Report: Koburi Toge to Oume (a @yamabushi route)

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
916
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#1
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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Shrine at a nearby village:

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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:

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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):

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Then began the climb up to the Greenline.

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After a few km of climbing, I hit the road on which I had driven by car many times.

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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.

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The landscape views were as endless as ever:

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(continued)
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
916
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#2
(continued)

After I had finished eating and rested, I paid and got some water for the road. The two other cyclists started talking to me, asking where I came from and where I was heading. They were from Omiya. They thought I'd just head down again the way I came as they were, but I told them I still had some way to go and pulled up the map on the Android. "Oh, you still have some big climbs ahead of you!"

And indeed the climb to Koburi toge (about 350 m) had only been the warm up, but I knew that.

The route goes up and down, reaching the highest point at Kabasaka toge (818 m). There was a guy sitting there next to his mini van playing his guitar. He was running a coffee stall out of the van. I had a cup of freshly brewed coffee and sampled some of his dried kaki (persimmon) fruit.

Three other cyclists were taking their pictures at the marker. After I had finished coffee, I asked if they could also take my picture with my camera. They obliged and we started chatting. Surprised that I cycled from Tokyo and was planning on cycling back there, they laughed that they "cheated" and drove by car to the start. We all introduced each other.

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They took some pictures of the bike too. After we said farewell I started the descent, which was familiar from Deej's ride, when Mark had the cut tyre and had to bail out from a nearby station. There was a lot less debris on the road than then and I could descend much faster.

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The Yamabushi toge descent was as much fun as ever. I stuck to Pete's route the whole way, except for a few km before the spaceship at the Arakawa.

As I got closer to Oume it got cooler and cooler as the sun approached the horizon. I wanted to get to Oume by around 18:00 and I made it.

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This was the first long ride in a while where I felt I was getting into shape again. I can still feel my knee from the dooring incident a week ago, but cycling doesn't seem to make it worse.

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I rode back the final 45 km down the Tamagawa and back to Setagaya feeling quite good. Misled by the 12 km over-count from the spoke magnet issue, I even added a small loop at the end to try to bring the total over 200 km, but it didn't really matter.

September may be the last month for a while for lots of distance for me. Next month I'll be gone for a business trip that includes two consecutive weekends (right after my final brevet ride of the year).

In November my nephew will be visiting for two weeks, so I may be donning my tour guide hat a bit instead of cycling, but may still head to Nichitsu ghost town on the first November weekend, weather permitting. See you on the road!
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
916
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#3
Chris, I saw my first Moulton in Japan (after having lived 5 years in the UK). I've probably come across half a dozen here over the last 4 years, including one on the top of Norikura pass (~2700 m).
 

rommelgc

Maximum Pace
Sep 3, 2009
362
101
73
Setagaya
#5
The Moulton is sexy but just too damn expensive here. The frame always reminds me of the older Ducati Trellis frames.
Nearby LORO has one on display to oogle at.