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KT7 - Odawara; "147" loop!


Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
Very quick course info:

Start at Odawara…
Head up Rte.74 & then Rte.78 to "Ashigara-toge" (736m).
From Ashigara, we head down along Rte.365, from which we can head straight onto the fabled Rte.147 – and up to "Mikuni-toge".
From there, down to the lake (Yamanaka-ko), but instead of heading North-East on R413, we head South-West and onto Rte.138 and back down to Gotemba.
From Gotemba, it goes up again to Sengoku-hara, and then to the downhill that we all did on the "Atami" ride (Pucci's road) – thence back to Odawara.

I haven't made the map yet, so I can't give you exact distances, but it looks like an even 100km loop from Odawara over 3 climbs.

>Pucci: I could use your help on this one! This is your area. T

Anyway, once the map is done (probably tomorrow), I'll post it for all to see!
Should be good!;)

Map & times!

Alrighty! The map is done, and as it turns out my guess-timation on the distance was almost perfect (pretty proud of that!:D)
101km, and 3 climbs – as posted above.

This Saturday, April 5th!
Once again, "R147/Mikuni-toge" is the second climb, which means the usual time/distance ratios get thrown out the window – 100km would normally take 5 hours (including breaks), but with "Mikuni" in the mix it would be wiser to add 2 extra hours.
Hence, a 10:00 start from Odawara, with the aim of being back there by 5pm seems reasonable.
Anybody interested?
Very keen, Travis. Am feeling left out of the Mikuni saga (though I might end up wishing it had stayed that way...). Am assuming the intention is for this weekend? Either day would suit me - slight preference for Saturday. B
Saturday, April 5

Very keen, Travis. Am feeling left out of the Mikuni saga (though I might end up wishing it had stayed that way...). Am assuming the intention is for this weekend? Either day would suit me - slight preference for Saturday. B

Yes Ben!
Saturday, it is! I just edited it into the above thread.
See you there.
Hi Travis,

It seems crazy but I'd quite like to have another shot at Mikune. Please sign me up.


Just got back from Vietnam this morning and have not ridden since last week.

Just what I need: an idiotic, suicidallly stupid course.:eek:

I'm in.
You're not doing that climb of death again? I thought once a year would be enough. :)

That said, I would probably have joined you in the "fun", except I have a day of racing on Sunday and Mikuni would NOT be good preparation for that.

Have a good one. :climb02:

So far, it looks like just the 4 of us (possibly 5 - depending on Deej's schedule).
Ben (baustin),
Lee (Richy152),
Aaron (Pucci),
Travis (YellowGiant).
Dave (Deej) - maybe?

Meeting time & place:
Odawara station - East exit,
in front of the "Bakery" - The same as usual.

(*Note: The west exit is closer, but once we start rolling it will only slow us down by two minutes) - Besides, I really like that bakery's sandwiches:D

Unfortunately, Thomas can't make this one either; Philip is still "bike-less"; and Christoph (cinelli) hasn't been heard from due to his Overseas trips.

Still, looking forward to this one!

>Personal note: I've arranged a lot of rides in the past, but I think I can call this one the "perfect course"!
It's almost exactly 100km (which is a good distance on anyone's level); There are 3 climbs - the second one ("Mikuni-toge") being one of the toughest any of us have ever encountered; but there are cut-off-points along the way from which we can meet back up on the loop; Although it is really really hard, once you've completed it you'll have a sense of achievement, and will feel you can accomplish anything.

Haven't even done the ride yet, but already I'm praising it.

>Phil: Sorry you can't make it, but... Good luck to both you & Pete (Edogawakikkoman) in the race on Sunday! We'll be looking forward to reading the reports about how many points you gained. T
I'm in, Bro!

You may have seen my PM already, Travis. I'll see everyone in Odawara!

Come on, Philip -- hurry up and get your bike! And Cristoph, I'll race you up Mikuni!

Looks like I might be donning the lanterne rouge, but I'm seriously looking forward to this one! Thanks for organising Travis. B
Spent last night on an emergency-room gurney with some sort of awful stomach bug. At home recuperating today.

I hope I can ride on Saturday...

...to roll!
See you all at Odawara!

What a great day! Beautiful weather, three solid climbs, three sublime descents, Fuji in all its glory and Deej's freshly shaved legs.

