BoW... Re-run - Sat.18th September

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#1
The "Best of the West" ride that Sergey did a few weeks ago has piqued the interest of a few of us. Thanks Sergey!
The course map is exactly the same, and it is appropriately titled "MADNESS". Thanks Sergey!
It's 174km, that takes in 4 fairly serious climbs, and two smaller bumps along the way. But really, the last climb ends at the 140km mark, and it's all downhill from there, so really it's only 140-something kilometers (See that? Ride psychology 101).
Ideally though, we want to try to get the first major climbs (Ashigara & Mikuni toges) out of the way, and be down in Otsuki (90km-point) before we have our first break. From there, it's 50km to the top of the very last climb (Kazahari-toge) from which we can roll all the way down into Musashi-Itsukaichi at a very easy pace.:D

There is a train that arrives at "Shin-Matsuda" from Shinjuku at 8:20am, so depending on how long it takes to set up the bikes, I was thinking 8:45 for the roll-out time.

For this very ride, I'm planning on picking up the Ostrich L-100 Bike bag, the smallest and lightest of the lightweight bags out there.

I've contacted a few guys about doing this ride.
Are there any other takers?
See you there! Travis
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#2
I'm interested in this Travis but it really depends on the weather and how I feel as the say draws near. This is indeed MADNESS, with almost 4000m of climbing in one day:confused: I tentatively put one foot forward. Who else have you recruited for this one? I also have the Ostrich bag...are you planning on taking a backpack, or squeezing it into your back pocket?
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#3
I also have the Ostrich bag...are you planning on taking a backpack, or squeezing it into your back pocket?
No! No backpack for this one. "As light as possible" will be the name of the game. I'll probably carry the bike-bag in one of my bottle holders, and just take one bottle. OR, tie the bag to my seat post if I think I'll need both bottles.
Either way, no backpack.
The worst that could happen is I'll get stared at on the train for showing "too much lycra."
T
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#4
Hi Travis,

I will join you as a training for Toyo Tires race, and for this reason will probably bail out earlier - don't want to kill myself with only one week before the race
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#5
No! No backpack for this one. "As light as possible" will be the name of the game. I'll probably carry the bike-bag in one of my bottle holders, and just take one bottle. OR, tie the bag to my seat post if I think I'll need both bottles.
Either way, no backpack.
The worst that could happen is I'll get stared at on the train for showing "too much lycra."
T
Yes, this is what I hate on the trains....people staring at my lycra clad body as if some kind of weirdo. That's why these days I usually take some shorts and t-shirt. OK, I'm liking Sergey's idea too, if I come I'll bail out after you turn up to douzaka toge (R413) and head home from there.
 
#6
Really? You are surprised you have so few takers? :confused:

I mean, I would have loved to join you but I know I can't keep up.

... and I would vote that for a 'TCC race' it would be nice to have a course -- like Hotaka -- that more than just the elite TCC riders can complete. I have no illusions of being able to beat you up any of the climbs but I would like to have a chance at completing the course, challenging myself against myself, and meeting after wards at the finish line/ramen shop/restaurant. :cool:

I assume I'm not the only one who feels this way?

I mean, of course, not every ride should be for every level and I have mad respect for all of you who are in great shape and fly up these mountains. Your stories continue to inspire and motivate me... but if you are going to call it a 'TCC race' rather than 'Madness Marathon' or 'Pre-Pro-go-go-go' or 'VIP board meeting' I, for one, would appreciate a chance to participate. :D

Maybe an alternative 'handicap route' that includes one extra pass for the VIPs?
:angel:
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#7
Travy says "Ouch!"

Really? You are surprised you have so few takers? :confused:

I mean, I would have loved to join you but I know I can't keep up.

... and I would vote that for a 'TCC race' it would be nice to have a course -- like Hotaka -- that more than just the elite TCC riders can complete. I have no illusions of being able to beat you up any of the climbs but I would like to have a chance at completing the course, challenging myself against myself, and meeting after wards at the finish line/ramen shop/restaurant. :cool:

I assume I'm not the only one who feels this way?

I mean, of course, not every ride should be for every level and I have mad respect for all of you who are in great shape and fly up these mountains. Your stories continue to inspire and motivate me... but if you are going to call it a 'TCC race' rather than 'Madness Marathon' or 'Pre-Pro-go-go-go' or 'VIP board meeting' I, for one, would appreciate a chance to participate. :D

Maybe an alternative 'handicap route' that includes one extra pass for the VIPs?
:angel:
I feel like I've been verbally spanked:eek:
Hey Kori,
These are all very valid points that you've made. That's why it is still a "possible" course, and not yet the "decided" course.
So far, only Serguei has done it, and it took him over 7 hours - Personally, I just want to see if it can even be done without stopping.
Even I thought a shorter course would be better, but this was chosen - at least partly - because it has so few traffic-lights.
Also, Mike was the first to mention different variations & handicaps en route, so that we can include everyone.
BUT... But, we have to at least try it once to see what it's going to be like first. And THAT is the purpose of this week's ride.
I hope you understand.
Now, I have to go and soothe my wounded ego:eek:uch:
See ya! T
 
#8
No worries! It looks like a wicked course and I hope in a year I can complete it. :p (not that I could keep up) and knowing that you guys can do it makes it a great goal for me!

Let me re-phrase:

I hope there is some event this fall/early winter that I (and other intermediate riders) can join. If not, that's totally cool and I'll just need to (dis) organize more rides in the mean time:angel:
:bike::bike:
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
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58
Kanagawa
#9
No worries! It looks like a wicked course and I hope in a year I can complete it. :p (not that I could keep up) and knowing that you guys can do it makes it a great goal for me!

Let me re-phrase:

I hope there is some event this fall/early winter that I (and other intermediate riders) can join. If not, that's totally cool and I'll just need to (dis) organize more rides in the mean time:angel:
:bike::bike:
You know Kori, lately I've been thinking about this a lot. It'd be great to have a TCC ride for all levels soon. Once we reccie this route we were hoping to make it a race, with handicaps so all could participate (even though it's a long and very lumpy course and this alone will probably deter many people).

Personally During the season (March-November) I race quite a bit and just want to ride as fast as possible every training session. I still have 3 races to go. Unfortunately this rules out opening up the rides I post to 'anyone'.

That being said, I think it'd be a great idea to have an end of season mini race and cappucino ride. The course we rode for MOB's sayonara party was great with the brewery stop at the end and food and beer. Perhaps we should do this again in late November. How does that sound? If you' re interested in this I'd be happy to organise it.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
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193
Yokohama
#10
Mike count me in as well in organising this.... We can do a TT up wada again and then a group start up Kobu.

I can bring stop watches for the TT and make a Time sheet. Maybe have a laugh and give everyone race numbers and if we all chip in 500 Yen we could do a prize session at the end.

I will not be defending the title this year :D
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
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58
Kanagawa
#11
Mike count me in as well in organising this.... We can do a TT up wada again and then a group start up Kobu.

I can bring stop watches for the TT and make a Time sheet. Maybe have a laugh and give everyone race numbers and if we all chip in 500 Yen we could do a prize session at the end.

I will not be defending the title this year :D
Sounds good James, let's do it!
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
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93
Kita-Ueno
#13
Carb-Loading!

Just making sure I at least have something to start with:D

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This (plus breakfast) ought to get me to the top of Mikuni - I hope.
>Mike, Serguei: See you tomorrow around 8:25. T
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#15
You're gonna need to all that to get over matsuhime tomorrow Travis. And what the heck are those symbols at the bottom of our avatars?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#16
You're gonna need to all that to get over matsuhime tomorrow Travis. And what the heck are those symbols at the bottom of our avatars?
Wolf is for official TCC races competed in and the Camel is official TCC tours.

I've been meaning to ask... how come the Directeur has only one camel to his name?
Not sure I've only attended the one we did with the boys from Yokata Airbase, my first ever ride with TCC, Hilly Boso and MOB Sayonara ride.

As the JCRC and JBCF , JCF races aren't considered official TCC races (You guys only seem to do the Hillclimbs and Enduro races) I haven't accumilated any wolfpack points.

We did discuss the idea of turning these into a competition with prizes or jerseys going to the riders with the most wolfpack and caravan points at the end of the year at a dinner party or something.
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#17
Have just finished my half-BoW with half-dead agonizing legs - Mike's presence always makes a ride so damn tough :D

Travis, hope you succeeded in defeating this monster, really looking forward to hear how it went for you.
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#18
Have just finished my half-BoW with half-dead agonizing legs - Mike's presence always makes a ride so damn tough :D

Travis, hope you succeeded in defeating this monster, really looking forward to hear how it went for you.
Funny Sergey, I was thinking exactly the same about you:D Got home at 2.30 giving me plenty of time in my sanctuary, feet up on the sofa dozing off to old TDF sprint stages on TV. 34:40 up Mikuni today, just over a minute slower than my PB but that makes me very happy knowing I'm slowly but surely coming back to form after the 2-3 week summer lay off I had.

