Mt. Fuji - 5/20 Sunday

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#1
Hi all.

My former workmates are climbing up Mt. Fuji (Subaru Line) on May 20 Sunday, and I've decided to join in.
You guys are more than welcome to join!

I'm going to use the train to and from, so with this plan, you don't have to be super-riders like some of you (or most of you) to enjoy our country's peak.

Here's my plan so far.
Take the 7:00am AZUSA express train from Shinjuku.
Get off at Otsuki Station (7:55) and start riding.

From Otsuki station to the go-gome (the fifth point of Mt. Fuji, or the highest we can climb on wheels) is...
distance: 53.2 km
av. degree of incline: 3.6%
climbing: 1937m

On the return trip, maybe I'll ride to either Uenohara (70km) or Hachioji (100km) to add some distance.
Wish I could ride the whole way back home, but I know I'm not capable.....so, I'll leave that as one of my future plans.

Anybody interested? Please let me know!
Also, this is my first ride up Mt. Fuji or riding in this area, so I'd be grateful for any tips available.

Thank you!
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#2
I rode up to the 5th stage late last October, here is my report. Make sure you bring winter clothes for the descent, there usually still is snow up there near the 5th stage this time of the year, which is why the hiking season doesn't start until July.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#3
Chikako san - I don't think you'll have problem riding to / from Mt. Fuji at all. I did this ride on fixed gear actually - and my shape then was not good as yours! I think a nice first challenge is to ride TO 5th Station from Tokyo, then climb, then Train back. Yuo can read about this kind of adventure here and also I posted something on my blog.

All I can say is:

1) Ride at a comfortable pace. The difference of 2 or 3kph can make or break your climb energy level. Saving an hour on the bike ride is not worth the risk of energy loss on the climb.

2) Eat ALOT. If you ride to Fuji, then climb, then go back by train - you are looking at close to 6000kcals of energy required. I ate 3 complete breakfasts at the family restaraunt at base of Subaru Line (1 Japanese, 1 Western and as much cake and other stuff i could stuff) By the time I finished the climb, I was nearly bonked!

3) Drink ALOT! Same holds true. And when you climb the mtn, you don't wanna hassle with the overpriced beverages. Bring 2 water bottles.

4) Layers of Clothing. Especially light wind breaker and rain shield. Layers keep you warmer than heavy single items.

5) Roll of Duct Tape. You can fix anything and also works good to tape up your ankles / wrists / knees. And also can tape 'gator' to your shoes so the stones don't get into your shoes. Trust me, this was the single most important and useful item I had!

6) LIGHTS! If you ride down from the 5th station after the buses leave (if you miss them- you MUST ride) it will get PITCH BLACK DARK. I was in a state of near terror the whole way down having just a small Cateye front lamp and tiny LED. It was a miracle I wasn't killed by the following traffic.

It's really not that steep as any climb we did last week. Just longer, shallower roads. Subaru Line is very pleasant - just take your time and enjoy. Stop at the resting areas to get more to drink and take a picture. If I do this again I will make more small stops to just do this - drink and snap pic.

later this year - I want to do this whole challenge again. Now is good time to train slowly for it. Especially the climbing part - which, for me, was the hardest.
 

DeltaForce

Maximum Pace
Sep 17, 2011
204
25
48
Toki, Gifu
#4
Hi Chikako,

I wasn't able to join Pete's ride last Sunday, so haven't met you, but climbing Mt Fuji is on my to do list. I don't have the gearing for the Azami line yet, so the Subaru line looks inviting.

I can't commit yet, but it sounds like a good plan. I live in Yokohama, so I might be able to ride out from my house.

Looking forward to meeting you and your friends.

Dave
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#5
2) Eat ALOT. If you ride to Fuji, then climb, then go back by train - you are looking at close to 6000kcals of energy required. I ate 3 complete breakfasts at the family restaraunt at base of Subaru Line (1 Japanese, 1 Western and as much cake and other stuff i could stuff) By the time I finished the climb, I was nearly bonked!
Eat something at least every hour, not just before the climb and again at the top.

It's also a fair amount of climbing from Otsuki to Fujiyoshida. I have only done this in reverse (3 times so far) and it's basically coasting downhill for 25 km, so you can imagine what it's on the way up. You'll need food for that too.

4) Layers of Clothing. Especially light wind breaker and rain shield. Layers keep you warmer than heavy single items.
The thing I missed most on the descent were proper winter gloves (water/wind proof ski gloves). That is the one thing I learnt for my climb of Kagosaka pass in early March (which was 1300 metres lower than Fuji 5th stage). And for the body: Layers, layers, layers! For Kagosaka I also wore a scarf around my neck and a head scarf around my ears under the helmet.

6) LIGHTS! If you ride down from the 5th station after the buses leave (if you miss them- you MUST ride) it will get PITCH BLACK DARK. I was in a state of near terror the whole way down having just a small Cateye front lamp and tiny LED. It was a miracle I wasn't killed by the following traffic.
Lack of light was my #2 problem, after lack of warm enough gloves. I'd be OK now that I have my Lumotec IQ Cyo dynamo light, but then I also only had one of those CatEye type LED lights (three tiny LEDs with CR2032 button cells for power) and only set off around sunset. My son had an even tinier light with a single LED. We got separated, which made things very difficult for him.

