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Winter Miura loop


Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
I love riding mountains for the views, but when it gets too cold up there in the winter, Miura peninsula is a good place to visit (and so is Boso peninsula in Chiba).


On Sunday I did my "century of the month" (160+ km) for December. I chose to follow the course of my upcoming January brevet, which will start and finish in Machida for a 203 km loop whose Kanagawa portion largely follows the Miura coastline. The total for Sunday came to 218 km according to Strava, which makes it my 6th longest ride this year.


The forecast for Tokyo was 3-9°C, but I experienced anything from 1-16°C. I expected wind, but didn't have to fight any. I also expected clouds but not rain and got hail instead! Still, the clouds and hail made for some very atmospheric views, especially around sunset in the Zushi-Kamakura area.



When I took the picture of the bridge in the rain, I was actually approached by a policeman. Apparently, I had unwittingly taken pictures of the Hayama Imperial Villa (葉山御用邸, Hayama Goyōtei) that has a permanent police guard since having been the target of an arson attack by radicals in the 1970s.

I left home at sunrise, around 06:50 and cycled down to Futakotamagawa, where I joined the brevet course about 23 km from its start. I followed the road on the right bank of the river down to Kawasaki, making good progress as it doesn't have a lot of traffic lights. The early morning sun was in my eyes and also of the car and truck drivers behind me, which had me worried a bit, but nothing scary happened. About 3 km after turning onto Rt15 I reached PC1, the first conbini checkpoint of the brevet.

I had a cup of coffee and headed on to Yokohama. The roads weren't too busy on this Sunday morning. I snapped some pictures around Minato Mirai:



Quite a few cycling clubs were heading south from around Yamashita Koen. The day started off cold but sunny.


As it got warmer I took off one layer and changed into lighter gloves. Until you get past Yokosuka it's not that pretty and there are many cars and traffic lights. I came across this industrial site with rusting old cranes outside:


You get a lot of views of Boso peninsula on the other side of Tokyo bay, as well as commercial shipping in Tokyo bay, including huge container ships and oil tankers.


PC2 was a Familymart in Miuramisaki, a small fishing town about 120 km from the brevet start.


Gradually some grey clouds started appearing. They looked too much like rain clouds for my taste. I hadn't brought any kind of rain gear and the idea of riding home after dark in wet clothes at a few degrees above freezing didn't appeal to me.



Near Hayama I noticed the first drops on the screen of my smartphone. It gradually picked up in intensity. When I stopped outside a convenience store I noticed that what was coming down was actually not rain or snow but tiny pellets of ice, i.e. light hail. It melted as soon as it touched the ground. I waited inside with a cup of coffee and some food to give it time to stop. I also picked up a 500 yen rain jacket, just in case. Luckily I didn't need it.


Wild garden in a deserted villa:




Enoshima seen from near Kamakura:


Fishing boats at sunset:



Those beads of lights on the coastal road is the traffic jam outside Kamakura:


Fading sunlight at Kamakura beach:


Night coming to Enoshima:


The route back to Machida consisted of a mixture of easy to follow big roads and smaller backroads with little traffic. I lost a couple of km of recording after PC3 near Samukawa. Most likely my helmet had touched the Pause button of the GPS when I sat it on the handlebar at the MiniStop convenience store. I didn't notice until near Atsugi, where I unpaused the recording. Since Strava fills in straight line distance for any paused segments (including train rides, where this feature is really annoying!) and the course was fairly straight there, the Strava total wasn't affected much (unlike RideWithGPS, which accepts the GPS unit's distance figure).

Near Machida it was the coldest again, at only 1°C. While I could deal with the cold as such, I think it will drain energy during a brevet where you're working against a time limit and where I'll need to maintain a higher pace than I did on this scenic ride.

With this ride completed, my "century a month" record now stands at 28 months. I am hoping to continue it in the New Year.


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And I can point on a map where all but 3 pictures were taken.


This is usually my morning photospot as well.
@bloaker and @Navy Roller, there is so much beauty in your part of the world, we can all be a little envious of your rides :)
Great photos brings back happy memories of December visit to Tokyo area some years ago clear skies and dry weather ( in the main) nice time of year. Daughter and husband posted back to Scotland for a couple of years so just dreich winter weather to look forward to! They'll get used to it..................

Great post
What kind of elevation gain did you get on this ride, Joe? I need to find some winter riding places but I want somewhere with quite a lot of elevation gain.
What kind of elevation gain did you get on this ride, Joe? I need to find some winter riding places but I want somewhere with quite a lot of elevation gain.

May I suggest southern Chiba? Not many long climbs but the constant up and down really adds up. Low-lying mountains mean wintery conditions are almost never a problem. The east side of Tokyo Bay also tends to be warmer than the west in winter.
Lots of short climbs (50-100 m) around the Tama area too, and a few slightly bigger ones further West. Haven't ridden them in Jan/Feb yet but should be doable while there's no snow in Tokyo.

I thought of riding Miura last week and found only one 130 m climb and a couple of other smaller ones.
What kind of elevation gain did you get on this ride, Joe? I need to find some winter riding places but I want somewhere with quite a lot of elevation gain.

@leicaman, this course was quite flat, it had only 777 m of climbing according to the N2C and quite a bit of that was away from the coast (at the Machida end of the loop).

In January 2013 I did a 200 km brevet route from Zushi to Izukogen and back, which had 1600 m of climbing as measured by @Jayves' Garmin - mostly in its middle two quarters (Odawara - Izukogen - Odawara). This would have been more to your liking.

If you want max elevation gain without major altitude I would second @hat and beard's recommendation of Chiba, or the Izu coast. Here's the elevation profile of the West Izu brevet in March 2014 (2300 m of elevation gain):

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