Saturday KT Run - Mikuni Calls

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#1
Ladies and Gentlemen, spring is well and truly here and I feel it's time to step upon hallowed turf once again. For those who have ascended Mikuni Toge you know exactly what I mean.

And with Kusatsu fast approaching this would be an ideal training (gut busting) ride. So how about it fellow TCC adventurers? Is anyone with me?

Details: This Saturday, Odawara Station East exit, ready to roll at 9am.

I'm planning on a riding home from Yamanako along R413. There is also the option for those who'd like to return to Odawara station to do so from the top of Mikuni.

Alan, Naomi, Deej, Sergey, Andy, Dave, Dale.....? Anyone interested?

http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/andorra/guuuu/563856128241

p.s weather is looking good. 19 and fine/cloudy
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#2
キタアアアアァァ!

Awwww.. It looks delicioussss, Mike!
Unfortunately, like I said before - can't make it on Saturday, but Sunday is ok. I will do Mikuni either way
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#3
Sergey, Sunday I have to play football and according to Yahoo it's 70% chance of raining. Any chance of changing your schedule? Would love your company:D
 

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
143
4
0
Tokyo
tri-japan.blogspot.com
#4
Hi Mike, will probably see you in the opposite direction on Saturday.

Heading off from Hadano, up Yabitsu and along Doushi road to Yamanakako with a friend who needs to finish in Mishima, though I will head on to Odawara.

If you want to go somewhere on Monday, the weather forecast is good at the moment, I'll put my idea on a new thread.
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#5
Andy, no probs and will keep my eyes peeled for you guys on doushi. No takers yet? Geez am I gonna be forced to suffer in agony alone:(
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#9
Thanks guys, very happy to have your company:D Anyone else keen for this pain fest?

p.s. Travis, will this be your first outings in the mountains since the winter thaw? If so, dude you've got a pair of big ones. Kudos;)
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#10
I would like to be tortured. I feel behind my training schedule for this year and had planned to ride Mikuni for a long time.

I will see everybody in Odawara for a proper self-introduction.
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#11
Mike, I'd really like to join this ride, but I have to be home by 1 p.m., so I'll stick closer to home.

Have a blast, guys!

Deej
 

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
143
4
0
Tokyo
tri-japan.blogspot.com
#14
Tom - my friend James and I saw you on the Doshi road, you were making the most of the swirling tail wind and descent to even notice us. I just saw your route for the day on the gallery pics..... :pray:

We started in Hadano, as James had been working at Tokai university the past few days. Up Yabitsu and along 413. Only small remains of snow on this road now, not even snow melt across the road like last week.

We made all the way along 413 to Yamanakako 7-11 where we bumped into the TCC group. Its funny how you cycle all the way in glorious countryside with blue skies, have Mount Fuji on the banks of the great lake in springtime then just sit in the car park of 7-11 munching food!
Nutrients and energy were need by all at this stage.

After this energy boost, the group split with some heading Tokyoward along 413 -Mike - you must have had a fast ride back, though the crazy swirling wind, was it enough tail wind for you?

Alan, David, Travis, James and I enjoyed the amazing descent away from the lake, its so fast, wide road, makes all the climbing worthwhile. Also it was great to meet you guys for that traverse route back to Odawara, again this was an awesome descent, it just went on forever!

Alan - I tried to make the most of your tired legs After mikuni touge, on the ascent to the final tunnel, but still you powered back and off into the distance!

Travis - now I met you, and now I realise you as YellowGiant, the Niigata/Nagoya day rider :pray:

David - tomorrow will be your Sayonara ride? I am happy to modify the plan if you want to try your favourite route .
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#15
Thanks everybody for waiting at Odawara station and the top of the first hill. Without knowing about Mikuni that already was a mighty big mountain for me.

I don't know if it was the descent or the climb (or the wind), but with the prior trouble I had with my rear wheel, it will need to be replaced. I sat for the better part of an hour in the 711 parking lot close to the foot of Mikuni. Just when I had the wheel running fairly true again, I noticed that the spoke tension on one side was way to low for a safe ride. So it became a compromise between wobbly and safe. Needless to say that I was overly excited about the upcoming descent from Mikuni.

First came the pain though - with the gust, the wheel and my physical condition, I made just past the donut road section with its 18% before I had blown my powder. Checking wheel condition was a good excuse to step down, stretch and push the bike for a couple of meters. Just when I was ready to give up the second time, I made it to the top. Maybe it was the tail wind when entering Kanagawa prefecture that gave me the necessary shove. It remained the only good wind of the day.

I started my careful descend when the rest of the original group departed from the Yamanakako 711 (thanks for the call Mike!). Once there I refueled, met a Japanese rider with a polka dot jersey, which were a common sight that day. He invited me to ride the 246 all the way to Tokyo that day, which I politely declined as I was worried about the climbs back to Odawara enough. It turned out that timid route 138 was a perfect match for my condition though and apart from the traffic I enjoyed it at a satisfying pace.
When getting ready for the descent, I was joined by another rider, who was nice enough to pace me on the way down as he knew the roads.

