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Kazahari & Nokogiri rindo - FT?


Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
Hi, everyone!

I planned this ride as solo training for Fuji HC at first, but then Ben, who also agreed to join it, proposed to make it an unofficial ride - so here it is.

The day of the ride - this Saturday (2008.05.03)

kpykc said:
This is about 80 km route with 2 climbs in focus (1st - Kazahari, 2nd - Nokogiri).

Here is the route I propose:

Meeting at 9.00 at Musashiitsukaichi st. - ride start at 9.30 - Kazahari climb - Okutama-ko ramen - Nokogiri climb - back to Musashiitsukaichi st.
It will be under 100 km, so it might be possible to ride back to Tokyo by Tamagawa CR.

Both climbs are 10%+ and about 5-6 km long.
I've never tried this route before, but it should be OK with GPS guidance.

- Ben
- Sergey

Anyone else interested?
Hi Sergey

Yes, this is the one I mentioned that time, which I first read about in Funride.
Unfortunately I never did it and went up to Tomin instead.

Good luck with that invisible road ....
Due to bad weather conditions, and after some consideration and discussion, it was decided to move the ride to Sunday. Time is the same. Ben, see you at the station at 9.00 - 9.30.
The big one

We've just about all done Mikuni now. Mikuni is very hard. But I think Sergey has found something harder - Kazahari. This climb broke me, not once but three times. Yes, the involuntary dismount.

When you reach the summit of a climb, all you want to hear is your heaving chest and the blessed fade out of that irritating song that wouldn't leave your head while you were suffering. I heard the miserable tap, tap, tap of cleats on asphalt.

Granted, I think I was a bit fitter when I did Mikuni than I when I did Kazahari (visiting Hong Kong can play havoc with a cyclist's training regimen - especially the nutrition element ... ok, the alcohol element), but consider the stats from the last 5km of each climb (the steepest sustained section of each):

Mikuni: 477m vertical
Kazahari: 534m vertical

That's right: average 9.5% for Mikuni vs. average 10.7% for Kazahari! Now Kazahari does not contain any of the near vertical short stretches of Mikuni. But neither is it a two lane road. It is one of those goat tracks, narrow, but beautifully surfaced and maintained and virtually unused (especially by cars) that keep the public finances of Japan in a state of permanent siege and the construction industry humming along (hence the recent re-imposition of the petrol tax - many thanks to all the car drivers out there). My fellow pudgy peddlers will know what this means.

No weaving.

I found myself on a knife edge of exhaustion that is the cyclist's hell. I could just keep the pedals turning for most of the time, but whenever the steepness increased slightly my pulse rate started to blow out to the high 180's and melt down occurred. Panic then ensued as I wondered if I had the energy, mental faculty and coordination to unclip before an unscheduled meeting with the tarmac. Frantic jiggling in first one leg then the other as the terror mounts. Finally one leg comes free and I bow down to the mountain in submission, face pressed into my bar tape.

Unclipping was followed by a minute or so quivering next to my bike, laid down on the road as I wondered what was it that had led me here? Why was I doing this with my hard-earned leisure time? Surely there's a whole world of ramen-ya to be explored back in Tokyo?

Gulp down some water. Walk for a while. Pulse rate comes down a bit. That's probably the worst of it over now... Just need to find a little flat section or side road... Back on bike. Repeat.

I must have revenge.

Will anybody join me next Sunday as I attempt to reclaim my dignity?

One crucial point to make here is that Sergey made it up Kazahari without stopping. Respect. That's my aim next time around. There's a few TCC'ers who would make it without stopping, but I don't think many would ride back down to pick up the stragglers...

At the end of the climb there is an absolutely stunning view down to Okutama-ko and then a superb winding descent down to the lakeside. As this is a road much favoured by motorcyclists, you get to experience a little bit of what it must be like to ride in a Moto GP. Those guys are nuts, but it's fun to watch them.

A ramen shop by the lake comes just in the nick of time. It's got a limited selection, but it tastes very good. (My tyres probably would have tasted good at that stage, though.) The lake is absolutely stunning - a milky green, surrounded on all sides by steep jagged mountains covered in lush forest.

We climbed back out on the Nokogiri rindo. This was actually quite a difficult climb (average 9.6% over last 5 km, without much variation in slope), but it was heaven compared to Kazahari. The landscape of forest and mountain streams we passed through was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen (this applied to both climbs, but I didn't notice much of it on the Kazahari stage). The only problem was that it is quite a rough road and so the descent wasn't too good. Too many rocks on the road surface etc meant that you had to sit on your brakes the whole way down. However the scenery on the descent was even better than on the climb. I believe Sergey knows a few alternative roads out and we'd probably take those next time.

So who's up for it?
Steep learning curve

Great report, Ben. I think you have just stirred the passions of TCC's hill-climbing masochists, and I'm sure you'll have company next week -- including me!

I in fact did a very small portion of the Kazahari climb earlier the same day, but had to turn back at 7:55 a.m. as I had to be home by 10 a.m. I left my house in Setagaya at 4:50 a.m., so I'm pretty sure I was the only cyclist on the mountain when I got there. Coming back down, however, I saw lots of groups making their way toward the hills.

I was hoping to see the TCC gang, but I had already passed Musashi-Itsukaichi and was heading toward the Tamagawa by 8:45 a.m.

It was absolutely beautiful on the Kazahari climb, but I really only managed to see just a bit of it, and never saw the killer stuff.

Kudos to Sergey for making it up in one go, and for helping the stragglers.

Two Towers

I was just thinking what to write here, when I saw your post, Ben - it looks like I have little to add...

Kazahari was a very hard climb indeed, but the road quality and the scenery made up for its hardness, which I can't say about Nokogiri - the climb was very very good, but then came the most bad-ass (in many senses :) downhill I'd ever experienced! Almost every turn made me check the tires for a puncture. Maybe it's better to try and climb it from the other side (south)..next time.

The ride wasn't too long, but pretty intense, without long boring stretches or uphills - it was a lot of fun doing it. Thanks for the company, Ben, see you on the next one! :)
Nice report! I won't be able to make it out for another couple of weeks probably, but that account has really whetted the appetite for the another hill adventure...
Ouch !

that does sound like a monster. Like to give it a go though !

Won`t be next weekend though as I have the Tokyo Century Ride.

Sergey - can I have the GPS file please ? I will PM you.

Charles aka chazzer
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