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Training Log Archive: simmo

In the 7 days ending Nov 9:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Road cycling5 14:30:00 179.58(4:51) 289.0(3:01)
  Total5 14:30:00 179.58(4:51) 289.0(3:01)

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Saturday Nov 9 #

Road cycling 4:00:00 [3] 79.0 km (3:02 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker

Shimanami Kaido ride across the inland sea, just as great a ride as I thought it would be. We were on Giant TCR Advanced carbon bikes with 105 gears, about the best rental available, although we saw lots of Japanese riders with much more expensive gear. The ride is very popular and I'd estimate that several hundred were there today, but mostly on old clunkers. It's possible to stay on several of the islands so likely that not all were going the whole way. The ride crosses six islands between Honshu (the main island) and Shikuku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. There is a short ferry crossing from Onomichi to the first island, and six bridges ranging from 400m to 4km long. Each bridge is of a completely different design and construction, and were built to carry a freeway, but they all have a cycle path. On the islands the ride is along quiet roads, all with a path alongside for the more timid riders. The route is well-marked and no navigation is needed. Views from most points along the ride are magnificent, especially from the bridges and their approaches. There are many cafes and shops from which to buy sustenance, although sadly no sign of an espresso machine that we could find.

We did have a couple of concerns about how to get the bikes returned from the other side, and how to get a pack with a change of clothes across to the other side, our caseshaving been sent on to Hiroshima. We were scheduled to be on a train going on to Matsuyama (the main city of Shikoku) at 4.45pm, so we knew we had plenty of time to ride the 70-odd kms, but would our pack be there, and did we have a booking for the bike return? We should have known that the usual Japanese efficiency would work in our favour, and it did, with two different companies handling these needs expertly, and for a reasonable price.

The weather was great, sunny all day with a max. of 21 and gentle winds, even on the bridges, all of which were more than 100m asl. Photos and some words about the ride are on PP's fb.

Matsuyama is a typical Japanese city, though a bit smaller, and it is the home of an interesting castle and the oldest public baths (onsen) in Japan. Our hotel is near the public onsen but has it's own baths, including an open air bath on the rooftop, which of course was our first destination after checking in. Our room is very large, and the hotel has two restaurants, one designated 'cuisine Japonaise', a fusion of French and Japanese. This is the life!

Friday Nov 8 #

Road cycling 2:00:00 [3] 40.0 km (3:00 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker

2nd day of Biwa ride, returning to Maibara by lunchtime to catch a shinkansen. First up was the onsen again, then traditional breakfast - another filling affair with a few more items new to us. Next was a visit to the nearby Keisuki-ji temple, famous for it's approach steps framed by Japanese maple trees (https://jw-webmagazine.com/keisoku-ji-the-temple-w...), but apparently the best time is a little late this year, so we only got partly red (see PP's fb page).

The recommended route was inland, but also along a busy highway, so we opted to take a shortcut across some pleasant rural villages area to the tunnel, and back to the Lake Biwa shore route. On arriving back in Maibara we found a place called Everyone's Cafe, everyone meaning people and their dogs, complete with dog treats and a small fenced off, grassed area for a little exercise. Nice chocolate cake, but the coffee was filtered, no espresso machine.

We're now in a pleasant hotel in Onomichi, with carbon Giants (105) all set to cross the inland sea tomorrow. Unfortunately the bike rental only had one set of SPDs available, so I demurred and they are on PP's bike.

Thursday Nov 7 #

Road cycling 2:45:00 [3] 55.0 km (3:00 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker

First day of 2 day ride in Lake Biwa area, Maibara to Furuhashi, near Nagahama. Bikes were cheap roadies again, Colnago for me and Ridley for PP.

The first 25kms along the Eastern shore of Lake Biwa -sounds nice, but you are either riding on a busy road next to the lake, or on a path (not a bike path as we would know it) on the lake side of the highway, with trucks, buses and cars wizzing past. Then it's through a short tunnel (350m) under a range of low, but steep hills to a wide valley, then more path alongside a highway to the turn off to a small lake (Yogo) in a side valley with steep hills all around - quite a pleasant spot. The route then retraces to a turn off at a busy town (Kinomoto) and some tricky nav to find our way to the village of Furuhashi some 7-8kms away. Lost our way a little trying to find the Ryokan, but eventually got there, and went virtually straight into the onsen (marvellous!).

Dinner was another traditional affair, managed to eat most of it, after which we polished off a 250ml bottle of premium sake. Had intended to take another hot bath before bed, but the sake sent us to bed early.

Wednesday Nov 6 #

Road cycling 3:45:00 [3] 75.0 km (3:00 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker

Fuji 4 lakes tour. Fuji-san was resplendent in the sun with a snow cap, and later in the day some fluffy cloud on it's flank. There was a different view from several parts of this ride - photos can be found on PP's fb page.

We were grateful for the guide, because he knew all the quiet back roads, and also provided cake and cookies from his wife's cafe for our morning tea.

Bikes were low grade Trek road bikes, but with SPDs still much better than taking the hybrid option which probably would have extended the ride by an hour or more, and it was already pretty cold by the time we got back to Kawaguchiko at 3.30pm. Need to add an extra layer for tomorrow's ride.

Our first onsen back at the hotel was much appreciated, and the full Japanese kaiseko menu has loaded us up for tomorrow.

Tuesday Nov 5 #

Road cycling 2:00:00 [3] 40.0 km (3:00 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker

An even better day, with no cloud and Fuji-san in full sun, and visible for most of the ride.

First stop was a temple after an 8km uphill drag (will post details later), then a fine viewing point from a park where we had more of Yasuke’s (guide’s wife) wonderful cookies (one each of maple, lemon, tea and chocolate flavours). Then we went to a popular ‘postcard’ viewing point on a bridge across a small river - more popular in spring as the river banks are lined with cherry trees, Fuji-san in the background.

Finally to Lake Yamanakako another good viewing spot. Rather than go around the lake, we took a shortcut back to Kawaguchiko in order to have lunch before our bus/train connection for the next cycling episode tomorrow. On a Shinkansen at present, speeding our way to Maibara.

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