (mean) voltage, anything below or above the limits should disconnect the battery through an electronic safety circuit breaker. Nevertheless I measured 4.6 V on the Li ion cell after breaking open the USB battery case to investigate. Bleeding charge state using some LEDs drawing some milliamps for a day or so to drop it back into the safe range didn't bring it back to life. So I take it it's the PCB that has a problem.

At the same time the battery stopped working, the dynamo USB adapter stopped working too. When I connected the phone directly to it, the charging icon on the phone didn't show when I spun the wheel. I then connected a USB optical mouse to the port and tried it and the sensor LED didn't light up.

Did the battery PCB kill the charger, or did a charger malfunction fry the battery PCB? I can only guess.

Thanks for the recommendation of that battery model. I had seen it before on Amazon and have in fact recommended the very same one to a friend in the US who couldn't get the model that I used here which is listed only on Amazon Japan, while the other one was also available on Amazon.com.

For my son's spring holiday bike trip to Kansai I had bought another battery like mine so he could keep his iPhone charged while on the road. For now I will just use that new 5000 mAh battery on its own (i.e. charge it at home from a wall charger) and will see how far that goes without top-up from the dynamo USB adapter. If it lasts a full 20 hours of cycling, that would be good enough for me even without a dynamo adapter.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#14
Very nice Joe!
Would be great to join you on the next adventure :bike:
I'll definitely post it here, Andreas!

I may not get to do much cycling over the next two weekends. We'll be having a Swedish exchange student (visiting my daughter's school) staying with us for a week. On Sundays I'll be on tour guide duty and won't have much time for cycling, assuming she's not into bicycle trips to Kamakura...
 

DeltaForce

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Sep 17, 2011
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#15
Regarding navigation with a GPS phone.

Do you load up a gpx track of the route? My phone has a really small screen and the maps are a bit hard to see with the sun shining on it too. But with a preloaded track (red line) and current gps track (blue line), It's all I need to keep on track. With a quick glance it's clear if I'm on course and where I have to go next. I also have Google maps loaded up for the whole area I'm ridingin so I don't need a 3g signal at all. In fact I turn the phone to airplane mode to save batteries. GPS reception is not affected.

I use the phone for car trips too and find quite a difference between having a preloaded route (created on Map My Ride or Ride With GPS) and just looking at the map. I can glance at the phone any time and see the blue line on the red line and know I'm on course. The odd time I miss a turn because I wasn't checking the phone, the red line is there and I can easily get back on course.

Sure looks like you had a great ride around Mt Fuji.

Dave
 

joewein

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#16
I tried pre-loading a GPX route on the MapMyRide Android app for my March 11 training ride, but when I looked at the loaded track (while not recording anything yet), it didn't even show me where I was on the map!

I no longer use MMR for recording, because their GPX export sucks. It doesn't include any time stamps, only the list of locations (breadcrumb trail), which means you can't really use the data with Strava, Endomondo, etc. because they won't know your speed. So I always record with either Strava (on my Android 4.0) or Endomondo (on my Android 1.6 phone) and import into MMR later.

So what I really need is an app that allows to me to pre-load a GPX route downloaded from a site / sent via email to the phone as well as recording the actual ride, which also lets me export the new GPX to other sites of my choice. Strava doesn't seem to support that yet.
 

Jayves

Speeding Up
Nov 20, 2009
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#17
Joe, have you tried 'Trail' by EveryTrail.com? I use the iPhone version long time ago before I started using Garmin EDGE 800. It looks like they have an Android version and has the feature you wanted where you can record your route while displaying your favorite imported track in the background using blue line.

I tried pre-loading a GPX route on the MapMyRide Android app for my March 11 training ride, but when I looked at the loaded track (while not recording anything yet), it didn't even show me where I was on the map!

I no longer use MMR for recording, because their GPX export sucks. It doesn't include any time stamps, only the list of locations (breadcrumb trail), which means you can't really use the data with Strava, Endomondo, etc. because they won't know your speed. So I always record with either Strava (on my Android 4.0) or Endomondo (on my Android 1.6 phone) and import into MMR later.

So what I really need is an app that allows to me to pre-load a GPX route downloaded from a site / sent via email to the phone as well as recording the actual ride, which also lets me export the new GPX to other sites of my choice. Strava doesn't seem to support that yet.
 

DeltaForce

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Sep 17, 2011
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#18
I have just in the last week or so started using "Ride With GPS". It is head and shoulders above MMR. I can download any track (with elevations) I have previously made to my phone, in the field, from the internet using the phone's browser. Trying the same with MMR was always slow, requiring many unnesssecary clicks and waits for the site to process things. But then the file would always be corrupted (with my particular phone). Loading the file up via USB was always OK though.

The Ride With GPS website is faster and requires far less mouse clicks (or finger taps)to do what you need to do. There's also no waiting for route elevation processing etc which seemed to be becoming worse over the last few weeks. It got to the point I wasn't able to download my route with out waiting 10 mins or so. No good if I had just put together a route before heading out the door.

One thing I really like is that Ride With GPS gives you instant elevation graphs updated as you are making your map. Great if you are 'feeling' your way around the map trying to find a flatter or hillier route. WIth MMR, you have to save your route each time and wait for the elevation to be calculated. Very laborious.

There is however a large discrepency in relation to elevations calculations from your pre recorded gpx files between the two sites. I'm prone to believe the RWGPS elevations though from what I've read on the matter.

Dave
 

joewein

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#19
I tried pre-loading a GPX route on the MapMyRide Android app for my March 11 training ride, but when I looked at the loaded track (while not recording anything yet), it didn't even show me where I was on the map!

I no longer use MMR for recording, because their GPX export sucks. It doesn't include any time stamps, only the list of locations (breadcrumb trail), which means you can't really use the data with Strava, Endomondo, etc. because they won't know your speed. So I always record with either Strava (on my Android 4.0) or Endomondo (on my Android 1.6 phone) and import into MMR later.

So what I really need is an app that allows to me to pre-load a GPX route downloaded from a site / sent via email to the phone as well as recording the actual ride, which also lets me export the new GPX to other sites of my choice. Strava doesn't seem to support that yet.
Joe, have you tried 'Trail' by EveryTrail.com? I use the iPhone version long time ago before I started using Garmin EDGE 800. It looks like they have an Android version and has the feature you wanted where you can record your route while displaying your favorite imported track in the background using blue line.
I tried the EveryTrail Android app, but the trail looked somewhat coarse, i.e. long straight lines between way points, not following the actual roads very closely. I didn't like it that much. I also missed the distance ruler that I have in Google Maps, which always shows me the scale of the current map view, so I have a rough idea from even a quick glance after how many hundred metres or km the next turn will be.

However, today I tried Google Maps with a KML file on my Android and was impressed. It shows a thin red line on the roads to take for the entire 300 km brevet route around Mt Fuji next month, with my position as the blue marker as always.

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I first went to Google Maps on the PC (logged into my Google account) and went to My Places, then Create Map, then assigned a route title and clicked Import. From there I uploaded a KML version of the route, which is the Google Earth equivalent of a GPX. After that I could go to Settings / Layers on Google Maps on the Android and select what layers I wanted imposed on the map:

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It let me select the uploaded KML from My Places. Lo and behold, I had the 300 km breadcrumb trail! YEAH! :D This is my ideal solution I think, because I was using Google Maps as my main navigation tool anyway.

What I don't know yet is how well that works when I switch to airplane mode, i.e. if the overlay is cached like regular map data. But at least with the radio on in populated areas, where navigation is the most critical, I should be OK now, provided there is USB power to keep the phone battery charged.