The Yahiko hill climb race will be held in September. Today 5 じょんのびTIMEers rode the course together.
We set out from Kashiwazaki at 5am. 4 of us, Yoshida san, Nishihiro san, Kitano san and me set a good pace keeping it around 40 kmph. Each of us took long pulls on the front. When Kitano san went up front we were bombing along at 45 kmph. It appeared later that he didn't know what speed he was going as his cycle computer is broken!
We met up with Andrew in Teradomari and headed to Yahiko. It was the first time in a good while to ride the climb in a group. The gates were closed meaning no cars and the road to ourselves.
The first climb was up the Nozomi skyline. After the gate we entered the race course. We set a good pace from the start. My heart rate was hovering around 170 signaling that I was feeling quite good.
Just before we got to the steep hairpins I attacked. Yoshida san, out of the saddle, followed. The two of us had a gap. Then from behind, Kitano san bridged across.
As we entered the steep hairpins, Yoshida san fell off the back making it just Kitano san and me.
On the upper reaches of the hairpins, Kitano san also dropped off leaving just me.
I raised the pace to get a sizable gap and kept going till I was out of site and out of mind. After that it was a solo TT to the top. It was the first time to beat Kitano san and Andrew in a hill climb for a while, so I was happy.
The second climb was up the steep skyline. It's steep all the way from the bottom to the top. It's important to find your rhythm on this climb. I settled in at 180 HR and 80 cadence. Yoshida san held my wheel all the way to the top which was impressive as it was his first time to try this side of Yahiko. At the top I got out of the saddle to sprint. My legs felt like jelly. All Out じょんのび！
From Teradomari to Kashiwazaki, the temperature was right up there. I was glad we got in the two climbs of Yahiko while it was relatively cool. Despite the heat, we pushed hard just as we had on the way out. I think じょんのびTIME has two riding speeds, fast and super fast!
Today was great training. After coming back from England, I've gradually got stronger on the bike. Next weekend I'll go to the Ura Bandai hill climb. It's my first race in 3 months so I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be going full gas!
じょんのび5、thanks for the great training today！
Kashiwazaki ~ Teradomari 41 km, 100 m climbing, 36.0 kmph
Teradomari ~ Yahiko x 2 climbs, 45 km, 955 m climbing、26.5kmph
Tradomari ~ Kashiwazaki 41 km, 100 m climbing, 35.1 kmph
It looks like a shinkansen to Tsubame Sanjo (I guess about 3 hours) and then a local train or bike ride into Yahiko village. Yahiko village is a a tourist spot so plenty of accomodation options, most providing onsen. The tourist info booth is outside the station.
Niigata to the north has all the expected accomodation options of a big city. It's 40 km down the coast (beautiful road) or a local train down to Yahiko.
On the coast side of mount Yahiko there are some good restaurants (including a brewery), onsen and accomodation options.
Yahiko itself has a nice shrine and the keirin track to check out.
Thanks Andy! By the way - what gear were you using in your test run? I'm not going to be able to pre-run this, so any ballpark estimate would be nice. It seems the course is pretty swift - maybe a little less than Nariki??
I'm planning on driving up leaving Tokyo on Saturday at noon. I've already got two supporters in the car, and possibly a 3rd. If the 3rd bails (I'll know tomorrow) you are welcome to ride up together. Or possibly hitch a ride back on Monday afternoon.
I will be camping for the 2 nights, so the car will be quite full of gear. I currently only have one bike rack on the top of the car, so we would have to tie your ride somehow to the roof rack.
I'll update as soon as I hear from the 3rd person.
GSAstuto, no worries! Any more questions, just let me know.
Yahiko is one of my local climbs so I've climbed it hundreds of times. The side the race is on is the less steep of the two climbs. Will you be on a fixie? There are so many variations to the climb, almost flat sections, a few sections of 11% plus. I don't know what to recommend if you are on a fixie but on a road bike, a standard 39x25 should be fine. I'll use a compact just because it gives me more options.
Generally speaking it's a gentle climb. I don't know Nariki but if you know the Fuji Subaru line, I guess it's similar to that.
Doug, where are you camping? There is a fantastic little hidden beach which is great for camping, bbqs, swimming etc. Not an official campsite by any means but a great spot. Let me know if you want directions.
