The Okutama BOOB ride!

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#1
This is just one of the few names I couldn't decide on - The other main contender was, "Okutama Touch-and-go TT", amongst others. The route is so brilliant in its simplicity, I'm surprised nobody else had thought of it before - There are no hidden twists or turns - It's just like back in school, where you'd run down to one end of the gym, touch the wall, and run straight back! Whatever time you got, that was it!

The ride is basically a 90km Time-Trial, which includes two long climbs.
Here's the MAP

Start at Musashi-Itsukaichi station. Ride towards Tomin-no-mori, keep going over the top at Kazahari-toge, all the way down to the lake. Cross the bridge at the lake, and touch the wall (Do not go to the soba-shop, do not collect $200). Turn around and ride all the way back to Musashi-Itsukaichi station exactly the same way you came - 90.55km. Time how long it takes, and you're done!

The beauty of this ride is that anyone with minimal climbing chops can do it - Unlike the Best of the West ride, the precursor to the KOM ride, where only the fittest & stupidest may apply, this could be a truly "open" event.
Anyway, I did it this morning to check if it was easily do-able, and to check my own time. Here's how it went:

I caught the 6:12am train from Tokyo, and changed to the Musashi-Itsukaichi train at Tachikawa. It arrived out west at 7:36am. I stashed all of my things in a coin-locker there (200 yen) - No point carrying anything you don't need into a hill-climb Time-Trial. For the ride, I had two bottles full of water, an energy-gel, a banana, and a piece of fruit pound-cake, all from the convenience store.

I left the station at exactly 8:10.
The first point I wanted to time myself at was the "Motojuku" T-junction, about 8.7km from the start...

A race within a race!
It all started when I saw a "Strava" report from Tim (GSAstuto), saying that he had just dethroned Takaaki (Kawa) from the number one position - See the Strava link
Tim's time was 58:57, and Taka's was 1:00:56.
The section in question starts from that corner, and finishes at Tomin-no-mori - Just over 20km. I wanted to see if I could beat that!
I rounded that corner at exactly 8:29, and I won't lie, I had a bit of a tailwind. I was able to keep an average speed of around 27km/h, at least until the Kobu-tunnel turn-off, where the climb would start in earnest. I past the Kobu-tunnel turn-off at 9:47, and once it started going up hard, I thought I could egg-beater it (with a cadence of 100 ±5 r.p.m.) all the way to the top, and I almost succeeded, but there were a couple of steeper sections that I'd forgotten about. I past the toll-gates (actually, where the toll-gates used to be) at 9:17 - I would have had to ride the last 3km in under 11 minutes if I wanted to beat Tim... Not gonna happen! In the end, I reached Tomin-no-mori at exactly 9:32:45 - If I'd had a Garmin, my time would've been 1:03:45, which would be enough to knock SteveT from 4th position... Next time, Steve! Next time!


proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm9.staticflickr.com%2F8442%2F7788177926_2e823ff4a8_c.jpg&hash=000cc13b6f164e66fe47c3acd8311436


Anyway, there's still another 3km of climbing after Tomin-no-mori, but it's not too bad, and I was soon rolling past the Kazahari rindo gates at 9:47. Without stopping, I started heading downhill. It was here that I decided to have something to eat - While I was rolling, I reached around and grabbed the banana from my jersey pocket. I had a bite, and it was good. I made the mistake of unpeeling it too far though, and as I went over some of the red painted speed bumps, the top half of my banana broke off, and was lost on the road.... So, after half a banana (the bottom half), I continued down the mountain. The road was still wet in a few places from earlier rain, but for the most part, it was dry, clean and smooth - I love that downhill!

As I neared the lake, where the last 2km flattens off a bit, I took the opportunity to suck down the energy gel I had brought. I had more luck with that than the banana, and finally, I was at the bridge. The wall at the other side of the bridge is the turn-around spot. Of course, just to the right, about 30m away is the soba-shop with its vending machines, but that's just extra time, and I still had a full bottle left.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm8.staticflickr.com%2F7137%2F7788227794_2a80870740_b.jpg&hash=1d66f072e5c5367fd3cc2bfb2b838ac3


