Ride Spaceship to Shiraishi-toge - Sat, July 13

WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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Kawaguchi, Saitama
Here’s an oldie, but a goodie, for anyone familiar with the Arakawa and the Oku-Musashi hills (and the Greenline east of Chichibu).

We ride up Arakawa, climb Shiraishi-toge, roll down to Sadamine-toge where we turn left and descend Rte.11 towards Chichibu. After that, we head north on Rte.82, and just after Nagatoro, we head east, up and over a short little hill before heading back to the Arakawa, near Yorii, and then on towards Kumagaya.
That’s the short version, anyway.

Place: Spaceship (a.k.a. Asaka Suimon, Arakawa)
Time: 7:30am




A few months ago, I did a couple of rides out that way to reconnoiter a low-traffic route from Nagatoro that essentially follows the river to get back to Kumagaya.

You can check out those rides HERE (April 6th) and HERE (April 20th). The route I took the first time (April 6th) did not turn out well – I ended up trespassing through a golf course west of Kumagaya, and hit a few gravel patches that I wasn’t prepared for. The April 20th ride was quite successful though, and the slightly meandering back-roads way I found between Yorii and Kumagaya was really nice! It offered a fairly uninterrupted journey almost the entire way.
We’ll be taking that same way this time too (see the RidewithGPS map above).

Starting and ending at “The Spaceship”, it’s about a 170km round trip.

In order to “save my legs” for the entire journey, what I did last time was to mentally split the ride into 3 parts:

Part 1: Getting to the base of the climb – After 15 years of cycling, I had finally discovered “Heart-rate zones”, so I did Zone-2 (ie. Very easy pedaling) all the way up the river. There’s only about a 4km/h difference between going easy and going hard anyway, and I’d rather save my legs for the actual climbs. At the 52.3km mark in the above map there’s a 7-11 (Tokigawa). That was my first stop, and only stop before Shiraishi – I grabbed an onigiri, and ate it as I “feather-pedaled” the rest of the way to the start of the climb (59.3km on the map).

Part 2: The climb itself! Smash it! As hard as you want for as long as it takes to get to the top - Between 25 mins (for a fast rider) and 40 mins (for someone still getting into shape). You do your best, and enjoy going deep. The ride’s basically over now (ha ha)…

Part 3: Getting back! With the main climb out of the way, it’s time relax a little bit, ease off the pressure, and just “enjoy being out on the bike”. When I did these rides in April, I had my second (and final) break at the 101.1km mark, at a Lawson, near Hachigata station. By keeping the breaks to a minimum, and eating on the bike when possible, I was able to do the round trip in under 8 hours.

Anyway, that’s what I did last time… I’m not saying we have to do it the same way this time – If there’s a large-ish group of us, a nice sit-down lunch might be better – There’s the “Gelateria HANA”, at the 74.1km mark, where we can get specialty hot-dogs, waffles, and… gelato – This used to be a regular stop for us back in the day, and I wouldn’t mind dropping in there again.

Another thing that’ll be different this time is that there’s one extra little climb – At 87.7km, we’ll turn right off of Rte.82, and climb about 3.5km to “Saijin-toge” (91.3km). I haven’t climbed this before, so I have no idea what to expect – Just remember when you’re climbing the first one (Shiraishi) to save a bit for this one.

Anyway, that’s the plan.

I know some people might not want to ride all the way back down the river, hence the map ends at Kumagaya. There’s a reasonably fast train back to civilization from there… OR, if you want to ride the 50km back to Spaceship, it’ll take about 2 hours (depending on the wind, and leg fatigue).

As always, let me know if you’re interested.

See you there!
 

luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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quite tempted here, and unless I go somewhere else for Sat-Sun pedaling (since it's a 3 day weekend anyway) I might join this one! BTW, did I see you on the river this morning heading up north when I was going to work around 8:30ish? all I noticed was a white giant bike zooming past and perhaps not an asian face
 

luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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Ok see you all at the spaceship. I'm most probably taking a train back, either from ogawa Machi or kumagaya
 
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WhiteGiant

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Nov 4, 2006
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Kawaguchi, Saitama
Looking forward to tomorrow!
It looks like there will be 6 ~ 8 of us, at least until Shiraishi.
Mark, Anthony, Aron, Luka, Thooms, Julien (maybe), Stu, and me
@stu_kawagoe , it might pay to be at the meeting point (Rte.254, Iruma river bridge) at about 8:35 - It sounds like we might be early.

Possible route change: If Mark or Anthony know a quick way to get up the river without crossing over to Akigase Park, we might head all the way up on the "West" side of Arakawa - We might not cross the river, if it's not necessary, so please don't count on meeting us on the Akigase side, just in case.
Everything else will be the same as the original route map.

See you at the Spaceship!
T
 
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MattRyuu

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Spaceship @ 7:30 am? I'm due for a 2-4 hour hills workout tomorrow as part of a training plan, and doing part of this up to Shiraishi. Would turning directly around and coming back to the Spaceship be doable? I've got in-laws coming in from Sendai and I'm expected to be back by 1 p.m. It would be my first ride, actually with anyone in Japan, and I've really only been cycling about a year.

Also would be good to know what to bring on a ride like this? The most I've ridden is 80km, so please help me out. Gomenasai!
 

leicaman

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Spaceship @ 7:30 am? I'm due for a 2-4 hour hills workout tomorrow as part of a training plan, and doing part of this up to Shiraishi. Would turning directly around and coming back to the Spaceship be doable? I've got in-laws coming in from Sendai and I'm expected to be back by 1 p.m. It would be my first ride, actually with anyone in Japan, and I've really only been cycling about a year.

Also would be good to know what to bring on a ride like this? The most I've ridden is 80km, so please help me out. Gomenasai!
If the furthest you’ve ridden is 80km and you have to be back by 1pm, I would probably give this one a miss if I were you. From the spaceship to the top of Shiraishi it’s probably around 3 to 3.5 hours , then about 3 back to the spaceship. Plus some quick breaks and I don’t think you would get back in time for your in-laws.
Shiraishi return is probably around 120km. Would be a shame to miss it as it looks like it’ll be a good one.
I really don’t know how fit you are but if you can comfortably hold 38kph with no wind by yourself then you should be ok to get there and back.
 

stu_kawagoe

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Jun 23, 2018
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@WhiteGiant @leicaman

Yeah, if you and @leicaman have some better idea for a route to Shiraishi/the meeting point can you link to a pin on Google Maps and I'll meet you there? It might be crazy talk but this might be a better spot to meet you guys if the route could change. Let me know what you think as it's not hard for me to get there.
 
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theBlob

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Sep 28, 2011
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It’s 130km return from the spaceship.
It’s a good ride, and promises to be a proper hammer fest despite white giant pretending otherwise. Just bring your phone and send a message saying you’ll be late half way along. You can blame me having to stop often to apply oil to maximize my mankini tan lines.
 
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