After completing the Kusatsu Hillclimb after many years ( more than 20 in fact) of any kind of competitive cycling I was struck by the bug – again. The next event I registered into was the Mt. Fuji Hillclimb. This was a bit confusing as there were actually TWO events by the same name – and on the same day!! WTF!! In any case – I somehow managed to struggle through the registration process and figure out the ONE I was doing was the 10th Mt. Fuji Fillclimb and was being held on a relative consistent grade of 25km. Sounds good. The OTHER Mt. Fuji Hillclimb was shorter and more gnarly – GREAT! I’ll save THAT ONE for NEXT YEAR!
With that being said – I ramped up my training a bit to include more hills. My goal thus far is to really just get back in shape, lose weight and have fun. I have no intention of becoming a serious contender or racing at an elite level anymore. But I do want to go out with my friends, show some cred and hang with good riders on fun rides. Plus, when my daughter gets older – I’ll be in enough shape to <hopefully> coach her along, which would be a nice legacy.
Adding a small twist to this event, I decided to hook up with some fellow TCC members in a warm up ride OUT to the Mt. Fuji. Sounds good to me! I rendezvous with them in Takao and together we went to Yamanakano via roads I’ve never been on. This ride turned out to be a bit more than I expected, and it sapped my pretty hard, though fun nonetheless and would be a good test and conditioning ride.
On pre-race day – Kimm, Keren and I managed to get our race packages without any hassle and enjoyed the many bike booths located around the park area. It was pretty much cycling heaven with Mt. Fuji in the background.
Kimm hooked us up with an awesome Onsen Hotel – and believe me the hot soak felt great! We joined up with Phil and his family for a great Udon Nabe dinner then back to the hotel to chill and sleep. James made it in that evening and we prepped his bike for the race then crashed for the early morning start (6am).
On the ride out to the park – I hit a large grate on the bridge and promptly received a snakebite award. DAMN! The LAST THING I wanted was a flat. We repaired it quickly, then hooked up with another gang riding to the starting park. At the park – i frantically searched for replacement tire / tube. ANytime I get a snakebite it jinxes the tire. I simply can’t race on a tire that has been ‘bitten’. Luckily – one of the booth’s had not only the large allenkey for my CHUB HUB but also a lighhtweight tube and replacement Michelin tire. Sorry – no more Panaracer for me!
With that being accomplished – we found our starting grid and waited for the gun. Japanese races use nifty RFID timer – so you just ‘chip’ your bike and ride. When you cross the timing grid you are ON.
On the race itself, we follow a beautiful road leading to the 5th Station. Its a continuous grade of about 5 or so percent, with some steeper sections. All told, about 25km to the finish. James and I rode together to nearly the top, where he pulled away on the Colnago Master. I managed to grit out some more energy and finished strongly with the last 300m basically a stand up sprint. At the top we were welcomed by an amazing view of the mountain.
Looking around I spotted a guy on a Surly PUGSLEY! WOW! He made it up in just about 2hr!! Awesome ride!
Back at the park after the seriously tedious descent (what goes up – must come down) we ate some more Udon , snapped some shots then headed back home.
The final touch to an awesome weekend of riding – Mesquite Grilled Steak Dinner!