I snapped a quick shot for posterity (and proof - note the time, 10:06), then did a U-turn, and headed straight back up the mountain. Again, on this 2km flattish section, I managed to get down the last of my food, a piece of fruit pound-cake. This would have to be enough to get me back. The climb from this side is not as steep, and I was able to hold a reasonable pace to the top, arriving at the Kazahari-rindo gate in 51 minutes, at 10:57. From there, it's pretty much all downhill, and not in a bad way. The descent continues through Hinohara village, but there are a few ups & downs near the bottom. Once I was past the Kobu-tunnel turn-off, I had to contend with a bit of a headwind - The same wind that had helped me get up the hill a bit quicker was now hindering my return to the station. I had to push hard just to hold anything near 40km/h, and often, it was a lot less than that. I was in the drops the whole way, and I weren't slouching - This was a Time-Trial, remember, and it would've been nice to finish the whole round-trip in under 3:30:00, but that also was not to be. In the end, I got back right on 11:50 - 3hrs, 40mins after leaving.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm8.staticflickr.com%2F7271%2F7788175652_be0d876818_z.jpg&hash=32d57292b31166e7eda1a335ee8d9d42


So that's it really. I was on the 12:17 train, and back home by 14:00. That makes it quite an early finishing time, but you still get in all that riding... all at once... without any breaks...
But that's the point, isn't it!?

Anyway, my plan is to do this very same ride every 4~6 weeks, so I can see my improvements over time (Heaven forbid my time go up!) - As I continue training, and getting both stronger AND lighter, I imagine first breaking the 3:30:00 barrier, and possibly even the 3 hour barrier (like perhaps, Clay, Deej, Alan, Mike, Serguei, Tom, Thomas,...?)

Oh, and finally, you may ask, why the "BOOB" ride - Take a look at the profile! Could it be called anything else?

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm9.staticflickr.com%2F8431%2F7788175038_40754dafe8_b.jpg&hash=29fe72447aca383b5053d2b9431a7684

Like I said, I'll be doing this regularly, and will post the dates beforehand for anyone who'd care to join.
Cheers!
Travis
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
#3
Nice report!.
Now, that you have the Garmin, you have to log that "Boobs ride" into the STRAVA site (not the RWGPS) and we will all come and race them :).
 

Samuelg

Warming-Up
Jun 22, 2009
33
0
0
Sydney
#4
Nice report and a good idea,
if we set up a strava segment, how about from the hinohara village turnoff to the wall touch and back to the same turn off,
i think there are too many red lights between itsukaichi and hinohara, and we don't want to see somebody getting taken out at a red light just for the sake of a better strava time
.. there would only be 2 sets of lights to contest with this way and both of these can usually be passed thru with caution,
weather permitting i will try to have a go on the 8th of september
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#5
This might encourage me to give the Okutama-ko to Tomin no mori climb a try. So far I have descended it twice but always returned via a different route (Uenohara or Ome-kaido).

My concern with the boob segment is how much descending it includes. Within less than two weeks three people I know through TCC/HFC have gone down in a curve while descending and ended up with road rash, one of them even on the Tomin no mori descent.

Therefore I'd feel better about pure climbing segments, which are much safer to compete on. Be careful out there and don't forget Rule #64.
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#7
Nice report!.
Now, that you have the Garmin, you have to log that "Boobs ride" into the STRAVA site (not the RWGPS) and we will all come and race them :).
Boo! Sorry to be so direct, but screw STRAVA! Not worth paying for, IMHO. RWGPS is the ticket!


This might encourage me to give the Okutama-ko to Tomin no mori climb a try. So far I have descended it twice but always returned via a different route (Uenohara or Ome-kaido).

My concern with the boob segment is how much descending it includes. Within less than two weeks three people I know through TCC/HFC have gone down in a curve while descending and ended up with road rash, one of them even on the Tomin no mori descent.

Therefore I'd feel better about pure climbing segments, which are much safer to compete on. Be careful out there and don't forget Rule #64.
Don't hate on the descending!
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#9
New rule. You have to skull a glass of milk at the top of the climb. (Both times).:cool:
That would go down well with me. I thrive on bananas and milk! :D But there's no vending machine at the top, is there?

Boo! Sorry to be so direct, but screw STRAVA! Not worth paying for, IMHO. RWGPS is the ticket!
Strava is fine to use for free. Their GPS logging app works well enough or me. After uploading runs, I download all .gpx tracks and also import them into RWGPS, giving me the best of both sites. For example, Strava handles running and hiking while RWGPS doesn't (it thought I burnt 56,670,668 kcal on a 11.8 km Mt Fuji hike, which hopefully they'll fix soon). On the other hand RWGPS does route mapping and shows weekly totals in its calendar view while Strava does not. I could list more differences. Each of these sites has its own strengths.

