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Kangaeroo

Maximum Pace
Jan 24, 2018
926
1,102
Outstanding report and ride again, @joewein
But also a bit of a bummer and I must pay for my procrastination: I wanted to ask you for some time if I could accompany you on a western Izu ride some day, but it will have to wait for another time now you are heading down this weekend. Hope it's a great ride and I look forward to reading a report of another great ride.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,253
2,966
I wanted to ask you for some time if I could accompany you on a western Izu ride some day, but it will have to wait for another time now you are heading down this weekend. Hope it's a great ride and I look forward to reading a report of another great ride.
Hi @Kangaeroo,
I'll definitely go there again either in December or in January. In that case I'll load the bike in the car and drive to Mishima to park the car there and do the ride. I'm happy to pick you up somewhere suitable along Tomei expressway. Izu rides are perfect for winter time because you can ride the entire coastal route without having to climb higher than 300 m (same for Boso peninsula in Chiba) so you don't have to worry too much about sub-zero temperatures.

And as a major bonus, Fuji views are perfect in winter when the air is really dry and you can see so far.

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luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
2,217
2,049
on the commute today, just waiting for the light to change, when an urban ninja pulls this right in front of the camera
 

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luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
2,217
2,049
no problems, just sharing a random stunt that happened to be caught on camera so perfectly
 

Kangaeroo

Maximum Pace
Jan 24, 2018
926
1,102
Hi @Kangaeroo,
I'll definitely go there again either in December or in January. In that case I'll load the bike in the car and drive to Mishima to park the car there and do the ride. I'm happy to pick you up somewhere suitable along Tomei expressway. Izu rides are perfect for winter time because you can ride the entire coastal route without having to climb higher than 300 m (same for Boso peninsula in Chiba) so you don't have to worry too much about sub-zero temperatures.

And as a major bonus, Fuji views are perfect in winter when the air is really dry and you can see so far.

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Wow! Thank you! I would love that. And I am an absolute sucker for Fujisan, so it would be an even better trip. Stuff of dreams
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,076
1,511
I had the sound off (usual habit), so didn't know there was a skid. It just looked like someone cruising by.

:)
 

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
2,217
2,049
for added amusement: pause the video and move the time cursor slowly to see it in slomo or broken up frame by frame. also newly made skidmark on the zebra
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,464
3,391

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,076
1,511
Minor heads up: I was over at one of the local Workman outlets for some other things, and picked up a pair of winter-ish tights for ¥1280. That's for the heavier of two types (black only), the lighter weight type was ¥980, and only some really wild colors/designs (no black). Not bibs, but cheap.

Really windy this morning, but otherwise beautiful. Only two rides this week, due to rain, also got a flu shot and took it easy the day after that. Some rain out there on the radar, moving fast, so tomorrow's a 'maybe'.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,253
2,966
A week after riding a 200 km brevet with AJ NishiTokyo to Lake Saiko and back, I rode BRM1023 in West Izu with them, my favourite 200 km course.


I had booked a room at Toyoko-Inn Mishima for the night before, so I wouldn't have to drive out there in the morning before the ride and instead could sleep longer. It was cold and rainy on Friday and was still raining as I drove there from Tokyo but the rain stopped as I entered Shizuoka. I still had not decided what to wear for the ride, with the forecast predicting lows of 11-13 C and highs of 19-20 C. Before checking in I did some breakfast shopping at a conbini and left the bike in the back of the car in a coin parking lot near the hotel overnight.

I opened the curtain in the morning to the unexpected view of a clear blue sky and Mt Fuji with lots of snow behind the Toray plant (the leading maker of carbon fiber for road bikes). The forecast had been cloudy to overcast.

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I had a very light breakfast in the room before getting my stuff ready. I put on my shorts but wore long underwear to cover my legs. Though I was pretty confident it wouldn't rain, I took my rain gear in a light string backpack as I could always use it as a thermal layer if the temperature dropped too far at night. After checkout I had a look around the breakfast area in the lobby for other participants and spotted Maya Ide of AJ Kanagawa, one of the pioneers of Japanese randonneuring. One of her recent projects has been the Japan Ultra Cycling Association to make it easier for Japanese cyclists to qualify for Race Across America (RAAM) and other ultra-long-distance events. She recently participated in a 1000 km team ride in the Ride Around Aomori.

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There were two courses, the difficult Matsuzaki course with 2,600 m of elevation gain starting at 8:00 and the very difficult Darumayama course with over 3,500 m starting at 07:30, both with the same 13 1/2 hours of time limit for 200 km brevets.

I had only attempted the Darumayama course once and had to give all just to get to the halfway check point by the closing time, with nothing left in the tank to make the second half in time. Having said that, views from the course are spectacular as you are riding south on top of one of Izu's mountain spines, giving you airplane views of the peninsula and adjacent parts of Shizuoka. I had opted for the Matsuzaki course instead, which hugs the coastal road. Though this course never rises above 250 m, it does rise and drop repeatedly so that there is very little flat cycling from the point you turn the NW corner of Izu at Osezaki until you get back there. Almost all the time you're either climbing or descending, which is also true for Izu coastal roads in general.

The number of participants seemed much smaller than in non-Covid years. I think a lot of people have lost their fitness with the many cancelled events and didn't feel up to the challenge of the course. I had been continuing with my century rides and especially with having completed a 2,300 m elevation gain brevet the previous weekend with half an hour spare I was quite confident I'd do OK. I had finished most Matsuzaki brevets with 30-45 minutes spare. It was a gorgeous day, easily in the top 20 percent of Fuji-viewing Izu ride days weather-wise. I could not possibly miss this, but that also meant taking pictures that I could only take on such a day and that would definitely slow me down and eat into my left over time.

Hillside homes with Mt Fuji, near Toi:
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I completed my pre-ride safety check ahead of most of the riders and set off following the GPS instructions. Soon I was joined by another cyclist who had not done this course before but had managed to complete 300, 400 and 600 km brevets this season, so for him completing it would mean making SR (Super Randonneur) status this season, whereas I had done none of these distances this year and probably will never manage 600. About 15 km into the ride, the course passed the Nirayama reverberatory furnace, a Meij-era iron works.

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A little over an hour into the ride we got to PC1, the first of two timed checkpoints. There I had a brief chat with Maya-san about JUCA and also about bicycles, as she noted mine had both disk brakes and a dynamo hub. She was interested in new wheels and I recommended Tim Smith of GS Astuto who had built all my wheels. We soon continued, as I wanted to get as far ahead of the minimum pace in the flatish early part of the course so that I would have a time buffer for the hilly parts later on.

Soon we reached the coastline and began enjoying ocean views. I got ahead of the main group. As I passed a warehouse-sized fruit shop selling locally grown mikan, I stopped and bought a 500 yen bag which I stored in my capacious front bag. On the way to Osezaki I passed others and was passed as individuals stopped for pictures and other reasons at different times. The first major climb started and I met up with Maya-san's group again. Later we met again at a viewpoint and I handed out mikan to all cyclists, including two non-event road cyclists from the Philippines we started talking to there.

Fishing boats in the port of Heda, with Mt Fuji in the background:
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I didn't have time to visit the sandspit at Heda which has great views. After four major hills came the long descent to Toi. While I had been half an hour ahead of schedule, with the hills that shrank to 20 minutes. As it got warmer, the long underwear I used to cope with the morning cold became too much so I got changed. My legs were signalling energy depletion so I stopped at a conbini for food. The Toi to Matsuzaki portion of the course had more traffic, some tunnels and is less scenic, but I was looking forward to the southernmost portion and Kumomi onsen, which you could already see from around Dogashima.

Dogashima:
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I kept a moderate pace, just enough for my time buffer to stay in the 0-10 minute range as I was climbing and descending. I didn't want to be caught in negative territory, not when I still had to do the same four hills between Toi and Osezaki again on the way up north. Somewhere before Matsuzaki the first cyclists in reflective vests passed me already heading back up the coast. Some were from the Darumayama course. As more and more participants passed coming back from Kumomi onsen, I knew I had to be close to the back. Near Matsuzaki I passed Mrs E., a teammate from the Fleche ride in April, on an out and back section of the course so I knew I was about 4 km behind her.

Matsuzaki coast with Mt Fuji from Kumomi Onsen:
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At that point I stopped worrying about whether I would make it under the time limit or not and just enjoyed the views. The coast between Matsuzaki and Kumomi Onsen is one of my favourites. There was a quiz point at Kumomi where we had to write down a number from a road sign to prove passage. I was looking forward to the evening views to follow. As I was heading back to Matsuzaki from Kumomi Onsen, a cyclist in the JUCA jersey passed me so I knew at least I wasn't the last one.

In the tunnels south of Toi my GPS kept wanting to pause, indicating its speed sensor had stopped working. The coin cell battery must have run out after 5 months. Without a speed sensor I wasn't sure how accurate the counted distance from the start would be and hence how many km I had left to PC2 (the last timed control) or to the goal and what average speed I needed to achieve to make it.

I had recovered somewhat in the middle portion of the ride so, helped by more food and drink, I put in my best effort heading up the coast. After sunset the temperatures had dropped to 16 C. In Toi it finally became so chilly, I decided to get changed. Instead of changing underwear again which would have taken more time I wore the rain pants on top of my shorts, which helped a lot as it is wind-stopping nylon. The JUCA cyclist who had caught up with me also got changed. Later in the hills I also wore my rain jacket.

