Last Month’s Particularly Epic Cycling Adventure, Part 1
The Theme for the Day on a ride a month ago that I'm only getting around to writing about today “ Do Epic Stuff ” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/40 sec, f/11, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
The Theme for the Day
on a ride a month ago that I'm only getting around to writing about today
Do Epic Stuff

The mountains around Kyoto are such fertile ground for cycling adventures, I consider many of the rides I go on to be epic adventures, but the ride a month ago hinted at in Preview of an Epic Cycling Adventure with Andy and Nigel stands out.

It was supposed to be a short, vanilla outing on well-known roads, but ended up being a fantastic adventure. Finally, a month later, I'm getting around to posting the longer version of the story.

Andy Clark and I met up with Nigel Randell at a convenience store at the foot of the mountains in northern Kyoto. Joking around about the horrible setting for a portrait (a busy background with cars, fences, signs), I took Andy's picture. A nice smile can compensate for the worst background...

Picture Perfect Portrait of Andy Clark at the Lawsons convenience store in Ichihara -- Ichihara Lawsons (ローソン 静市市原) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Picture Perfect Portrait
of Andy Clark
at the Lawsons convenience store in Ichihara

The route (full ride map) took us up the super-hard Momoi East. There are two mountain passes that are collectively referred to as Momoi because one normally just follows the road through the first right to the second, but we stopped in the small hamlet between, on a side road, at the bulls-eye here in the map:

Few riders seem to stray from the road marked in yellow, so don't realize that there's a vending machine at the bulls-eye spot. It's quite convenient, and the guys got coffee.

Coffee Commercial with a lion, because, well, lion -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 34mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Coffee Commercial
with a lion, because, well, lion

They're silly-crazy guys that egg each other on, so they got silly-crazy for the camera.

“ Huge Guns ” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Huge Guns

Their silliness somehow reminds me of a video by Freddy Wong, an American guy who started putting up videos on YouTube when he was 13 years old, with an ever-increasing quality and complexity of video-effect editing. He's now an adult making what one can only imagine is an extremely lucrative living on YouTube. Anyway, Andy and Nigel's antics made me think of one of Freddy's earlier videos, Huge Guns.

(You can see how far he's progressed in the video-effect department by comparing that with his latest video.)

We had intended to return to the well-traveled road and finish our vanilla outing, but instead decided to take the road less traveled, the unknown road marked with the green arrow in the map above. I'd discovered that road on a wonderful trip the previous week with Manseki, so I knew that lovely roads awaited us.

Lovely Roads taken while moving at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 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 Roads
taken while moving at 19 kph (12 mph)

The rain that was starting to sprinkle was less lovely.

At one point the road turns to gravel, and it's at that point that most folks who ventured this far would turn around, but it turns out that the gravel section is only 250m long before the road returns to pavement.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Folks are Dying to See This View (sorry) taken while moving at 24 kph (15 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Folks are Dying to See This View
(sorry)
taken while moving at 24 kph (15 mph)
Lush Greenery taken while moving at 15 kph (9 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Lush Greenery
taken while moving at 15 kph (9 mph)
taken while moving at 17 kph (11 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while moving at 17 kph (11 mph)

We eventually make it to Ogose Pass (尾越峠) at 727m (2,385') and continued down the other side. Nigel thought to take a video of me descending...

Heading Down 12:21 PM (from start: 3h 16m / 38 km / 23.9 miles) Ogose Pass (尾越峠) photo by Andy Clark -- Ogose Pass (尾越峠) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
12:21 PM (from start: 3h 16m / 38 km / 23.9 miles)
Ogose Pass (尾越峠)
photo by Andy Clark

Nigel had issues with his camera, so I went back and did it again...

Heading Back Up photo by Andy Clark -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back Up
photo by Andy Clark
More Lovely Roads on the way down taken while moving at 13 kph (8 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
More Lovely Roads
on the way down
taken while moving at 13 kph (8 mph)
Nigel Descending -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nigel Descending
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

I don't know whether you can see the green color of the road, but the road surface was permeated with mossyness, which would make it extremely slippery if the rain picked up enough to make it through the treecover. It's steep enough that it's slippery even when dry, at least when riding out of the saddle where most of your weight moves to be over the front tire, leaving little weight to help the drive wheel grab traction. I was a bit worried about the return trip.

Toward the bottom of the descent, there are some junk cars, an unfortunately not-rare sight in Japanese mountains...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 31mm — 1/15 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Silly Selfie -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.1, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Silly Selfie

We continued through the very small (seven houses) hamlet at the foot of the descent, and up the start of the next climb. Eventually the road gets pretty rough and gravely, and in the previous trip I'd gotten only so far as a gate across the road a few kilometers past the hamlet. But this time we could ride through freely, and soon after the road returned to pavement.

And, at about the same time, the rain really picked up.

And then Andy got a flat.

Setting Up In The Slightly Less-Wet Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Setting Up In The Slightly Less-Wet Area
Andy's Frustrated Face he's a high-energy, high-happiness kind of guy -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 58mm — 1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Andy's Frustrated Face
he's a high-energy, high-happiness kind of guy
Searching For the Source of the Flat if it's something protruding through the tire, the next tube will puncture right away -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Searching For the Source of the Flat
if it's something protruding through the tire, the next tube will puncture right away

After 1.1km of 7.9% climb on utterly-pristine paved roads, we came to a T in the road and this rustic road sign:

Both Seem To Be “ Roads Less Taken ” “ Kuta ” one way, “ Haccho-daira ” another -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Both Seem To Be Roads Less Taken
Kuta one way, Haccho-daira another

We'd never heard of Haccho-daira, but knew Kuta well, so we went that way.

Heading to Kuta at about the four-hour mark for my trip -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading to Kuta
at about the four-hour mark for my trip

The pavement had ended at the T, and the road became very rough crushed rock... too rough to be called gravel...

Not For Road Bikes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Not For Road Bikes

Especially since Andy had already had a flat, he wasn't in the mood to ride this kind of crazy-rough surface on his road bike, but we egged him on for a bit.

Me Photographing the Rockfall photo by Nigel Randell -- Copyright 2015 Nigel Randell
SC-04E at an effective 31mm — 1/220 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Me Photographing the Rockfall
photo by Nigel Randell

We really didn't want to turn around — that slippery return up to Ogose Pass was on my mind — but we also didn't want to continue if the road was this bad. Because I had the most offroad-ish bike (my new bike hadn't arrived yet), I took it upon myself to go ahead a bit to see whether the road got better, and indeed 200m later it did, changing to normal gravel. So with Andy's grumbles mostly ameliorated, we forged ahead.

Crossing Through 860m Prior to this, the highest I'd ever climbed was the 817m to Onyu Pass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Crossing Through 860m
Prior to this, the highest I'd ever climbed was the 817m to Onyu Pass
Very Nice Retaining Wall our tax yen at work   /-: -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/640 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Nice Retaining Wall
our tax yen at work   /-:
Approaching the Pass -- Minetoko Pass (峰床峠) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Approaching the Pass
Minetoko Pass (峰床峠) elevation 887.5m (2,900') taken while moving at 10 kph (6 mph) -- Minetoko Pass (峰床峠) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Minetoko Pass (峰床峠)
elevation 887.5m (2,900')
taken while moving at 10 kph (6 mph)

This pass doesn't actually have a name that I could find, so I just named it myself, for the mountain that it goes over.

Having arrived at the pass we knew that it must be mostly downhill from here, literally. Little did we know that the best adventure for the day still awaited.

Continued here...


One comment so far...

Great blog and great bunch of guys. Agree. Keep on cycling!!

— comment by Brian Gebruers on October 17th, 2015 at 11:13am JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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