This weekend: Touring from Takasaki

Aug 20, 2010
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Minato-ku
#1
Good evening.
I'm thinking to do a trip this weekend, taking early Saturday morning train to Takasaki, then Haruna-san and northwest into Nagano, probably staying in Ueda that night, and on Sunday to go from there onto the Venus Line and descending into Chino, from where I'd take a train back. Just wondering about your thoughts on the above route (over Sat & Sunday).

I am solo at this point, but if anyone would be interested, I'd be more than happy to have a riding partner. I don't ride overly fast - with all the climbs, I'd estimate a moving average of around 20km/h. I may make some stops at points of interest, so if you don't mind that, then let me know!
 
Likes: Sibreen

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
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Hanno, Saitama
#2
That elevation graph is awesome.
Busy this weekend, unfortunately, but I'd be up for it in the future: looking forward to the ride report!

Didn't realise that Chino was so close (90mins to Hachioji) or so cheap (4300yen).
 
Aug 20, 2010
76
25
38
Minato-ku
#5
Sibreen Yes! I amended the route to pass through Karuizawa, as I had never been there before.
Day1: 105km, 2500m ascent
Arrived just before 9 at Takasaki where I filled my bottle with tomato juice before embarking on route to Haruna-san. I opted to take the Route 126 up. The climb was shaded for the most part and fairly steep in parts, but being early in the day, my legs were fresh, so managed to make it to the top, from where the road descended onto the lake. Had a perfect soba lunch whilst gazing at the oversized swan boats.

Descended on North West side and followed Main road for a while before turning-off onto the Prefectural 54, "Ni Do Age Toge" 二度上峠 for the 20km gradual ascent. The road had few vehicles and I rode past a few places selling corn-on-the-cob etc, which looked inviting, although I didn't stop as I had a supply of bananas and nuts/seeds to sustain me. I was rewarded with a spectacular view of Asama-yama at the top, after which I descended into the Karuizawa Kogen, passing first through Kita Karuizawa and then along the "Nihon Romantische Strasse" to Karuizawa town. This road had fairly high traffic (and unfortunately was not particularly romantic), and many of the plates were from Metropolitan area. The tourist info at the station were able to point me towards a few lodges. A word of note: accommodation is hard to get and very overpriced in Karuizawa in this season.


Day 2: 119km, 2400m ascent
After a slightly "scenic route" out of Karuizawa, I hit the National 18 towards Ueda. This was the only part of my trip where I was on a busy road passing ugly concrete buildings. But it wasn't too long, and it was all downhill. I took a stop to eat tofu (which always raises questions from the locals) before taking the turn-off to begin the climb to Utsukushigahara. Having been there before (from Matsumoto on the bus) and knowing it was the highest climb I'd ever done, I was fairly nervous before this. However, the road was pretty quiet with only a few noisy motorbikes and the gradient didn't really exceed 12% at any point, which meant I could pretty-much spin up and stay aerobic! As I got higher, I was rewarded with incredible views to take my mind off the pedalling, and before I knew it, I had made-it! (Excuse the dodgy self pic).

Following-on, the Venus line with its wonderful scenery and crisp air made me realise why I love riding!
At Kiri-ga-mine, I turned right, and descended into Suwa (very uneven surface) and followed Route 20 into Chino.
A superb weekend's touring, with perfect weather!