Travis thanks for organising the ride and I'm looking forward to reading how it went. Also congrats on the weight loss and it was great to see you weren't far behind us on all the climbs today. I reckon by next season you'll be flying up the climbs again;)
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#19
BoW - Full Report!

I left home at 5:50am, and rode the 22km into Shinjuku. I had time to buy a few snacks for the train ride, bag my bike, get a ticket, and then jump on the wrong train – Technically, there are no “wrong” trains, as they all go in the same direction – Do I catch the 7:00 train, or the 7:01 train? I ended up on the “Romance-Car” which cost a bit extra, but I got to Shin-Matsuda about 15 minutes early.

By the time I’d set my bike up and ridden around to the other side of the station, Mike was there setting up his bike, and Serguei arrived a few minutes after that. We made a brief stop at a convenience store to fill up bottles before we headed for the start of the climb near Daiyuzan station. At exactly 9:00, just after we turned right onto Rte.78, there is one more set of traffic lights – This is where we “zeroed” the meter. If we were to make a race of this ride, this is where the “Start” would be.

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The other thing we did was decide our first (and only) “stop and wait” point. After a few mixed up descriptions of wrongly-named convenience stores (my bad!), we settled on the 7-11 at Yamanaka-ko. This was at the 37km-mark, and also after two big climbs.

Once that was settled, Mike and Serguei set the pace – A good, comfortable pace… for about 3 minutes, until it became a very uncomfortable pace (although those two seemed to enjoy it), and I finally dropped off the back. With each kilometer, I could see them pulling about 100m farther away – I did the math, and that would put them over 1km ahead of me by the time they reached the top of Ashigara-toge. That would be about 5 minutes (although for some reason, I kept imagining they were already 10-12 minutes away).

The downhill was great, and with Fuji-san obscured by clouds, there was nothing to distract me from my mission – To go really, really fast! As I reached Oyama, I saw both Mike and Serguei pulling out from the other side of the road. “They must have changed their minds and decided to wait”, I thought. Not so! They were both surprised to see me too. Apparently, they took the downhill at a leisurely pace, and had just finished filling up their bottles again. We rolled up to the start of Mikuni together, checked our watches and then went for it. Mike was out of the gates like greyhound. I tried to follow, but … you know!

Serguei passed me not too much longer, and he was “just up there in front, but always just out of reach” for more than halfway – I finally lost sight of him at the end of the long (16%) straight just after the cement circles – but by then he was about 500m away.
42. That’s “The meaning of life” in a certain Douglas Adams series, but it’s also the time it constantly takes me to reach the top of Mikuni. It was the same last time too; 42 minutes!

DVC00399.JPG


It was 11:15 when I reached the Yamanaka-ko 7-11, and I found Mike and Serguei sitting there relaxing. Mike said his time was 34 minutes, and I’m guessing that Serguei was smack-bang in between us at 38 minutes (?). So much for doing this ride completely non-stop; it was time to eat! We left the 7-11 about 20 minutes later, and started heading down Doshi-michi. I got left behind once more as the gradient increases just before the tunnel, and I would have to chase hard to catch them on the downhill… I didn’t.
We said our goodbyes at the Dozaka (Rte.24) turn-off, as both Mike and Serguei had decided to head straight home via Doshi-michi. Thanks guys! It was good seeing you both again. As I headed off, the community bells chimed that it was exactly 12:00.

Now I could relax a little. Of course I would still go as fast as I could, as I wanted to be there within a certain time, but I didn’t have to worry about keeping anyone else waiting along the way.
It was my first time on Rte.24, and I quite liked it. It’s not too steep at all (at least it didn’t seem very steep after having climbed Mikuni), and goes up gently for about 5km to Dozaka tunnel. Then there’s a 10km descent on the other side. There were a few places where some navigational care was required, and I was about to come to the first of them – At the bottom of Rte.24, it hits a T-junction. To the immediate left is a small tunnel opening that takes one onto Rte.139; to the right, where I wanted to go, it follows the backstreets past the local High-School and then onto Rte.139 a bit further up the road. You could take the tunnel to get to the same place, but why bother?

