My Second-Longest Ride: Double-Century Ride to Ise City

iPhone 7+ at an effective 32mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.2, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Yours Truly
Overlooking the Ise Bay
at the 185km (115mi) of a 326km (202mi) bicycle ride

I'm coming out of blogging hibernation to write about a bicycle ride I did yesterday. I'm pretty happy with myself for it, so in keeping with using my blog as a diary, I'm putting the story here.


the ride at Strava

There aren't many photos, both because I had only my cellphone and wasn't stopping a lot, and because the stupid iOS app I was using (Halide) decided to not actually save all but one of the photos that I took in the first eight hours. )-:

So, having seen friend Vincent's ride to Ise City last month, I thought I'd give it a try. Vincent's group took the train back, but I thought I'd cycle back, making it a round trip. At 326km (202 miles), it displaces last year's 304km adventure with Gorm as my second-longest ride, following my longest (408km two-laps-around-Lake Biwa ride) in 2017.

Yesterday was my longest solo ride, my second double century, and my 40th century.

It took 16 hours; the first few hours were in the dark, as were the last few hours.

The morning dark was sometimes lit by a lovely full moon, but it was mostly cloudy, a condition that would persist most of all day. And unlike the weather forecast (warm and sunny!), it was cold and sprinkly with strong wind much of the day.

It was mentally much easier than I expected. The key seems to have been that I approached it as two separate rides: a 180km (112mi) ride to the cafe in Ise City where I would have lunch, and then, by the way, almost as an afterthought, just a short 140km (87mi) ride to get back home.

The first 45km (28mi) were on a flat bike path that barely counts as cycling, so by the time I actually started riding on mountain roads, I had only 135km (84mi) until that ride ended at the lunch cafe. This could be tough for me if there were a lot of mountains or I had to do it quickly, but neither applied this time: I had no particular schedule, and this part of the route had only 2,160m (7,090') of climb, which is nothing to sneeze at, but it's well within the realm of reason for me.

Once off the bike paths and onto the real ride, it didn't start smoothly.


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Scene of the Crime
looking back to where I'd come from
( the highlighted marks on the curb are almost certainly from my tires )

At the 47km point, in a wide-open road in the middle of nowhere with pristine pavement, I crashed in the most monumentally-stupid way I can imagine.

As I approached a slight curve into an intersection, my cycling computer beeped a navigation notification, and I glanced down for just a moment. A split second after returning my concentration to the road, I rammed straight into the sweeping curve of the high concrete curb.... a sweeping curve that had been plainly visible as I approached during the prior 45 seconds. I was going a relatively-lazy 23kph (14mph).

Oh, how I wish I could see the look on my face in the 0.1 seconds between realization and impact. It's absolutely inconceivable to me how I did what I did. I spent much of the next 14½ hours of the ride contemplating it. I didn't come up with anything. I'm still utterly dumbfounded.

This was the second real crash in my five-year-old cycling life, and considering the sheer unadulterated stupidity on display, I was extremely lucky and came away relatively unscathed. I suffered a compound fracture of my pride, but after that there's just a bit of road rash on my knees, my left knee is a swollen and should make a swell bruise, and I ripped holes in both knees of my new winter kit, the most-excellent Velocio ZERO winter bib tights. They have a repair service that I now get to try.

(A day later, the half-dollar-sized circle of road rash on the skin of my knee hurts, but no other pain.)

I brushed myself off and checked the bike; it was fine. I continued on, and at one point thought I should maybe pour some water over the wound on my knee, which I could most definitely feel, but could not see because the big hole in the tights was inexplicably 6" above the wound. After another kilometer, I came across a vending machine and thought I should fill up on water, only to find that my wallet was gone. I trekked back to the site of the crash and picked it up.

So, with my ride having now started in earnest, I entered the mountains and started to tick off the kilometers. At first they went very, very slowly. Sometimes I'd grind into the wind for what seemed like 15~20 minutes, only to notice that I'd gone only one kilometer. Literally. I don't know how long it actually took, but it was very disheartening.

The stretch from between 50km (31mi) into the ride, and 80km (50mi) into the ride, was the most mentally-difficult of the entire day, but once I crossed the 100km until lunch mark, I brightened up. Then when I got to 90km until lunch, the halfway point of the ride to lunch, suddenly I felt that everything was downhill from there, so to speak. I was halfway there, and after lunch, I'd just have to ride home... the ride home almost didn't even count, mentally. It made no sense to me even as I thought it, but the feeling was there and I was happy for it. Mentally, I was in great shape for the remaining 235km (146mi).

