Jimba on Saturday

Deej

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Oct 13, 2007
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#1
I was thinking about doing a Jimba run on Saturday (tomorrow). I'll take the Tamagawa, go over Odarumi Toge, then attack Jimba (Wada Toge) from Fujino.

I'll probably leave around 7:00 a.m., reaching the Tamagawa at Izumi-Tamagawa at 7:15, as I have to work in the evening.

I'm going to try to keep the pace on the flats fairly brisk, though that will all change in the mountains! :)

Anyone interested?

Deej

EDIT: I can push the starting time back to 8:00.
 

Deej

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#3
is OK for me but cannot make it tomorrow. Enjoy !!

If you can post the route I might try this on Sunday.

Good luck Deej !!

Charles
Hello Charles! I wish I could go on Sunday, but I've got plans. We'll bag this ride together next time, then.

I'll put a link to the route later today. I'll also post the conditions in case you decide to go on Sunday.

Cheers,

Deej
 

thomas

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#4
Hi David,

I'd be interested in joining you. I *do* hope you push back the starting time, I could be at Tamasuido-bashi in Izumi-Tamagawa by 8:00AM. Please let me know if that's convenient for you.

However, what I'm not sure about is whether Wada-toge is actually free of snow... :warau:
 

Deej

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#5
Hi Thomas. It would be great to have you along. 8:00 at Tamasuido-bashi would be fine. If 8:30 is better, we can do that, too.

I wish there was a way to call the wonderful elderly Chinese woman who works at the shop at the top of Wada Toge and ask about the roads!
 

thomas

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#9
It was a great ride, Dave, I have really enjoyed it despite being hung-over! Thanks for your patience up Wada-toge, I'm missing my compact crank. :warau:

And thanks for introducing me to the Asagawa cycle path as well as to Wada-toge. Any time! :)

wada_toge_01.jpg
 

WhiteGiant

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#10
Well done, guys!

Deej, Thomas,
It looks like it was a great ride!
I've never been on the "Asagawa-Cycling-Road", nor have I been up Wada-toge from the other (Sagami-ko) side.
I've only ever gone up from "Takao", and the downhill (the way you guys climbed up) is fiercely steep near the top (where the circles in the cement sections are).

Anyway Deej, it looks like a great course!
Thanks for the post; And Thomas, thanks for the pic.

In a couple of weeks, we'll start training for Kusatsu - Deej, I hope you could lead a larger group out that way again!
T
 

Deej

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#11
Yee-Haw

I'll post a more detailed report later this evening, but I just wanted to post a couple quick comments first.

Thomas, that was great fun! Thanks for making the ride a genuine pleasure. It was a nice mixture of cruising, hard-charging and mountain madness. We really pushed it hard on the ride home. That extra 30km ride home for you after we parted must have been tiring, indeed. I hope you were able to enjoy that hot bath and cold beer you were so looking forward to!

Travis -- It would have been nice to have you along, man. Sorry I posted the ride notice so late; I wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to ride this weekend. Anyway, let's definitely do this route in the near future.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, here's a photo of Thomas after bagging Wada.

Deej
 

Deej

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#13
Ride Report

Thomas was already waiting for me when I rolled up to Tamasuido-bashi. A quick glance at my computer showed me that it was 8:29. Phew, one minute early.

Thomas told me he was feeling a little woozy and headachy, as he had gone drinking the previous night and was feeling the effects this morning. Knowing that we had some challenging riding ahead of us, I asked him if he was going to be OK, but the ever-stoic Thomas assured me that a nice hard ride would help him work the alcohol out of his system.

We set out along the Tamagawa, keeping the pace at around 32-34kph. If Thomas was hung over, he sure was hiding it well. There was a slight headwind, but nothing to set me off complaining about my terrible luck with wind, as I am wont to do when the elements conspire against me, which is always.

We noted that the mountains toward which we were ... dare I say "hurtling"? ... were dusted with snow. Hmm. This could get interesting. My hungover comrade and I pressed on, wondering if Jimba would be a winter wonderland.

We crossed over to the south side of the river at Fuchu Yotsuya-bashi (a big, white bridge that appears just ahead of the blue Ys bike shop) then followed the Asagawa as it branched off to the left.

Here, we eased the pace a bit and chatted side-by-side when the bike path was clear. It was during this time that I learned that Thomas grew up not in Austria, as I had assumed, but in Iran, where his chemist father was improving the nation's infrastructure by traveling all over the country -- young Thomas in tow -- upgrading (or was it creating?) the sewage systems. Cool. Oh yeah, Thomas? Well I grew up in Montana, where my dad repaired Xerox machines, and sometimes the whole family would travel all the way to Butte to see the huge abandoned copper mine!

We then followed the Minami-Asagawa as it branched off sharply to the left. We picked up the pace a bit and drew ever closer to the foothills, with the gradient growing subtly but perceptibly steeper as we progressed.

The bike path finally ended and spat us out at Route 20, very close to Takao-san Guchi. Here we dropped into a Seven-Eleven and loaded up on food supplies to prepare for our push into the peaks. Next stop, Odarumi Toge.

We rode up Route 20 a couple kilometers then stopped in front of a Family Mart upon my request. I didn't want to buy anything -- it just happens to be the place from which I always time my ride to the top of the pass. I set my computer to 00:00.00 then said something gung-ho, like, "OK, let's do it!" My fastest time up until today had been 13 minutes, 41 seconds. Today, I got 13 minutes, 40 seconds. Any sense of exultation I may have felt was offset by the disturbing fact that my arms had gone numb -- as in, I can't feel my arms, doctor -- from the massive exertion.

Close on my heels was my "hung over" compadre, who unlike me did not have the benefit of a compact crank. Ladies and gentlemen, Thomas is strong.

After cresting the pass, we slalomed our way down the pleasant descent and followed the contours of Sagamiko's northern shore for a couple of gently hilly kilometers before turning north onto Route 522. About five minutes later, we were at Fujino Station buying drinks from a vending machine and steeling ourselves for the climb ahead of us.

The climb into Jimba-land actually starts with a brief descent through an appropriately symbolic tunnel that shoots you out at speeds of close to 60kph, enabling you to gain considerable momentum through a few long, swooping turns before the road turns up again and the real work begins. From here, we kept the pace down and once again enjoyed some much-welcomed banter in the quiet countryside, not a car in sight. The road -- which was thankfully snow- and ice-free -- became progressively steeper as we ascended past terraced tea fields and grand homes about 100 years past their prime.

The final push to the top got a bit brutal in places, but it was over soon enough and the road flattened out again. From the tunnel to the top, I had 36 minutes, 50 seconds on my computer, but who's counting?

We stopped for about 10 minutes at the top, munching on our snacks and catching our breath. I was crestfallen to see that the road to Jimba Kaido, which we were planning to take back into town, was fenced off. There was even a guard manning it, a very pleasant fellow who welcomed me and Thomas with a robust "Konnichiwa!" when we first rolled in. I asked him if we could ride down the road, and he said no, it was too icy in places and therefore too dangerous. Thomas and I called a huddle and considered our options. Neither of us wanted to retrace our footsteps. Thomas suggested that we ask the guard if we can walk down. Good idea, Thomas. So we walked back over and asked him if it would be alright if we walked down, and he beamed and said "No problem!" forming a circle over his head with his arms for emphasis. Oh, OK, that was easy. With a grand gesture, he opened the gate for us, as if permitting us entry into paradise, which it kind of was, considering the circumstances.

After walking alongside our bikes for about 50 meters, Thomas suggested we ride down, seeing as the road was perfectly dry. And so we did. Not a flake of snow or spot of ice anywhere. Weird. Toward the bottom of the hill, we saw what was likely the real reason for the closure: construction workers were fortifying a stone wall along the road and the equipment was blocking much of the way.

From there, we turned up the gas and pushed it pretty hard on the long descent through the foothills along Jimba Kaido. Thomas got in front and pushed the speed up to over 40kph, his slow, powerful cadence contrasting with my furious spinning. We kept the pace brisk until we reached the Minami-Asagawa.