Most of the one hour descent it was pitch black, which is not good if you're descending down switchbacks at 35-40 km/h (hard to enjoy the beautiful night sky if you can't see much of the road!). You'll be many km from the nearest street light. Get a good bright flashlight and mount it to the handle bar in case you may still be up on the mountain after dark.

We had lunch at the base at Fujiyoshida around noon. It was probably around 13:00 by the time we headed up and we didn't head back from the 5th stage until about 16:45, which at the time was close to sunset. On May 20 sunset won't be until 18:43, so hopefully you'll be back down a long time before it gets dark.

Another thing: The weather on Fuji is quite unpredictable. Often it's quite different from just a few km away at the base. You can find yourself in fog or drizzle even if it's clear down in Otsuki or Fujiyoshida. Best to pack some rain gear, which can also be the top layer for the cold descent.
 

bird

Speeding Up
Nov 30, 2010
322
18
38
Kawasaki
#6
By coincidence, I plan on camping at a cottage in Fuji Yoshida with my workmates between 18th-20th. During daytime, most of us will be running/jogging/walking in the area, while a few (including myself) will be cycling up the slopes of Fuji.

Might just bump into your group somewhere.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#7
By coincidence I will be cycling from Fujiyoshida to Tsuru on the 20th during my 300 km brevet around Mt Fuji (km 218-231, from and to Machida).

If you spot a crazy guy on a Bike Friday somewhere in that area around noon, that's probably me :bike:
 

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#8
Well, it looks like many of us are gathered around the big mountain that weekend!
Might bump in, who knows?

Tim and Joe (hope I'm calling you right), I deeply appreciate your detailed advice! So precise and to the point.
Water, food, clothing, pace, tools, lights, got it.
(Also, I enjoyed reading both of your past ventures....would do anything to avoid riding in the dark there.)

Tim, do count me in for future full rides from Tokyo to Fuji.
I'll work on both distance and climbing.

Hi Dave, thanks for posting!
If you were to ride from Yokohama, maybe we'll meet around the toll gate (Fuji Hokuro Park is a suggestion).
Let me know when your schedules are settled.
Look forward to meeting you in person.

Chikako
 

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#10
Hi there!
How does 9-9:30am at the toll gate sound?
(I know it's pretty early .... too early if you were to ride up there. FYI, my mates are coming from southern Chiba by car.)
 

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#14
Kaiko san,

Yeah, I think I'll try riding to Fuji-san (broadly following Tim's plan) later on in the year.
Love to share the challenge with you!
I'll keep you posted.

Chikako
 

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#17
Nice to have you with us, Jonathan!

Since Shinjuku is the starting station for this AZUSA, I don't think we'll need reserved seats, but additional express ticket (900 yen) is required.
You can buy this express ticket either from the ticket vending machine on platform 10 (near the fourth car of AZUSA), or directly from the conductor after getting on the train.
The third, fourth, and the fifth cars are for the non-reserved, so let's meet around that area, 6:45?

Please check your PM box for my contacts.
Look forward to riding with you.....for three weekends in a row!
 

Chikako

Maximum Pace
May 6, 2012
181
107
63
tokyo
#19
Chris, nice to hear from you!

If you're coming from Kamakura, you may want to join DeltaForce (Dave) who'll be riding out from Yokohama.

Here are the details so far.
1. Taking the 7:00am AZUSA (Jonathan, myself)
meet: Shinjuku station platform #10 at around 6:45

2. Riding out (Dave, Chris?)
meet: The parking lot of Fuji Hokuroku Park at around 9:30
This is where we'll be meeting my former workmates as well.
(correction to my past postings; 富士北麓公園=Fuji HOKUROKU Park, not Fuji Hokuro Park. Even us Japanese sometimes misread Kanji...)

From there, we'll head on to the mountain.
Have some change with you since 200 yen is the charge for the Subaru line.
Please be noted, or warned that slow and steady is my only option climbing...I'll try my best to keep you guys from freezing up at the 5th point waiting for me.

After the descend, my mates are probably going to have Houtou (udon-like noodles- specialty of this area).
We may or may not join, according to time and schedule and all.

I haven't got much to say about preparations myself, but please consider the postings by Tim and Joe (thanks again) for the safe pleasant ride.

See you all next Sunday!
 

DeltaForce

Maximum Pace
Sep 17, 2011
204
25
48
Toki, Gifu
#20
I haven't finalised my strategy, but if I leave Azamino about 4:00am :warau:, I could meet up with you guys where you get off the train at Otsuki.

What time will you be arriving at Otsuki?

Chris, you are welcome to join me of course, but it would mean leaving Kamakura at about 2am? :eek: It'd be better to go via Odawara? Cool, climb from sea level to Fuji san's 5th level!

Here's my planned route anyway. http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1178883

I was looking at Doshi michi too. I've never been out to Fuji, so I welcome any comments regarding traffic etc.