Two and a half hours, and 50km (31mi) after the crash, I finally came across a convenience store, so I took the opportunity to put a dressing on my knee (which requires me to strip the bib tights, and hence why I didn't do it at the scene). I de-stuck it from the inside of the tights, and applied a sheet of Mepitel Film (similar to Tegaderm) from the first-aid stuff that I started to carry after this ride where a member crashed.

Anyway, I felt a bit better that because the wound was now dressed, I wouldn't have to rip off the scab when I got home.

At the convenience store, I also enjoyed a coffee and a rice ball. The 19-minute stop was the only major stop during the first 180km to the cafe for lunch.

The route was lovely, with few big thoroughfares. I went across quaint bridges and big dams, and had many lovely vistas. But as I mentioned, the stupid Halide app ate all the photos.

At some point I was calculating my overall average speed (about 21kph / 13mph), which includes climbing up mountains, stops for photos and traffic lights (and crashes), etc., and realized that I might be able to get back to Kyoto in time for a salsa dance party. I've been dancing salsa for the last year or so, and really enjoy it. So, I used that to drive my pace just a bit.

During the last hour or two of the to-lunch ride, the wind, which had been intermittently gusty, started to solidify into a brisk tailwind. It was lovely, but I knew I'd pay for it on the return.

Once I arrived to Ise City, I took photos at a shrine, and in front of the train station. Of course, they're gone like the others.

Just about noon, I arrived at the Funae Cafe for lunch, and felt that for the most part, my ride was done. At least, all the hard parts!


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Lunch
My standard karaage chicken set lunch

While waiting for my order, I pulled out my phone to upload a photo, and found that all the photos so far, except from the crash site, were gone. So I switched to the native camera app for the rest of the day.

I noticed that the restaurant had slow-drip cold-drip coffee, which I had been talking with someone about during my previous ride, so I gave it a try...


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos

iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos

It was extremely smooth, but mostly devoid of flavor. I'll have to try some others before coming to any general conclusions.


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/1700 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Bike Stand
tears of happiness

I rolled out at about 1pm in good spirits. Before heading back, I popped up to see the ocean...


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/3000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Bay of Ise
near where it opens up into the Pacific

iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/2000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

Near the bay was very flat with little protection, so the wind was fierce, and completely against me. I struggled against it for 10km, and also struggled to reroute when long sections of the bike path were closed for construction, but I remained remarkably sanguine about everything. Normally I fret and just want to give up, but this time I was in a great mood.


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/4600 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Disappointing Bridge
the view on Google Earth made it look much more cool

I then had to go through 37km (23mi) of more-or-less city, mostly on a big bypass with lots and lots of truck traffic. If the wind were with me I'd be able to get it done in an easy hour, but the wind was definitely against me, and it took two hours of mindless grinding. Slowly, slowly the mountains got closer, and I knew that my reward would be having to go up steep slopes that would cause me to be even slower than I already was. The whole time, I'm calculating whether I could get back in time for 9pm salsa.

It also started raining consistently. Not heavy, but also not stopping. The temperature also dropped down to 5° (41F).

I had not planned for the rain at all... the forecast was sunny and warm all day. At least for Kyoto. I neglected to check the forecast for where I was actually going to be. Doh! I would have imagined that I would have froze, but the clothes I had were excellent.

I had only the aforementioned Velocio winter bib tights, the Rapha deep winter base layer, and a Rapha long-sleeve core jersey. And that was enough, in the non-stop rain and strong wind, to keep me comfortable.


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Stop

With 64km (40mi) left to go, I made the second convenience-store stop on the ride home. By this point I was still mentally in great shape, but I was getting tired. (I'd been up since 3am.) So, I tried the second Red Bull of my life (the first having been last year on the long ride with Gorm.) That and a coffee and some Coke seemed to do the trick... I felt great the rest of the way home.

I felt great, but was still pretty slow, even on the descents. Tiredness, combined with dark and the rain made me ease off quite a bit. For example, on one long stretch leading into the last hour of the ride, I averaged only 35kph, while my best on that stretch of road is a much zippier 41kph.

Still, the downhills in the last couple of hours helped the overall average, and I arrived home at 8:14pm.

My knee wasn't a pretty sight.


iPhone 7+ at an effective 28mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ouch
but could have been so much worse

All the blood makes it look worse than it is. And if nothing's touching it, it doesn't hurt. The biggest problem for the near term will be when I have to wear non-baggy pants.

Another casualty of the ride was my toes. Unlike how my great kit kept me warm, my shoes (Fizik R5 Artica winter shoe) did little, and my toes were frozen for much of the ride. In the shower, I was shocked to see that they had turned gray. I'd never seen such gray skin on the body of a live person... it was a bit scary. But I massaged them under hot water, and the color slowly came back.

In any case, I got cleaned up and made it to salsa dancing with 10 minutes to spare.

Overall, it was a great ride. I got to enjoy 228km (142mi) of new roads for me, and score my second double century. It was much easier, mentally and physically, than many lesser rides in my past. I'm not why, but I do know that the splitting of it mentally, into two rides, was just amazing for my psyche. I hope I can do that in the future with equal success.


The Quiet, Lovely Kotokuji Temple in Shiga
A Slow Start to the 2019 fall-color season at the Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) in Koka-city, Shiga Prefecture, Japan -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 21mm — 1/80 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
A Slow Start
to the 2019 fall-color season
at the Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺)
in Koka-city, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

I made a few outings to photograph the fall colors in and around Kyoto this year. On the way to our first main destination, we made an impromptu stop at this little-known, out-of-the-way Kotokuji Temple. It turns out that the maple have only just started to turn, but it's still a quiet, lovely place to visit.

Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mix of Colors I love how the same branch can have green, yellow, orange, and red -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mix of Colors
I love how the same branch can have green, yellow, orange, and red
View From an Observation Platform with some lovely low-lying fog -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
View From an Observation Platform
with some lovely low-lying fog

I'd discovered this temple a couple of years ago while on a bike ride to explore the general area, a couple of hours away by bicycle from my home in Kyoto. The 1km-long driveway to the temple is notable for its steepness; the average grade of the climb is over 10%, though a small dip in the middle means that the overall average grade is only 7%.

On My First Visit July 2017 -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus front camera — 1/1000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
On My First Visit
July 2017
A Year Ago -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera — 1/19000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
A Year Ago
Most-Recent Visit two months ago -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera — 1/10600 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Most-Recent Visit
two months ago
Relatively New the stonework dates from only 1895 -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/60 sec, f/14, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Relatively New
the stonework dates from only 1895
Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Detail in both the roof tiles and eave woodwork -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Detail
in both the roof tiles and eave woodwork
Stone Fence likely also dating to 1895 -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Stone Fence
likely also dating to 1895
Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/4, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Moss -- Kotoku-ji Temple (庚申山広徳寺) -- Japan, Shiga, Koka -- Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Moss

It wasn't much from the fall-colors perspective, but it's a quiet, lovely area, that's a favorite to visit on bike rides, so I wanted to share it with my photo companions, and now with my blog.....


New Lightroom Plugin: Collection Mechanic

I've just released Jeffrey's Collection Mechanic Lightroom Plugin.


A Few Autumn Photos From Last Year
the main path at the Eigenji Temple (永源寺)in Shiga Japan, in autumn.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Eigenji Temple (永源寺)in Shiga Japan
early morning, fall 2018
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Considering that my last blog post was more than five months ago, I guess it's safe to say that for the most part I'm taking a break from blogging. But having recently came across photos from a last-year outing to temples in Shiga, Japan, I thought I'd post a few.


Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/40 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Valerie and Damien
Comparing Settings

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Tidying Up

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Art Display

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bamboo-Carved Lamps

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Moss

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Rich Light

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/10, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Messy Spider

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Subtle Light

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Edge
of the roof in the next photo, from directly below

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/6.3, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Busy
An hour after we arrived

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Path Back to the Driveway
a rural road in Japan in autumn
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 95mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Rural Road
(when I'm out cycling, I get scenes like this all day)
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Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Common Photo Spot
at the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
My Take

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Farmer's Friend
helpful spider is more tidy than the earlier one

My Second-Longest Ride: 304km Adventure with Gorm

My Latest Ride
304km (189mi) with 3,596m (11,798') of climb

I haven't done a whole lot of riding since last fall, and in particular over the last month or so have been beset on and off by a persistent throat infection, so I probably bit off more than I could chew with a 300km ride with Gorm, but while he's in town I want to take the opportunity for such epic adventures.

The ostensible goal of the ride was to visit a mountain area of Gifu Prefecture known as Machu Picchu of Gifu, due to a view of it that calls to mind the famous Machu Picchu of Peru.

(I can't remember Machu Picchu, so it's somehow morphed to Pikachu in my head.)

The simplest route would get us there and back in less than 250km (150mi), but we had other plans.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 50mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm Arrives for our Departure
5:25am

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Empty Streets

We popped over the mountains to Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan, introduced four years ago in Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake), and kept a steady pace along the lake for the 60km to the mountains at its north.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading North

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/2000 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm
taken at 33 kph (21 mph)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing By
the Shirohige Shrine Gate
two hours in; taken at 34 kph (21 mph)

This shrine gate was first featured on my blog more than 10 years ago, in Main Gate of the Shirohige Shrine and also as the subject of the example photos in Overexposure and Underexposure, and the Compensation Thereof. It's a bit special to me now as a cyclist because it was the destination for my first 100+km ride four years ago, as seen here, which Gorm also joined on.

Today, we barely slowed down as we passed, along the way to Gorm's first 300+km ride. (My longest ride is 408km / 254mi double loop around the lake; today's ride would become my second-longest).


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Views
a common theme for rides in this area

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
A Lakeside Shrine Gate
that I had never noticed before

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Riding Through Makino

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back in the Mountains

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Farming Valley

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 44mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
First Destination Climb of the Day
3½ hours in

In researching areas for the route — research that took much longer than the ride itself — I found what looked to be a lovely climb (4km /2.4mi at 7%) that for some reason had only a handful of registered attempts on Strava. Indeed, it was lovely.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dangerous Grating
(not so lovely; need to take extreme care on the descent)

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm Waiting at the Top

Without trying hard or even knowing how long the climb was, Gorm missed the KOM by just five seconds. We still had a very long day ahead, so it was prudent to pace ourselves, but it makes one want to return to give it an earnest effort.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Good Spirits

We descended into yet another fertile valley...


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Preparing the Rice Paddy

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Approaching the Kusaoka Shrine
草岡神社

Part of the day's agenda was to visit the Kusaoka Shrine (草岡神社), the shrine owned by the family of a friend. I had been here two weeks earlier to photograph a wedding, so had promised to stop by on my bicycle some time.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Towering Trees

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 54mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

After a short visit, we took a detour to Yogo Lake, which looked just lovely in my research. It did not disappoint. A loop around it took about 11 minutes.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting Around Yogo Lake

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Village

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Lovely

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Half Way Around

We actually went around it twice. The first time, not knowing just how lovely it would be, we gave it somewhatg of an earnest effort, and ended up with the #6-best effort on the loop segment (though bumped down considerably when a group of five guys did a team effort yesterday). We could have gone quite a bit faster if we didn't have another 200km of ride in front of us.

It was so lovely, though, that we decided to do it again for enjoyment and photos.

I'd noticed a restaurant near the end of the loop, so we stopped in there for lunch.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Stop for Lunch

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Well-Earned Ice Coffee

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chicken-Nugget Lunch for Two

We stopped for almost an hour, which was way way too long, but it was certainly enjoyable.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Takin' it Easy
it took a while to figure out whether it was real; it was

Now we had a short 25km and a couple of small climbs to get to the start of the big climb of the day...


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Rural Area

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
At the Top
of one of the short climbs

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Tunnel

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Last Rest Before the Big Climb

The main climb of the day was the eastern approach to Kunimi Pass. Kunimi (国見) in this case means Kingdom View, and indeed we were treated with sweeping views that a photo like this does no justice:


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

After almost an hour of slow, hot (but visually stunning) slog, we arrived at the top:


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Halfway Point: Kunimi Pass
8½ hours into the ride; only 150km remains until home

This was followed by more than 10 minutes of lovely descent, plummeting down the other side of the mountain.

Just before we were to rejoin civilization at a main road, we were suddenly stopped by an elderdly construction worker blocking the road, saying that the road was closed and that we would have to go back. This was an extremely unappealing proposition for us, as it would me that we would have to make an hour's climb back to the top, retracing our steps for hours in the opposite direction.

Bicycles and pedestrians can often get by road damage that cars can't, so I wanted to investigate the nature of the closure. The old man was adamant, though, that it had been decided that no one should pass. I was persistent, and eventually could peek around a curve in the road to see that the road was completely open; it was closed due to a worry that some unstable rocks might fall onto it.

I was willing to take the risk for the one second it would take to pass the area in question, and so told the guy that I was sorry that I'd be making trouble for him, but that I would accept my own responsibility and proceed. He kept saying but it's been decided!, but he can't physically stop me as he's not a police officer, so Gorm and I proceeded. Indeed we did not die during the one second it took to pass, and as we passed the guard on the other side, I yelled out farther apologizes.