If anyone has a ride space - I'm game for gas money! Thanks Andy - yeah - I was kinda thinking it looked like a great run for my 44/20 or so. The Nariki steep sections put me into a hard mash - so , I chose 44/22 for that one and pretty well (10th), so my choice for Yahiko is gonna be either 44/20 or 44/22. Its fine to have the higher gear for attack out of the saddle cause we are just used to that sort of pain. Also interested in the camping - if ic an snag a ride up or by bus. Will just use my Rinko as a bivvy and take along my sleeping bag.
Hey Tim, Confirmed that my car is going to be full with 3 lovely supporters, so we will have to plan on traveling together next time. I'll be looking out for you in that hot pink thingie of yours.
Andy, Have planned to spend 1 night at Yahiko Shiroyama Shinrin Koen free camp site. No specific plans for the second night. Would love to hear about your hidden beach suggestion as it sounds wonderful (If the weather cooperates).
Thanks for the update! I'll book the bus and hopefully have a few lovely supporters (probably in their 70's) as well! BTW - where's the campground - sounds like a good idea. Or I just arrive the morning of the race...
It may be a bit chilly for the 'mankini' - but you definitely won't miss me on my new derka derka - its the most obnoxiously orange thing you have ever seen.
Ok - my plan is to take the bus up and arrive Sunday morning. Then book cheap hotel in Tsubamesanjyo if I can't find something (or fall back to) in Yashiko. The bus actually arrives early enough - almost - to make the event, but its really tight and if I miss that first train, I'm screwed. Look forward to seeing you all there.
If you have a couple of days in Yahiko, I would recommend riding up the race course. From the top descend the other skyline (heading north). At the bottom, turn left and the road takes you down to the sea. Do a left. After about 1 km, the road starts to rise. There is a car park (with a big statue) on your right. At the far end of the car park is a gravel path that heads over a small headland and down to the hidden beach I mentioned.
If you continue on the coast road heading south down towards Teradomari, you will come to Hotel Asuka. There is also an onsen here, Nihonkai brewery restaurant (great beer), Banana Winds and other eating options. From here, you can drop down and follow the river back towards Yahiko.
If you cross the bridge, you'll get to Teradomari which is also a nice town. There is a bustling fish market on the front. You can choose your fish and eat them upstairs if you're into that.
In Yahiko village itself, as you make your way up from the station with the park and tennis courts on your left, on the right hand side there is a great little soba shop where you can sit on the tatami overlooking a carp pond. If you get to the traffic lights, you've gone too far.
Anyway, lots to do and see so I'm sure you'll have a great weekend!
Weather has been terrible here the last couple of days but it looks better for the weekend.
Hey Andy, Thanks a bunch for all the info. Looking forward to exploring tomorrow and meeting you at the race.
Tim, Michiko will miss the "Mankini". I guess we'll have to see this derka derka first to see if it is step up or not.
I changed my bike settings for this race. I put on some 177.5 cranks replacing my (too short) 170's. Hope that will give me a bit of an advantage over my usual set-up. Will be hard to compare however (here come the excuses already) as I have seemed to start to develop a bit of an upper respiratory infection.
Great to meet you at the race today. I'm sorry you came all the way from Tokyo only for it to rain. However, I'm sure you made a great weekend of it.
Doug, I'm glad you enjoyed exploring the area. I didn't realize you were with your family or I wouldn't have recommended the “secret beach” for camping! Next time you are in Niigata, you'll have to stay at our place.
Tim, great bike and great ride by the sounds of it. Glad you could experience riding with the Keirin guys and girls. Hopefully Nakano Koichi will be back next year and you can give him a run for his money!
I wrote a short report on our team's blog. Next time you are over this way, be sure to let me know.
I do it some times when I think I want to change gears a lot in a climb. I can sit up more but still ride aggressively. Also, I rode a lot today in the big ring so I was pulling on the bars quite a bit.
I think it's good to raise them up for out of the saddle efforts too. I'm not the kind of rider who gets out of the saddle much but if I do, having the hoods like that makes it more comfortable. Ideally, I'd take off the bar tape and move the hoods up the bar but that's too much hassle really. Just twisting the handlebar up or down a few millimetres makes it feel like a different bike entirely. Something worth experimenting with....
Best twist them down, chin on the stem style for Gunma!
More than that though, having no computer on the bike today was quite a revelation. I think I'll be doing that more in races and sometimes for training too...