The second comes just after this; after you get onto Rte.139, it also hits another T-junction – You have to turn right again – This time, onto Rte.711 and follow it up for exactly 2.5km, to where it turns left onto a small road (it’s the only such turn-off in the area, so you can’t really miss it). By looking at the map, I thought this road would be uphill, but in fact it goes down quite steeply to Rte.35, where I turned right. One kilometer up the road (Rte.35), there’s a small town with a temple and elementary school, and I almost missed the turn-off up towards the Otsuki-Garden Golf Club – There’s a green & white sign for the golf club just after the temple, but I didn’t realize that THAT was the right sign until I had gone 500m past it, and then doubled back (an extra kilometer that would curse me later). This climb is also only about 5km long, and not too steep. But I could feel myself slowing down, and was looking forward to something to eat at the next town.

The downhill on Rte.509 is not much fun either, with slippery moss on the wetter sections, and it is quite narrow – Serguei had warned me of this when we said goodbye earlier, but thankfully I didn’t come across a single car coming in the opposite direction. Only on the lower sections could I let go of the brakes for more than a few seconds. And finally, I was in Saruhashi – A small town 2km east of Otsuki. This is the only place I detoured from Serguei’s original course – Instead of turning right on Rte.20, I turned left and headed west towards where I knew there was a 7-11 one kilometer away. I got there at exactly 13:30, and imbibed in some much needed calories – ie. I had lunch!

I was only planning to stay there for 10 minutes at the most, but 10 turned to 15, and 15 to 20, and then … I left there at 13:55, but I felt refreshed. This was another first for me – I had never been up Matsuhime-toge from the Otsuki side (I’d been halfway up, when I did O-toge from the back side. And I’ve been up Matsuhime from the Okutama side, but never from Otsuki), so I was looking forward to it. After having eaten, I felt pretty good, and was able to hold a reasonable pace on the lower, not-so-steep sections. Once I passed the Fukashiro dam and the O-toge turn-off, I was on new territory. I had a number in my head – 110 – That’s what my meter should read at the top; 110km. Now, you can imagine my disappointment when “110km” came and went, and I was still climbing, unable to see the top. O.K! O.K! It was only 1.73km, but still… When you’re suffering…
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I stopped at the top just long enough to take some photos, suck down a gel, put my arm-warmers on, and do a quick map-check. Then, I was rolling again. There was one more navigational squiggle; first a right onto Rte.18, and then a left about 1.5km later – That should get me back on to Rte.139, the main road that leads to Okutama-ko.

At exactly 16:00, I passed under the sign that told me I was officially back in the “Tokyo Metropolitan” area, and 5 minutes after that (without even stopping at the ramen shop), I turned right, straight over the bridge and up towards Tomin-no-mori. The final climb! I checked my water, and found I had one-third of a bottle left. That would be enough to get me to the top. I didn’t feel like I was doing too badly, but my speed was telling me otherwise – 10km/h – That can’t be right! But there it was. Usually, on fresh legs, I would be about 50% faster. Anyway, Kazahari-toge from the lake side is a known quantity, and I felt I could take it easy. I arrived at the top in misty drizzle at 17:00 – Exactly 8 hours after starting from “Daiyuzan”, where we had zeroed the meters, with 139km on the clock.
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As soon as I had taken some photos, I set off in a hurry to get to Tomin-no-mori, where I could get something to drink. I made it there just before the guy pulled the shutters down in front of the vending machines – Lucky! I also ate the “Maple-Muffin-Cake” I had carried in my saddle-bag all the way from the Saruhashi 7-11, because I deserved it, and it was delicious.
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Thankfully the drizzle had stopped, and the lower sections of road were still dry, because now I DID have to race – In my efforts be as lightweight as possible for this ride, I had taken off ALL of my lights. Not even a mini-flasher; front or rear – Nothing. Now I was racing against the encroaching darkness. I made it all the way to the Honjuku T-junction, and a little bit further (about 5km out of Itsukaichi) before I lost all daylight. And I hate… I mean HATE riding at night with no lights – I could’ve been naked and I still wouldn’t have felt so self-conscious. I was very happy to see the station just after 6pm, with 171km (actually 198km,) for the day.
In hindsight, I think I know why Serguei originally called this ride the "Best of the West" - He was playing a little joke on us.
Having done the ride now, it's very obvious that he deliberately mis-spelled the some words in the title to make it sound more appealling.
He KNEW that no-on would join the "Beast of the Welts!" ride - 'Cos that's what you get; welts on your arse from sitting in the saddle for so long.
Thanks Serguei.:D
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#20
Congrats on defeating the Beast of the Welts

Nice write up, Travis - I love reading them!

If it's ever to become a race course, it should perhaps be devised into sections or levels like

L1 -
Shin-Matsuda - Ashigara - Mikuni

L2 -
L1 + Dozaka - Suzu

L3 -
L2 + Matsuhime - Kazahari