I made it back to Odawara station by 16:30 with heavy legs. Back in Tokyo, when heading to my friends house to watch Milan-San Remo, I could barely push the pedals on my fixed gear for exhaustion and wind. And I fell asleep before the race finished - what a day! :D
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#16
Mikuni still hurts!

Another year, another go at Mikuni-toge!

Thanks Mike for organising this one. Gunnar - glad you made it back OK. Your wheel looked like it was about to collapse! Good job it didn't! Andy - if you'd attacked on that first little climb off Yamanako shoreline I would definitely have got cramp in my quads and never caught you - you missed your chance :p

We were lucky enough to get decent weather, but the wind was incredible. We left Odawara a little late but under bright sunshine. We did our usual mosey through the lanes of Odawara while my GPS and Travis's memory locked on to where we needed to be.
Ashigara-toge, the first of the three passes of this ride, kind of sneaks up on the unsuspecting rider. The gradient increases a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more and soon you are no illusions that this is a steep hill. But still you know that Mikuni is tougher and is coming up soon. Dropping down from the pass we were exposed to the full blast of the wind. There are many hairpins and with the wind blowing across them, negotiating the corners had more in common with sailing a boat than riding a bike. We would approach a hairpin with the wind blowing (say) from the left, then as we swung through the corner the apparent wind would switch around to the right. Mike and I, with our deep rim wheels, were very vulnerable to this effect. More than once I found myself wildly off-line after a gust hit my front wheel, knocking it to one side or the other. It was a real white-knuckle ride!
Mikuni was next and we were lucky that the wind was not blowing straight in our faces. In fact I think we had a following wind up some of it. I was able to make the most of this following wind and feeling reasonably strong to set a new personal best time up the pass :D The haze that we experienced at the start of the ride had truly blown away so just after the summit we got a great view of a very snowy Mt. Fuji sparkling in the sunshine.
At Yamanako, Mike turned for home via route 413. But as luck would have it, Andy and his friend James arrived just while we were "refuelling". So they joined us for the remainder of the route, with Travis leading a nice high-speed cruise down route 138 before the final big climb of the day past the faux Dutch windmills up to Otometoge. Some heavy clouds were gathering to our west but the weather stayed dry. About halfway down from Otometoge tunnel we left the main road and headed for the back roads desent (unofficial name "Clay's Hill" after his crash there :eek:uch:). I was once again able to lead Andy down roads that made his new bike dirty :gun: However it is a really fantastic finale to the ride with loads of swoopy corners with just enough visibility that you don't have to back off and can hit many of them at full speed :cool: Well worth a few minutes cleaning time at home!
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#17
Thanks for the reports guys and thanks everyone for joining me on this tortuous ride. I haven't really had a chance to write anything up as I've been preoccupied with building my bike. It's a slow process as each component goes on only after extensive reading/research and breath holding. So far so good:confused:

I think Alan and Gunjira have summed up just about everything. Sorry for my poor form and holding you guys up on every climb. The only excuse I have is 3 months off the bike over winter doesn't help:eek:

That headwind on the way up to Ashigara Toge was brutal, and to be honest I was very close to calling it quits right then and there. I was in serious trouble and if it hadn't have been for Gunna I think I would've turned back, cheers mate for your moral support. The look on your face made me feel much better, it wasn't just me hurting! Take my word for it, this German dude knows how to grunt:D

Mikuni was as always hideous and this time I had only myself to blame. In past Mikuni encounters I've always been able to swear, under my breath of course, at the madman who organised such a stupid ride. So this time I ended up calling myself all sorts of names under the sun. About halfway up, just when it seemed to hit 18% and my body was screaming, head about to explode, a group of boy scouts or something shouted 'Ganbare' and I really had to control myself from shouting an obscenity. Luckily I think I managed some kind of polite response but have no recollection of what it was. Oh the pain I was in:eek:uch:

What a relief it was to finally reach the 7-11 over the other side to refuel and compare Mikuni war stories and times at which I could only laugh at my blistering climb of 45 mins, about 9 minutes off my best...yep that's the kind of form I'm in atm:( Oh and the smile on Travis' face at my terrible time was pretty funny too. Man you're flying after all that commuting you've been doing.

It was great to meet up with Andy and James, talk about perfect timing. You guys were spot on about the wind, I had a magnificent tail wind all the way home and couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

So now as I sit here and type this, I can't help but look at my new steed and wonder when we can head to the hallowed slopes of Mikuni again. Ahhh, I must be a glutton for punishment:warau:

p.s. Gunna I got your phone message mate. Thanks for coming out and hope to see you again.

Oh, and I still don't know the order you guys came over Mikuni?

Alan, then Dave or Travis next? I know we weren't racing but I just forgot to ask that one.