Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

2018 Century-A-Month Club

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Old 12-27-17, 07:29 AM
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2018 Century-A-Month Club

The rules are simple, as always:

1. Ride a century every month.
2. Post a report here. Pictures are always nice if you have them.

Just to answer a few questions that may come up:

(a) A century is one 100-mile (160.9 km) bike ride completed in one 24-hour day. Feel free to be more strict on how you define a century, but here we'll try to include as many people as possible.
(b) A century is not necessarily a group ride. It is simply a 100-mile ride which may or may not be done with a group and/or part of an organized event.

If you can't complete a century every calendar month but you rode one or more centuries, look for the "2018 -- Century Challenge" thread.


2017 thread: 2017 Century-A-Month
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Old 01-02-18, 11:08 PM
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The first January century is done: 172 km (107 mi). Yesterday's ride extends the CAM streak to 65 months.

My friend Luka wanted to do a New Year ride, but didn't find anyone to join him so he decided to postpone it to January 2.

Here in Japan the whole country shuts down for January 1-3. Many people will visit a shrine or temple either after midnight or during the holidays. On January 2-3, many families will be gathered in front of TV, peeling mikan (satsuma oranges) while watching the Hakone Ekiden relay race from Tokyo to Hakone and back.

I had walked to a shrine with my family on New Year's day and much preferred going for a ride the next day than spending it watching other people exercise on TV. So after checking with my wife, I contacted Luka and we agreed on a route and a meeting point.

In the morning I got up at 05:00, got dressed and loaded the bike. I skipped breakfast to not wake grandma who is staying with us over the holidays. The full moon was still in the night sky when I left, close to setting as I passed a local shrine.



The night sky was clear, with stars visible. It was pretty chilly, but I had covered my ears and was wearing my winter jacket over my warmest long sleeve jersey and a base layer. About an hour into the ride the sun came up. Once it got warm enough I took off my ear cover and switched from full fingered gloves to fingerless gloves.

Traffic was very light - probably the lightest I had ever experienced on this route. I could often sneak across red lights because there were no cars or people in sight.

I had arranged to meet with Luka at Hanno station by 09:30. That left me 3 1/2 hours for the 42 km of mostly urban roads. I soon caught up on my skipped breakfast at a convenience store and got some bananas for the road. I rode at a relaxed pace since I had plenty of time and wanted to save my energy for the hills. The last third of the route to Hanno was mostly on a wide busy road. Once I got closer, Luka and I exchanged emails to confirm we were both on schedule and where exactly to meet up. We left the station together on time.

After a short stretch on a busy national road we branched off onto a small road heading up into the mountains. Our climbing pace was well matched. We kept talking pretty much all the way. I had lived in the area until the turn of the millennium and knew those hills well. The road, known as the "Greenline" follows the ridge line, rising and descending through the forest.

Our first stop was going to be at a friend of Luka, about 20 km from Hanno. He was a mountain guide who lived in a log house on the mountain road. We had coffee and shared our chocolate and bananas.

After the break we hiked up to a local peak for a 360 degree view. The weather was perfect for scenic views. During the winter months the Pacific coast around Tokyo experiences primarily dry, sunny weather. Prevailing winter winds from the Asian mainland dump all their moisture as snow when they hit the mountains in Niigata and then warm up again when descending to the Kanto plain. That dry air makes for amazing visibility. From up at the ridge we could clearly make out Tokyo Sky Tree, Japan's highest broadcast tower at 634 m (2080 ft) about 60 km away, the skyscrapers of Shinjuku 50 km away, Yokohama Landmark Tower about 70 km away and at the very back right on the horizon, the hills of Boso peninsula in Chiba, over 100 km away. There was one view of Mt Fuji after another whenever the road emerged from the trees.

Once we got to Shiraishi Toge, the last pass, we put on all our warm clothes for the long descent back down into the Kanto plain. We kept the speed down because of the risk of ice. Fortunately there was almost none.



After a break at the first convenience store in the valley we headed to the Arakawa river, Luka leading and me following close behind. The sun still sets early around 16:35, so we tried to make the most of the daylight and pushed harder to make good progress before it got dark. Along the Arakawa we saw the full moon rising again, opposite a pink silhouette of Mt Fuji after sunset.

