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Anyone fancy a masochistic 220k+ loop this Saturday?

OHSMK-LOOP Ride report

Thanks Travis, Thomas and Deej for joining yesterday...although we were forced to cut the ride short, I really enjoyed the camaraderie of three teams working together!

Here's a brief report on my blog:


Let's try to stage this OHSMK-LOOP again, preferably on a balmy autumn day and with more of the TCC toge-freaks like Sergey, Phil, Philip, Baustin, Christoph and anybody else :happy:up for this fast & long challenge :thumb:!
TOM, thanks for organising this joint ride of NFCC, Positivo Espresso and TCC. I enjoyed it a lot, despite the unusually cold weather conditions. The NFCC and PE members were very strong, in hillclimbs I had great difficulty keeping up with powerful Kotaro-san (I couldn't, in fact). I am looking forward to completing the whole OHSMK loop! :)
Thank you, TOM!

That was my first 200km ride in ages… And it was great!
Great to see Thomas & Deej again (Deej, for the first time in ages). And great to ride with those in the NFCC team for the first time.

I knew from the outset that I might be the slowest rider on the day – But considering the company I was with, I still felt I did OK.


The following is basically a copy of what Tom wrote in his blog, with some extra elaborations:
I left home at 5am, and thanks to the map posted by Philip (like Sergey, I thought it was Setagaya-dori too), found my way to Sekido-bashi by 7:05, where I met Tom.
*Note: It is almost exactly 50km from my place to Sekido-bashi.
It was overcast, but not yet raining.
Soon afterwards, Thomas & Deej turned up followed by Kotaro (NFCC) & Kenichi (NFCC). A few of us went up to the 7-11 to use the facilities, and we all re-grouped at "Yotsuya-bashi" at 7:35 to begin our ride – One more rider, Goro (NFCC) turned up in our absence, and brought our number to seven riders.
We missed Sergey & Dave.

Tom led us all up Asakawa with great navigational aplomb – I could tell he'd done that route many times before (Deej seemed disappointed that it wasn't he who showed me that maze for the first time). It started drizzling about half-way to Takao, where we had our first break. The drizzle (you couldn't really call it "rain") continued, and due to the low temperature, the general consensus was to shorten the ride by half – ie. only 100km, instead of 200+km.

We headed directly west from Takao on Rte.20 towards Otarumi-toge. I fell way back (as I'd expected after such a long respite from real mountains), and only caught the group just as Goro was getting back on his bike after a slight crash – I didn't see it, but if you read Tom's blog, it happened that Goro hurt his shoulder in the fall, and abandoned soon after.

Now there were only six of us left. Once I was down from Otarumi-toge (yes, I was last), Kotaro led us all to a little known short-cut onto Rte.522 (Wada-toge).
Halfway up however, the plan was changed yet again. It had stopped drizzling, and as the road conditions improved, it was decided that we should climb up to "Kobu-tunnel" – just south of the start of the usual Kazahari-toge climbs. We reached the turn-off (a "Y" junction), where we said goodbye to Deej. He had to turn right to get back via Wada-toge, while the rest of us turned left towards the tunnel – from which, we would all head towards Musashi-Itsukaichi, then Ishikawa brewery, where beer awaited us.

The downhill from Kobu-tunnel was really fast, and despite the wet conditions, we were flying. Once at the bottom, my worst fears were realized as Thomas took the lead on the road that heads into Itsukaichi. Although still down-hill, Thomas led a train of four, while I felt like the carriage that had been dropped off the back.

Kotaro turned around to come and get me (I think he assumed that because of my poor pace, I may not know the roads in that area… he he he! – I just said "thank you").
We got to Musashi-Itsukaichi station, where we had a short break before the final 10km straight run on Rte.7 to the brewery.
Thomas skipped the brewery altogether, and rode home alone along Tamagawa – He said that he hadn't had a break from riding since coming back from his last Tohoku tour with Sergey.
>Thomas: Normally, we wouldn't let you off the hook for not coming out for a beer, but under the circumstances… We all need a rest some time!

Tom, Kotaro, Kenichi & I all bought a bottle of different flavoured beers (Tom & I had 2) to rejuvenate ourselves before the final leg back to Sekido-bashi, where we'd started from 4 hours earlier (we were at the brewery by 11:30).
I saw Tom adjusting the cleat angle on one of his shoes, and after we said goodbye to Kenichi, Tom took the lead down the river (Tamagawa) and never let up the entire way. On the straighter, flatter sections of the river Tom was hauling-arse at 38km/h solid.
I had to give everything I had left just to latch onto Tom's wheel, and for the first time that day, I had to pull Kotaro with me (maybe he enjoyed being behind a taller rider for a change... maybe it was the beer:eek:).

Kotaro & I said goodbye to Tom, and headed down to Tsurugawa-dori. I turned left, and Kotaro turned right. Just there, I checked my meter which read spot on 160km.
A full century at that point, so I checked the other stats:
A century, through some mountains, with an average speed of… get this:

And that's why my legs are so sore today.

It kind of reminded me of Philip's "Back in the saddle" ride at the beginning of this year, where he hadn't ridden for ages and had put on all that winter weight with British meat-pies; but then chose a super hard course for himself to get all those muscles working again. And then, 2 months later, he was kicking everybody else's arse!
I'd like to think of this as my "back in the saddle" ride in preparation for "Hotaka".

Anyway, for those who are interested, here's a copy of the loop we did.
It's not super-hard in regards to the mountains, but it has enough to make it "challenging". It's an even 100km loop from the Sekido-bashi bridge.

Great as a short course if you're pushed for time.

Thanks again to TOM, for arranging this, and to everyone else for their patience – having to wait for me.
Thanks for the accounts, guys. Fun reading...wish I could have been there.
Thanks guys!

Tom, thanks again for organizing what turned out to be a wet but fun ride Saturday. You captured it well on your excellent blog.

It was a pleasure meeting Kotaro, Goro and Kenichi from NFCC (those guys can climb!) and riding with Tom the Toge Hunter again. Let's definitely do it again soon!

Travis, it was wonderful to be out on the road again with you after so long, and I enjoyed your account of the ride. Thomas, it was a pleasure as always. Dude -- if I may call you that -- you are getting too strong! Translation: I'm not liking this you-being-faster-up-hills-than-me business.

I would have loved to join you all for a beer, but family duties called (baseball and soccer with the sons), so I took the shortcut home via Wada toge. The climb was very enjoyable, as my legs still had a lot left in them after Otarumi. I was able to attack all the steeper parts en danseuse and use slightly heavier gearing for the flatter bits. Simon, if you're reading this, my time from the turnoff was 25:21, not that I was counting.

I zipped home along the rivers, ending the day with 126km on the computer, and was cleaning my bike outside the house by noon.

Thanks again, and until next time,


You're posts are such great motivation.

I probably need 6 months to a year of training before I could ride with you guys on a run like that but I'm happy it's something to shoot for.

You're posts are such great motivation.

I probably need 6 months to a year of training before I could ride with you guys on a run like that but I'm happy it's something to shoot for.

Koribeyer hi !

Glad & relieved the title of this thread did not disappoint you !

As a matter of fact, there is not much "masochistic" :eek: about a long ride through those hills when the weather is balmy and the days are still long.

To do these 200K+ runs, one only needs to build up stamina by gradually and consistently increasing the distance of one's rides; no need to go fast and - probably more importantly - no need to think of those rides as "training sessions".

Hope to see you join a future edition of this OHSMK Loop (or any other longer ride in the mountains) ! Keep it up :bike3:!
Thanks for the encouragement Tom! I feel I could do a moderate paced century with hills, so I'm on my way. If the weather clears a bit, I'll probably go for one next Monday (funky days off).

The masochistic aspect appeals actually. It takes the edge of my short temper...

~your eternally patient neighborhood pre-school teacher, kori:D
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