Thanks for organising this tour, Travis. One of the fastest, to be sure. And, thinking of our chase back home via Routes 29 and 20, one of the most exciting. I have never dodged through the traffic like that before. I will seriously consider your "snake/eel" usergroup suggestion!
Also thanks to all the other people who have joined - Aaron, alanw (Alan), Chazzer (Charles), Megumi-san, Newton, Nobu-san, Philip, Sean, Taro-san, trad (Todor), Travis, Yoko-san - you were great! Philip and Alan are hillclimb aces, deserving the polka-dot jersey! Travis, I am glad you could brake your own record!
Philip, sorry we've lost each other on Route 20, I was taking a flyover and you were gone!
Great ride to the top and back the same way for me ! That was really good and I hope to complete the whole route next time. Still I made it back to my home exactly at 6pm so perfect timing all round and now I have enough credit in the bank to make the next tour I hope !!
Nokogiriyama was icy cold, as expected. I haven’t done Nokogiri in a couple of years and the ride reminded me of why I like it so much.
It’s a single lane all the way to the top and over the other side. From the branch off 411, it starts climbing immediately and consists entirely of short straights and switchbacks. Maximum grade is 12% and I am guessing that the minimum is around 8%; a relentless grind like Wada, but much longer.
The scenery is great, and at one point you can see the whole climb laid out on the hillside across the valley. The road used to be rough on the Okutama side, but is now quite smooth. Over the other side, the scenery gets much better and the road rougher. The far side follows the Kita Akikawa gorge from the mountains down to near Itsukaichi.
We made it back to civilization (and more to the point, to lighted roads) just as it got dark. From that point, the blinkies were enough. Close cut, as usual.
We need to plan a ride from the Itsukaichi side. I have an evil idea of how we can link it with Matsuhime, or Ootoge.
Sean should be providing a full profile with gradients son. Looking forward to seeing that.
Thanks Travis for organising this ride. Sorry I couldn't stay with you guys the whole way, but after arriving at the top of the hill
I was almost hypothermic after a few minutes; and
I realised I was going to have to 'put the pedal to the metal' to get home in time.
Time up the hill was 51:18; I reckon sub 50 mins is possible. Maybe next time! I was going so hard that I felt quite light-headed at the top.
Riding down to Okutama was good but with the windchill it felt like my face was freezing, and I was glad to get down into the valley and some warmer air. I hit 68 km/h on the way down though. I zipped through the tunnels on route 413 and turned south on a quiet forest road that I know from my MTB adventures near Hinode-yama. It's a smaller climb than Nokogiriyama; 200m up to 700m but still hurts, then downhill all the way to the finish.
See you next time,
Things were running smoothly before the day even started. As I rode around the corner to where I was supposed to meet Thomas at 7:20, he was turning the corner from the opposite direction – we didn’t even un-clip to stop; we just jumped into formation, and rode straight into Shinjuku to meet Todor and Terry.
Terry had to go and fix his wheels, but he was nice enough to come to the pre-arranged meeting place to tell us in person that he couldn’t come along.
Thomas, Todor and I headed to our next rendezvous with Philip – who told us later that just as he arrived, he saw the three of us pull up on the other side of the traffic lights. With 35km from there to Haijima, the four of us rode down Rte.20. Along the way, the road got too narrow to keep up a decent pace, so we headed for the Tamagawa cycling road – it was a semi-educated guess that worked out perfectly – it was less than 2km from Rte.20.
Once we were on the river though, we moved into Time-Trial mode – We held a fairly high pace for some quite long stretches into a slight headwind, with each person taking turns on the front – nice clean rotations. That meant we all arrived with some energy left for the climb. Thank you guys! That was some awesome riding, Thomas, Todor and Philip.
We arrived at Haijima station right on time, 10:15, to meet Aaron, Sean and Newton.
