Since most of my riding mates were competing in the Utsukushigahara Hill Climb (say that 3x fast!), I had to get a hilly ride in this weekend myself. Mike from Half Fast was leading a tour from Tokyo, up Yabitsu then to Hadano. Sounded perfect! Arrived at the Hyatt and saw that Pete (fudoshin) was also riding – sweet! Pete is a great rider and good pace mate. He came along with Tetsuo from Y’s Ueno. Also joined with about 5 other HFC’ers, including some new faces – so this should be a nice ride indeed. The weather was a bit spotty, but since the temperature is in the 30′s – a little rain would feel good! Navigator Mike steered us into the hills from T-Town always amazing me with his vast knowledge of the cool shortcuts, bypasses and generally the best roads to ride – anywhere. At the base of the Yabitsu Pass Road, we stopped for some yummy ramen refuel before our assault to the top.
Sated, we began the ride to the top. I love this road. It follows a river and has a nice increasing elevation gain to it. You can keep a strong pace almost to the top, where it becomes increasingly steeper and steeper in a challenging, leg sucking sort of way. The road had quite a few sight seers on it and a couple of them served as pretty decent durneys and road block – so we made a quick passage of the first 3/4 the climb. For this ride I had decided to push a fairly large (for hills anyway) 16T cog. The final 25% of steep climbing had me over the top LAT and I lost some ground to Pete and Tetsuo – who managed to get a second (or third wind) and scram away like he was being chased by the mountain demon himself! Reaching the top just shortly after Pete, we regrouped and hooked up with a few of the other HFC’ers making the climb. I believe Jay was just after me, then followed by Mike. Pete, Tetsuo and myself had planned to ride back to Tokyo, so we said our matta ne’s and began descent to Hadano. I clicked a quick snap overlooking the valley. Amazing view up here – all of the Tokyo plain!
The ascent plus the descent mushed out my legs and I had to push hard to keep up with Pete and Tetsuo. We stopped for another refuel and I jammed a Pepsi ‘Strong Shot’ plus a natto roll as an after burner. The slightly easier pace allowed me some in saddle recovery and I found enough wind to finish off the ride ok. We split at the Tamagawa and by chance I saw another fixie rider hammering down the road. At the light, I noticed he was riding a beautiful steel Kalavinka, sporting some nasty topside track rash and wearing Keirin issued shorts. No doubt out to work off some serious pain! We talked a bit, admired each other’s rides (his more than mine!) and rotated up the road for a peel off at Komazawa park (his turn around). I found the Yamete then made it back just as the daylight was nearly gone. Stopped at the Olympic and picked up a large steak and a couple of Japanese Hefeweizen. 160+km and about 1500m climbs – nice!