As we neared Fuchu Yotsuya-bashi, I asked Thomas if he'd be interested in stopping at Starbucks in Seiseki-Sakuragaoka. He said yes, so we pulled off the bike path a little later and stopped for a cup of coffee. It was a very welcome break after all our hard work. We sat at a table outside, pretending as though we were sipping espressos outside a sunny Italian cafe. I told him that the small hill where I had done intervals the previous weekend was literally two minutes down the road http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/100818, so after finishing our drinks, we decided to do one final climb. I beat my previous fastest time for the climb by six seconds -- but again, numbers have never really interested me...

After that, it was the final push back to where we started, and we kept the pace fast and painful. By the end, my throat was burning and my lungs felt like they were being turned inside-out. Did I mention that Thomas was hung over?

We rode up Setagaya Dori together for about 20 minutes until it was time for me to turn off. After saying our goodbyes, I headed off for the two-minute ride to my house, while Thomas still had another 30km ahead of him.

My computer had 128km on it at the end. I am totally pooped.

It was a very satisfying day. Thanks, Thomas.

Next time, let's bring a big posse.

Deej
 
#15
How about this?

I told him that the small hill where I had done intervals the previous weekend was literally two minutes down the road http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/100818, so after finishing our drinks, we decided to do one final climb. I beat my previous fastest time for the climb by six seconds -- but again, numbers have never really interested me...
Have you tried this ? If not, just try next time. This is another short but steep slope.:) Ths is very close to the place you described.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/102781
 

Deej

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#16
Have you tried this ? If not, just try next time. This is another short but steep slope.:) Ths is very close to the place you described.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/102781
Thanks for the link! I'll be sure to check out the climb next time I'm in the neighborhood.

By the way, did you know that the short climb I mentioned in Seiseki-Sakuragaoka is featured in the Ghibli film "耳をすませば (Mimi wo Sumaseba/Whisper of the Heart) "?

Apparently, Hayao Miyazaki used to work at an animation studio in that neighborhood and used the area as the inspiration for the film's setting.

Deej
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
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#17
In a couple of weeks, we'll start training for Kusatsu - Deej, I hope you could lead a larger group out that way again!
Excellent suggestion, Travis. I hope so too. :)



Thanks for your wonderful report, Dave, grandiloquent and flattering. We were quite lucky in the light of yesterday's snowfall. :)

I have found a map and some pics of Iroha-zaka in Seiseki Sakuragaoka:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asahi-net.or.jp%2F%7Ehn7y-mur%2Fmimisuma%2Fmimi008.gif&hash=f0a25f37489f6a460119e74a9d9a8c30


Here's the famous round-about, the first one I have ever seen in Japan:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asahi-net.or.jp%2F%7Ehn7y-mur%2Fmimisuma%2Fmimi040.jpg&hash=404f3b41911b5ae245171280d1ac840e


More images here. An interesting training ground! :D
 

Deej

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Oct 13, 2007
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#18
Thanks for your wonderful report, Dave, grandiloquent and flattering. We were quite lucky in the light of yesterday's snowfall. :)
It was the dopamine talking -- makes me bombastic.

And yes, we certainly were lucky with the timing. Crunching over brittle lumps of snow and ice as I walked my son to school this morning, I reflected on our ride and long ago it already seemed.

Great pics of Seiseki-Sakuragaoka. Nice find!

Deej
 
#19
By the way, did you know that the short climb I mentioned in Seiseki-Sakuragaoka is featured in the Ghibli film "耳をすませば (Mimi wo Sumaseba/Whisper of the Heart) "?
No, I did not know this. Interesting. BTW, his famous animation film, My Neighbor Totoro, was brewed with the imagenation of the cuntry side near my house. Good old days of my childhood are described in the film.:)
 

Deej

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#20
BTW, his famous animation film, My Neighbor Totoro, was brewed with the imagenation of the cuntry side near my house. Good old days of my childhood are described in the film.:)
Nice. I love that movie. Watching it makes me feel nostalgic about that area (somewhere in far western Tokyo? Musashi-Murayama?), and I grew up a long way away from it!

Are there still places there that resemble the movie?

Deej