Monday’s Norikura Big Loop Ride
Theme for the Day amazing roads, amazing vistas, wonderful weather, no cars -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Theme for the Day
amazing roads, amazing vistas, wonderful weather, no cars

この記事はこの間の月曜日のサイクリングの物語です。友達一緒乗鞍登っ、距離165キロのローングライドをしあした。 進んだ峠は乗鞍、美女峠、寺坂峠、野麦峠、白樺峠。獲得高度は3,907m。疲れたけれども、めっちゃ楽しかった。リーダー達吉川さんと栗田さん、参加させてくれた有り難う御座います!

In yesterday's post I outlined a three-day trip where I cycled up Japan's highest paved road three times. The main event was the middle day, with a group of folks from Kyoto that comes every year. The day's ride started with that highest-road climb up Mt. Norikura, then continued on to four other major climbs in a big up-and-down loop covering 165km (103mi) with 3,900m (12,800') of elevation gain.

Here's the ride at Strava, and a surprisingly-interesting 2-minute Relive video version.

It ended up being the fifth longest ride I've ever done, though the most elevation gain in one day.

Some of us started out at about 6:15am, and met up with the others...

Meeting Up 6:50am -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Meeting Up
6:50am

I didn't know most of the people in the group, so I'll introduce some of them as we go along.

Yoshiyuki Takenami 6:55am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yoshiyuki Takenami
6:55am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph)
Entering the Woods 6:56am - taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entering the Woods
6:56am - taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph)
Leaders and Friends 6:57am - taken while cycling at 13 kph (8 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Leaders and Friends
6:57am - taken while cycling at 13 kph (8 mph)

The two leaders of the group are Mr. Yasukawa (front left) and Mr. Kurita (rear left). They invited Manseki (rear right) whom I ride with often, and so via Manseki I, and some others such as fellow American Yifen (front right), joined in.

Still With a Bit of Snow -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Still With a Bit of Snow
Me, Taking The Photo Above I'd taken my D4 and lenses yesterday, but for this ride just the small LX100 photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 — 1/320 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Me, Taking The Photo Above
I'd taken my D4 and lenses yesterday, but for this ride just the small LX100
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Most-Veteran Member in his 70s -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Most-Veteran Member
in his 70s
Newest Rider Yoriko is doing a 1,235m (4,000') climb after only four months of riding (the red scarf is to avoid the sun) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Newest Rider
Yoriko is doing a 1,235m (4,000') climb after only four months of riding
(the red scarf is to avoid the sun)
Mrs. Yasukawa the leader's wife -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mrs. Yasukawa
the leader's wife
desktop background image of a mountain landscape taken from Mt. Norikura in Japan (乗鞍の景色) -- Glorious Weather 7:11am -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/3200 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Glorious Weather
7:11am
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We all started together, but the members would split into three groups after the summit, with one group heading right back down to the hotel, one group doing the long ride I'll be showing in this post, and finally another group of intermediate riders doing a shorter loop.

It says something about the level of this group of folks, though, that the intermediate shorter loop is essentially the 100km ride I'd done the previous day that had so wiped me out.

Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Now On the Norikura Climb Proper looking back to the ski area that marks the start (Mrs. Yoshikawa is on the foreground road, center left) 7:41am - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Now On the Norikura Climb Proper
looking back to the ski area that marks the start
(Mrs. Yoshikawa is on the foreground road, center left)
7:41am - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph)
Me Again 7:46am - the same photo from yesterday's post, just to have it here too photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 — 1/400 sec, f/3.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Me Again
7:46am - the same photo from yesterday's post, just to have it here too
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Mr. Yoshikawa 8:17am - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mr. Yoshikawa
8:17am - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph)
desktop background image of a mountain landscape taken from Mt. Norikura in Japan (乗鞍の景色) -- Looking Back to where we started -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back
to where we started
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7 Minutes Later -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
7 Minutes Later

The building at left in the photo above is a small lodge that sort of marks the halfway point from the ski area, though it's actually closer to 60% of the way up. The photo just prior to that was taken from near the lodge.

Enjoying the View 8:25am -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the View
8:25am
Attempt at a Selfie I'm not as good as Gorm at it 8:34am - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Attempt at a Selfie
I'm not as good as Gorm at it
8:34am - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph)
Now Above the Forest 8:42am — with Mr. Yoshikawa in view -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Now Above the Forest
8:42am — with Mr. Yoshikawa in view
Water Stop water water everywhere, and it's pretty much all okay to drink -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Water Stop
water water everywhere, and it's pretty much all okay to drink
End in Sight sort of 8:44am - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
End in Sight
sort of
8:44am - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph)

The observatory seen in the photo above is actually a 150m (500') climb above the road pass, and the peak of the mountain (not visible in this photo) is that much farther up yet again. Access to either is only by foot, so I didn't visit.

When you get this view you might feel you're almost there, but it's actually still another 2km (1.2mi) of twisty, steep road to go.

Just to give you a sense of scale that the photo above totally lacks, notice the little section of snow in the middle, just above where it looks like the road ends. Here's a photo of that same little section of snow that I took yesterday, from closer in:

Small Spot of Snow with one person climbing it (the spot in the back has four people on it) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Spot of Snow
with one person climbing it
(the spot in the back has four people on it)
desktop background image of a mountain landscape taken from Mt. Norikura in Japan (乗鞍の景色) -- Find the Leader Mr. Yoshikawa is in this shot somewhere 8:46am - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Find the Leader
Mr. Yoshikawa is in this shot somewhere
8:46am - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph)
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Iago Returns 8:47am - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Iago Returns
8:47am - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph)

Spanish friend Iago, whom I first rode with on my first Kyoto Heart Loop, had finished the climb well before me, and returned back to help me finish it.

Excess of Power 8:48am - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Excess of Power
8:48am - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph)

(Yes, he's not wearing a helmet. Yes, we all think he's an idiot for it. Yes, he's an adult who can make choices for himself.)

What Passes for a Pass -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
What Passes for a Pass

The highest point in the road is not special except, well, for being the highest point in the road, and I guess also being on the border between Gifu and Nagano prefectures. There's no elevation marker, but it's about 2,715m (8,908'). The only photo I have of it is the meager one seen above that I took the previous day; you can get a better sense of the bleakness with the Google Streetview view.

Just over the pass is an area called Tatamidaira (畳平), where there's a visitor's center from which hiking paths lead to various points on the mountain. There's also a pretty little lake.

desktop background image of a mountain landscape taken from Mt. Norikura in Japan (乗鞍の景色) -- Volcanic Lake 8:54am - taken while moving at 22 kph (13 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Volcanic Lake
8:54am - taken while moving at 22 kph (13 mph)
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Entrance to the Visitor's Center 8:54am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance to the Visitor's Center
8:54am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)
Taking a Well -Earned Break 9:25am — the “ long ride ” group we still have 140km (87mi) left to ride -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Taking a Well-Earned Break
9:25am — the long ride group
we still have 140km (87mi) left to ride
Getting Ready to Head Down 9:51am - taken while cycling at 30 kph (19 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Ready to Head Down
9:51am - taken while cycling at 30 kph (19 mph)
Do Not Overcook These Turns unless you can sprout wings 9:51am - taken while cycling at 47 kph (29 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Do Not Overcook These Turns
unless you can sprout wings
9:51am - taken while cycling at 47 kph (29 mph)
Lots of This 9:53am - taken while cycling at 26 kph (16 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lots of This
9:53am - taken while cycling at 26 kph (16 mph)
And This these curves are not at all the same as the ones seen above -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
And This
these curves are not at all the same as the ones seen above

There were also some very long beautiful straightaways that at first seemed to be born to break speed records, but considering that they invariably ended with very sharp hairpins that allowed no margin for error, I kept my speed under 80kph (50mph) the whole way. I like going fast, but I'm not into taking stupid risks.

In this next shot you can see where we're heading next....

Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Toward the background frame left are little blotches of civilization among the rolling forest. That's where we're going, but to get there we have to ride 40km (25mi) and drop 2,000m (6,550') of elevation.

Racing the Bus my last shot of Manseki flying by before I put the camera away to beat the bus -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Racing the Bus
my last shot of Manseki flying by before I put the camera away to beat the bus

The roads up and down Mt. Norikura are closed to private motor vehicles, so they're empty except for the occasional bus, taxi, or official vehicle (and of course cyclists and hikers). A car or bus in front of you on the descent would destroy the fun of it, and you can see one approaching in the shot above, so I put the camera away and joined the group.

There can be a lot of cyclists, though this day there weren't so many. When I entered the closed-to-traffic part the previous day, a Sunday, the guard said that I was the 94th cyclist of the day. This day I entered much earlier, and was the 9th. (The next day I entered at about the same time as the first, and was the 30th).

Back On the Open Road 10:16am — the “ long ride ” group, after the main descent -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Back On the Open Road
10:16am — the long ride group, after the main descent

The long ride group consisted of, left to right in the photo above, Mr. Kurita (Japan), Iago (Spain), Yoshiyuki (Japan), Antti (Finland), Yifen (USA), Mr. Yasukawa (Japan), Manseki (Japan), and me (USA).

We don't see Antti much in this post because he's Antti Gravity and rides so fast that he outruns photons. We did see him a bit in last month's Grueling Rooftop-of-Kyoto Ridge Road Gravel Grind, last year's Obama Hosts My First Bicycle Visit to the Sea, and many in between.

Rugged Beauty 10:38am -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rugged Beauty
10:38am
Least-Fun Part of the Ride 10:50am - taken while cycling at 44 kph (27 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/2000 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Least-Fun Part of the Ride
10:50am - taken while cycling at 44 kph (27 mph)

Sometimes my chain pops off when hitting a rough patch of road at high speed, but often I can restore it quickly, at times without stopping or even slowing down, but it happened along the way today in such a way that the chain got fouled in the derailleur, so it took a minute to fix.

Normally in a social group ride we make sure that the last rider is never alone, but I'd waved the others on thinking it'd be just a few seconds to fix. Even though I averaged 40kph (25mph) for the next 40 minutes (40 minutes), I wasn't able to catch up until they stopped for a break.

We Meet Again 11:06am -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
We Meet Again
11:06am
Manseki Cools Down 11:28am -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki Cools Down
11:28am
Climbing Again after almost three hours of descent 11:38am - taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Climbing Again
after almost three hours of descent
11:38am - taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph)
Heading Into The Next Big Climb 11:55am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Into The Next Big Climb
11:55am - taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph)

After a few minor ups and downs, it was time for ascent #2 of 5, though the smallest of the bunch (just 250m/820', which is about what some of us climbed from the hotel to the starting place).

