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Matsuhime, a monkey, pizza and a bucket of water


Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
Well I was lucky enough to have a day off work today and made the most of it by riding over Matsuhime Toge for the first time.

I started out around 8.30 in the morning and because my legs were feeling heavy after another hard weekend of riding, I was thinking Matsuhime would be out of the question. It's a funny thing the sport of cycling though, because by the time I was nearing the mighty slopes my legs were feeling fine again. This why so often when riding I like to wait and see where the bike takes me, rather than making a concrete plan. Anyway, the weather was fantastic, the autumn colors (koyo) were coming out in the trees so what the hell, right? On my merry way I went.

I knew it was going to be 20km of climbing so I was pretty nervous about it and held back a little. For the first 10km or so I managed to get into a pretty good rhythm and was tempo riding in the saddle. It's not that steep, but after going past the dam you can see on the map it kicks up a bit for the next 5km and the final 5km are harder, although I'm not sure if it was just because I was tired after 15km of climbing. I'm sure Tom can help here as it seems to be his home climb:)

Anyway, it's funny the crazy stuff that goes through my head when I'm riding, you all know what I mean, right?. For some reason Paul Sherwin's comment about Solaire (the Colombian rider who won the King of the mountains jersey in 2007 TDF) when he was saying that it was his first time to ride some of these climbs, and he's NOT SCARED OF THEM AT ALL popped into my mind. Well that was what inspired to me to open the taps. The legs were feeling really good and I was going along at a good pace when suddenly with 3km to the summit some foreign dude descending pulls over and shouts 'Are you Mike?'. With Paul Sherwin bouncing around my head and still in the zone there was no way I was stopping for anyone, even if they did know my name:(
Anyway after a few shouts between us like, 'Are you coming back down this way?' and 'No mate, sorry', I pulled over and we quickly introduced ourselves. To my surprise it was Mob, whom I had never met. I quickly explained my situation i.e. I was racing the clock and we parted ways. So I'd like to take this opportunity to apolgize to Mob for not stopping longer (I think it was about 20 seconds) but with 3km to go, me being in the zone and the clock ticking I just couldn't give you anymore time. Sorry mate, I hope you weren't offended by my rude behaviour:(

Finally after what seemed an eternity I rolled over the top and coughed my guts up for about 5 minutes:D After I'd recovered I was pretty happy that I managed to finally do the infamous Matsuhime Toge as it has been on my itinerary of 'must do climbs' for quite some time.

For those of you who have never ridden Matsuhime Toge, you should. It's a great climb and although long, at over 20km and reaching a peak of 1250m it's not all that hard as long as you have a positive mind set. See the map created by Thomas if you're interested.

Oh and you're probably wondering about the title of this thread? Well, I almost hit a monkey coming down from Tsusru Toge doing around 40km/h. I think he was more surprised than me. And as for the pizza, well now I know why Travis loves his pizza so much when riding:D. I found a ministop on the corner of R20 and R35 with a small bakery inside. It's the first time I've ever seen a conbini that makes their own sanwiches and pizza slices. I had 2 slices as I was in serious trouble and needed some food and it was what got me home. And as for the bucket of water you ask? Or maybe you're already falling asleep because of this ridiculously long post? As I was coming down from Miyagase dam in the dark through a narrow stret lined with houses someone threw a bucket of water out on the street narrowly missing me as I wizzed by at light speed :D It wasn't on purpose or anything, I presume they were just throwing some old washing water into the gutter. The thing is if it had hit me I reckon I would've come off for sure. It must've been a massive bucket! Anyway, a great day and a great ride. Keep rolling lads and I hope this story somehow inspires you to get out on the road. Later.
Geez, I think you are Saint for pulling over whilst 'in the zone' - you must have been wearing your green Liquigas kit to have been so recognizable to MOB.

Imagine hitting a monkey or being knocked off your bike by a bucket of water :D Sounds like a great day out.

I don't know Mike, pizza on a serious training ride?!
next thing it will be Asahi Super Dry in your drink bottles ;)

great post btw, thanks :)

Yes, Philip, he had his green Liquigas kit on. I wrote a long blog about today's ride, the encounter of the third kind with Mike plus actually a photo of Mike on the Positivo Espresso blog. Please have a look.

And I would like to ask Thomas to include my Matsuhime Toge Time in the TCC Hall of Fame as following:

- Matsuhime-touge (松姫峠) North Approach
- mob
- 10/21/2008
- 31'58
- map is not ready yet

This is the climb, starting at the village of Kosuge. Start point is where route 18 from Tsuru Toge meets route 139 leading up to Matsuhime Toge. Finishing point is the stone monument at Matsuhime Toge.


Today was just perfect. Almost 10 hours on the bike, 215 km.
that's a classic (photo) mob :) hehe :D
it does seem that Mike likes to have his boobs hanging out,
I recall a photo that Tom posted on his blog...
Simon, They're not boobs, but manly pectorals! For a man that told me he prefers legs and arms on women, you sure are obsessed by my chest:confused:
Mob, that's a great photo, cheers mate and a good write up. Hopefully we'll ride together soon.
On the maps, there's a small symbol near the end that looks like a person with an 'X' over it. Any idea what that means?
On the maps, there's a small symbol near the end that looks like a person with an 'X' over it. Any idea what that means?

Well, they do look like jolly rogers - "watch out for pirate attacks"? :)

I was wondering about them myself.. my guess is that they mark the location of the gates, which can be closed due to reasons like ice, heavy snow, rock slides, zombie invasions, etc.
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