Mt. Iwaki Hillclimb

Jan 13, 2010
39
0
16
Victoria, BC
#2
Climbed it last year

I rode from Ajigasawa to Hirosaki on a very hot sunny day last summer. Beautiful countryside. Absolutely nothing for long distances. Carry fluids and foods. There was an oba-chan selling 100Y ice milk near the top who was a lifesaver. Gave me a second scoop saabisu. Seized up with cramps in the evening due to dehydration and inadequate salt intake.

Anybody who goes up should make a side trip to Inakadate to see their ricefield art.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
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#3
kata .. did you do the hillclimb? Cause the skyline road itself is closed to cycles 364 days a year and the only day they 'officially' allow bikes is this hillclimb. I tried to sneak in a couple times - but was just too late to miss the guards.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
2,670
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103
Japan
#4
Tim you'll need to get up there early to beat the Bobs. There is an annual unofficial mountain bike descent early every spring as well. I was going to sign up for this but a lack of interest from the family has meant I will be passing.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
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#6
Managed to get a recon done by car. It's similar to Azami - roughly 12-16% constant grade with switchback sections of up to 26% (based on my Garmin). The tough thing for me about this event will be the first 5km - not the last 5! They start the expert class on the highway up to the Skyline - so, there is 5km run of about 3% - 6% where your truly will be spinning like a sewing machine. As a side note - I had to reconfigure my bike to meet JCBF 'rules' - so now it has a rear brake and a freewheel singlspeed cog. I'm hoping I can do a quick 'take off' just before or after the start to rid the beast of these wholly unnecessary shackles.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
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#8
I'll see in the morning - I may try to downgrade my registration to 'senior' so I can start at the hill, rather then the 4km lead up. If so - then I'll run th same as Azami which was a bit too stiff for Azami - but should be fine for Iwaki. If not - then I'll run the lead up in my freewheel (20t) and then swap to the kotei (23t) at the Skyline gate. I lose a minute during the swap - but running the 20t to the top would not work. And running the 23t on the lead up will just be agonizingly slow.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
1,662
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#9
I'll see in the morning - I may try to downgrade my registration to 'senior' so I can start at the hill, rather then the 4km lead up. If so - then I'll run th same as Azami which was a bit too stiff for Azami - but should be fine for Iwaki. If not - then I'll run the lead up in my freewheel (20t) and then swap to the kotei (23t) at the Skyline gate. I lose a minute during the swap - but running the 20t to the top would not work. And running the 23t on the lead up will just be agonizingly slow.
Has to be the slowest gear changing bicycle one will ever see, who knows, maybe one day this gear changing this will catch on..... ;) :D
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
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103
tokyo
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#10
Mini-report: Since I had a chance to recon by car (bikes and peds not allowed on the road), i ascertained my Azami gear would be fine. Except for one small overlooked item - the course start for expert class was 5km before the actual climb! So - this would mean that I had 5km of nearly flat road to spin away while the group flies on.

I did have a couple of choices. Either run the whole event 'kotei' or run the first 5km in a more optimised gear , then flip flop to climbing gear. I chose the former, as flip flopping is really just another 'derailer light' version of riding. And what I'm challenging myself is simply riding with one gear, period. So - since no officials peeped on my bike - off went the freewheel and we were kotei for this ride , too.

It's a bit lonely as the only singlespeed on the course, but once the hill kicks in, things get a bit funner. This was no different. I lost more than 8 min to the group on the first 5km - however when the climb started, could start to pick off riders ahead. By the end of the climb I had worked my way up to about 50th out of 400. On a personal note - I felt pretty darn genki all the way until the last 3km - struggld a bit during T minus 2, then hit the throttle again for the last K. Finished in some decent form and found I broke the hour which was my goal. Lots of great riders here in the North and I hope to ride more events here!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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242
103
tokyo
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#12
Thanks , Mike! I had a genki ride up the climbing part - the weather was great, family to greet me at the top. Can't get much better than that! Oh - yeah except for the MASSIVE BBQ feast afterwards!

The Aomori folks were so cool. great support for all the riders and just super friendly all around. I'd suggest anyone to check this region out for some awesome cycling. Not too mention Aomori prefecture is one of the only prefectures in Japan that has food surplus and exports more than it consumes. So - the food prices (and quality) are amazing. It's really the Apple and Garlic 'basket' of Japan - so if you dig fresh fruit and veggies - this is paradise.

Fantastic, Tim. Well done! :clap::clap::clap: