Ride Norikura Charity Weekend 27&28 July

Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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Hi folks

I'm now accepting registrations for the 5th annual Shine On! Cycle Challenge In Norikura.

This is not a race.

Dates: 27 & 28 July 2013.
Level: Something for everyone
Fees: 15,000 yen to cover overnight accommodation with dinner & breakfast, lodge buses, and charitable contribution to Shine On! Kids

This is to raise money for Shine On! Kids, the charity formerly known as The Tyler Foundation, supporting children with cancer in Japan and their families. They do wonderful work and it's an honour to do something on two wheels to help.

Full details are on the Half-Fast Cycling web site.

If you would like to join, please PM or email mike at halffastcycling dot com with your name and e-mail address. I'll write back with a list of the registration info I need from you.

joewein and others posted some pics in this thread previously.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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I should mention that although sign-up officially ends on 31 May, we may reach the max. of 50 participants before then in which case we'll stop taking confirmed registrations (and start a 'reserves list', I guess).

Fifty is the maximum NorthStar can accommodate in their two lodges. If more people want to go we can try to arrange additional beds nearby, but there are no guarantees.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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For Saturday, the get-off-the-train times are...

Advanced Group - west exit at Chino station 09.08 (start riding once all ready)
Intermediate Group - west exit at Shiojiri station 09.30 (start riding once all ready)
Challenge Group - west exit at Matsumoto station 09.39 (then get bus to NorthStar, and ride when ready - probably 12.00-ish)

For Sunday, we start en masse after breakfast. Probably 08.30.



 

jdd

Maximum Pace
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Jul 26, 2008
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For anyone interested, I'm coming from the opposite direction (Kanazawa), and my plan is to arrive at the lodge from the Takayama side, rather early on Saturday (09:00?). So I won't be riding in/up with any of the groups from the Matsumoto side.

If anyone else is coming earlier than the group plan, like maybe the night before, and planning on some earlier Saturday riding, please let me know. Mike has already given me some hints for this, but if anyone else is game for some early Saturday riding at the top (given good weather), please let me know.
 

Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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Bumping the thread. Last official day for registration is today. Of course it's just me organising this, so I'll keep going until we're full (and then some). There are a few spots left, but we already have a great crowd gathering. It's going to be fantastic.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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Hmmm I received a message by email but it seems to have disappeared from the thread now. Anyway: no. Sorry. At the moment we're slightly over-subscribed, so there will need to be some weeding. That will probably fix itself because some people will forget about the deadline for payment.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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Like last year, it was one of the cycling highlights of the year for me. I enjoy the beauty of rural Nagano and the interesting company of fellow cyclists and of course the challenge of climbing the highest road in Japan ridable by bike.

On Saturday I got up at 05:00 to catch the Super Azusa #1 train from Shinjuku at 7:00 to ride out to the Northstar lodge from Shiojiri.

Our heroes at Shiojiri:


We took shelter from downpours several times:





Mike is waterproof because he's English:


The rain did not spoil the fun:


At lunch we met with the Advanced riders:


Nagano:



The Northstar lodge moved to a newly renovated building in April, which combined with the great food and friendly staff made for a pleasant stay:


After the early start and with the next day's climb in mind I went for an early night in the Japanese style bedroom.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,750
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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On Sunday I got up around 06:30 and had a hearty breakfast at 07:30. Then I got the bike ready and, armed with two bananas in my jersey pocket, set off with the group around 08:40.




The road is closed to private cars so all you'll encounter is buses and taxis (a scheme that for some obscure reason is called "MyCar", same on Mt Fuji on the busiest weekends). Some of the buses don't leave much space on hairpin turns.




Lots of green and running water along the way:



Some dark clouds in the sky as we are heading into the clouds ourselves:


The Bike Friday next to some snow field in July. The plastic bag holds a bag of raisins.


Above the tree line:


We've come a long way:


Almost at the top:


We've made it...

Half-Fast style!


I had some coffee and banana cake at a restaurant, away from the cold wind, then got changed for the descent, which was fun.

Stopping for pictures on the way down:



Skiers and snowboarders at Norikura:








Got back to the Northstar lodge in 55 minutes, after a 2:33 climb time for the Norikura HC segment on Strava. That was 43 minutes faster than last year's climb, but was mostly due to shorter and fewer stops on the way up.

Maybe next year I'll finally try the full three mountain loop instead of the simple up-and-down I did this year and last, but this year I was discouraged by the combination of the dark clouds and the previous day's intense rain. So instead I had a relaxing bath back at the Northstar and then some lunch.

Took the bus down to Matsumoto along with most of the group, had early dinner near the station and took the train back to Tokyo. Then 9 km on the bike again from Shinjuku to home. A great weekend!

