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Okutama Ultra-Boob


Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011

Last Saturday I did a ride I'd been toying with for about two years. I had done the Okutama Boob route (Musashiitsukaichi-Tomin no Mori-Lake Okutama-Tomin no Mori-Musashiitsukaichi, 188 km w/ 2000 m of climbing from Setagaya) several times, but wanted to combine it with a Matsuhime climb.

I did my first Matsuhime climb in June 2012, riding out from Setagaya via Tomin to take pictures at the TCC KOM finish line. One the way home I opted for the easy downhill route along 411 to Oume and the Tamagawa. Twelve months later I climbed Matsuhime twice on the same day, once as part of Otsuki 4.5 and then intending to go home to Setagaya via Tomin from Otsuki. Torrential rain on Matsuhime forced me to abandon that plan in favour of an Okutama station bailout.

Saturday ended up being a very long day. I left home around 06:30 and got back around 23:00. Seeing the weather forecast predicting a maximum of only 23 C, planning to descend from above 1100 m three times that day and not getting home until late, I wore Uniqlo long johns under my bib shorts and I was glad I did. Around Okutama-ko it's always significantly cooler than in Tokyo. Temperatures on the toge dropped as low as 13 C.

The birds on the power lines on the Tamagawa reminded me of autumn:


I rode to Musashiitsukaichi via @Half-Fast Mike's Akigawa route and this time hardly had to check the GPS screen to track the course. I got to Musashiitsukaichi a little before 09:30 and continued to the 7-11 up the road. As I was having my second breakfast with coffee there, six Half-Fast riders arrived for Rupert's Okutama loop. We rode to the Hinohara T-junction together.


The police were out in full force, mounting a checkpoint for motorcyclists across the street from the conbini as well as a radar speed trap at the usual place in the forest up in Hinohara. I encountered a shirobaiku (police motorbike) patrolling the road on the Tomin climb and several vans and police cars at the car parks near the toge.

Onsen on the way up to Tomin no Mori. I need to give this place a try some time:


I passed the Tomin trail head without stopping and continued straight to the soba / donburi place down at the lake, where I arrived around 12:45.


While I was having some soba and coffee there, the Half-Fast crew passed in front of the restaurant on their way from Okutama and turned to the bridge for their Kazahari climb.


I headed on Rt139 into Yamanashi, via Kosuge village to Matsuhime toge. This was my view from the top of Matsuhime:


Near the car park I came across this Buell motorbike. You don't see many of them. Harley-Davidson first acquired the company and then shut it down in 2009.


Back down at the lake:



Autumn on Kazahari toge:



After already more than 2000 m of climbing, I didn't have a lot of reserves for the final big climb back up from the lake to Kazahari toge. I knew I'd be descending to Musashiitsukaichi in the dark.

Less than a km from Kazahari toge I passed two bicycles lying by the roadside in a curve, with one cyclist cradling another in his lap. I asked what had happened. It was a teacher and one of his students, from a high school bicycle club. As they had started their descent after the climb from Musashiitsukaichi, the student had crashed in a corner. His hand had hit a chevron marking the corner and he ended up with a broken finger. Luckily there seemed to be no other injuries, but he was in great pain. One of the other students had already cycled to an area with cellphone reception (the crash site was without signal) to notify the parents and call an ambulance.

A passing motorcyclist also stopped. There wasn't much we could do, except lend them company while they were waiting for an ambulance and the police, who arrived first. With Musashiitsukaichi about 30 km of mountain road away, the ambulance ended up taking some time. Luckily the cyclists had jackets and an aluminium blanket to keep warm on the mountain, as it was getting pretty chilly as dusk turned into night. After a while the motorcyclist offered to get some warm drinks at Tomin, but came back to report the police were on their way. Once they arrived and started taking care of the situation, the motorcyclist and I headed on. I passed the ambulance near the toge.

At the toge I put on my wind breaker and it started to drizzle as I descended to the other side. Probably the drizzle was just from the clouds engulfing the mountain, as it stopped as I lost altitude. I was really glad to have good lights on the bike for the 5 hour night ride (including coffee break), especially on the Tomin descent and on the Akigawa riverside.

The total came to 219 km with 2819 m of climbing.

Sunday was an easy day for recovery, only 22 km at little more than mamachari pace: My wife and I cycled to a party with friends in Shinjuku, her first ride on her road bike since April. I am now less than 50 km from 1000 km for September, my best month this year, with two days left in the month :)


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Enjoyed the narrative--and pictorial; I used to go up to that area when researching a mountain village (Tabayama) decades ago.

joewein: "Bicycle shinto: worshipping the kami of rivers, trees, mountains and the ocean, on two wheels"
Nice tagline.
Gorgeous pictures as always Joe! We crossed each other full speed near the west-end tip of Okutamako but I don't think you noticed me (was wearing the Belgian national team outfit :) )
Hi @TOM, I see on Strava when you came down the mountain on your Matsuhime loop and turned onto the Okutama bridge for Kazahari. Our paths must have crossed not far from there on Rt139, but I indeed missed spotting you!

It was a great day to be out and about :)
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