It was a relief to have a chance at Mikuni Toge after reading all the press and tales of woe. I think it might have been a bit like going to a movie that everybody has been raving about. I was expecting it to be so hard that I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the ones you're not really expecting can be the most viciously dispiriting. Probably a good lesson in the importance of psychology in hill climbing.

While on the topic, I would like to add my contribution to the "song in the head while climbing" discussion. It's my firm belief that if this is happening, you're not trying hard enough, or you're a much better climber than me and are able to relax into it. I draw this conclusion because on climbs 1 and 2 (the harder ones) there was no soundtrack, but on 3 there was a never ending loop.

When suffering on a climb, all I can think about (this thought surfaces every 30 seconds or so) is "I'm probably not in the lowest gear". This is followed by desperate flipping of shifters (a few times, just to be sure), in the (always vain) hope of a satisfying click and subsequent easing of the agony. It's a little bit like buying a lottery ticket (discovering you were actually in the big chain ring would be the equivalent of winning five times in a row). You know it's stupid, but you can't help it sometimes. I think we've all had the odd time when we've found some money in the pocket of a coat or something we haven't worn for a while. These experiences only serve to encourage the behaviour. But I digress ...

Despite my pathetic attempts to sow the seeds of doubt and destruction in Deej's mind, he reclaimed his King of the Mountain status and thus can probably keep the mountain goat avatar for another week. He's doing a good line in the contemptuous glare back before launching an attack.

Travis (Yellow Giant), the serene commander, as always had it all well in hand. Flawless navigation and well planned ciggie breaks. Also pretty handy up the hills and keeping morale high when there were doubters.

Aaron (Pucci?) was pretty amazing having just got out of hospital. Not only managed to make it all the way, but also snuck through at the end of Mikuni Toge despite my best efforts to run him into the gutter. (This scene was a little bit like the end of Rocky I or II when Rocky and Apollo Creed have fought to a stand still, both take a big swing and fall and it's not clear which one of them hits the canvas first. If you were there, you'll remember. If you weren't, check out this clip, from about 2:45 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlddW0VkWoU. A great moment in cinematic history. Anyway, in this case, Aaron was Rocky and I was Apollo Creed. I think we'll all agree that Apollo Creed was better looking than Rocky, but he didn't have anything like the same franchise.)

Lee (richi153?), despite riding what must have been feeling like a Sherman tank by the final climb, was all guts. Was excellent to see the Dunkirk spirit on full display!

Have posted a few photos which don't do any justice to the scenery at all. In particular, the descent after Yamanaka Ko gave the most amazing view of Mt Fuji with the sun glaring off the flank. Actually, it's not really right to call it a view, because the mountain was so close, you felt like you were riding down the side of it. Quite awesome. Sorry, no photo of that part though ... you'll just have to try it one day!

(Photos are at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=21888&l=592c6&id=521998526. Sorry, still having some difficulty uploading to the site.)

Roll on Otoge...

Full report: "Dee(j)-Day!

All up, the words "Extremely Satisfying!" come to mind – for all five of us.
That really was a great day out for us all.

Ben (baustin), Lee (Richy152), and I (yellow-midget) all arrived at the east-exit of Odawara station a little before 9:30. Soon after we'd set up our bikes, we got a call from Aaron (Pucci) to say that he and Dave (Deej) were on the west-side, and we were all soon together.
Apparently, there are bakeries at both entrances (which caused the mix-up) – Aaron swears that the one on the other side is better, but I've yet to try it.

We set out a little late (10:25), and finally found the road we were looking for – Rte.74 – that heads up to "Daiyuu-zan" station, and our turn-off to the first climb – Rte.78. From R78, it starts climbing almost immediately. Not too steep in the beginning (and I think we had a tail-wind that helped push us up), but nearer to the top it does start getting quite steep in places.
Deej took the honors (after a premature jump by myself, trying race a motor-scooter).

We all had a short break at the top (Sorry: It's not exactly average 3.3% per se), and then rolled down Rte.365 to the "R147/Mikuni" turn-off – with some great views of Mt.Fuji along the way. Once at the 7-11 in the small town of "o-yama" (around 12:30), we filled up our "carbs" for what we knew would be the hardest climb of the day. Deej snuck in a 300% CAFFEINE drink, and was already jabbering before we'd even started out at 1:00.