I feel bad for the guy, just doing his job, but he was given a ridiculous job.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back in Civilization

With renewed energy we proceeded toward the steep climb that leads to the Machu Picchu view. The initial climb to the village itself is a lovely 1.9km @ 9.2% through tea fields.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Selfie

VTR-L29 at an effective 27mm — 1/730 sec, f/2.2, ISO 50 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

VTR-L29 at an effective 27mm — 1/750 sec, f/2.2, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Me
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

I was quite the stylish sight. 🙂 My tonsils seem to be extremely sensitive to temperature and pollution, so I have learned that wearing a mask makes things much better. Without it, I invariably come down with a cold the next day.

I was also wearing long sleeves and leggings (Under Armour Heatgear) so that I didn't have to deal with sun lotion.

Once one reaches the village after the steep climb, it seems that one can hike for 15 minutes to get to the Machu Picchu view back down to the village, but in my research I found a small road that looked to curve around from the top, so I thought I might be able to ride to the view. That adds an extra 1.5km at an even steeper 11.1%, until the road turns gravel:


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the (Paved) Road

I thought that we might get the nice view by continuing on the gravel for a while, but it didn't work out.... the best we got was to some big valley elsewhere:


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not the View We Hoped For
but still nice

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back in the Village

At this point we'd done 170km (105mi) over almost 10 hours, and now it was time to head home. There was just one final mountain in the way...


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entering the Final Climb

The final climb is more than 12km (7½mi) of gradually-steepening back mountain road. The final kilometer averages 9%.

This road, too, was not without its challenges. Half an hour in, we come across a sudden unannounced road closure:


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Blocked-Off Road

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Closed to Bicycles

The soil under parts of the road was washed out, so it certainly wasn't safe for cars, but it was fine for bicycles keeping to one side.

Then I got my first flat tire in more than two years.


VTR-L29 at an effective 27mm — 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fixing a Flat
My first in over two years, but it's like riding a bike...
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

I used to get flat tires all the time, but that stopped when I switched to Continental Gatorback tires, and after that switch I went for 11,000 tire kilometers until I got a pinch flat two years ago on this ride. One gets a pinch flat when they don't have enough tire pressure for the conditions, and that's exactly what happened today. I probably should have checked the tire pressure before heading out on a 300km ride. Doh!

I've gone almost 23,000 tire kilometers since the previous flat. Not bad. That's two flats, due to my own stupid fault, in almost 21,000 tire miles. Not bad indeed.

What was bad was my spare tube. I used to always bring two spare tubes, but after 1½ years of no flats, I switched to carrying just a single spare, and it turns out that this single spare had a manufacturing defect. Doh!

Thankfully Gorm had two spares, so I didn't have to resort to patching a broken tube.

My tire pump then broke.

I'd not needed it for years for myself, but had used it plenty in helping others, so I'm not sure why it decided to die now, but had Gorm not been there, I would have been stranded. I used his pump to pump up his tube in my tire.

Now I was paranoid about another pinch flat, as it's difficult to get really high pressure with these small hand pumps. I took it slowly and carefully up, then down the other mostly-bumpy side.


VTR-L29 at an effective 27mm — 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing the Barrier
leading from the other direction
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely New Tarmac
though the road surface for most of the descent was, unfortunately, lunar

We descended into the historic city of Sekigahara. I'd intended to stop by the site of The Battle of Sekigahara, which 420 years ago set Japan on the path to being a single political unit instead of a collection of warring kingdoms, but instead I stopped by a bike stop to fill my tire properly, and to buy another spare tube.

10km of rolling hills later, we stopped for dinner, but it turns out that we were both slightly nauseous, so we barely ate anything.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Wasted Dinner
13 hours and 210km (130mi) into the ride

Once we left at about 6:30pm, we had about 92km of mostly-flat lakeside road between us and home, so we put the pedal to the metal.


Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back at Lake Biwa
last light
7:02pm — taken at 33 kph (21 mph)

Our average speed during the last few hours, mostly in the dark, was faster than during the first few hours. We wanted to get home.


VTR-L29 at an effective 27mm — 1/4 sec, f/2.2, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Last Few Hours
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

Unfortunately, I got another flat with about an hour to go. It turns out that the tube I'd gotten from Gorm also had a manufacturing defect, and the rubber had slowly separated from the stem. I switched to the tube I'd bought, and we could finally head home.

I arrived at home at 11pm, 17½ hours after starting. It became my 2nd-longest ride, and the 4th-most amount of climb.