The now, seven of us headed toward Musashi-Itsukaichi, and arrived at exactly 11:00, where we found Nobu, Alan, Yoko (Ibe), Taro (Kanbayashi), Megumi (Shibayama) waiting for us. Charles (Chazzer) arrived 25 minutes later, and we all rode the 17km to the start of the climb – Thirteen riders in formation lookin’ pretty cool! The TCC Express!
At the “start”, we had a short break to take some photos and eat what we would need for the climb.
Friendly Competition – as it happened:
We all rode out at about 12:40.
Alan jumped right from the start, and no-one could catch him!
Philip came past me not too long afterwards, and kept pulling away gradually – I could see him a couple of hundred meters ahead of me for the first 3km, before he finally disappeared completely.
Also just behind me, for the first 5km, I could see Aaron, Thomas and Sean following me… chasing me like a pack of hungry wolves.
Then Thomas made his move, and came past me! And I never thought I’d see him again until the top.
Not too far before the toll-gates though, Alan came past me (again! – I had to do a double-take before I realized he’d stopped for a toilet-break).
I saw him go past Thomas just after the toll-gates, and continue up the mountain like a rocket.
I had my one lucky break just before Tomin-no-mori – I could see Thomas up ahead, and I was gaining on him.
We rode up to Tomin-no-mori together, but I had the advantage of knowing the road…(my 8th time up that little hill).
At the top, I found Alan still recovering from his massive effort – 51:18.
Philip was nowhere to be seen. Alan told me he just kept going down for a bit more exercise – but he was 1 minute behind Alan – About 52:20-ish?
I checked the time on my meter – 4 minutes behind Alan – 55:20. But 2mins: 10 secs better than my previous time.
Thomas was next to the top – about 57:00?
Following in quick succession were: Aaron, Taro, Sean and Todor.
Alan had to get back quickly, so he went down solo - then over Hinode-yama and back to the station.
Aaron and Sean were talking about heading off as well, so Thomas and I left Taro and Todor in charge of our back-packs while we went back down to find the last riders. Just as we were leaving, Philip turned up from his little jaunt down the other side and came with us to look for everyone too.
We passed Charles and Yoko not too far from the top, and we only had to get as far as Tomin-no-mori before we found Megumi, Nobu and Newton.
Charles was pushed for time, so we told him that the quickest way back was the way we came up – glad you made it home on time, Chazzer!
The ride down was FREEZING, and we picked up Aaron and Sean at the bottom, before heading to the “Oasis” – I still don’t know the name of the place, but it has the only thing that matters in times like this – A HEATER!!!
Picture this: 11 lycra-clad freezing idiots trying to push their way to the one and only heater within 20 miles!!! You get the idea.
After warming ourselves, eating some Toro-soba and drying our shoes, socks and gloves, we headed towards Ome (30km away) at about 3:45.
Aaron and Sean broke off after about 7km to head back to Musashi-Itsukaichi, via Nokogiri-yama – Thanks for the report, Aaron. I’d like to try it some time – after my legs have recovered!
The ride back to Ome was slower than I expected - All plans for shabu-shabu in Hachioji were cancelled - but we all made it to the 7-11 outside Ome station just before 5:30, had something to eat and warmed ourselves in there (I think we scared the staff a bit).
The girls – Nobu, Yoko and Megumi took the train from Ome, and the remaining six guys – Philip, Thomas, Travis (me), Todor, Taro and Newton started riding. We left there right on 6:00, and headed back towards Tokyo.
Philip took the lead, and before we knew it, the six of us were snaking through traffic at over 35 km/h in a few places – we did have a nice tailwind though! But that was some of the most exciting night-traffic-group-riding I have ever experienced.
Philip, you lead us all back in style. Really awesome!
The group started splitting up towards the end, and Thomas lost Philip in the traffic near Philip's turn-off at Kannana-dori – I think everyone just wanted to get home, and into the bath – but the rest of us were back together by Shinjuku.
We all peeled off one by one, but it looks like everybody made it home safely!
I walked through the door right on 9:30, with 228km on the clock!
Great effort from everyone.
Thanks again for coming along and making it a great day!