I did my second long ride of the month on Sunday: 188 km with 1760 m of elevation gain. It was a "no rinko" version of an April 12 group ride by Pete (@Yamabushi) on the Greenline in Saitama. And what a great route it was, Pete!
Back in the 1990s I lived in Sakado in Saitama, not far from those hills. Since then the area around Ogose has always been one of my favourites. Our family often went hiking around Kuroyamasantaki ("black mountain three waterfalls"). When our kids where still little, we often went for a drive up to a noodle shop at Koburi toge to enjoy a bowl of udon or soba with a magnificent view of one ridge line behind another ridge line behind yet another. Going back to the noodle shop with the view was my main goal for the day.
I left home around 06:30 under much sunnier skies than expected from the forecast. I had taken off the mud guards and instead of my saddle bag just carried a small bag with a wind breaker and a second spare tube, tied to my seat rails with rubber bands. I didn't use either the whole day, but better be safe than sorry.
On Kannana (Rt318) on the way to the Arakawa I noticed the speed display on the Navi2Coach computer over-reading. It turned out the spoke magnet had been knocked sideways, which ended up registering two blips for every turn of the wheel. Consequently the N2C and RWGPS counted 12 bonus km for the ride (200 km total), while Strava went by GPS data (188 km total).
I carried one banana, which I ate when I got near the river, then bought another 4 at a conbini. In total I consumed 8, plus a bowl of tsukimi udon (literally "see the moon udon", with seaweed and a raw egg in it) at my old haunt up on the mountain, as well as some bread and yoghurt.
Thankfully the temperature was very moderate all day, if anything more on the cool side. I refilled bottles at every opportunity, but after the Koburi toge refill I still had plenty of water left at the refill after the Yamabushi toge descent. That was very different from the heat of Deej's Oume temple loop in July 2012 in the same area.
On the way out to Ogose I dropped in on my mother in law for a chat, a cup of coffee and a water refill, then on towards the hills. It's a really quiet area. The rice harvest is in full swing.
At one conbini I met a lady on her Moulton TSR 30 and her husband on yet another small wheel bike. She had bought the bike at a UK trip as prices in Japan are just too expensive (about double the UK). Hers was also equipped with a dynamo hub:
Shrine at a nearby village:
Sarusuberi blossoms near Ogose. The Chinese characters 百日紅 literally mean "100 days crimson", due to the unusually long bloom (July-September) of the tree:
The valley is not very steep until the turn-off for Kuroyamasantaki. I passed a quarry and a shrine that I had passed many times before (by car and twice by bike):
Then began the climb up to the Greenline.
After a few km of climbing, I hit the road on which I had driven by car many times.
Towards 13:00 I finally arrived at the noodle shop. There were a couple of other cyclists already. I picked a tatami seat near the window.
The landscape views were as endless as ever: