Yesterday I did another double Yabitsu, my second this year - neither of them using the rindo mentioned in the report above. Instead I took the main road.
I left home around 06:45 on a day with a forecast high of 29 C. I had no fixed route plan, still considering several alternatives which I gradually narrowed down as I approached turn-off points. On Onekansen I finally decided on Yabitsu instead of Akiyama / Tsuru / Doshi, the other remaining alternative: The quickly rising morning heat brought back memories of a particularly hot ride near Akiyama and that clinched the deal for Yabitsu, with its forest road and wild flowing river
On every stop with water I topped up both my bidons. Near Yabitsu there's a spring a little above the roadside cafe, which I used both on the way out and on the way back.
At the Sunkus conbini before the climb to Lake Miyagase I rested and had a second breakfast.
Just as I was about to continue, an elderly cyclist in a blue Shonan RT jersey on a road bike passed. I thought I had met him before, somewhere on the coastal road between Odawara and Enoshima, though we hadn't spoken.
After a brief stop for the lake view at the top of the climb I headed on. I passed the cyclist near the Miyagase Michi-no-Eki (road station).
Soon I came to the turn-off up the mountain valley. The views were beautiful as always. Mostly I just took them in without stopping for pictures. Only in one place where the road wasn't far above the river did I park the bike and climb down to take pictures.
After a right turn after crossing a bridge the main climb starts. There are several camp grounds along the way. The roadside cafe was closed, not surprising for a Monday. At the spring not far from there I met the cyclist again and struck up a conversation. He had already cycled 100 km that day and was 81 years old. He said he gets slower with the years, but he still rides around Yabitsu a lot.
We met again at the toge (summit) and during the descent to Hadano. Here's the obligatory toge shot:
I stopped at the car park 3 km below the toge and then descended all the way to route 246. At the Rt246 traffic light I waved goodbye to the Shonan RT cyclist (who had just arrived before me) and headed into the adjacent conbini for food, drinks and a water refill.
When you rapidly descend Rt70 you see just how much elevation you drop and the idea of having to climb all the way back up again seems intimidating. But when you actually do it, you just keep your effort constant, shifting gears and cadence as needed and admire the views by the roadside. First the houses and gardens, the view of the mountain above you and later the greenery of the forest road. There's a tori (shrine gate) at the bottom, as the mountain is considered a sacred place in Shinto.
I saw many security guards directing trucks or guarding pedestrian crossings for school kids against truck accidents. The Shin-Tomei extension (a second parallel route for Tomei expressway) is under construction here, with some tunnels being built.
Looking at the elevation, distance and time readouts of GPS I monitored my progress on the climb. Psychologically I find it much easier to do a climb when I count down the remaining effort by distance, time or elevation. I decided to try for a good result and not leave anything in the tank for the ride home on the other side. There were always bananas to restore lost energy
Right after me two guys who were obviously in good shape arrived, also from the steep south side, on mamachari (shopping bikes). They turned out to be off-duty firemen from Atsugi. We talked about cycling and bikes and took pictures of each other's bikes and of us with the mamachari. They were interest in my Half-Fast Cycling jersey and took pictures of the website address printed on the sleeves.
They were great guys, not reserved at all, very friendly and clearly not concerned about bling or image. They were just having fun and getting a feeling of achievement by doing something unconventional. The pink bike used the most basic Shimano six speed while the silver Miyata used a three speed IGH, which makes for extremely limited gearing. I imagine a Yabitsu climb on bikes like that involves a lot of pedalling out of the saddle or in any case a pair of very strong legs!
The road back to the lake was almost deserted in the late afternoon. Again I enjoyed the views, the sunlight through the foliage, the cascading water down at the river. I loved how my bike handled the rindo, the wide tyres floating over irregular surfaces.
I passed my friends at a bridge where they were taking pictures, but one of them caught up with me again and we got back to the main road at the same time. This is where we said goodbye. I turned left towards the Michi-no-Eki while they headed back to Atsugi. These guys were fast!
I was glad much of the route back to Sagamihara was downhill. At a conbini on Onekansen I took a break and got some food before riding home the last 23 km to Setagaya. I got home a little before 20:00, tired but deeply satisfied with this bike ride in the mountains. Unless it's the middle of winter or during a typhoon you simply can't go wrong with a Yabitsu ride.
With the warm weather I hadn't really anticipated that I would set any speed records, but nevertheless I beat several times from a ride on the exact same route in early March, then on Compass BSP EL tyres, now on Compass regular BSP tyres but set up tubeless after the recent conversion.
In two weeks I'll be doing my biggest ride of the year, BRM604 NishiTokyo 600 km Lake Suwa (BRM604西東京600km諏訪湖). Completing that ride under the 40 hour time limit still seems like a big stretch, but the Yabitsu ride was a nice physical and mental preparation and I also made some new friends