Don't hate on the descending!
Just saying that competing downhill is inherently riskier than competing uphill because of much higher speeds.

You have an (I am sure well deserved) reputation as an excellent descender and I actually enjoy downhill too. On both Norikura and the Ome loop I hit 75 km/h on descents with my small wheeled bike (according to the GPS log). I'm certainly not trying to make fast descents illegal or anything ;)

It's not really my problem: I'm still so uncompetitive on the climbs that going faster on the descents is not going to get me that much closer to the top of the league table, but for the competitive natures out there I do worry that somebody might do something stupid and not live to tell the tale, like that guy whose parents sued Strava.
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#10
I'm definitely not advocating anyone descend at speeds beyond their capability or what the conditions warrant. Quite the opposite, I highly recommend that people descend safely and responsibly. As for risks going uphill... heart attacks perhaps? :eek:
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
#11
Boo! Sorry to be so direct, but screw STRAVA! Not worth paying for, IMHO. RWGPS is the ticket!
STRAVA all the way baby :p ... free or paid doesn't matter STRAVA simply rocks.
RWGPS should focus on their mapping features, that's what it could be used for.
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
#13
I'm definitely not advocating anyone descend at speeds beyond their capability or what the conditions warrant. Quite the opposite, I highly recommend that people descend safely and responsibly. As for risks going uphill... heart attacks perhaps? :eek:
As for downhill I think there are two things to separate.
(a) having skills to decent (aka. handing your bike well)
(b) competing on descents (going as fast as possible taking the road conditions into account)

Reaching 30years+ and having a family ... there should be no reason for anybody to do (b) IMHO (and I try to remind me every time again)
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#14
As for downhill I think there are two things to separate.
(a) having skills to decent (aka. handing your bike well)
(b) competing on descents (going as fast as possible taking the road conditions into account)

Reaching 30years+ and having a family ... there should be no reason for anybody to do (b) IMHO (and I try to remind me every time again)
I'm in general agreement with this! Personally, when descending I'm always working on improving my bike handling skills, maintaining the highest level of awareness, and trying to be as smooth as possible.
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
#15
LOL! As for mapping and routing, that's exactly the functionality that I'm looking for, and RWGPS is the best that I am aware of!
Agreed!
- for mapping and routing: RWGPS (even I miss the "remove all points behind" feature from MMR)
- for tracking, competing and social sharing: STRAVA

Pete, I am still waiting to see you on STRAVA though (c'mon it's free :D)
 

Samuelg

Warming-Up
Jun 22, 2009
33
0
0
Sydney
#16
I hope somebody from strava reads this thread and sends Malte some free T shirts or something for spreading the good word.

As for the downhills, safety first peeps, and beware of the monkeys (actual animals not weekend hikers) who occasionally cross the road on the descent to Okutama
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#18
Why the hatred?

Yeah, I'm starting to think Malte owns some STRAVA stock or something! :p
On the contrary, Pete, your animosity towards STRAVA seems way more out of proportion than Malte's praise for it.
I fully support you having opinions, but if you are going to be so "anti" something, you should at least give us all a few reasons that we can relate to personally.
As far as I can see, STRAVA is simply offering a service. It's the way people are using that service (downhill races, etc.) that might be deemed "questionable".
I am yet to even use the serice, but as a way to keep track of both mine and my friends' progress, it looks like the best option for now.
Now, quit ripping on STRAVA, and start talking about BOOBS!!!:cool:
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
Jun 1, 2010
2,335
188
1,083
Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#19
On the contrary, Pete, your animosity towards STRAVA seems way more out of proportion than Malte's praise for it.
I fully support you having opinions, but if you are going to be so "anti" something, you should at least give us all a few reasons that we can relate to personally.
As far as I can see, STRAVA is simply offering a service. It's the way people are using that service (downhill races, etc.) that might be deemed "questionable".
I am yet to even use the serice, but as a way to keep track of both mine and my friends' progress, it looks like the best option for now.
Now, quit ripping on STRAVA, and start talking about BOOBS!!!:cool:
OK, I'll admit to not particularly caring for STRAVA. That being said, at Malte's urging I just created a STRAVA account and am going to give it a try to gain first hand experience and to be a bit more objective on the topic. OK, crisis averted... let's talk about BOOBS!!! :D