The cycling road along the river banks kept us away from traffic. Luka's battery operated headlight and my dynamo headlight provided enough light. 149 km into my ride our paths separated. For the last 23 km I rode through Tokyo, slower than we had been riding together.

I will do at least another century this month when I ride a 200 km brevet on Jan 20. It will be in Miura peninsula and the Shonan coast, so there's a good chance I'll get many more clear January Fuji views on that one.


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Old 01-18-18, 11:04 PM
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Last Sunday I rode 163 km (101 mi) to a mountain village and back.



I started out close to sea level whereas Doshi village lies at over 700 m, so I was wondering if there would be any snow around, but there wasn't. I came across icicles by the road side, but both the roads and the fields were clear of ice and snow.

I had lunch at the Michi-no-Eki" (Road Station), with Japanese curry, watercress cake and hot coffee before heading back to Tokyo.



The ride was a good test for my winter wear before the first brevet of the year, which I'll ride tomorrow. It was definitely chillier than my first century of the month on Jan 2. The brevet will start at 06:00, about an hour before sunrise, so the first part of the ride will be at the coldest time of the day, probably around the freezing point but later on we'll be riding along the coast line of Miura peninsula, which should be scenic and relatively mild.
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Old 01-21-18, 08:56 PM
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I rode my third century of January and my first randonnée of the year on Sunday. After completing the 204 km ride (finished in 12:04) I rode home, for a total distance of 233 km.

I had done the same event in 2015 - with only minor route changes - and almost the same time.

The main difference was that on Sunday it was not quite as chilly. Perhaps that was because it was overcast, which preserved more heat from the day before than if the night had been clear. It also meant that the sun wasn't in our faces (and the faces of drivers coming up behind us) when we cycled towards Kawasaki around sunrise. I felt a lot safer because of that.

This brevet is the flattest by far of any events my local club organizes. On the other hand, the first third and the last quarter had a fair number of traffic lights. Still, there was less pressure to make closing times than on any other brevet I rode.

I had to be at the start by about 5:20 to pick up the brevet card and attend the safety briefing, so I rode 30 km from my home to a cheap hotel near the start where I spent the night, so I still got almost 7 hours of sleep. We're getting soft in our old age

After passing by the Yokohama harbour near Chinatown, I took an optional route over the hills. This is where a lot of foreigners set up their homes when Japan opened to the world after the arrival of Commodore Perry's Black Ships. On the Yamate district up on a hill you see many western style villas, a great view of the harbour and the historic Foreign Cemetery.

From Kawasaki to Yokohama down to Yokosuka the roads were urban, with traffic lights slowing you down. Yokosuka is home to US Seventh Fleet. Not far from it is where William Adams (the Miura Anjin of James Clavell's "Shogun") had his fief. The peninsula turns rural thereafter. It was too overcast to see the mountains of Boso peninsula in Chiba, on the opposite side of the mouth of Tokyo bay. At Kurihama I passed Perry Park, a memorial to Commodore Perry who landed here in July 1853.



Following the coastline the route passed through seaside towns and fishing villages. Miura peninsula is one of the vegetable gardens of Tokyo, with mainly cabbage and daikon (radish) being grown.

After PC2 in the southwest corner of the peninsula, the route headed up the west coast. This is my favourite part, particularly in the late afternoon, with the sunlight reflected in the ocean, or when it's cloudy and the sky can be very atmospheric. We passed the Imperial villa at Hayama. Emperor Yoshihito, father of WW2-era emperor Hirohito, died here in 1926.

A couple of km to the north we passed by Kamakura, one of the 4 historic capitals of Japan (Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura and Edo/Tokyo). In summer it's popular for its beach, but even in winter there are many windsurfers (see picture at the top).

The next major town was Enoshima, which offers great views of Mt Fuji when it's sunny, but not that day. Before the mouth of the Sagami river we turned inland, heading up north to loop back to the start. About 5 km later we reached PC3, that final control before the goal.

By this time I was about 1:15 ahead of closing time, so I could have made it to the goal even with an average of 10 km/h. I still kept up the speed to cover as much distance as possible before the sun went down. I only rode about the last hour in darkness, plus the ride home after the event.

Due to business travel my February distance will be lower than my January distance, but I'll try to get one century in on the first February weekend, weather permitting. Today it's snowing here in Tokyo. Usually we only have a couple of days of snow a year and this makes CaM a lot easier here than in many other parts of the planet.


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Old 01-26-18, 06:06 AM
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Very well done, Joe!!
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Old 01-26-18, 06:07 AM
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Friday -- Australia Day!

Today we cycled our January Century ... 100 miles!

We had to wait till the end of January to do our January Century which meant that it has been almost 7 weeks since we've done a century, and my longest ride since then was the 63.7 km last weekend. Meanwhile Rowan has been working rather than cycling. So this was a bit of a challenge!

The first challenge was trying to find a relatively flat, unchallenging route. In the Hobart area?? Hahahaha! But what we ended up with was probably one of the flatter options for a ride of that length without too much route duplication ... believe it or not.

The second challenge was that we also wanted to complete a Permanent (ride on the Audax list) for the Petit Year Round Randonneur challenge. We've kept that challenge going for 15 months now. Fortunately, Permanents can be as short as 50 km.

So we decided to ride the flattest 50 km Perm in the area, then immediately upon finishing it we returned the way we came and went quite a bit further out then returned to the start. Essentially it was two out-and-backs, one short and one long.

In one direction, we were able to keep up a pretty good pace with the tailwind ... in the other direction, things slowed a bit. But it kind of balanced out and we actually finished the ride within Audax time!!

The temp hit a high of 28C and the wind spent most of the day at about 22 gusting to 30 km/h with the occasional gust up to 50 km/h.


Distance: 161.83 km (100.5 miles)
Elevation: 1,702 m (5584 feet)

Yeah ... that's relatively flat for the Hobart area.

Moving Time: 8:35:23
Elapsed Time: 10:07:06
Speed: Avg: 18.8 km/h | Max: 54.0 km/h

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Century.a.Month/
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Old 01-28-18, 03:35 PM
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I rode a century yesterday, which makes me 1 for 1 in 2018. Two flats which was kind of a bummer. We'll see if the Chicago weather cooperates for the next 11 months. I'd say it's a long-shot.
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Old 01-29-18, 04:48 PM
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My century for January is a 200km Brevet on 1/28/18 from Simi Valley to Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara, and back.

No flats, nice ride except I bonked at the end.

How come my images are not showing up in this post? hmm.

http://imgur.com/y1iVTzw

http://imgur.com/oPKon3K

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Old 01-31-18, 02:09 PM
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Finished 1/12 yesterday! It was a nice, brisk (55°ish) day with wind gusts up to 30mph. I stayed surprisingly fresh throughout the ride and felt like doing more at the end, but, my taillight was dead and I decided just to go home instead. All in all it was a fantastic day on the bike and I can't wait for the next one!

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Old 02-05-18, 03:40 AM
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Yesterday I completed February for CaM, riding 196 km (122 mi) as an extended version of a 65 km group ride.

My friend Akira announced a group ride along the south and west coast of Miura peninsula. I left home an hour before sunrise, cycled 4 hours from Tokyo to Keikyu-Kurihama train station in Miura and then did the ride with everyone (there were 10 of us).

Apart from a few snow flakes on the way there, the weather was perfect.



The ride took us over many back roads, past fields of cabbages and daikon (Japanese radishes). We took the bridge over to Jogashima island, following a nature trail with many viewpoints. Over to the west we could see snow covered Mt Fuji 84 km away, with the volcanic Hakone mountains just off to the left and the Tanzawa mountains to the right. That is the view we enjoyed for our lunch at a seafood restaurant.

Later we stopped at a dairy farm that sells its own ice cream.



After saying goodbye from everyone at Zushi station in the afternoon I headed back to the coast road and continued to Kamakura to take a lot more pictures of the ocean, the windsurfers and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.

Then I cycled over the mountains back to the east coast and back up to Tokyo through Yokohama and Kawasaki.

66 consecutive months of CaM!

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Old 02-11-18, 08:41 AM
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Irvine to Rancho Cucamonga to visit a friend, and back to Irvine, big loop 103 miles.

https://imgur.com/a/CPjpm

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Old 02-18-18, 04:45 PM
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That's February done!

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
BNB 200K - Hot Hot Hot

We decided to do our first 200 kilometre Audax cycling event, since the one we did in Canada in June, on mainland Australia in Victoria this weekend. As some of you know, my cycling club is Audax Australia, and Audax cycling or Randonneuring is timed ultradistance cycling. Some of our events are a bit shorter 50 km or 100 km ... those are often warm-up events early in the season, or winter events later in the season. But then the bigger events start with the 200 km distance, and go up from there.

This particular event is called a 200K but that's a minimum designation. They can be a bit longer than that, and this one was 215 kilometres. But whatever the distance, it still has to be completed in 13 hours and 30 minutes.

We've cycled some of the roads included on this event before, so we had some idea what to expect, but we've done it under cooler conditions. This ended up being a very hot ride!! Our on-bike thermometres were recording over 40C out there on the road in the sun and the recorded high (always recorded in the shade) was 33C. Fortunately, the clouds did gather toward the end of the day, and the last 50 kilometres were somewhat cooler ... with a threatening storm and a decent tailwind!

There were so many birds ... living in Tasmania, I miss the melodic magpies of the mainland. And there was one large kangaroo.

And now I look like Australia ... I blend right in! I'm very reddish brown like the Australian soil.

Distance: 215.47 km
Elevation: 1,484 m
Moving Time: 10:55:56
Elapsed Time:12:34:18
Speed: Avg: 19.7 km/h | Max: 49.7 km/h


A word about equipment ...

We were on our Touring Bicycles rather than our usual distance bicycles because we're planning a little tour in the coming week. Our Touring Bicycles tend to be slightly slower because of their geometry and weight.

I need new shoes!! My feet are killing me. I got this pair of cycling shoes before my arthritis got as bad as it is, and as a result of the arthritis, my feet are wider. But the shoes are very narrow. In addition, my feet swell when riding long distances and in the heat. I did loosen the worst shoe off part way through the ride, but the damage had been done by then.

BTW - in case you wondered - I put a lot of weight on my feet when I ride.
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Old 03-04-18, 08:25 PM
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March CAM done - 204 km with about 2200 m of elevation gain.

Back from a long business trip and three weekends without long distance rides, I met up with friends for a ride into the mountains. Most of the last couple of rides had been coastal rides on two peninsulas near Tokyo, but I had started to miss the mountains.

My friend Peter suggested Doshi road towards Yamanakako, a lake near Mt Fuji. His friend Akira suggested descending to Odawara on the Pacific coast via Mikuni Toge, a legendary mountain pass I had never tried. It is infamous for its steepness, but we were mostly just going to be descending it. There were six of us and mostly the same bunch I had gone to the peninsulas with.

I left home at 06:00 and met up with one of the other cyclists at the Tamagawa river at 06:45. Together we rode to Sagamihara station, 30 km from my home, where we picked up the rest of the group who had arrived by train. After a couple of km of urban roads we finally hit the hills and the countryside. Doshi road climbs to over 1100 m at a tunnel a few km before it descends again to the lake, with a few descents thrown in on the way, where you give up some elevation again. There was more traffic than usual, especially motorbikes.

It was far sunnier than I expected and I stripped off two layers but was still overheating. I do know how to dress for winter and of course summer is easy, but in between it always gets complicated. I will soon retire some items of winter wear, at least until the late autumn.

Our group was soon split into two as my friend William suffered a pinch flat at the front and me and a friend stopped to assist him. I helped with changing the tube and lent him my Topeak Turbo Morph G pump, which he really liked. First he was going to use CO2, but the pump was very quick, as it's designed for the air volume of MTBs and other wide tires. The front three riders waited for us at a pedestrian suspension bridge up the road where they were taking pictures.

I fell behind again as we headed towards Michi no Eki Doshi, a roadside rest station with restaurants, souvenir shops and toilets. I was sweating in my warm trousers and had no way shed more layers. The lunch break there was very welcome. I always enjoy the conversations during the breaks and as we ride together, especially on quiet roads where you can ride side by side.

After lunch we climbed to the tunnel at the pass. There were still dirty piles of snow by the road side where the snow plows had piled it up, especially where it was shady, but it was warm enough that I was cycling in my t-shirt.

Mount Fuji started peeking over the mountains near the pass, surprisingly large now that we got close. Near the lake the mountain was shrouded in haze, that it didn't stand out much in the photographs we took. After a food break at a convenience store on the road that circles the lake we started the relatively short climb to Mikuni. The view got clearer as we climbed, with the lake and the forests around it spread out before us.



The descent on the south side of Mikuni was fun. The steepest part was as much as 18%, but that didn't last too long. I wasn't too concerned with my disc brakes, but one of us was a new cyclist using carbon clincher rims and I was worried if they would be OK. With carbon clinchers it's very important not to ride the brakes the whole time but to give them a chance to cool, or they may explode.

We made it down safely. Here the road to Odawara runs through a valley that is shared by a river, route 246 (a major highway with lots of trucks), Tomei expressway and a railway line. I had plotted a route that avoided 246 except for about 3 km, some of it on very small roads almost entirely without cars, that run parallel to the highway. There were some flat bits and some very mild uphills, but most of the 25 km or so from Mikuni to the coastal plain were downhill.



After another 10 km of urban roads we got close to Odawara station and I bid farewell to the rest of the group, as I was heading back to Tokyo on my own. The last 70 km were not very interesting, riding next to a lot of cars and waiting for many traffic lights. I stopped at a number of convenience stores for food and coffee. I arrived home around 22:00, happy to have achieved my goal and enjoying the memories of a great group ride.



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Old 03-06-18, 06:58 PM
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I finished February's century ride on Tuesday the 27th.
The original plan was to ride to an old fort that's fairly close. The planned route ended up being to dangerous, so I headed back and tried to find some miles. I ended up with 93 miles before I had to stop, but, made up the remainder the next morning riding to work.


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Old 03-11-18, 06:03 AM
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We got our March Century in!!

Your Weekend Rides -- March 9/10/11/12
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Old 03-19-18, 03:05 AM
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I've done my second March century on Saturday, 175 km (109 mi) with 1660 m (5400 ft) of elevation gain. About 80 km of that was with two friends. It was a beautiful sunny day, but colder than at my first century of the month two weeks earlier.



I had arranged to meet Peter and Patrik by 09:00 at Kitasakado station, 48 km from my home. Before I moved to Yokohama and then Tokyo, I had spent about 7 years in that small town so I still felt like a local.

We headed to the hills on small roads, passing rice fields, plum orchards and farmhouses. We stopped for interesting spots such as an ancient temple with great wooden carvings. The first main attraction were the Kuroyamasantaki ("Black Mountain, Three Waterfalls") waterfalls.



We hiked to the falls, took pictures and bought some omiyage (souvenirs) at a shop run by an old lady in her 80s. Next to it is a small Buddhist temple that looked very Chinese to me.



After the falls we started climbing the "Greenline" ridge road, surrounded by trees. A little after noon we stopped at a noodle shop for some udon noodles with a great view.

.

The highest point of the ridge road is Kabasaka pass, 818 m (2700 ft) above sea level. Often there is a pop-up coffee place there. A guy sells drip coffee out of the back of his mini van, with a couple of tables and folding chairs for his customers most of whom are motorbike riders. He's not usually there in the winter because it's too cold for bikers, but we were lucky and it was the first day of the season for him. We enjoyed fresh coffee with our dried mangoes, bananas and some walnuts.

After some pictures at the pass sign we put on our jackets for the 6 km (4 mi) fast descent. After that we had another climb of 4 km to Shomaru pass and a very short descent and climb to Yamabushi pass. The descent from Yamabushi is my favourite descent anywhere near Tokyo, especially the first 6 km. In total we descended more or less uninterrupted for 30 km (19 mi) from Yamabushi pass to Hanno station, where I dropped off Peter and Patrik. It got dark soon as I cycled back to Tokyo, where I arrived after 21:00.

Next Saturday I will be riding my second 200 km brevet this year, for a total of three century rides in March if all goes well


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Old 03-19-18, 03:56 PM
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Glad to see the 2018 CAM thread. Joe - good to see you hitting the roads!

Unfortunately for me, Jan and Feb were un-ride-able here in Chicagoland (at least for the mostly sane folks). And this year, I failed to make plans to be in Florida or somewhere else more temperate.

Perhaps this year I'll do 2 centuries a month in the warmer months. So I'll have to head over to the "Century Challenge" thread instead!
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Old 03-31-18, 10:51 PM
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I finished 3/12 earlier today.




At mile 90 my feet started killing me. Either I'm still breaking in my SPDs or I need to do some adjustments. Probably both. But, it was bad enough and I was close enough to home to just pack it in. This was my mileage after returning home from work.
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Old 04-08-18, 07:53 PM
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Month #68 complete. I rode 176 km (110 mi) with 2384 m (~8000 ft) of elevation gain yesterday.



Two 'toge' (mountain passes) west of Tokyo had recently re-opened. Wada had been closed for repairs after a landslide. The north side of Yabitsu still had snow on it until recently. To celebrate the re-opening, my friend Peter organized a ride starting with Wada and finishing with Yabitsu. Six of us rode 88 km through the mountains together. I also rode 37 km to the start and 51 km home from the goal.



It was the first century this year that I didn't bring my windbreaker for. It turned out clear but on the cool side. For the first 7 km I wore long underwear under my shorts, then got changed in a public toilet as the morning sun started to kick in. For the rest of the day it was just a choice of if I should wear my winter jersey on top of my base layer t-shirt or not. I wore it for descents and on the way home. I'd rather be slightly under-dressed than sweating excessively, regardless of how much water I have. Like last weekend, when instead of cycling I was hiking around Kamakura with visitors, I was always the most lightly dressed person in the group.



On the ride to the start I was joined by my friend Kikumi, who also didn't take the train. Despite both of us leaving our homes late, we arrived about 10 minutes early. One of the riders at the start discovered his rear brake cable had broken, but decided to risk it with just a working front brake. Pretty risky on a hilly ride, if you ask me! Luckily he made it. Soon we were on quiet back roads and then a 'rindo' (forest road) as steep as 16% which took us to Wada. The pace was pretty sharp for me, I struggled to keep up.

At Lake Miyagase, a dam in the mountains that supplies Tokyo with drinking water and electricity we stopped for lunch. Then we switched to a closed rindo, with chains or fences at both ends, for some very quiet km by the lake shore. At one spot, a bunch of amateur photographers were waiting with tripods and telephoto lenses to get good shots of 'taka' (falcons).

After the lake we climbed to Yabitsu. We stopped again at a cafe about 2 km before the pass, for coffee and cake. I really enjoyed that break. After the descent from the pass we climbed another rindo that I had not been on before. It was not too steep and very pleasant. After the final descent we split up, each heading back our own way.

Kikumi again joined me for the ride back to Tokyo, as I navigated by Google Maps on my Android while her iPhone was already out of power (I use a big USB battery). The first half of these last 50 km was mostly minor roads, but at some point the app suggested we enter Rt246, a major four lane highway. We reluctantly gave it a try, but it being Sunday there were almost no trucks and traffic turned out not to be too scary. A couple of times we had to bypass a fly-over where bicycles are banned, but following the phone we never got lost. We crossed back to the east of the Tamagawa river only an hour and a half after sunset, and it actually got warmer the closer we got to home.





Next weekend I'll be riding BRM414 AJ Nishi-Tokyo 300 km Fuji, a brevet that does a 300 km clockwise loop around Mt Fuji. I've done it every year since 2012. Hopefully not in the rain!

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Old 04-18-18, 12:53 AM
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The weather at the Mt Fuji 300 km brevet last weekend was the worst ever in 7 years of randonneuring for me. I abandoned the event 150 km from home (122 km into the brevet), sat out the storm in a McDonald's and then rode home by myself. 283 km in my second century of April.

Full report here.
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Old 04-24-18, 06:16 AM
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Rowan's and my CAM challenge has come to an end for 2018. Rowan had a serious workplace accident in late March.

Rowan and I participated in a Century-A-Month challenge in 2017 where we cycled at least one 100-mile ride in each month of the year. We successfully completed the challenge in 2017, and embarked on the challenge again in 2018.

This year, our challenge is over after only 3 months because we will not do our April century.

** However, we did ride at least one 100-mile ride in each month for 15 months straight. **

I debated about riding a century this coming weekend, but I'm not really up to that. However, I do hope to get as much cycling and running in as I can in over this last weekend of April while the weather is still good!!

Now I'm pondering May.
May is a maybe.

See Rowan's thread here ...

Rowan

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Old 05-01-18, 02:39 AM
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Machka, this must be a very difficult time for you. I am sending my best wishes to Rowan and you.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:08 AM
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I rode another two centuries in April, on practically the same hilly route with 183 km (114 mi) and 2460 m (8070 ft) of elevation gain, which I had first done in 2012. It's known as "Deej's Ome Temple Loop" because it covers a very rural, mountainous area of Saitama prefecture near Tokyo where there are numerous temples and shrines.



One of the mountain temples is Nenogongentenryu-ji, which is dedicated to leg and lower body health. It displays many oversize items of footwear, such as 3 m tall traditional straw sandals (owaraji) made of steel. As a representative of the Japan Footwear Museum in Hiroshima prefecture explained in a Japan Times interview: “Leg strength was very important in those days. (...) If your legs weren’t strong enough for labor, you didn’t eat.” Given this foot/leg theme, it's not surprising the temple is popular with hikers, trail runners and cyclists. It even has a road bike rack inside the temple entrance, near the place where you traditionally wash your hands before worship.



Both times I cycled 45 km from my home in Tokyo to Ome station, where I was joined by friends taking the train to the group ride start and I also rode home again from Ome after the group part.



This is one of the hilliest century rides I have done repeatedly. One climb in particular, the Takayama climb, is infamous as the gradient tops out at over 20% towards the end of an increasingly steep 8 km climb, which starts in a village, then winds up a mountain forest road. The steepest part consists of a concrete surface with donut shaped ring patterns impressed when the concrete is cast. It's supposed to help with meltwater run-off in the winter to prevent ice formation. On both rides I walked large parts of the last 2 km, the steepest section, even with my 26-32 lowest gearing (21 gear inches).



None of the other climbs that follow are as fierce, but your legs won't be the same after Takayama We were seven riders on the first weekend and five on the second.

Both rides had great weather, beautiful scenery and very little traffic.



There weren't many shops, but we had coffee from a pop-up coffee shop at Kabasaka pass. A guy sells freshly brewed coffee, instant soba noodle and local products out of the back of his mini van to passing motorcyclists and cyclists.

By and large both groups were well matched on speed. Some people were faster than others, but there was no big discrepancy and we were all pretty exhausted at the end. I was somewhat faster the second time but also felt more worn out when we got back to the station. That could also have been because I ate significantly less on that ride than the first one. One very strong rider that I had never seen tired on joint rides had originally planned to cycle back to Tokyo with me, but even he changed his mind on the last 10 km before the station (from where I rode 45 km).

On that ride I was joking about the effects of "randonesia" that let you forget the pain of a long ride and only let you remember the good parts, which is why you do those rides again. Two days later I was already considering a repeat ride. Incredibly, one lady who joined the first weekend with her husband rejoined me the second weekend, despite having felt "as tired as never before" on the first ride. "If it doesn't kill me, it will make me stronger," she grinned. That was just what I was hoping to get out of the ride, as I have a 400 km brevet coming up soon and DNF'd on my 300 km one due to extreme weather.

I have one more weekend before my 400 km, for a bit more exercise and a chance to extend my CaM streak to 69 months. Then on May 12/13 I will find out how much the hills will have paid off
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Old 05-05-18, 11:49 PM
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CaM month #69 complete - I rode 186 km with 1788 m of elevation gain yesterday. The course highlighted some very rural areas that are part of Tokyo but feel like they couldn't be further from it.



I arranged to meet with friends at Musashiitsukaichi station at 09:00 on Saturday morning for a 95 km ride, the central part of my century ride. I got up at 05:00 and left home before 06:00, arriving at the station 48 km from my home about 08:20. My friend Peter had arrived on an earlier train, so we moved over to the convenience store across the street to buy food and drinks. Later Patrik also arrived and unpacked his bike. As we were about to leave the station, Dean arrived by bicycle and told us he was also going to join us. After a quick convenience shop stop to allow Dean to stock up too, we headed up the mountain valley. The roads were busy with weekend travel. It was a sunny weekend during "Golden Week", a week with several public holidays where most people are off work.

After 9 km we turned off the main road into a smaller valley towards our main climb, Kazahari Rindo (Kazahari Forest Road). This is an infamously steep route that's closed to motor vehicles and does not even show on Google Maps. I had discussed route options with Peter and Patrik and we decided to take a detour to Kanoto Iwa, a canyon with water falls, before the main climb. Patrik and Dean were in SPD-SL shoes while I use SPD (MTB) und Peter rides in sneakers on flat pedals. Patrik took off his shoes to hike through the short canyon in his socks with us while Dean bypassed it in a tunnel to join us at the upper end.



We descended back to the main course and climbed to the last village, where we topped up our water bottles. Then the climb began in earnest. It goes on for more than 5 km with grades of up to 19%. As we regrouped at the base of the climb, we were passed by a group of foreign cyclists on pretty nice road bikes. We assumed we wouldn't see them again until the very top, if at all. However, none of them had gearing that was remotely appropriate. We gradually caught up with all of them, as they rested by the road side when their heart rate had shot through the roof while trying to maintain a workable cadence on the steep climb.

At the pass at over 1100 m we rested and chatted with the group, checking out each others bikes and taking pictures. Then we descended towards Okutama-ko (Lake Okutama). That road is my second favourite descent in the Tokyo area (after the Yamabushi pass east side). At a view point half way down we stopped for some photographs. Two cyclists there commented on my Elephant Bikes NFE and asked questions about it. They were students at a frame building college in Tokyo, who had come here on the lugged Cr-Mo bikes that they had built themselves. Everybody took pictures of everybody's bikes.

Down at the lake we had lunch at a local restaurant that sold ramen, udon and soba noodle as well as donburi (rice bowl). The people who run it are very friendly. They filled up our water bottles too.

We continued along the lake via a route with many tunnels to Okutama, the town at the end of the local railway line. From here we climbed up the forested Nippara valley, with steep limestone cliffs and a wild river deep down below the road level. Car traffic turned out pretty bad, as many people were heading for the Nippara Limestone Caves and its limited car park. At many places on the narrow road, cars heading in and coming out could barely squeeze past each other, or guards with radios controlled traffic in both directions.

Less than 2 km before the caves, Dean decided to turn back because he needed to get home before dark and still had a long way to go. The rest of us cycled to the cave, put on wind breakers, bought tickets and hiked around the cave.



Traffic on the way down to Okutama was a lot easier, perhaps because it was later in the day. From Okutama we cycled on the main road to Oume, from where Peter took a train home. Patrik and I had dinner at a Nepali restaurant and then cycled all they way back to Tokyo in the dark.




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Old 05-12-18, 05:32 PM
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It was great to read about your experiences, I would like to start the challenge on May, so here goes...

Did a loop yesterday on the northern part of my country, Costa Rica. The route I planned was very mountainous and with a lot of elevation changes. Basically I went from the central inter-mountainous valley that sits around 1000 meters above see level (3280 feet) across a section of mountains that tops at 2100 meters/6889 feet and from there a big descent to some undulating terrain that drops until 157 meters/515 feet. From there the fun part begins, getting out of there: I had at least 3 options, I chose the longest one but with the more forgiving climb. The other 2 options entailed climbs of around 30 kms with constant gradient and almost no rest during the ascend. Another negative side of my decision was that at the feet of the climb I chose the temp was high: 35 Celsius/95 F, short climbs of about 3-5 kms but with ramps of 12%-16%, then some descent to rest and the same recipe during approximately 35 kms. Even after finishing that climb I still had several small peaks to manage until I reach back my home. I feared the rain because rainy season is starting over here but I was lucky and got just a drizzle by the end of the ride in the afternoon.

Some pics:


Cataráta La Paz by Abraham Cyrman, on Flickr
^ km 44, early in the ride I had already reached the highest point but still a looong way to go.


Parque Ciudad Quiesada by Abraham Cyrman, on Flickr
^ km 99, almost half-way


Sarchí by Abraham Cyrman, on Flickr
^ km 181, feeling mentally better because I was closer to finishing. The town where I took that pic is famous for crafting ox carts with wheels painted like that huge wheel.


rampas by Abraham Cyrman, on Flickr
^ this is an analysis of the inclination of the road during the ride, sorry it´s in Spanish and kms, I took it from the Spanish webiste cicloide.com Red is for climbs, green flat terrain and blue descents...do you know of a website in English that give this type of analysis?

Distance 142 miles (229 kms)
Elevation 16909 feet (5154 meters)
Avg speed 13.6 mph (21.9 kph)
Moving time 10:28
Elapsed time: 11:13
Bike: Specialized Tarmac SL6
strava

More than the distance I am proud about the total elevation of this ride: 5154 meters/16909 feet. This is actually my best from all time and I think it would be very hard to improve it any time soon.

Hope you like the post, be well,

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