From the town, it's 12km (11km from that first left-hand turn where it starts going up steep). We rode for 4.5km to the "right-hand turn-off", where it starts going "stupid-steep", and re-set our meters! From that (right) turn, it's 6.5km to the top!

Deej (caffeine-overdosed?), jumped straight from the gun! He was off like a rocket!
Ben, Aaron, Lee & I set sensible paces for the first 2km or so, but we all knew we had to catch Deej. At the 3.4km mark, we hit the "cement circles / 20+%" area – only 3km to go. At the 5km mark (the first "false" toge), I knew that if I hadn't seen the back of Deej's jersey by then, all hope for victory was lost.

As I rode up to the top, I saw Deej on the phone to his wife (all nice & calm, after the caffeine had worn off) – but 4mins:10secs behind!
Deej's time: 37:30
Travis' time: 41:40
About 5-6 minutes later, Aaron came up the hill! Both Deej & I were expecting to see Ben first, but he was less than a minute behind Aaron. We heard later that Ben & Aaron were riding almost side-by-side for the last 3km, and Aaron just won out on the final sprint to the top.
Lee, who has only been riding a bike since August last year (dared to do this climb a second time), was less than 10 minutes behind Aaron & Ben, and I would estimate at least 15-20 minutes faster than his first attempt.

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS Deej :no1:

We rolled down from there to the 7-11 on the Yamanaka-ko lakeside (after some photo opportunities of Fuji) and had a short break before the final run.
After riding about 3km S-W (flattish) around the lake, we turned left onto Rte.138. It goes up a bit at first, not very steep, before a long sweeping downhill run for 15-20km into Gotemba.

From Gotemba, we hit our last climb – 6km at 6% - and after what we'd just been through, it wasn't too bad. There's a long-ish tunnel at the top, but we all stuck together for the final down-hill back to Odawara.

After rolling through Sengoku-hara, we had a choice to make; Should we go straight down R138 onto Rte.1, or should we take the less traffic-ridden mountain-road?

(*Note: I'd heard stories about how bad R1 was with traffic coming down from Hakone, but had never done it before. I can tell you now, that it IS that bad!)
We were at the turn-off (to the mountain-road), but at that particular place, there was very little traffic, and we decided to go down Rte.1.
After about 5km, we hit a line of cars on a single-lane road stretching all the way down to Yumoto-Hakone station (another 5km). It wasn't too bad squeezing between the cars & the side-rail, except for making what should have been a 40km/h descent into a 20km/h descent. I think the word was "tedious"!

From Yumoto-Hakone however, the traffic thinned out, 7km to go, slight down-hill, and an AWESOME tailwind!!! We were flying at over 50km/h for long stretches towards our final destination! That really was so much FUN!

We all arrived back at Odawara just before 6pm.
I thought we could do the entire loop in under 7 hours, but it took us 7 ½.
I think under 7 hours is definitely possible with breaks kept to a minimum.
Under 6 hours would be really pushing it.

Still though, what an awesome day!
We really need to do this one again.

Rubber Down! Travis

NOTE: Travis, just as I finished writing these comments I noticed you put up your report. I'll comment on your remarks in a separate post.

That was a lot of fun. The weather was amazing, the climbs were challenging and my legs were gloriously hairless.

Travis did his usual excellent work in efficiently leading us to all the right places. I was pleasantly surprised to see Pucci in Odawara after reading about his emergency room visit just days earlier. I was even more surprised to see him handle all the climbs with aplomb despite feeling so crummy. And it was nice to be able to meet and ride with Lee (Richy152).

Perhaps the best part was giving Ben The Look at the start of the Mikuni climb and not have him catch me in Bonksville like he did on the Otoge climb.

The Mikuni climb was extremely tough, no doubt about it, but it didn't kill me like it did in January. I think we had built it up as being such a monster that my body went into a kind of superhuman, fight-or-flight mode, enabling me to make it up without totally collapsing.

Also helping propel me up the hill was the knowledge that my arch rival, Travis, was hot on my heels, and I've decided that allowing him to finish before me is unacceptable. :) After finishing behind him by a whopping 15 minutes on Otoge the previous week, I was prepared to do everything it took to regain a little honor. The all-black kit (not counting my Tweety Bird yellow helmet) I chose was a symbol of my resolve, a sign to all naysayers that The Deej meant business.

I have to admit, however, that at a couple points along the climb, I was so tired that I had to resort to weaving to ease the gradient. In contrast, Travis said he made it up without employing such rookie tactics.

