Ride Spaceship to Shiraishi-toge - Sat, July 13

MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
238
199
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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.
Thanks @leicaman, I'm not quite at 38 kph with no wind. Any suggestions for a few hours of hills accessible off Arakawa or North/East Tokyo?
 

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
1,433
947
143
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.
I can see already it's gonna be a hammerfest and heart zones outta window...
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,927
1,554
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...
Yes, come with us as far as monomiyama. It’s a 5km loop with 100m climbing. 40 km from the spaceship.

Or get the train to hanno and ride to ogawamachi via the green line.


Thanks @leicaman, I'm not quite at 38 kph with no wind. Any suggestions for a few hours of hills accessible off Arakawa or North/East Tokyo?
 

MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
238
199
53
42
Hope you guys are crushing it right now. Sorry I couldn't make it. 3 year old threw up last night, and I would have been toast on the little sleep I got.
 
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stu_kawagoe

Maximum Pace
Jun 23, 2018
631
626
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@WhiteGiant Thanks so much for organizing today’s ride as it was such great fun! It was also awesome to ride with a full TCC crew for the first time. Definitely looking forward to doing something like this again with TCC in the near future😁 All the best for the rest of the long weekend!

Stu
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,205
292
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Kawaguchi, Saitama
Official Ride Report:

Well, that was fun!
Huge thanks to everyone who made it out – Great to see a lot of familiar faces, and some new ones too.
There ended up being 9 of us.

Six of us met at the Spaceship on schedule - @Aron B , Julien, @theBlob , @leicaman , @luka , and me. We waited an extra 5 minutes for @MattRyuu & @thooms , but time was short, so we left without them. Matt had some children issues to deal with, and @thooms took a wrong turn on the way to meeting point and just missed us – Although he would catch back up with us at the Tokigawa 7-11.

Initially, during the planning stages of this ride, there was talk of “taking it easy” on the way up the river… Ha ha! What manner of foolishness! Everybody knows that you “go as fast as the fastest guy, or get left behind.” So Mark dragged the lot of us – scruff of the neck style - up the river, through “Ben’s Bamboo Alley” (check the Strava segment just north of Akigase park), and up to Rte.16 in record time.

We met @stu_kawagoe at the pre-arranged location, and the 7 of us continued onwards. There were one or 2 more full-gas moments on the river, but we mostly stayed together as a group as we made our way out to Tokigawa, and our first break.
Once at the 7-11, we found @saibot waiting for us. The rest of us refueled and filled bottles, etc. Soon afterwards, Thooms arrived – He must have been only a few kilometers behind us all the way there - And now there were 9 of us.

We spent a little longer at the 7-11 than usual, with some long-time-no-see banter, and extra introductions, but before long we were on our way to the base of the Shiraishi climb, 7km away – We did in fact take it easy on this section, and for the first time managed to stay in the elusive “Zone 2”, which elicited some complaints from the impatient among us – “What is this!? Driving Miss Daisy???” :D

Once we hit the climb proper though, it was game-on! For those who have never done it before, Shiraishi-toge is 6.4km at an average 8% gradient. Not the longest or hardest climb ever, but it is substantial. And it can be properly brutal, depending on how hard you push yourself.
When we were all back together at the top, we then split into 2 groups – Those who had family obligations and needed to get back home quickly would head back down the way we came, and the rest of us without time-restraints would continue on to Nagatoro, and take a longer loop home.

The four of us who would continue on – Julien, Luka, Thooms and me – said goodbye the others: Mark, Anthony, Tobias, Aron, and Stu. The five of them went back towards Tokigawa, and the 4 of us headed towards Sadamine-toge. The descent was a bit wet from the rain we’d had the last few days, but still fun and pretty fast. We rode straight right past the “Gelateria HANA” without stopping, and continued on the next climb, Saijin-toge (塞神峠), which is 3.2km at 9% - Shorter, but steeper than Shiraishi.

After a short descent from there, we had just one more small “rindo” shortcut that would take us back to civilization. It was a very short climb, but slippery with moss. Although the uphill section was short, the descent down the other side was much longer, winding, and potentially very slippery – On the brakes the whole way meant it wasn’t that much fun. It might be better in drier conditions, but I don’t think that side of the mountain ever gets much sunlight.

After we made it down, we were back in suburbia – in a town called “Orihara” – and only a few kilometers from our next convenience-store stop. The Lawson near Hachigata station has a couple of tables and chairs, so we sat in there as we replenished our carbs and refilled our bottles before the final 70km leg down the river.

The 20km from the Hachigata convenience-store to Kumagaya is a twisting, winding maze of backstreets and country roads – I spent hours on Google “Street-view” and “satellite view”, trying to find a way that was direct, but avoided the main roads & traffic. And I think I found it! The night before the ride, I did my best to memorize where all the turns and landmarks were so we wouldn’t get lost, and I’m happy to say it worked out perfectly. We made it the entire way without having to stop (except for one solitary red-light).

Once we were at Kumagaya and back on the cycling-road proper, we had to deal with a slight headwind, so we decided to take turns doing rotations at the front in order to go as fast as possible, while conserving energy. We almost made it the entire way without any breaks, except that we all ran out of water just north of the Akigase park – We stopped briefly to fill our bottles from a sports-ground water tap before continuing on our way, and we made it back to Saiko (just across the river from the Spaceship) at about 3:30pm. Not long after that, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways home.

All in all, a very enjoyable day out on the bike!

Thanks again to everyone who made it out for the ride. It was really great fun.

See you on the next ride.