The day before the ride I had adjusted my headlight angle. Built to the German specification, it has a cut-off with little light above a certain line (unlike many Japanese headlights especially on electric assist mamachari that seem to want to dazzle everyone on the road). On the previous weekend I had noticed that I had set the angle a bit on the low side and therefore raised it to make sure I had good visibility on the Rt17 descents in the NW corner. The roads there were rough and pot-holed. This little change served me very well, allowing me to descend safely at a pretty decent speed. The fat tires also helped with the potholes.

Just before Iida tunnel, the top of the last of the four climbs, the JUCA cyclist caught up with me again and I also met two other partipants walking their bikes to let their legs recover for a bit. After the descent from the tunnel I calculated that I could just about make the PC2 closing time if the distance count of the GPS was correct. Time-trialling through the night, I met few cars or traffic lights and there was not that much up and down. A little bit of a cold headwind, but never too bad.

I did not even properly remember which of the 7-11 shops in the area was the control, but assumed it was the one with the tsunami lifeboat in its parking lot. In any case, my Wahoo Elemnt would tell me as I got close, as it did. I was so relieved when I saw the 7-11 sign in the distance, with only a couple of minutes left. I ran in, quickly grabbed something and paid. The time on the receipt was 20:26 - two minutes before the deadline after almost 188 km.

The JUCA cyclist also arrived but she had crashed going over a pothole on the descent, with some damage to the knees of the leg warmers and bartape and minor scrapes but still she seemed OK, no concussion. Another cyclist arrived and together we headed towards the goal but got separated again.

Normally, you gain up to 10 extra minutes after the last PC of a 200 km brevet. That's because the time limit is 13:30 whereas the 15 km/h minimum pace for all PCs would equate to a 13:20 total. So you would have 10 minutes extra over the previous pace to finish. However, 200 km brevets typically are a little longer than 200 km, depending on possible routing and choice of goals. In this case we used a 7-11 to record goal time via receipts which was 204 km from the start. Those extra 4 km would more than make up for the 10 minutes gain. On top of that we would encounter more and more traffic lights as we got closer to Mishima station. Each red light could make the difference between finishing and being over the time limit.

I passed in front of Tokyo-Inn three minutes before course closing time. Two staff members standing outside told me to hurry to the conbini. I rushed into the conbini parking lot, leaned the bike against the wall, grabbed my wallet and ran inside. I did what a fellow randonneur had once recommended to me: If you need a receipt in a hurry, just walk straight up to the cashier and buy a coffee. They give you the paper cup and ring up the purchase immediately - no need to grab anything off the shelves first! So that's what I did. The receipt was issued at 21:29, one minute before course closing time. I could have been only one more minute late, anything above that I would have been a DNF (did not finish). I was so relieved.

I drank my coffee and then headed back to the Toyoko-Inn to hand in my brevet card and receipts for checking, with the answer to the quiz question. I had been the last participant who actually finished. The other cyclists were also there. After chatting with participants and staff, mostly about the ride, I decided to head back (111 km by car). It took one nap at Ebina service area on Tomei expressway to get me back home safely, but I still made it by 00:30. Today I've been taking it easy :)

Maya-san has invited me to a 300 km brevet to Shimoda and back in November, but I will need to check the ride elevation before I decide. Anybody know how many m of barometric elevation gain there are from Odawara to Shimoda (one way)?

AJ NishiTokyo staff pictures here
 
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Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,307
1,500
Looks like everyone took advantage of the good weather forecast for this weekend and knocked out some great rides. I chose to do my long planned Mt. Fuji circumnavigation, starting up around Fujikyu and passing several of the five lakes and ending at Fuji Station. A bit chillier and windier than I expected but more than made up for by the views of Mt. Fuji in near perfect weather. Saw a large snake sunning itself on the road, which I take to be a sign of good weather.
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Took the train from Fuji station to Numazu and stayed at the Toyoko Inn at Numazu for an early start on day 2, Izu.

Hugged the coast from Numazu and along the north coast of Izu. Treated to the sight of a sailboat sailing the bay with Fuji as a backdrop. I headed up to the ridgeline then along it, and back down to Shuzenji. Got pretty chilly along the ridgeline. Rinko'd back to Tokyo. P1030266.JPG P1030261.JPG
 

Kangaeroo

Maximum Pace
Jan 24, 2018
926
1,102
@Chuck, fantastic ride and report! I meant to comment on Strave, but was absolutely knackered and kept falling asleep. Superb photos! And that burger looks good enough to have 2-3 of them (snake doesn't look too bad, either, just as a reminder of home....)
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,307
1,500
@Kangaeroo The burger place is called Sugeez. It was conveniently located just where I needed to eat and no other places around. Nice casual Americana vibe. It was busy so took 30 minutes to get the avacado cheeseburger and fries. Pretty tasty but pricey at 1800 yen. But a guy's gotta eat when a guy's gotta eat. Whatcha gonna do?

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bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,063
4,603
Looks like I am going to miss all my goals for the year. Starting the year with a torn up knee and ending with my work trip being extended...

Still a good year all thing considered. Looking forward to a healthy start to next year already.
 
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