Noda to Hakuba

Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#1
Leaving early Thursday(tomorrow) morning for my longest ride to date.

Start: Edo River Noda--->Sekiyado--->Tonegawa--->Route125--->
Route-->17----->Takasaki--->Route 406--->--->Route104---->
Route 406--->Nagano City--->Route 406 Hakuba.

277km.

Just sent my heavy stuff by takyubin as it may be a bit cold up there...
Will take my time, not out to set any records. Going to avoid Karuizawa and the monkey attacks, just have to watch out for bears now.

Got enough spare tubes even taking an old (in good condition) spare tyre. check::warau:
Tools: check:
Patches & glue: check:
Pump & gas cyclinders X 2: check
GPS: check:
Battery pack: check:
Spare light batteries: check:
Spare paper map: check:
Shimano shoes, Socks, summer cycling shorts, winter cycling tights, TCC jersey, winter jersey, helmet, gloves: check:
Drink bottle: check:
Food: Some small packs of energy: check:
Lights: (2 on the front, 3 on the back) check.
Money & credit cards :check:
Bicycle: Taking the Fondriest as it has the 27 on the back for the hills plus it is white so stands out a bit better at night. Check:
Two Peak Rack pannier: check
Wet weather gear: (too heavy) If I get wet, I get wet or I'll sit out in a coffee shop or an onsen or just get wet.

That's a lot of stuff...
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#3
another item to add to your check list

Wishing you a great time & good luck Peter! Here's another item which might prove to be of help: some rubber (no, not that kind!:eek:) cut out of an old outer tyre, about 5 cm will do...use that to remedy "side cuts" that cause the inner tube to pop out (in my opinion, it will last longer that a 1,000 yen bill).

Source of wisdom: Courtesy of Thomas Mamacharin Shop

Leaving early Thursday(tomorrow) morning for my longest ride to date.

Start: Edo River Noda--->Sekiyado--->Tonegawa--->Route125--->
Route-->17----->Takasaki--->Route 406--->--->Route104---->
Route 406--->Nagano City--->Route 406 Hakuba.

277km.

Just sent my heavy stuff by takyubin as it may be a bit cold up there...
Will take my time, not out to set any records. Going to avoid Karuizawa and the monkey attacks, just have to watch out for bears now.

Got enough spare tubes even taking an old (in good condition) spare tyre. check::warau:
Tools: check:
Patches & glue: check:
Pump & gas cyclinders X 2: check
GPS: check:
Battery pack: check:
Spare light batteries: check:
Spare paper map: check:
Shimano shoes, Socks, summer cycling shorts, winter cycling tights, TCC jersey, winter jersey, helmet, gloves: check:
Drink bottle: check:
Food: Some small packs of energy: check:
Lights: (2 on the front, 3 on the back) check.
Money & credit cards :check:
Bicycle: Taking the Fondriest as it has the 27 on the back for the hills plus it is white so stands out a bit better at night. Check:
Two Peak Rack pannier: check
Wet weather gear: (too heavy) If I get wet, I get wet or I'll sit out in a coffee shop or an onsen or just get wet.

That's a lot of stuff...
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#4
Good tip and thanks. Just got a lot of spare rubber to take with me in fact.

Just spent the last hour changing my son's mama-chari rear tube.
What a nightmare that was. Remove chain cover, take chain off rear gear/axle, unscrew and release rear brake mechanism, release brake cable, unscrew some weird clamp that doesn't seem to serve any purpose, remove nuts to axle, washers, mud guard supports, back cargo rack supports, mama-chari stand... try and lay all bits and pieces on the concrete in order so you can remember how it all goes back together... pull wheel off just enough so you can squeeze the tube in...I also replaced the rim tape....then put it all back together again in the wrong order and stepping on all the bits and pieces so they all get mixed up....:warau:

Bought the correct size tube for the tire too but still seemed to be more than 10cm too big. If it goes flat tomorrow, I'm dumping it.

Had my son time me do a full racing bike tube change yesterday to pumped up and back on the bike in 3 minutes 23. That was doing it pretty thoroughly too pumping a bit, checking for pinches, deflating and then checking again then to 120psi. Even surprised myself.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
502
133
Japan
#5
Wishing you a great time & good luck Peter! Here's another item which might prove to be of help: some rubber (no, not that kind!:eek:) cut out of an old outer tyre, about 5 cm will do...use that to remedy "side cuts" that cause the inner tube to pop out (in my opinion, it will last longer that a 1,000 yen bill).

Source of wisdom: Courtesy of Thomas Mamacharin Shop
a pet bottle piece of plastic works well too.
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#6
Good Luck!

If I had any advice to give, it would be this;
Leave as early as possible - 3 or 4am!
Try to get your first 100km in before breakfast, and then you only have to do a "century", at your own leisure after that.
The only problem with that is you might have to find an alternative route getting to Rte.17 - one that is well-lit - Rte.16 is probably your best bet; about 40km to R17, just north of Omiya (I wouldn't want to ride up Edogawa in the dark).
Anyway, have a safe ride!
Travis
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#9
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Thanks again...was looking closely at some of these roads...hope there aren't many trucks out and about...
A 3a.m start is on if I wake up.
I may cross over directly to R17. Will see what visibility is like on the river...sometimes you get good light bouncing of the sky and you can see like day...The road on the Saitama side of Edo river is well enough lit too and I can follow that too. Funnily enough the hardest part of this journey to get on the map and GPS is the 50km closest to home. After that it's just follow the numbers.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#11
I'm alive.

All I can say is HELL ON WHEELS!

Woke up at 3.a.m. One glass of orange juice.
Left at 4a.m.
I started up the river and visibility was good; about 50 or 60m with lots of light bouncing off the clouds. Was in no hurry as it was a bit cold, so pulled over and put on my winter jersey over my 2 summer ones....

10km mark and my main (very old style) light runs out of battery power...after about 10 minutes of fiddling around trying to open it I decided to just keep riding and do it later at a konbini. (couldn't remember how to open this one).

20km mark and the cycling path on the Tonegawa was overgrown with grass so I decided to fix the light there and carry on. (Slide the cover this way not that way.):eek:

Route 125 was hell and a huge truck blasted his horn at me which put me onto the side walk for a while and slowed me down a bit. The traffic around Kumagaya was terrible
Route 17 was also chocker block full of early morning trucks so mixed it up between road and side walk. Pace was slow but I figured the trucks would filter down the further away I went.
The traffic remained awful all the way to Takasaki.
The 1st 100km were not as easy as I had hoped for with lots of road work crews, traffic lights, trucks and I was probably around an hour behind my estimated time already. I was hoping to stop for a nice long lunch somewhere but there was no time for stopping. 7/11s were get in, get food, get drinks, eat, drink, get out. (10 minutes max).

My Garmin battery was starting to go flat too so I plugged in the new battery extender for the 1st time and there was no reaction from the Garmin. Fiddled around with dangling it from my head light brackets. Let it try and charge for a while but still no reaction.
I decided to turn the Garmin off altogether and just use it in emergencies.

The first 100 was a gradual climb (almost unnoticeable).
From about the 105km mark the climb became very noticeable (for me). (Takasaki).

With the Garmin off and my paper maps coming out at any confusing intersection and the gradual climb my much needed pace was not going to pick up much. At one point around Shibakuwa I went left (which was correct) but on my map I had mistakenly highlighted an alternative route straight ahead.
I went along the Numao river instead of the Agatsuma river. I went to confirm my location on one of those road side tourist maps which then really confused me. I doubled back down a steep hill to make sure I was on the right track and that cost me an extra 5km. Confident that I was on the right path I kept climbing.
Finally I came to route 145 and the car who had just overtaken me and was a bit annoyed that a bike was riding on this road was caught by the police for running a stop sign. :p

Route 145 Seemed to go forever and ever, up, up, upper, motto up and upperesterup...so far I'd stopped at about 4 7/11s for snacks, drinks, ice cream and lunch etc...due to all the climbing the next landmark points in my mind's map seemed to be further away than they were on paper...they just never appeared.

It was starting to rain around the 150km mark and the road was quite slippery. I kept climbing, wondering what I was doing...still over 100km to go and still a lot more climbing ahead. Was getting cold too. The rain had not stopped. Hadn't seen a konbini for a while and none ahead either.

So far the journey had been quite unremarkable. Slow and hard. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to draft behind. Nothing much to look at or not noticing anything as I was busy dodging pot holes and puddles and keeping a safe distance from any passing trucks.

Feeling miserable and lonely I was reminded that I was not the only thing out there on that lonely road.
Grrrrrrlllll Snorttttt Chargeeeeee!!!! About 4 meters to my left in the bamboo grass a bear came charging at me. No time to take my camera out, you'll just have to believe me. For the next 100m or so I broke any of Lance Armstrong's climbing records. That bear would have had Contador for dinner. I was tearing away up that hill. Amazing how much energy we can muster when we need it. I may have to bring a bear to Saiko in November.

Ueda city was not too far away and I contemplated finding a hotel as I was cold and wet and I knew the climb between Nagano and Hakuba was going to be littered with bears as well. Once growled and charged at 5 times shy I always say.
Well the run in to Ueda was hard and there were lots of cars around.
No idea exactly where I was but I came to this long straight downhill road and was screaming along for a while at around 50kph. It finally petered out and I pulled out my map. I had overshot the 406 turn off in my delight of not having to pedal or climb and was now at route 33 which had a sign pointing to Nagano City. Little did I realize that going down so far for so long was going to mean more going up again.

Hmmm, be a whimp and stay in Ueda or keep going? I decided to keep going, I wasn't ready to give up just yet. Route 33 had a lot of cars and it was narrow but the further it went the less crowded it got.
Everybody was not going to Nagano after all. After a while I was again climbing alone in some back country area in the dark, cold and wet. Climbing and climbing again. No houses, no farms, no nothing. Just dark winding switchbacks. I thought it was going to be all down hill into Nagano. Was now about 7pm and about 20km to Nagano. Finally came to the top of the climbs and had a few drinks at a well placed just closed vegetable shop's drink machines.

Adjust the lights as best as possible.

Then started the final descent. The descents were just as slow as the climbs though as I had to prevent myself slipping. Slow, brakes on, looking into the dark for pot holes and rubble. Next problem, my main light die
d, the bulb had blown. One weaker light on front and 3 red flashes on the back. This road was dark, Knightrider dark and I had near to no lights and there were trucks passing every 3 to 5 minutes. Sleep with the bears or keep on keeping on?
I kept going but one of my red flashers came off the back and shattered over the road.

I finally made it to Nagano City (Matsuhiro) and decided enough was enough and pulled in to the 1st hotel I came to. The hot bath was heaven. The salty one cup soup satchels were a treat. One swallowed dry the other in hot water. My cycling clothes, being too stinky to go down to the foyer to look for food, I just sat in bed and dropped dead. 230km on the clock.

Day 2:
Pigged out at the buffet breakfast having about 3 meals with an onsen bath robe camouflaging my stinking cycling underwear.
Got out about 8:30 a.m and my back wheel was slipping and sliding at every edge.
Rained all day and 57 slow hard hill climbing kms into Hakuba. Seemed to take for ever plus about 15 tunnels to play with. Like bears, tunnels can make you ride at unbelievable speeds.
With the law as it stands, we can't listen to our ipods while riding so I just use my imagination. Funny how things on your journey trigger a song in your mind that you just can't let go of and it reverberates in your head till something else pops up. I can't remember all the songs that popped into my head on this journey but I was slipping a lot on today's journey. And this one just wouldn't stop. A bit of Simon & Garfunkel: Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away
, over and over again...just when you had forgotten about it your back wheel would slip again....Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away...

On the approach to the last peak there were signs that the road was closed. SHIT! This would mean back tracking and around 40 or 50km and going up the Ogawagawa ride I did in August. (Not in this rain). I kept going and luckily got through where the road work was. Closed to cars but I could squeeze through. :warau:

Finally scrambled up the hill to the house and called the takyubin to come with my stuff.
Figuring it would take ages for the takyubin to come I decided to wash my stuff myself and see what frozen food was still in the fridge from last time.
While waiting for my clothes and laptop to arrive I put all my stuff in the washing machine and dryer...the takyubin (lady) arrived and helped herself into the house with me just out of the bath in the only clothes available to me at the time, a towel. :eek:

Not what I had planned but I made it. Contemplating the downhill ride back home but will see.
Was a bit over ambitious with this attempt. Now I know what it's like at least.

Hungry and will have to get on my bike for dinner... :bike:

230 + 57 =287km on the clock.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#13
Wow, congrats on making it Pete, and many thanks for that rip-roaring yarn. It had everything--mechanical troubles, wrong turns, angry trucks, inclement weather, bears(!), cop chases, mighty climbs and it even ended like a proper James Bond story, with you in a towel and a girl at the door.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,518
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#14
Wow, congrats on making it Pete, and many thanks for that rip-roaring yarn. It had everything--mechanical troubles, wrong turns, angry trucks, inclement weather, bears(!), cop chases, mighty climbs and it even ended like a proper James Bond story, with you in a towel and a girl at the door.
The Bond Girl looked like this....

http://www.urg.co.jp/media/new hp/245478[1].jpg

:confused: