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photogravity 04-23-13 10:40 AM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 15516438)
I'm up to date!

I guess I forgot to post that I rode the "Spring Forward 200K" with the PA Randonneurs. Nice ride. Good tailwind for much of it, nasty headwind for the rest (go figure!). I took no photos.

Then last Saturday I rode just over 100 miles with forum member Photogravity, who completed his first century, and posted some photos here. I was riding my 1940's Fothergill; he was riding his 1950 Norman Rapide four speed which really is one of the most beautiful bikes on the forum.

The 100 mile loop, starting and ending at my house, took us down into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. I did not actually ride the whole way; for a while I thought I could walk along the edge while pushing the bike through the water, but when I got to the greenbriars I thought, nuts to this. Here is a photo of me yelling "I'm going to take my shoes off!" After that I had to wade about as far as you can see in the photo. The water was never deep enough to flood the bottom bracket of my bike. Cold, though!

The rest of the route was mostly dry (and mostly paved, too!).

I didn't realize you posted this over here. That water was *very* cold, that's for sure! By the time, we finished wading through the water, my feet were starting to get very sore and on the verge of numbness, so putting socks and shoes on was most definitely welcome.

I have to say, this ride was a real blast and I'm glad to have finally gotten in my first century ride. Thanks for helping me get there. :thumb:

ooga-booga 04-25-13 11:38 AM

Date of Ride: 4/24/2013
Type of Ride: diy solo century-san diego county
Actual Mileage: 100.1 miles
Ride Time: 7h 36m
Total Time: 9h 47m
Avg. Speed: 15.1 mph
Altitude Climbed: approx. 5,512 ft
Weather conditions: clear, sunny, dry, cloudy, windy, low 50's-upper 60's

synopsis of ride: dunno if this counts because it was ridden in 2 separate areas of the county. planned on doing a century in the laguna mountains/cuyamaca rancho state park area
and started doing so. it was a gorgeous mid-60's day up there. struggled up the 2 miles of hell that is pine creek road, hit the s1 and turned left to lake cuyamaca. riding past lake cuyamaca
at mile 28 and dipping down into that viewpoint looking west, i got hit by a 25-mph blast of wind that nearly blew me into the opposing lane. the clouds and wind were coming fast into the mountains
and i wasn't really as prepared as i liked for that. temps dropped 10-12 degrees within minutes so booked the 15 miles back to the 8 fwy/hwy 79 parking lot. only had 43 miles
under my belt but still wanted to ride. decided to go back home and set out from there for the remaining 57 miles needed for a century. took about an hour off the bike to pack up, drive back,
refuel and set off again. headed south and rode to coronado and back with an 8 mile side trip around bonita to give me the 57 miles and an even 100 for the day. funny thing was that the
crosswind/headwind usually present riding the coronado area was significantly diminished. go figure.

ooga-booga 05-01-13 08:46 PM

Date of Ride: 5/1/2013
Type of Ride: diy solo century-san diego county, ca
Actual Mileage: 100.3 miles
Ride Time: 7h 18m
Total Time: 7h 57m
Avg. Speed: 14.8 mph
Altitude Climbed: approx. 5,023 ft
Weather conditions: clear, sunny, dry, upper 60's-mid 70's

synopsis of ride:dropped car off at the dealer in mission valley for some small stuff and headed north along the 15 fwy corridor up to escondido.
originally intended to hook up with the hwy 76 bike path and take the coast the whole way back but i "winged it' after leaving escondido. ultimately,
ended up on north twin oaks valley road (which was pretty and had a nice descent...unfortunately dead ending at a quarry/private road.
climbed out the hole i dug myself, took twin oaks valley road south past csu san marcos and thru the san elijo hills. eventually hooked up with
leucadia blvd and the 101 and turned left for 20+ coastal miles. thru mission bay and back to mission valley. gorgeous day. pit-stop at
the in-n-out in escondido near auto park way/15 fwy for lunch. female driver pulled a crazy u-turn a half-mile from my finishing destination and almost
took me out. she didn't see me and if i had been a car, she woulda gotten horribly t-boned. let's be careful out there. they exist.

joewein 05-19-13 11:37 PM

370 km in 25 hours - BRM518 Mt Fuji
BRM519 was my third brevet ride with AJ Nishi-Tokyo this year and my fifth brevet overall (including an unofficial shadow ride in January). It makes May the 9th month in a row for me with a Century ride (over 160 km).

I'd been wanting to ride this brevet again since I did it last year (my first brevet ever). I worried about family or business travel that might conflict, or about foul weather on the day, but none of this came to pass.

I left home at 19:20 on Saturday, got back around 20:30 on Sunday and slept all of 20 minutes in between. I rode about 370 km altogether, since this time I didn't pack my Bike Friday into the rinko bag for a train ride to and from Machida (the starting point), but rode from Tokyo-Setagaya to the west side of Fuji and back.

At the signup I was greeted by David and William, who had come across my blog last year. This was the 3rd brevet we rode together. The previous weekend they had completed a 100 km hike for charity. Kudos to them!

Garmin troubles

I'd been training for this event for a year and bought a Garmin 500 with heart rate monitor belt in January, but Sod's law would have it that the battery of the belt ran out just before the event. I had done a last training ride a week earlier and everything had worked fine, but when I rode out to the start on Saturday night, the Garmin did not pick up data from the HR belt. I suspected the HR sensor battery (I had used the belt for 2500 km over 4 months). A CR2032 button cell was 250 yen ($2.50) at the next convenience store, but I also needed a tiny screw driver (the size used for eye glasses and watches) to change it. A mechanic at the Cherubim bike shop (where the brevet signup takes place) helped me out. Thank you!

With the new battery the Garmin started displaying numbers though it also warned me about the presence of multiple heart rate sensors, hardly surprising in the reception area of a brevet!

Another problem was that near the 298 km mark, the Garmin lost satellite reception, with no tunnel or other obstacle to explain it. Also, the route as plotted by Strava has me swerve out into the Pacific once. Though my Garmin charger cable worked beautifully to extend its battery life beyond 16 hours, I'd say the jury is still out on whether the Garmin 500 will cope with brevets beyond 200 km.

Too fast and too slow

Why do I use a Garmin if I ignore its data? The idea with HR data is to always operate at your maximum sustainable rate for the duration of the event. I didn't do that, far from it.

On brevets you need to maintain a minimum average speed of 15 km/h (by elapsed time, including all breaks) overall for the course and up to each check point (PC). Since most climbs are such that my speed will drop below 15 km/h and I can't make up the lost time on faster descents because they are too short for that, I need to build up a time buffer on flat sections. The first third or so of the course was mostly flat, so we could go fast. I also worked hard for the first 50 km of the 200 km West Izu and Kintaro brevets, but foolishly pushed even harder during the first 75 km of the 300 km, when I should have slightly dropped my speed to allow for the longer course. On top of that I felt the effects of riding through the night without sleep.

As a result, the 4 hour climb from sea level at Fujikawa to 1,100 m above Lake Motosu was really slow. Most of the time my heart rate wouldn't move much beyond 120, when it had been in the high 150s/low 160s on the flat sections. This is where I lost a lot of time.

I only recovered via the long descent from the pass to Fujiyoshida and then down to Tsuru. My banana-raisin-outmeal energy bars also helped. I think they perked me up more than any bread or onigiri (rice balls wrapped in sea weed) I bought in the convenience store.

Before the Tsuru check point I had all but written off my chances of completing within the time limit. I had to take a second brief nap by the road side at R139 before Fujiyoshida. The high speed descent from Fujiyoshida to Tsuru is always fun and by the time I got there, my time buffer didn't look great, but workable.

In the end I was 17 minutes faster than last year and will receive my brevet medal by mail :)

Teru teru bozu at work

The Fuji brevet two years ago (2011) got rained out. Though the real hard core riders battled it out in their rain gear, from the pictures it didn't look like a pleasant experience. The weather report had forecast rain for Sunday right up until the last day, when the outlook changed to something more positive and it worked out OK. At the pre-ride briefing one of the organisers showed us the "teru teru bozu" (anti-rain charm usually made by kids) to ward off rain. Of course I don't believe in this stuff, but it only started drizzling during the last 30 km before the goal, and only on and off. It was so little, I didn't even put my smartphone away until I had arrived.

I had discussed my concerns about the weather with Jose and he advised to make sure I'd be warm enough if it rained. I had considered wearing either my GS Astuto bib shorts on top of a long base layer or my dhb winter bib tights and finally opted for the latter. As it happened, the first choice would have been better. I only wore my windbreaker between 04:00 and 06:00 for the early morning descent from Gotemba to the coast. The weather and what to wear is always a guessing game on long rides, especially if you want to minimize how much you carry.

What's next?

Just like after last year's 300 km brevet, the AJ Nishi-Tokyo organizers asked me if I was going to give the 400 km brevet in June a try. Also, from next year they will have a 600 km event, for which they will do a trial run in September. My main concern about the longer rides is the effects of lack of sleep. I did much better on that front this year. Short naps work well for me and I probably should have tried one sooner this time. Riding to the brevet start was a decision I only made hours earlier and I still brought along the rinko bag, in case I was too tired after the ride to consider cycling home, but as it happened, I never used it (I could leave it with the staff during the ride). 400 km over 27 hours isn't that much more than the 370 km over 25 hours that I rode for this event. So I would say, I am definitely up for a 400 km brevet in the future.

joewein 06-25-13 03:33 AM

On Sunday I rode 206 km with 4,972 m (about 16,300 ft) of climbing as measured by the barometric altimeter of my Garmin 500. That's the most I have climbed in any single day. It's actually 45% more than my longest ride so far, which at 360 km was considerably longer.

The route was known as "Otsuki 4.5" in our bike club, because it runs across 4 major and one minor mountain passes near the town of Otsuki in Yamanashi prefecture, Japan. We had this crazy plan of doing an "Otsuki 9.0", i.e. doing the "4.5" loop first anti-clockwise, then clockwise. The route has an "epic" reputation because it dispenses with all flat sections and only consists of either "up, up, up" or "down, down, down". Much of the climbs is in the 6-8% range. You start at below 300 m (1000 ft) above sea level to climb peaks as high as 1,500 and 1,600 m (5,000-5,300 ft).

Two friends and I caught a train to Otsuki, arriving after 01:00 in the morning so we could avoid the summer heat for the first two climbs. After stocking up on food and refuelling at a convenience store, because our route was complete devoid of those, we set off into the darkness. We were rewarded with this view before sunrise:

Most of the roads very minor and steep, running through quiet forests with rivers and streams and some water falls.

There are some hydro power stations that supply Tokyo with electricity.

We met very few people and virtually no other cyclists. Temperatures ranged very widely, between a chilly 14 C (57 F) and a sizzling 34 C (93 F).

The early start caught up with us at some point and more than once we stopped for a nap, lying down on the asphalt of a parking lot or benches outside a mountain hiking restaurant.

We completed the loop with 3,450 m (11,500 ft) of climbing by around 13:00. It had taken us a lot longer than my friends had anticipated, partly because I am a much slower rider than them. So at that point they headed home from Otsuki, while I wanted to once more ride over Matsuhime, the very first of the large mountains and then ride home from there.

When I was only 1/3 the way up Matsuhime, the clouds got darker and I felt raindrops, but instead of doing the sensible thing and heading back down to the nearest station (Otsuki), I continued because I wanted a personal climbing record. By the time I reached the summit I was soaked to the skin and it was only 14 C (57 F) there. I saw a group of young cyclists taking shelter in a wooden hut at the summit from the by now torrential rain and decided to join them. It turned out to be the cycling club of my son's university and one of the guys even remembered his name and recognized me from a ride outside the Imperial palace in Tokyo. What a small world!

When the rain temporarily eased a bit, we all set off for the descent, which was hard with the wet brakes. Soon the rain picked up again. A couple of times I took shelter under roofs. I was shivering with hypothermia. In Kosuge village, still 20 km (13 miles) from Okutama station I took shelter again and considered my options. Finally I wore my bicycle train bag as an apron under my wind breaker to keep the wind off my wet clothes and cycled to Okutama station in the falling rain, from where I caught trains back to Tokyo. I was surprised how much warmer it was there than in Okutama. I then rode the last 10 km or so home, arriving at my front door some 24 hours after I had left home.

I really should have taken my rain gear with me and I should have abandoned the Matsuhime climb, but you live and learn. Still, it was a great experience and I will definitely head back for another round of "Otsuki 4.5".

DXchulo 06-25-13 04:40 PM

Haven't posted in a while, but April, May, and June are done.

April was a disappointment because I posted a dreaded DNF at the DMD. Here's Lake Tahoe before the snow melted (from this ride):

In May I went to Santa Barbara to watch the Tour of California. I rode part of Stage 4, and here's the final KOM:

In June I did the Terrible Two. Here's a picture from the portion along the coast:

I'm hoping to do a little traveling in late July or early August.

joewein 07-01-13 07:03 AM

I managed to squeeze in another century on the last day of June. 182 km (113 miles), 2058 m (6750 ft) of climbing. It is known as the Okutama BOOB ride in our club because of its elevation profile:

I rode with my friend Mike, who recently dropped a lot of weight. He has always been powerful, but had been held back by his weight. He gave me a run for my money.

Trying to stay behind him along the Tamagawa river I had my fastest run ever from Tokyo to Musashiitsukaichi station at the base of the mountain. As we got closer to the mountains we saw them shrouded in dark clouds and the roads got wet, but no rain yet. We headed on up. Here is Mike at the half way point:

I broke my previous BOOB segment time on Strava, despite us having a leisurely lunch down at the noodle shop at the halfway point (which I didn't have on the previous run). Towards the end of the climb from the lake back up to the summit it started raining and I wore my rain gear, but fortunately it stopped again on the way back to Musashiitsukaichi. We were really lucky with the weather.

Trying not to keep Mike waiting for too long at the convenience store at the bottom on the way down and then trying to not fall too far behind on the way to Tokyo I always had to push harder. I slept very well that night.

Oh yeah, 761 km in June, despite being out of the country for the first 10 days.

Looking forward to July!

unterhausen 07-01-13 08:29 AM

thanks for the pictures, looks like a beautiful ride.

joewein 07-08-13 03:39 AM

Eleventh month in a row with a century ride.

Since riding up Fuji Subaru Line from Fujiyoshida in October 2011, I had been meaning to go back and do this ride from sea level (i.e. Tokyo) instead of driving out there by car. I achieved it yesterday, as a sea level - Mt Fuji 5th stage - sea level bicycle round trip:

Strava reports 226.9 km of distance with 3,301 m of elevation. The elevation difference between Tokyo and Fuji 5gome alone is about 2,300 m. Fuji Subaru line is a 24 km toll road leading to the 5th stage of Mt Fuji, a hiking post halfway up to the mountain and the most popular of the starting points used.

After the annual rainy season had officially ended in Tokyo, summer started in earnest, with over 30 C (86 F) every day. Not wanting to get roasted alive down in the flat land around Tokyo, I planned for a trip across the mountains towards Mt Fuji. Heading up into the hills promised some escape from the heat, but it didn't turn out that way.

I did the whole ride conscious of the need not to overheat and kept an eye on the HR on all the climbs. I think I drank 6 bidons of plain water, one coffee, one cocoa and a few other drinks. I ate 8 bananas, 200 g of raisins, some cookies and a bag of raisin bread.

I left home around 05:45 and by the time I crossed the Tamagawa river (10 km / 6 miles from my home) the temperature was already over 30 C (86 F).

Route 413 out to Yamanakako brought no relief, except for some shade in going through forests. The views around Yamanakako were terrific, but it was just as hot there as anywhere else.

According to RWGPS the temperature didn't drop below 30 C / 86 F again until I hit 1900 m / 6200 ft, sparing me during the final 8 km / 5 mls of climbing Fuji Subaru Line. By then it was late afternoon, so temperatures overall dropped. Still, I could descend at 45-55 km/h without feeling cold. The descent from Fuji was great fun. I made very little use of my brakes because there are long straights so the wind will do most of the braking and most of it is only 5-8%.

joewein 07-08-13 03:41 AM

Some pictures from the mountain:

joewein 07-21-13 06:27 PM

Second century of the month on Saturday on a route a friend described as "stupid steep". Much of it was on grades of 8-11%, with a maximum of 22%. It's known as the Oume Temple Loop, as it goes through a very rural part of Saitama prefecture with many old temples.

I already rode this route last July, on a blazing hot day. Then I joined a group of faster riders, who lost me for good on the first big climb. Later I caught up with one of them who had suffered a tire cut and puncture and I made sure he could safely reach the nearest train station. Consequently I had to cut the planned route short at the end as I was running out of time. This time I wanted to do the full course.

I started around 05:45 and got back around 21:15, doing 190 km (119 mls) with 2900 m (9700 ft) of climbing on my Bike Friday. When I arrived at the convenience store in front of Oume Station to stock up before the loop, I was greeted by a fellow Tokyo Cycling Club member. The number of times I go for a ride in or around Tokyo, a city of 13 million, and bump into cyclists I know is amazing!

Temperatures were much more humane this time than at last year's ride, with an average of 27 C (81 F). Most of the climbs were shaded by the foliage of the trees.

Talking about climbs, they fell mostly into two categories: steep and stupid steep. But I already knew this from last year. It helped that the roads were dry this time. Last year it had been raining the day before and many of the steepest sections were still wet. Combined with the steepness it meant I couldn't stand on the pedals as the rear wheel would slip when my weight shifted forward of the seat post.

I also had a lot more confidence in my brakes than last year. Then I often stopped to check the rims for overheating.

Road conditions varied from cracked asphalt with lots of sharp edged gravel and leaves washed into the road by previous rains to clean, freshly resurfaced roads as smooth as a baby's bottom.

This year I cycled every single km of the route, plus some bonus distance due to a missed turn and a wallet initially forgotten at home...

I went through 10 bidons of water. Special thanks to the old man near route 299 who let me refill one of my bottles from the tap at his house when I couldn't find any vending machines.

joewein 08-04-13 05:36 AM

12 months of "Century-A-Month" complete. Last year I started in March but didn't get a long ride in during August. This year I did it on the first Weekend of the month, just in case. 188 km (117 miles), 2,111 m (6,900 ft) of climbing. It was the same Okutama Boob ride route I did at the end of June, but this time it wasn't just me and Mike but 8 of us. It was a fun group and a great ride, though it felt quite hard because I always ride faster when in a group.

I left home at 06:45 and cycled to a meeting point 6 km away at the Tamagawa river. There I met up with two of the other riders and we followed the cycle path and some back roads to the Musashiitsukaichi train station about 40 km away. Had time for coffee and pastries before the rest of the group arrived by train and finished setting up their bikes.

From there it was a 26 km climb up a rural mountain valley to Tomin no Mori, a hiking trail head almost 1,000 m higher up than Tokyo:

After another 3 km the road descends for 12 km in one of the most beautiful descents I know: Long sweeping curves, not to shallow and not too steap, beautiful clean road surface. Finally we reached Lake Okutama, an artificial lake behind a dam that supplies much of Tokyo's drinking water. Here we had lunch at a Japanese noodle shop, before heading back up again to the top. I worked pretty hard on this climb, trying to beat my previous Strava time. My legs were toast by the time I reached the top. At home I found that Strava included the 10 minute regroup stop at the end of the climb into the segment time, nevertheless I had beaten my own record. So by stopping a little higher up next time I should be able to shave off another 10 minutes easily ;)

The final 80 km were mostly downhill or flat but I definitely felt my legs and was pretty tired when I got home around 19:10, about 12 1/2 hours after I left. I didn't do much except take a shower, have dinner and go to bed.

I'm already looking forward to my next century ride. I'm signed up for a 600 km ride on the autumn equinox weekend with a local rando club, which will be a test run for an official brevet ride they'll put on next year, so I'll need all the training I can get. I'd say my chances of finishing within the time limit are in the single digit percent, but unless I try it, how would I know what it's like?

joewein 09-02-13 04:18 AM

I managed to ride three centuries in August and break the 1000 km per month, the first time in over a year.

On August 18 I rode the second one, 220 km from Tokyo over to Izu peninsula, to try out the first 160 km and the last 80 km of a 600 km brevet course I'll be doing in three weeks' time.

I set the alarm for 3am, so I got up after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep, because I wanted to train a bit for the second day of the long ride when I knew I would be sleep deprived. After 5 1/2 hours I took a short nap on a bench in front of a convenience store. That stopped the yawning for the rest of the day.

I was really struggling with the heat. I drank lots of water, but my pace was slow and if it had been the real event I would have DNFed by PC1 only some 130 km into the course. Hopefully in three weeks time it will be a bit cooler already. I got home at 11pm, with a good taste of the challenge that lies ahead of me.

joewein 09-02-13 04:34 AM

My bike club did a hilly 65 km ride on Saturday. They arrived at the foot of one mountain by train, rode several hours across the mountains and returned from another train station. I decided to turn this into a century by not using the train but cycling about 45 km from my home and then another 55 km back home at the end. The total came to 166 km (103 miles). I left home at 6am and got back at 6pm. We stopped quite a few times for buying water from vending machines or for regrouping.

The lowest temperature on the ride was 28 C (82 F), the highest 38 C (100 F). A fair bit of the club ride in the middle was shaded under trees, but hardly any of the 100 km at the beginning and the end.

I enjoyed talking to people, sharing food and cheering each other up when it got a bit tough for some of us.

Tamagawa river, Tokyo:

At the base of the first hill:

One of the steeper sections (11-13%):

The river looks so appealing when you're cooking in the heat:

Japanese scarecrow:

rhm 09-12-13 12:55 PM

I'm up-to-date! Haven't missed a monthly century since May 2012.

My June, July, and August rides were all out on eastern Long Island.

Last Saturday I rode down into the Pinelands of NJ, not much over 100 miles, but a very nice ride.

A few photos:
I got lucky with that photo!

joewein 09-24-13 06:12 AM

My century ride for September was 570 km (354 miles) long.

A local rando club will add a 600 km to their portfolio next year, after already organizing 200, 300 and 400 km events. So last weekend they did a dress rehearsal for the first official 600 km in a year's time, with everything run according to the rules, just not officially certified yet and only open to Audax Japan members. There were 7 PCs at convenience stores (collecting purchase receipts) and one Quiz point, spaced roughly 80 km apart. The start was at 5 am and I did really well for the first 260 km, building up a 3+ hour time buffer. I slowed down after it got really hilly, but the worst part was the temperature drop at night at higher elevation (700 m = 2300 ft above the start). The extra clothes I had brought along would have been OK or even superfluous at sea level, but in the mountains on a clear night they were nowhere near enough. So after completing a double century distance I told the organizers that I would officially abandon the ride (DNF) to wait out the night in a warm place.

I spent the rest of the night at a fast food place with another rider who had DNFed. Then on Sunday morning he headed to the local train station while I followed the course further, which looped back towards the start near Tokyo. I just continued the partial event as a private ride. My original plan was to add a respectable distance back towards Tokyo and then catch a train after maybe 450-480 km total, but instead I just shortened the original 600 km course by taking a 60 km shortcut near the 450 km point and then adding 30 km at the end to get me from the Finish point back home.

The most difficult part were the final 50 km, as I got really sleepy and twice had to lie down somewhere outdoors for a while to sleep. I didn't get home until 47 hours after the start.

I intend to try this ride again next year, but bringing more appropriate clothes and training to be able to ride faster to leave more time for sleep breaks.

At the start:

Izu peninsula:

Old store house:

Farmer harvesting rice:

Japanese Southern Alps:

Mt Fuji with Lake Yamanaka:

joewein 10-07-13 02:03 AM

I completed my October century yesterday. It was also a kind of anniversary ride for my bicycle, which arrived two years ago from tomorrow.

The total came to about 190 km with 2,600 m of climbing in 13 hours, including numerous picture breaks (see selection below). I went through 9 bananas, 2 rice balls, 2 cocoa drinks, one 200g pack of yoghurt and one slice of pizza. Felt nicely tired when I got home after dark.

Originally I had a longer route in mind, but I felt too sleepy in the morning and got up later than planned. So I cycled to Wada toge, a nice climb in a forested rural area here. On the other side I bumped into two cyclists from our virtual cycling club (it's a website, not a formal membership fee paying club). That seems to happen to me on almost every weekend ride near Tokyo.

I picked a route on a rural back road I had only cycled once before, more than a year ago and in the opposite direction. The day started cool and gloomy, but later the sun broke through and it turned into great day with terrific views. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Farmhouse on Route 18:

Japanese maple leaves:

Lake Okutama suspension bridge:

View from the top:

In the clouds:

Old store house:

joewein 11-04-13 03:16 AM

I've got into the habit of doing a century on the first weekend of every month, as it minimizes the chances that I will not get around to riding one that month due to unforeseen circumstances. On Saturday I rode 195 km with over 2200 m of climbing. I organized a group ride for some autumn leaves viewing in the mountains near a ghost town. The organized ride was a little less than half the total distance but about 2/3 of the elevation.

I left home around 4:30am and rode 86 km from Tokyo to the starting point of the group ride at a station in the city of Chichibu in the mountains northwest of Tokyo. There were 10 of us altogether. We met up at the station around 10am and did a 94 km loop, much of it on quiet back roads in the mountains surrounded by colourful autumn leaves. The ghost town has been uninhabited for about 30 years. The pictures below show parts of the former mining town hospital.

We got back to the station just after sunset and caught a train back to Tokyo. I then rode a final 15 km from the Tokyo train station to my home.

Welcome to Nichitsu ghost town:

An abandoned dormitory:

Dentist chairs in room with collapsed floor:

Operating table with surgical instruments:

The bedroom:

rhm 12-02-13 02:34 PM

On the subject of unforeseen circumstances, i finally got my November Century in yesterday (yes, I know, December 1). It was supposed to be warm and dry. Well, warm enough, it was, but for some reason I got thoroughly drenched. I was on Long Island for the holiday. A few photos for you....
The Big Duck. This is what passes for a historical landmark on Long Island, which was once the chief duck supplier of the eastern U. S.

The Peconic Bay, seen from the south. Note, in the second photo, the North Fork of the island appears as a dark line; above that there's what appears to be a line of hills along the horizon. These are clouds.
A glimmer of sunight! Funny how, now that you can see a bit of blue sky, the rest of the sky looks so dark and gray; but it was just as dark when I took the previous pictures. The sun came out a few minutes after I took this last photo, and by the time I got home I was almost dry, except for my feet.

Shifty 12-04-13 08:49 PM

joewein - your photos and write-ups are awesome. Thank you, they made my day!!!! I want to ride in Japan now. However I do not want to have surgery there :lol:

DXchulo 12-14-13 08:12 AM

Update time:

July had its ups and downs. I had another ****ing DNF, this time at the Alta Alpina Challenge. That was the low point of the year for me. I got angry like usual and swore off doubles forever. Two weeks later, I actually completed the ride solo. Here's a view from Ebbetts Pass:

August was the best month of the year for me. I got a week off of work and watched some of the Tour of Utah. Then I did a 5-day, 500-mile ride from BZN to SLC. I made it back to RNO just in time to do a big ride with Jens Voigt and the Schleck brothers. Here's my favorite picture from the trip:

I took it pretty easy in September. It was a busy off-bike time for me. Summer seemed to end far too soon.

I did a lot of 6 Mile Canyon in October.

I went into full climb-avoidance mode in November. It wasn't that cold outside yet, but it felt cold at the time.

I'm still on pace for a century per week. Just 3 more to go. I'll save my December update for the last one of the year.

joewein 12-23-13 03:13 AM

Tokyo - Takao - Yabitsu - Enoshima - Machida - Tokyo on Sunday, Dec 1
I did my long ride of the month right at the beginning of the month. That's 16 calendar months in a row now with at least one ride over 160 km. I like to get it done on the first weekend, so that if any travel or other unexpected obstacles come up I don't miss my chance. I decided to join Sal's Takao-to-Yabitsu Half Fast ride, riding out to Takaosanguchi station and continuing on after the Yabitsu-south descent until I had my distance. Leaving home at 06:00, Tamagawa looked spectacular with mist rising from the water and a completely snow covered Mt Fuji in the background.

Around 08:20 I pulled into Takaosanguchi and found Sal and Jason waiting. It turned out to be just the three of us, which means Sal and Jason always only had to wait for a single person at the top of every climb.

At the top of the first climb I found Sal waiting with a lady cyclist, who turned out to be one of the other guests at the AJ Nishi-Tokyo (my local rando club) year end party the previous night. The world is a small place when you're a cyclist.

Here is Lake Miyagase:

From there we continued on to Yabitsu. The land slide damage from the summer is not properly fixed yet. From Dec 2 to 21 there will be road works with road closures. Good timing - we managed to slip in just before that starts.

Somehow I missed Sal and Jason at the top of Yabitsu. Perhaps they had given up waiting and headed on. So I headed down and to the coast, then on Rt1 to Enoshima:

I rushed against the fading daylight up the river towards Yamato and rode the last 4 hours back to Setagaya in darkness. At least it was nowhere near as cold as it had been at 06:00. I did not have to put my winter gloves back on again.

206 km with 1950 m of climbing - my longest distance since the 600 km brevet in September and many nice views. I felt deeply satisfied.

DXchulo 12-30-13 01:08 PM

December is done. I got food poisoning on the 26th, but it turns out it wasn't a very bad case and I was good to go two days later. The route was easy and it was a nice and sunny day out there.

So now I've done a century every month since 2006 and a century every week 2 years in a row. I'm hoping to continue both streaks in 2014.

10 Wheels 12-30-13 01:26 PM

Great Pics joewein

Ended with 19 century's

3 were at night to avoid the day time heat humidity

Won another free club jersey

rhm 01-05-14 08:30 AM

I did my December century on 12/28, which turned out to be the last nice day we had. Total for the year 13 centuries, one of which --November's-- fell a few miles short of the mark. Good thing I did an extra, I guess!

I did not win any jerseys or anything like that, but did some good riding along the way.

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