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Old 03-08-21, 08:31 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Bikes: Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket

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215 km with 1600 m of elevation gain (on Strava). It was a team training ride for our upcoming Flèche on the first April weekend (Easter weekend). I am now at 103 consecutive months of CaM.

The planned route would have taken us over the Hakone volcano at around 1000 m above sea level (3300 ft) but after a significant temperature drop from the day before even at low elevation on the coast it was colder than I expected, with a low of 4 deg C (39F) and it never reached 10 deg C (50F). I had enough spare clothes with me to deal with that, but my teammates were very uncomfortable. So we end up not climbing to Hakone and descending to Yugawara from there but took the coastal road instead. I suggested visiting the Manazuru peninsula, since I had always bypassed it by following the main road (N135) or the high road (K740) on the way to and from Atami and that was also how our planned route had been. So we did that and explored the peninsula, which offers nice views of the coastline north and south of it.

On the way back to the original route we passed a couple of restaurants and picked one seafood restaurant for lunch. There were people only on one other table, but they finished and left by the time we got our food. The meal was nice and reasonably priced.

We returned to Odawara via the high road over Manazuru (K740) which has very little traffic . You ride past terraced fields with mikan (satsuma orange) orchards. We passed a couple of roadside mikan shops selling local citrus fruit. They must be losing a lot of business without the tourists. But at least Manazuru is still within Kanagawa (as are Hakone and Yugawara) so Kanagawa residents who try to avoid visiting prefectures not subject to the State of Emergency can still go there. This was how our ride was designed, between two opposite borders of Kanagawa (Tamagawa to Tokyo and Yugawara to Shizuoka).

On the last training ride I had felt it a challenge to keep up with the ride leader during the first 1/4 of the ride, but felt comfortable during the rest of the ride. This time it was more like the opposite: The initial pace felt comfortable, but after the first stop it became harder and stayed that way. But I think it was a very successful training ride. Things went more smoothly and without incidents. I think we're getting the hang of successfully riding as a group.

In two weeks we'll do another training ride. Two weeks after that will be the real Flèche event (360+ km in 24h), assuming it's not again postponed to the autumn due to Covid like in 2020. But half the fun in a Flèche is training for it as a team in the months leading up to it.
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