can't do a full report, but brief sketches of the ride. pretty big tailwind meant we can take it really easy going up the river, and that was a save in this humidity/heat. @MattRyuu did not take the climbing bit so good, but practice makes perfect. if I can offer words of advice it might be 1) go out with HFC for their 60-100 km rides. they should be a perfect mix of accessibility and challenge for you at the current level and 2) try to size down on carry-on luggage and take only the most necessary items (so that no backpack is needed). especially on a climbing ride a small pair of cleat covers would probably suffice over a whole spare set of trainer shoes etc etc.
things that stood out: weather (wind incl), new jersey perfect in every sense, no mechanicals etc on a somewhat sketchy course, emergency double-combo bunny hop over two rim destroying ditches in the road on a descent
what could have been better: got a bad sunburn (either I applied too late - at the first convini stop around 9:30-10, or just sweated it all off and not reapplying, prolly the latter), couple of places we got caught up in local matsuris blocking the street, or narrowly avoiding it (look up these things beforehand), bug repellent is a good idea again (seasonal item we need back in stock with summer full on now)
CREDITS: @thooms for probably diagnosing correctly my long-standing grinding sound I just couldn't locate on my own (I'll reveal what it is if it indeed turns out to be the case!) @MattRyuu for innovative ways of taking great photos along the way. so looking forward to those! have great holidays abroad both of you and lotsa safe and fun riding
Good advice @luka , I've got a lot to learn about climbing, and many other things as well. Here are the pics, starting with our stop about 44 km north of the Spaceship at the Lawson, the first big hill, and then the final amazing view prior to the descent.
Great ride, guys and great pics @MattRyuu
I'm too fat to climb, so I'm happy to form a grupetto with you when rides hit the mountains (as long as you strive to get better because you're young enough to do so. Seeing how young everyone is in your photo made me feel really old!)
Did you guys get the Tobu line from Ogawamachi? I took it from Kita Sakado. There had been an accident further up the line so all the trains stopped for an hour or so. I got the first train that resumed service. Very very bad idea. It got absolutely rammed. Standing in the middle of the aisle with my bagged up bike and fifty million other passengers was awful. What time did you get the train?
yeah, when we were there there has been an announcement about a jinshin jiko, but the service has long resumed I think. lots of people because of a matsuri right there at ogawa machi, but still managed to get the almost regular experience = no one in the front carriage so lots of space for the bikes and an almost empty train until half way down. we came to the station just after 4 pm, missed the first train at 16:15 with bike packing, WC and convini, and took the 16:30 train. looks like it's just as well we got there late, because we'd be stranded waiting or in overcrowded trains if we did the more usual pace and got there 2-3 hours earlier