The "Do we have access to fire" ride

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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I have been wanting to drive out to Nagano for a weekend of riding this summer for quite some time but the weather has always scuppered my plans. Last week, I had my eye on the forecast like a hawk. The forecast wasn't looking too promising, with showers on Saturday and rain forecast throughout the day on Sunday. The decision was made on Friday morning to throw caution to the wind and go for it.
On the Friday night, around 11pm, myself and one fellow Jerk circle member ( @saibot ) set off with two bikes safely stashed in the back of the car and enough camping gear to sink a ship.
We arrived at our destination, Fujimi panorama around 2:30 and set up camp. A had some monster pegs to hold down the circus tent, but the world's most useless hammer. After a few strikes it fell apart. After checking, sure enough "Made in New Zealand". Relying on my Neanderthal skills I found what is technically called a "big b@stard" rock and finished off the job.
After bit of tom foolery with high ISO, long exposures and a bike light, we finally hit the sack around 4am. The 7:30 alarm was most unwelcome. After breakfast, eaten out of my new Rapha hi-viz pink bowl and hot French press coffee (definitely gonna take the French press again next time), I was ready to face those big scary Naganonian mountains.
We rolled out at 10:15am. Wisely, we had chosen a short route which would see us head out to Suwa on that awful Route 20. From Suwa we went north west and went over some mountains before dropping into a valley, followed by some more climbs. I confidently told Tobias that I didn't think there were any more big climbs. That was until I noticed something wrong with the elevation chart on my Garmin. I showed the next chart off the scale. I had to hit the zoom out button again and again to see the top. Stupid technology. Why does it alway malfunction ?
20km and 1000m of elevation gain later, I deleted the Garmin customer services complaints letter I had drafted.


We joined the Venus line and coasted along its rolling road. It is a beautiful place to ride your bike. What with our late start and photo taking, we decided to skip the last section of the Venus line and head back down to Suwa via route 40. We rode the remaining 15km back to Fujimi on route 20. By this point, Tobias had slipped into his role of "big girl's blouse" and kept losing my back wheel. We made it back to camp just before sunset, with 147km on the clock and 2960m of climbing.
We drove down to a nearby onsen where we soaked our aching muscles and I learnt the word Swedish word for Sauna is "Bastard" (or something like that).


We then went to a Taeshoku restaurant that I used to frequent when I raced downhill mountain bikes a long time ago. Sometime between entering and leaving the restaurant, the rain finally caught up with us. Once refuelled, we hit Seiyu for dessert. The rain was pouring by the time we got back to camp so we are dessert under the portable gazebo. As the car park was just over 1000m high, it was pretty cold so we hit the sack pretty early.
Waking at around 6:30 the next morning, the familiar sound of rain on tent could be heard. I was wearing a t-shirt, thick merino wool top and waterproof jacket but I was still cold under the gazebo. After a hot coffee we made the executive decision to wimp out and go home early. I don't think Mugikusa Toge at over 2200m would have been very appealing with summer cycling clothes. As we drove towards Kofu the weather became much nicer. The mountains in the distance still looked rather unwelcoming but I guess we will never know whether Mugikusa was basking in sunshine that day or shivering in a shower.
All in all a great trip that I definitely want to do again sometime soon. Thanks to the jerk, Tobias for making it even more fun. Your sleeping bag rolling skills are a sight to behold (and no, that isn't a double entendre).

And now I've bored you all half to death with my drivel, here are a few pics.

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Heading out

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Tobias, getting confused as to which way the road goes

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So much for rain

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On the up

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I've seen roads in better condition

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On the Venus line

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More Venus line

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The ghost rider

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Some goon

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Posing

I'll add some more photos later as Tapatalk only let's me add 10.
 

theBlob

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Sep 28, 2011
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A very goonish event. I approve! Looks like some great riding, and a few shit roads but that's all part of the fun!
 
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Andy in Tokyo

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Cheers for sharing your adventures among the Venusian mounds of Nagano. Am I right in thinking all those Speedy McBlurry shots were taken with a real-life Leica?
 
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leicaman

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Cheers for sharing your adventures among the Venusian mounds of Nagano. Am I right in thinking all those Speedy McBlurry shots were taken with a real-life Leica?
Nope. As usual, you are wrong. I only have a film Leica (M6) which would get pretty costly to shoot in situations like the mcblurry shots. They were shot with my trusty, yet very boring Canon 5D Mk2.
 
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theBlob

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A dedicated man to hump that lump of useless modern technology on your back up 1000m mountains, especially so with rain loitering…. Get any video?

Nope. As usual, you are wrong. I only have a film Leica (M6) which would get pretty costly to shoot in situations like the mcblurry shots. They were shot with my trusty, yet very boring Canon 5D Mk2.
 

jdd

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Thread title should maybe be "do we have access to cutely tweaked selfies"? ;):innocent::love:
 

saibot

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Definitely agree, we should only have taken more anonymous photos of mountains and trees and beautiful views... You know stuff people can find on google image search, or in the today thread ;)

@leicaman thought you knew better! (And would have taught me better)
 

kiwisimon

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he world's most useless hammer. After a few strikes it fell apart. After checking, sure enough "Made in New Zealand".
(1) NZ hammers are supposed to be used banging pegs into grass, we don't usually pitch tents on asphalt or concrete. (3) for future reference you should hold on to the skinny part not grip the knobby part, it's confusing but just imagine you need to pee. (4) great pics, any chance of a route map?
 

leicaman

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Thread title should maybe be "do we have access to cutely tweaked selfies"? ;):innocent::love:
Well, for starters they aren't selfies (as I mentioned before) and secondly, if you call changing a photo from colour to B&W in Lightroom "cutely tweaking" then you obviously know very little about photography. Btw, the colour photos are almost straight out of the camera with no editing (obviously I'm not talking about first seven shots that were taken on my iPhone).

I'll try to stick to informing people of how many laps of the indoor pool I did that day from now on;):innocent::love:
 
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