Phil asked in a different post if any of us have "bought speed." Well, on Saturday, I spent a few hundred yen on a small bottle of concentrated caffeine. I purposely forwent my usual pre-ride cup of coffee, enduring a withdrawal headache and waiting until just before the Mikuni climb to down the power potion. It gave me a serious kick, and in my wired new state I was yammering practically non-stop at my poor comrades until I gave them The Look and rode on to complete and utter victory. It was awesome.

Thanks for the great time, guys. We have to do that one again!

Nice write up guys.

It was a great day. I admit that I'd built my expectations more towards the second climb than the first, so when things were getting steep I was tempted to "fall on my sword" several times during the first climb. That said, the first climb was good preparation for the second climb, and even though we'd all enhanced our excuses slightly at the 7-11, it went a lot smoother than expected and key milestones such as the concrete circular section, and the parked car on the left seemed to pass a lot sooner than last time. I hope that eventually I can get up there in a similar length of time to you chaps.

Thanks again for organising the day Travis, and thanks to all for making it such a pleasant day out.
Nice write-up, Travis.

Thanks titling your full report "Dee(j)-Day" -- it has done wonders for my eggshell-thin ego. :)

Deej snuck in a 300% CAFFEINE drink, and was already jabbering before we'd even started out at 1:00.

Chotto matte! Didn't I see you gulp down an energy drink as well right before the Mikuni climb!

Deej (caffeine-overdosed?), jumped straight from the gun! He was off like a rocket!

It was a risky tactic, but I felt that if I didn't build a decent gap early on, I would eventually be caught. So I jumped while my legs were still fresh and the caffeine was still in full effect. If the climb had been a couple kilometers longer, I think you would have caught me.

I knew that if I hadn't seen the back of Deej's jersey by then, all hope for victory was lost.

I kept expecting to see you coming. It was kind of terrifying -- like in a nightmare when you can only run in slow motion. When I hit the false toge and still didn't see you, I knew the polka dot jersey was mine.

By the way, I had an endless loop of a snippet of the Radiohead song "Weird Fishes" playing through my head in the latter part of the climb. In the first part of the climb, it was the Sinatra tune "L-O-V-E " (because Travis had been singing it minutes earlier) -- which actually proved to be excellent for regulating my breathing.

After about 5km, we hit a line of cars on a single-lane road stretching all the way down to Yumoto-Hakone station (another 5km). It wasn't too bad squeezing between the cars & the side-rail, except for making what should have been a 40km/h descent into a 20km/h descent. I think the word was "tedious"!

Oh man, this is where I did a fully clipped-in BMX style skid perpendicular to the the road and recovered in time to swerve neatly behind the back of a van and keep rolling. Not smart.

Nice reports as always guys. Fun reading.

Two observations:

1. Day-to-day form makes a difference in the hills, doesn't it? King of the hill one day, lanterne rouge the next...

2. Picking up on something Ben said, hill climbing really seems to be a mental game, and knowing the mountain definitely helps. About two weeks ago I went and tried that 4 km climb from the Hilly Boso ride again and was amazed at how easy it seemed... The second half was much, much flatter than I remembered--the first time up that section had been an interminable struggle.

Sounds like you're all well set for Kusatsu. TCC is going to put on a great showing, I think.
1. Day-to-day form makes a difference in the hills, doesn't it? King of the hill one day, lanterne rouge the next...

Hey Phil. Wish we could have joined up on one of the recent rides. But I'll make it out to Chiba soon enough to join you for another Boso adventure if you're up to it!

As for your observation about day-to-day form affecting climbing performance, man, this is an issue I'm really struggling with.

Over the past couple months, I've had some days where I was completely shot on the climbs and others where I felt light as a feather, and it has really played with my head. I know many factors (sleep, nutrition, etc.) affect performance, but it's starting to feel like a crapshoot as to whether I'll be strong or weak on a given day. I'm trying to pin down the various factors that contribute to this performance gap so I can become more consistent.

I have noticed that on the weeks when I really go hard in the gym, I tend to be slower on the weekend climb. In contrast, lighter gym activity (even no activity at all), tends to result in a faster climb on the weekend.

I think the way my workout schedule is currently structured, I'm peaking on Wednesday!

Sooner or later I'll pin down the magic formula...

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