Happy to Be in the Shade it was a hot day 11:59am - taken while cycling at 13 kph (8 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Happy to Be in the Shade
it was a hot day
11:59am - taken while cycling at 13 kph (8 mph)
Mt. Norikura Comes Back into View 12:33pm - taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mt. Norikura Comes Back into View
12:33pm - taken while cycling at 18 kph (11 mph)

For the last few hours we'd been traveling down away from the mountain then looped to the south, and now turned back toward the mountain to finally see it from the other side. It was actually a bit dejecting to realize that we still had to ride all the way over to and beyond the mountain, over three major climbs, to get home.

In looking at the trip data now, I realize that this photo was taken at the halfway point of the trip, distance wise, almost down to the foot. (Time wise, we still had a while to go before hitting halfway.)

Lunch Stop -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lunch Stop

The next two hours after the lunch stop would be spent plodding up at a steady pace, just looking to get to the start of the next major climb.

Entertaining Myself on the plodding ride by trying new camera angles 1:30pm - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/3200 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entertaining Myself
on the plodding ride by trying new camera angles
1:30pm - taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph)
Respite from the Heat lots of tunnels today, but all devoid of traffic 1:36pm - taken while cycling at 12 kph (7 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Respite from the Heat
lots of tunnels today, but all devoid of traffic
1:36pm - taken while cycling at 12 kph (7 mph)
30°C / 86°F thankfully, another tunnel awaits 1:41pm - taken while cycling at 6 kph (4 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/4000 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
30°C / 86°F
thankfully, another tunnel awaits
1:41pm - taken while cycling at 6 kph (4 mph)
Totally Pretty but frankly it gets boring after two hours 2:12pm - taken while cycling at 27 kph (17 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/1600 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Totally Pretty
but frankly it gets boring after two hours
2:12pm - taken while cycling at 27 kph (17 mph)
A Much -Older Tunnel 2:31pm - taken while cycling at 15 kph (10 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/40 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
A Much-Older Tunnel
2:31pm - taken while cycling at 15 kph (10 mph)
Finally ready to start the next climb 2:37pm -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally
ready to start the next climb
2:37pm
Not So Fast Yoshiyuki works on Manseki's bike -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not So Fast
Yoshiyuki works on Manseki's bike

As we were about to leave, Manseki's rear shift cable broke at the control lever. This left the rear derailleur at its most difficult gear, which unless fixed would make the rest of the ride impossible.

Manseki happened to have a zip tie — the bicycle equivalent of duct tape? — in his supplies, so after a few other repair avenues failed to pan out, I suggested that they try to use it to hold the derailleur at the easiest gear. Mr. Yoshikawa was able to fix it that way, so we were able to continue.

Good Enough To Get Home we fervently hoped -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Good Enough To Get Home
we fervently hoped
Flying in Support 3:00pm - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Flying in Support
3:00pm - taken while cycling at 9 kph (6 mph)

Some folks had set off on the next climb before the problem was discovered, but those of us who remained kept together with Manseki, least the fix break and need fixing again.

Unending Climb with Mt. Norikura hovering above 3:06pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (4 mph) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unending Climb
with Mt. Norikura hovering above
3:06pm - taken while cycling at 7 kph (4 mph)

The next climb includes a section of straight road that goes up at more than 8% for more than a mile. The straightness of it makes it much more tough for me than the equivalent grade with turns, because you can see the whole thing splayed out in front of you and until you actually get near the end you don't feel you're making any progress.

When this road did start to curve the grade only got steeper, but thankfully at that point there was also a mini roadside waterfall that we could fill our water bottles in...

Drink Stop 3:14pm -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Drink Stop
3:14pm
...and Cool Down in the freezing water -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
...and Cool Down
in the freezing water

We eventually got to one pass and rode down the other side, then on the climb to the next big pass came across Iago and Yifen, who had stopped for a break. Antti, we were sure, was taking a nap somewhere ahead.

Another Drink Stop 4:05pm -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Drink Stop
4:05pm

One of my biggest concerns for the trip was hydration. I have two 750ml bottles, and even then sometimes put an extra drink bottle in my rear jersey pocket, and was still worried about running out of drink in the remote areas we were riding through.

Iago, on the other hand, brought only a small little refillable packet he could put in a pocket (the blue thing in his hand above... maybe 200ml, the amount of about 2/3rd of a can of Coke). Normally he brings nothing (no bottle at all). I would die if I tried it, but it seems to work for him. He's much faster than I am.

Playing Pro on the Descent 5:07pm - taken while cycling at 47 kph (29 mph) just being silly, but getting aero does let you go noticeably faster -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Playing Pro on the Descent
5:07pm - taken while cycling at 47 kph (29 mph)
just being silly, but getting aero does let you go noticeably faster

In a post last year we saw Andy do something similar, though apart from the lack of a helmet, Iago's attempt looks more effective.

On the Final Climb 5:53pm -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the Final Climb
5:53pm

The final climb was 610m (2,000') over 11km (6½mi) for an average of 5.7%, which is not that bad but after 12 hours of riding (and what I did yesterday), it wears on you. The American contingent took it slow at the back.

Somewhere along the line I got a message from Antti saying that he was already back at the hotel because he had seen a bear and didn't feel like waiting around at the pass to be eaten. One doesn't want to startle a bear, so as we saw the other day, if you're traveling through bear country, the recommendation is to have something that makes noise as move. Unfortunately our chains were well oiled, so we made do by calling out Beaaaaaaars, don't eaaaaaaaat uuuuuuus at times.

It seems to have worked.

Failure as Predicted in real life it was a breathtaking view -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Failure as Predicted
in real life it was a breathtaking view

At one point we caught a wonderful view through a break in the trees of the deep valley and the little village in which we'd started the climb. It was sufficiently breathtaking that I turned around to return to take a picture.

The moment I actually tried to take the photo, I realized that it was a waste of time. I knew that the photo (seen above) would be totally uninteresting, but I couldn't explain why. And I can't explain why I can't explain why, except to guess that I have enough experiential knowledge to feel my way without actually understanding. Or something like that.

Anyway, I suppose it all has to do with how the brain can focus on something very specific in the scene, while the camera in this case treats everything more or less the same. Perhaps if I had very wide glass such that I could throw the foreground into bokeh I would have had better luck. As it is, I have to tell you that if you look carefully at the center, you can see a little village down there.

Close to Home, Close to Dusk 7:08pm - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Close to Home, Close to Dusk
7:08pm - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph)

Descending the final pass down toward the hotel, we came through a flat area that offered a wonderful view of Mt. Norikura amid vegetation that seemed totally out of place. It somehow felt vary Savanna-esque. I wanted to come back the next day to see it in daylight, and to bring my nice camera, but the next few photos give a hint as to why that didn't happen.

After a shower and a soak in the hotel's natural-hot-spring bath, it was time for dinner...

Ready For a Well -Earned Meal Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready For a Well-Earned Meal
Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら)

We all stayed at Pension Norikura, a bed-and-breakfast-(and-dinner) place run by a couple where the husband is an accomplished cyclist, so the place is very bicycle friendly. If you visit the area, it's highly recommended, though take care to understand that pension in Japanese means fairly budget accommodations. It's well above hostel, but below what most folks would imagine with hotel. Here the value is not in having 12 fluffy pillows and a chocolate square, but in the warmth with which you're received. And the food. The food was very good.

The First of Too Many -- Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
The First of Too Many
Checking Their Data at Strava -- Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking Their Data
at Strava
Winding Down while video from my bike front camera plays -- Pension Norikura (ペンソンのりくら) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Winding Down
while video from my bike front camera plays

All in all I felt much better after this ride than after the previous day's ride, which turned out to be my downfall. Instead of going to bed at 9pm as I did the previous night, I stayed up until midnight chatting and drinking.

The others were out for another climb of Mt. Norikura the next morning, but I didn't get out until 11:30, where I did a slow painful ride to the top and back, in a cold rain. The painful part came more from the previous two days' rides than the previous night's drink, but the latter didn't help.

By the time I got back the rain had stopped and I felt good. After another bath in the hot spring, I packed up and made the 4½-hour drive back home in four hours.


Norikura: Cycling Japan’s Highest Road (Three Times)
I Came From Down There I rode up here by bicycle thrice in as many days Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳), Japan taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
I Came From Down There
I rode up here by bicycle thrice in as many days
Mt. Norikura (乗鞍岳), Japan
taken while cycling at 12 kph (8 mph)

この間、三日間の楽しい旅をしました。自転車乗鞍三回登った。 この記事英語だけですが、自慢話ばかりので内容想像できます🙂. 撮っ写真はまだ全部見ってないので、今日記事は旅の概要だけです。

I just had a little trip to the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures, to the highest paved road in Japan, which goes up and over Mt. Norikura. The paved public road reaches an elevation of about 2,715m (8,900').

It'll be a while before I go through the photos and write up a proper post, but having just gotten back yesterday, I wanted to post a little overview of the trip right away.

Heavenly Ascent -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Heavenly Ascent
Still Has Snow in July folks were skiing and ice climbing -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/10, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Has Snow in July
folks were skiing and ice climbing
Alpine Feeling -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Alpine Feeling
Part of the Descent down the other side -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Part of the Descent
down the other side

The three rides over the three days all included an ascent of Mt. Norikura's eastern approach, a path that rises 1,461m (4,793') from where I stayed (the cycling-friendly Pension Norikura).

Day 1

The first day I rode by myself, and though the ride wasn't the toughest of the three on paper (it was only 105km/65mi with 2,923m/9,590' of elevation gain), it took the most out of me.

At the start of the ride, I descended from the hotel down to where the road begins, then turned around and did the entire road up, which gave me 1,717m (5,633') of ascent in a single shot of unbroken climb, a statistic that tickles a certain something in the cycling/data geek in me.

I brought my Nikon D4 and a couple of lenses (Nikkor 24-70/2.8 and the big 70-200/2.8), which together weigh more than half as much as my bike. But I took it slow and paused often for photos, so frankly the initial big climb wasn't all that difficult. What was tough was the accumulation of what came after in the ride, I guess.

Day 2

The second day I rode with a group that included friends old and new. This ride was the toughest on paper (165km/103mi long, with the most elevation gain I've ever done in a ride, 3,937m/12,917'), but it was a social group ride and we took it slow, so in the end I was beat, but not as much as the previous day.

Racing Up (actually, just pretending to) photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/400 sec, f/3.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Racing Up
(actually, just pretending to)
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Dots Racing Downhill are all in my group taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph) -- Mt. Norikura (乗鞍) -- Takayama, Gifu, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 34mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dots Racing Downhill
are all in my group
taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph)

The weather on the second day was absolutely perfect. It was a long day... we left at about 6am, and returned at about sundown at 7pm. I was tickled to reach a sustained speed of over 80kph (50mph) on the final little descent back to the hotel. It's not the fastest I'd ever gone (that was here), but it was unexpected because even though I'd ridden up it twice, I hadn't realized just how steep it was, and just how nice a downhill it would be.

The two-minute Relive.cc movie for this ride is actually quite interesting, I think. Check it out.

The day ended with a big meal and lots of drinking (and in my case, too much drinking), so things were a bit rough for me the next day.

Day 3

Day three (yesterday) was the last day and I had to allow for the 4.5-hour drive back home, so the ride was just a simple jaunt from the hotel to the top and back, a 49km (30mi) round trip.

This time I didn't bring any camera or other things I didn't need, and knew it would be a short ride, so I wanted to try for a PR, but after the previous two days my legs were toast. In the end, I was happy to just not give up.

Unlike the previous two days, this third day was raining and cold, so I was very happy that I bought a Santic cycling windbreaker for the trip, but my fingers froze during the descent, and at one point I had to stop just to restore feeling in my fingers so that I could work the controls of the bike.

To be continued...


Rainy Tiring Fun-Descent 213km Round Trip To Obama with Gorm
At Mermaid Beach Obama City, Fukui Japan 福井県小浜市の人魚の浜、京都からの往復ライード途中 6 hours and 93km — almost half way — into the day's ride photo by Gorm Kipperberg -- Mermaid Beach (人魚の浜海水浴場) -- Obama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
At Mermaid Beach
Obama City, Fukui Japan
福井県小浜市の人魚の浜、京都からの往復ライード途中
6 hours and 93km — almost half way — into the day's ride
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

Gorm and I had a little adventure on Sunday, cycling up to Obama. I'd cycled there once before a year ago, to take the train back. This time we cycled back as well. It ended up being 213km (133mi) with 3,430m (11,250') of vertical climb.

Here's the ride on Strava:

Way Too Chipper for 4:45am meeting up in Kyoto City -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Way Too Chipper for 4:45am
meeting up in Kyoto City

Our route north to Obama would bring us over three major climbs, starting with my benchmark climb to Hanase Pass. I intended to pick a pace that I could handle for 200km, but ended up (I found out after getting home) setting a PR on every part of the climb and the long descent that followed. I had no idea.

But while waiting for Gorm, who stopped at the top to eat something, I just felt drained. At the time I thought it was from lack of sleep after having woken up at 4am after having gone to bed too late, but it turns out that it was lack of calories. After the next big climb (to Sasari Pass) I ate something (this stuff, a sports version of yokan) and started to feel better right away. I guess the bowl of granola I had before leaving didn't provide the energy carbs I thought it would.

I made another PR on the descent from Sasari; the day ended up being a day of gloriously wonderful descents.

8:02am - taken while cycling at 32 kph (20 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
8:02am - taken while cycling at 32 kph (20 mph)
8:10am - taken while cycling at 36 kph (22 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
8:10am - taken while cycling at 36 kph (22 mph)
Stopping for a Coffee Tautasya Cafe ( 田歌舎 ) -- Tautasya Cafe (田歌舎) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Stopping for a Coffee
Tautasya Cafe (田歌舎)

Just as I did on the previous trip, we stopped at this cafe for coffee. They're not really open at that time, instead serving their overnight customers (they host kayaking and hiking trips), but as before, they kindly let us have coffee.

We chatted with some of their kayaking customers about cycling...

Overnight Customers -- Tautasya Cafe (田歌舎) -- Oi-gun, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Overnight Customers

Finally feeling whole again, we climbed to Gonami Pass on a lovely road that's literally not even on Google Maps.

Heading Up to Gonami Pass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Up to Gonami Pass

The road does show up on Strava because they use OpenStreetMaps, and as I do with many of the minor mountain roads in the Kyoto area, I edited the version on OpenStreetMaps to be accurate using road-edge data from the Japanese government. Those updates appear right away on sites like Strava, and in a month or so on phone apps that cook the map data for fully-offline use, like Galileo Offline Maps and Maps.me, both of which I use while cycling.

Lovely Scenery 8:52am - taken while cycling at 20 kph (12 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Scenery
8:52am - taken while cycling at 20 kph (12 mph)
8:54am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
8:54am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)
Satisfied at the Top Gonami Pass (五波峠) photo by Gorm Kipperberg -- Gonami Pass (五波峠) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Satisfied at the Top
Gonami Pass (五波峠)
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

I'm wearing long sleeves and long leggings (both Under Armour, which I'm partial to) because I expected the day to be really hot and sunny, and I wanted to avoid sunburn. The previous day had been brutally hot and humid, and just a short ride had left me drained. So my biggest worry for today's trip was heatstroke.

It turns out the worry was unfounded... the day was cloudy with occasional rain, sometimes heavy. It was wonderful.

The northern descent from Gonomi Pass is at first littered with rocks and branches, so one must take it slowly, but it's quite pretty...

Carefully Descending 9:33am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Carefully Descending
9:33am - taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)

Eventually you leave the heavy forest and the twisty road becomes straight, and you can safely floor it for a fast fun descent....

Gentlemen, You May Start Your Engines this bridge marks the start of “ Gonami North Descent (fun part) ” 9:38am - taken while cycling at 41 kph (26 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Gentlemen, You May Start Your Engines
this bridge marks the start of Gonami North Descent (fun part)
9:38am - taken while cycling at 41 kph (26 mph)

The fun part segment mentioned in the caption above drops 133m over 2.9km for an average slope of -4.8%. That's a great slope for taking it easy if you just want to coast down, or hitting it hard if you want some fun.

As we made our way north through flatter farming valleys, it started to rain intermittently, so mostly the camera was tucked away in a plastic bag.

Dark and Gloomy perfect riding weather 10:07am - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Oi-gun, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Dark and Gloomy
perfect riding weather
10:07am - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph)

Finally, at about 10:40am after about six hours of riding, we arrived at Mermaid Beach in the city of Obama.

Selfie with the Mermaids -- Mermaid Beach (人魚の浜海水浴場) -- Obama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Selfie with the Mermaids

Rather than return the way we came, we cut west along the coast for 17km, to where we intended then to turn south and return to Kyoto.

Misty Coast -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Misty Coast
Monotonous National Road 11:43am - taken while cycling at 32 kph (20 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Monotonous National Road
11:43am - taken while cycling at 32 kph (20 mph)
Aoto Bridge Crossing 青戸の大橋 11:46am - taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph) -- Aoto Bridge (青戸の大橋) -- Oi-gun, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Aoto Bridge Crossing
青戸の大橋
11:46am - taken while cycling at 21 kph (13 mph)
Triathlon Marshaling Area that we happened on (I'll stick to the bike, thank you) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Triathlon Marshaling Area
that we happened on
(I'll stick to the bike, thank you)
City Back Alleys 12:00pm - taken while cycling at 17 kph (11 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
City Back Alleys
12:00pm - taken while cycling at 17 kph (11 mph)

Before heading south I wanted to treat Gorm to the cute little 1¾km climb that Antti and I had done last time. It starts out innocently enough until you round a curve and are hit with a 15.8% slope.

Relatively-Easy Section at “ just ” 11.4% 12:03pm - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Relatively-Easy Section
at just 11.4%
12:03pm - taken while cycling at 11 kph (7 mph)

There are some flatter sections, so the overall average is a mild 9.2%, but there's 300m worth of 11% toward the end, just for fun.

Wiped Out at the Top Yasuragi Park (安らぎ公園) photo by Gorm Kipperberg -- Yasuragi Park (安らぎ公園) -- Takahama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/100 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wiped Out at the Top
Yasuragi Park (安らぎ公園)
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

Gorm took the KOM (King of the Mountain) for having been the fastest (from among the five folks 🙂 ) to have registered a ride on it.

Moody View photo by Gorm Kipperberg -- Yasuragi Park (安らぎ公園) -- Takahama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Moody View
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

We returned back to sea level and rode along the beach. What had been ridiculously packed during our ride last year was empty this year:

Quiet Wakasawada Beach (若狭和田海水浴場) 12:35pm - taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph) -- Wakasawada Beach (若狭和田海水浴場) -- Takahama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quiet
Wakasawada Beach (若狭和田海水浴場)
12:35pm - taken while cycling at 16 kph (10 mph)
Finally Turning for Home riding due south away from the Sea of Japan Torihama Beach (鳥居浜海水浴場) 12:41pm - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph) -- Torihama Beach (鳥居浜海水浴場) -- Takahama, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Turning for Home
riding due south away from the Sea of Japan
Torihama Beach (鳥居浜海水浴場)
12:41pm - taken while cycling at 10 kph (6 mph)
Pleasant Ruralness 1:08pm - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pleasant Ruralness
1:08pm - taken while cycling at 22 kph (14 mph)

The path back to Kyoto this time went through an area that I passed by last year, with a circular highway towering above the road we were on. Here's a photo from last year:

Curvy Highway part of a 360° loop -- Oi-gun, Fukui, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Curvy Highway
part of a 360° loop

This time we'd actually ride up onto that curvy highway.

On the 360° Loop looking at additional elevated curves farther up the mountain -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the 360° Loop
looking at additional elevated curves farther up the mountain
Fuzzy, But Gives as Sense of Height one of the loops farther up, from the top end of the 360° loop -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Fuzzy, But Gives as Sense of Height
one of the loops farther up, from the top end of the 360° loop
Looking Back from one curve down to the full 360° loop -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back
from one curve down to the full 360° loop

If you look at the area in Google Earth, it's a mishmash of roads both old and new, and the closer you look, the more difficult it is to figure out how they connect.

It seems that there was a small twisty road that wound its way up the mountain like so many of the roads we love to climb, and according to the historical imagery in Google Earth, about 10 years ago a replacement road was begun, one which wound up at a softer angle due to the long floating curves. It looks like it might have been completed three or four years ago.

The confusing thing is that the new road sometimes completely replaced the old road, and sometimes the old road was left as is. Parts of the as is old road don't connect to anything, and are inaccessible without rappelling gear, but which parts are still in use and which parts are inaccessible is not readily apparent from the satellite photos. So while researching the route, it was confusing for a while.

Last of the New Road 1:28pm - taken while cycling at 14 kph (9 mph) -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Last of the New Road
1:28pm - taken while cycling at 14 kph (9 mph)
Old Road -- Ōi-gun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Road

The rain started again just after that shot, so the camera went away, but eventually we made it to the top of the climb and we were rewarded with the best downhill sections I've ever done. It was mostly long sweeping curves, so you could keep a good pace going while enjoying the beautiful scenery and pristine, clean road surface.

I did have a monkey cross the road 10 seconds in front of me, so one does have to watch out for wildlife.

After another climb and another descent, we stopped by an old style market for ice cream and drinks.

Old Market in a small village far from everywhere -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Market
in a small village far from everywhere

The last 50 or so kilometers home were a bunch of smaller climbs and descents haphazardly arranged.

Small Random Rise on a Major Road 3:21pm - taken while cycling at 26 kph (16 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Random Rise on a Major Road
3:21pm - taken while cycling at 26 kph (16 mph)
This Road Again Gorm, at the far left, starts his ascent -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
This Road Again
Gorm, at the far left, starts his ascent

This is the same road seen at the start of Miyama Cycling Tour with Joshua and Manseki, Part 2. I had passed nearby the other day on a forestry-road gravel ride last week, but I'd not been to this spot since I last rode here with Gorm a year ago.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The descent down the other side is considerably cluttered...

Not Well Maintained -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Well Maintained
Must Take Care 3:50pm - taken while cycling at 30 kph (19 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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)
Panasonic LX100 — 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Must Take Care
3:50pm - taken while cycling at 30 kph (19 mph)
Brooding Sky About to Engulf Us and we're still 40km from home -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Brooding Sky About to Engulf Us
and we're still 40km from home

Just before the last long fast descent of the trip, the sky positively opened up. No more little sprinkles here and there... this was a full-on standing under a waterfall deluge. It made the descent much slower, but it sure was fun and enjoyable to ride in that kind of rain on a hot day.


This is What Hit Us

All in all it was a harder ride than the much longer trip to Nagoya I did last month, but much more enjoyable for the same reason (more and better climbs), and also because the scenery was so much nicer this time.

All of this pales in comparison to what I plan for next week, which starts off with this 1,747m (5,730') climb. Weather permitting, I'll do it twice, once slowly with my Nikon D4 and a few nice lenses, and again the next day with friends and only my small cycling camera. We'll see.


Tea Tour with Manseki and Gorm
Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

A couple of weeks ago I had a nice 130km (80 mi) ride with Manseki and Gorm, in an area to the south-east of Kyoto I'd never been. Here's the trip as seen at Strava:

Heading Out Early 8am along the Kamo River in Kyoto photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Out Early
8am along the Kamo River in Kyoto
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Our exit from Kyoto was on the riverside path toward Osaka. We used my new egress route to avoid the bone-jarring mud and bumps of the riverside route in the southern part of the city, then continued on the riverside path that I first posted about here.

After crossing some big rivers, instead of heading southwest toward Osaka, though, we headed southeast toward Uji. It was my first time on this route.

Heading Toward Uji photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Toward Uji
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

We were suddenly in tea country...

Rows Of Tea Plants -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rows Of Tea Plants
Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

In the background of the photo above you can see the Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋), a simple wooden bridge known for being swept away by rushing water fairly often. It just reopened this year after having been closed all of last year after it had been swept away the year before.

Walking Across Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流 れ橋) -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Walking Across
Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋)
Thick Wire Rope -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Thick Wire Rope

I'm not quite sure what the wire rope is for. The bridge gets swept away fairly often.... of late, it was swept away in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. After 2014 there was apparently some resistance to spending money to replace it yet again, so it took until this spring for it to be replaced. I was told that this time they used thicker wire ropes, but in looking how they're lightly attached, I'm not sure what they're for. I'd think they'd want them parallel to the force of the water, not perpendicular.

This is normally the kind of situation where I'd think well, someone must know what they're doing., but considering the bridge's recent track record, perhaps not.

Gorm and Manseki -- Kidzu River Nagarebashi (木津川流れ橋) -- Yawata, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 31mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorm and Manseki

We eventually made our way back to civilization and stopped by a convenience store. They had a bike stand for road bikes, where you hook the seat over a bar. One doesn't see this at convenience stores often, so it's an indication of how many frequent this particular location.

Manseki Parks His Bicycle -- セブンイレブン -- Joyo, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki Parks His Bicycle

Finally, 35km (22mi) in, we get to the start of the real ride, a 360m climb (1,170') though what seemed to be a jungle...

Finally Heading Up -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Heading Up
Raw, Natural, Overgrown felt like a jungle -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Raw, Natural, Overgrown
felt like a jungle

Most mountain roads in this part of Japan pass through forests of farmed ceder trees. They seem rough and wild, but the trees are all ceder and are well spaced and exceedingly straight. They don't feel farmed in that it might be 20 or 40 years of human non-interaction between harvests, but once pointed out, the wildness and variety of an area like the one seen above is stark in comparison.

Another Kind of Cyclist -- Tsuzuki-gun -- Tsuzuki-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Kind of Cyclist

As I went past, I slowed a bit to chat. Never having ridden a recumbent bicycle, I'm left with the impression that it looks awkward and scary. He said it does take some getting used to, but one immediate benefit, he said, is that your butt doesn't hurt.

On that tangent, I usually don't wear real cycling pants because I don't like the bun pads they have. I think they look ridiculous but would use them if I felt they were needed, but I guess my rear is whatever-enough to not require them. I've done multiple 200+km rides without them and I'm fine. But you wouldn't believe the crap other cyclists give me because I don't conform to the diaper-pants norm.

Anyway, Gorm, Manseki, and I eventually made it to the top, where other cyclists were already resting.

Rest at the Top photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/60 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Rest at the Top
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Continuing down the other side, we soon came to our first nice view of the day...

Expansive View -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Expansive View
Three Musketeers photo kindly taken by a passing cyclist -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Three Musketeers
photo kindly taken by a passing cyclist
Beautiful, But Sadly Hazy -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 60mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Beautiful, But Sadly Hazy
Mini Tea Train -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mini Tea Train

The view spot was at the top of a mountainside tea field, and at the edge was a little monorail used to bring equipment up and down. I would have loved to ride in it. 🙂

The descent down the other side seemed ridiculously steep, and I was glad at the moment to have done it the longer, less steep way.

Quickly Down -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quickly Down
Tea Even In The Switchbacks higher-quality tea plants are covered to protect from direct sunlight -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tea Even In The Switchbacks
higher-quality tea plants are covered to protect from direct sunlight
Small Tea Community -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Tea Community
Obvious Photo Op photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 27mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Obvious Photo Op
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the Move Again with tea fields tucked in everywhere around here -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
On the Move Again
with tea fields tucked in everywhere around here

Our route then took us up another climb to a plateau (sort of) where for the next 30km the road undulated up and down with many short (50-100m) climbs.

Little Rural Community -- Sōraku-gun -- Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Little Rural Community

The highest point for us was a little viewing area near where three prefectures come together (Kyoto, Shiga, and Mie).

Arrival photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Arrival
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

There was some drama in getting here, involving a bit of mis-communication and a wrong turn, and Manseki had mistakenly gone down the other side of the mountain past this point. He'd descended 100m of elevation before realizing his mistake when I asked him where he was (thank goodness we both had cell reception), and paid for the mistake by having to reclimb that 100m.

So we were all ready for a little break.

What a View -- Iga, Mie, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
What a View

Other than to cartographer geeks, I'd think that the point where three states meet would be fairly uninteresting, but the name of the area (三国, meaning three countries, or perhaps more properly in this case, three kingdoms) implies that it has a long history dating back to before Japan was a single unified country.

Considering the work it took us to get here on nicely-paved roads, I can't imagine what it must have been like 1,000 years ago, and why they wouldn't pick a more congenial location for inter-kingdom diplomacy.

As well as the highest point of the trip, it was the furthest, and we headed back north. We stopped in one of the small villages for drinks, which had a small traditional market that was the 50-years-ago version of a convenience store.

photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Manseki Kanemitsu
DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.1, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Rice-Farming Community -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rice-Farming Community

The day's route was one that Manseki had done by himself recently, but for part of the return home I suggested some roads he wasn't familiar with, and it turned out that they were lovely.

Lovely Little CLimb -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Little CLimb
3:05pm - taken while moving at 15 kph (10 mph) -- Koka, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
3:05pm - taken while moving at 15 kph (10 mph)

In particular, this descent was one of the most beautiful I've ever done. I've no photos because I was just enjoying it too much. It's a descent that one wants to savor and enjoy, so it's not a segment you want to PR on.

After working our way through Otsu and Yamashina and into Kyoto proper, I parted ways with Gorm and Manseki, to head to my corner of Kyoto. On the way I popped up to Shogunzuka, which I used to go to often to (try to) photograph the sunset....

Looking Out at Kyoto Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Out at Kyoto
Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚)

One of my first posts from the area is Views of Kyoto From Shougun-zuka, nine years ago, but the list is long. You can get a sense for the variety of views on my photo-proximity search page.

This day the view didn't have anything special in store, with lots of haze and relatively flat light.

Shogunzuka Overlook (将軍塚) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It's just as well, since I didn't have a real camera with me.

I felt great when I got home, but soon fell asleep in my La-Z-Boy, so I guess the ride took more out of me than I first realized.

All and all, a great ride with great people.


Making Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers Not Suck

When cycling, I use Shimano SPD-SL cleats and pedals. They're great on the bike, but when walking around, if one doesn't use cleat covers, they quickly get torn up and end up looking like this.

So, I use cleat covers whenever a stop involves more than a little walking around...

Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers Shimano SM-SH45 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 560 — image data
Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers
Shimano SM-SH45
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 4500 — image data
Pop Right On -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — image data
Pop Right On

They're easy to pop on, but once on, to pull them off you have to grab a thin tiny little tab of very hard rubber and pull out and away...

Pull Here -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 2000 — image data
Pull Here

Under the best of circumstances, they come right off. But with the weird angle you have to reach to pull something from the bottom of your shoe, especially when you're tired and using your non-dominant hand (or when it's cold, or you're wearing gloves, or just having a bad day), trying to pull them off can be an exercise in frustration. The little tab is such a stupid design.

But it's easy to fix.

Drill a Hole at an Angle -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — image data
Drill a Hole at an Angle
Hole -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1100 — image data
Hole
Insert a Zip Tie note the orientation of the head... it's (sort of) important -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 — image data
Insert a Zip Tie
note the orientation of the head... it's (sort of) important
Trim -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — image data
Trim
Voilà -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 — image data
Voilà

Now it's easy-peasy to pull them off, even when you can't feel your fingers through heavy gloves.... just grab the loop and yank.

There are four possible ways to install the zip tie... inserting from one side of the cover or the other, each combined with facing the opening on the head one way or the other. I've found that the best is the way shown above, because that causes the loop to want to press up into the shoe, flattening itself out of the way. Otherwise, it can drag on the ground as you walk.

Even if you trim the zip tie well, I've found that over time the tie can work its way farther through the head, making the loop increasingly small, and also creating a poky bit sticking out. To stop that, you can just add a bit of tape inside the loop before trimming...

This'll Stay Put -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 450 — image data
This'll Stay Put

Normal zip ties one might have on hand are not generally very robust, especially in the cold, and I've had them crack and break often. So, I'm now using special outdoor cold-weather ties:

Good Down to 40 Below -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 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 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 280 — image data
Good Down to 40 Below

I paid $7.99 for the pack of 100 at Amazon.