Half-Fast Mike, where do I sign up for next year?



P.S. macrophotofly and I talked about a Half-Fast Okutama BOOB ride, perhaps next weekend or the weekend after, weather permitting. So if any of you missed Norikura or have an appetite for more climbing and views, come along!
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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Half-Fast Mike, where do I sign up for next year?
Let me get my shoes off!
At the last rest stop some 5 km before the peak I saw Owen coming down the mountain like a speed demon. Somebody mentioned later he did the climb in 1:10. Amazing!
Amazing indeed. Had it been successfully recorded and posted to Strava, it would have been the fastest time ever successfully recorded and posted to Strava.

Many thanks to everyone from TCC who joined the event. Despite the mix of weather, everyone seemed to have a good time. Only three people took a wrong turn coming off the mountain and rode themselves into darkest Gifu. Even then, we got them back.



My incomprehending respect at those who rode out overnight from Tokyo, Otsuki etc. to the start point - Tim, Travis, Sal, Andrew. Nutters. Great also to have people come in from all corners, including jdd from Kanazawa and Bryce from Kiyosato.

Joe was with me for the first day, so to his report I'll just add...


For day 2 I really wanted to stretch my lungs and legs, so after filming everyone setting off on their challenge, I set my pace and swore not to stop until I drop or reached the top. As it turned out I stopped twice: once to let traffic pass, and once to get my breath back. I found myself riding most of the way up with, variously, WhiteGiant, macrophotofly, and two Half-Fast friends - Peter and Dean - who I don't think are on the TCC board. My time for the HC segment was 1:39:05 - very pleased with that. It was cold, cloudy and windy on the pass, so we didn't hang around for very long. We met GSAstuto (PR 1:27:38) there, as he was just getting ready to head back down. WhiteGiant turned around, too.



So the four of us ventured onward on the "Advanced Loop". This 80 km loop follows the 1,200 m Norikura HC with two more climbs, each offering approx. 600 m of elevation gain. The route has not been available for many years due road repairs and building of new tunnels on the final climb.

The Gifu side descent of Norikura was amazing, as always, all the way down to Hirayu village where we had some lunch at Café Mustache and tried to get our shivering under control. (The aircon in the shop was too powerful, and we were wet and 'frozen' after 20 km of solid non-stop descending.)

After lunch we set off for the second of the three climbs. (Annoyingly, my GPS failed to record the next hour or so.) We reached the top in 42 mins. Passing the first corner I acknowledged ProRaceMechanic who a few years back had pushed his bike along the entire 13 km Section C of the super-rindo to see if any of it is rideable. (Answer: No - it isn't and probably never will be again. Thanks, Chuck!) Descending from Abo-toge is a a real bone-shaker of a ride, as some of the switchbacks have a deliberately rickety concrete surface to slow vehicles down.

The switchbacks end, but the descent doesn't. The next 7 km are a thrilling descent through tunnels along side the river gorge. No GPS data but probably averaged 55 or 60 kph. Wheeeee...

All-too-soon came the turn-off for r300 - the final, untested climb. At present only Stormy has this whole climb as a Strava segment, as a small part of an astonishingly masochistic ride a couple of weeks back. I didn't get the segment either, having already started the climb before I realised that something was wrong with the GPS. Next time!!!

The climb was tough. But we did it. We got to the tunnel and rolled back to NorthStar lodge, triumphant!

Myself included, it seems that everyone had a good time. That makes it worth the effort.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
973
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Tokyo
I love the jersey at the far left. It perfectly expresses how I'd feel on the way up. So "it's me". Where can I buy one?

(The Marmite one is good too.)

All right, all very interesting, but the big question hasn't yet been answered: Did Franz show up?
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,750
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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Descending from Abo-toge is a a real bone-shaker of a ride, as some of the switchbacks have a deliberately rickety concrete surface to slow vehicles down.
...or perhaps to prevent ice sheets from forming in the winter?

Myself included, it seems that everyone had a good time. That makes it worth the effort.
Thanks for a great one, Mike!
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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macrophotofly

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
581
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London, UK
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I found myself riding most of the way up with, variously, WhiteGiant, macrophotofly, and two Half-Fast friends - Peter and Dean
I rode all the way up Norikura with Travis (we introduced ourselves to each other on the way up) and didn't realise he is WhiteGiant!!!!
.....:(Gutted:( because I missed the opportunity to thank him in person for his original post about the Boob ride a year ago that had stayed in my mind until I finally rode it two weekends ago
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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I rode all the way up Norikura with Travis ... and didn't realise he is WhiteGiant
LOL. What a personal disaster.

I reckon there were enough clues, but that your shorts were squeezing you so much that you weren't getting enough oxygen to your brain.