Unintended Gravel Adventure with Gorm
Wet Gorm is Wet -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Wet Gorm is Wet

It's the rainy season in Japan, which means that when it's not hot and humid, it's hot and humid and wet. Earlier in the week Gorm and I had a wet ride in the mountains north of Kyoto that turned into a bit of an adventure.

We started off by cycling up to Hanase Pass, which is a litmus test of a climb that always strikes fear into my heart. It was my 21st time up, the first having been my crazy first ride a year ago February.

For Gorm, who is just visiting from Norway, it was his 5th.

I was happy to make a PR on the benchmark segment by almost a minute and a half, down to 30:40. I've still got a ways to go to break 30 minutes, or to beat Gorm's PR (30:19) for that matter.

Due to the light rain and feeling quite chilly, I was fairly miserable on the descent down the other side, but it was really beautiful. You'll have to take my word for it because I only had a crappy waterproof camera with me.

Misty from both the rain, and fog on the camera lens -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/125 sec, f/4.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Misty
from both the rain, and fog on the camera lens

The descent saw the sun come out occasionally, which along with my drying off did wonders for my mood. After a hot-coffee stop, I was feeling good.

Misty Selfie 10:18am - taken while moving at 9 kph (6 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Misty Selfie
10:18am - taken while moving at 9 kph (6 mph)

We weren't in any particular rush, so we took the time to try a little road I've wanted to check out for some while, which leads to The Bujoji Temple (峰定寺). The short two-kilometer road is lovely, but the apparently-pretty temple is not visible from the paved road, and we weren't dedicated enough to make the hike from the road.

Beware of Bears “ bring a bell or other noise-making device ” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Beware of Bears
bring a bell or other noise-making device
Beautifully-Stacked Wood is a common sight in the mountain communities -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Beautifully-Stacked Wood
is a common sight in the mountain communities
Sad that the photo does nothing to convey how wonderfully splendid an area it is 10:24am - taken while moving at 27 kph (17 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/100 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sad
that the photo does nothing to convey how wonderfully splendid an area it is
10:24am - taken while moving at 27 kph (17 mph)
Cafe That We'll Keep In Mind but it was a Tuesday and they're closed on Tuesdays 山菜料理桂雅堂 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Cafe That We'll Keep In Mind
but it was a Tuesday and they're closed on Tuesdays
山菜料理桂雅堂
Big Hunks of Granite in front of a dilapidated barn -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Hunks of Granite
in front of a dilapidated barn
Dilapidated Barn behind big hunks of granite -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/125 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Dilapidated Barn
behind big hunks of granite
June 1981 inspection sticker -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
June 1981
inspection sticker
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos

We then rode over Sasari Pass (佐々里峠). The climb is shorter than Hanase Pass, but it does have its steep sections. I'd done it only two other times, and not for a long while. Especially since this was my first time to climb it since getting a real road bike, I expected to make a PR, and I did by over two minutes, down to 23:39.

It was Gorm's first time, and he clocked in thirty seconds faster than I.

Pretty Side Road that we opted to avoid, as it was all gravel and we were on road bikes with road tires -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/50 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty Side Road
that we opted to avoid, as it was all gravel and we were on road bikes with road tires

After the lovely descent down the other side, we took a gamble on a route we hadn't taken before. I'd heard that it was fully paved, so it was worth a shot, but we'd have to backtrack if the road condition was too bad.

The photo above isn't the road we were considering... just a side road we took a peek at. Yet still....

Moments Later first flat since this day of many flats . after about 800km (500mi) on the new Michelin Pro4 Endurance photo by Gorm Kipperberg -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/200 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Moments Later
first flat since this day of many flats.
after about 800km (500mi) on the new Michelin Pro4 Endurance
photo by Gorm Kipperberg

I don't know what caused the flat, but I don't think it was a rock. The hole was very small.

In the photo I'm wearing ThinOPTICS tiny clip-on reading glasses that I keep in the seat bag. They're very tiny and light, and also very useful so that I can actually see what I'm doing. I'd think that any cyclist of a certain age would find them quite handy when needed.

On Our Way up a road that I thought I was told was fully paved -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/50 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
On Our Way
up a road that I thought I was told was fully paved
Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/30 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Effects of a low-quality camera at 14 kph (9 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/10 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Effects
of a low-quality camera at 14 kph (9 mph)
Technically Still “ Paved ” though so full of wickedly-sharp rocks that we walked this section -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/10 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Technically Still Paved
though so full of wickedly-sharp rocks that we walked this section
Of Questionable Quality but otherwise a lovely, beautiful ride -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Of Questionable Quality
but otherwise a lovely, beautiful ride
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/40 sec, f/5.4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Burning the Candle on Both Ends huge tree trunk floating above an eroding mountainside -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/320 sec, f/3.9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Burning the Candle on Both Ends
huge tree trunk floating above an eroding mountainside
Gorgeous Views that these photos just don't do justice :-( -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/125 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorgeous Views
that these photos just don't do justice 🙁
At The Pass where the public road crosses a pseudo -private forestry road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
At The Pass
where the public road crosses a pseudo-private forestry road

I've ridden on this forestry road a couple of times with my Trek cross bike, which is more appropriate for gravel than my Rose road bike. The forestry road alternates between gravel and pristine pavement, but the gravel makes it off limits for today's bikes. The road up was pretty spotty, but I knew that the road down the other side had some areas that were much worse.

Road Down The Other Side pretty, but starts out with gravel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Road Down The Other Side
pretty, but starts out with gravel
Same Area Last Year 去年 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Same Area Last Year
去年

Last year the entrance to the road had signs saying Road Closed and due to landslide All Lanes Closed. By the time I'd gotten to this place along the long forestry road with absolutely no services, I was tired and thirsty, so I took my chance going down the closed road in the hopes of reaching civilization, or at least something to drink. After all, it's often easy for bicycles to get by obstacles that cars can't, like this or this.

On that trip last year, the road was in really bad shape...

The Road Last Year 去年の両面状況 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
The Road Last Year
去年の両面状況
Why The Road Was Closed Last Year 去年の通行止めの理由 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 — 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Why The Road Was Closed Last Year
去年の通行止めの理由

That road was well and truly impassable, at least without rappelling gear. I had to re-climb more than 200m (660') of vertical ascent just to get back to the main forestry road, and continue another 10km until the next chance to exit.

This year I thought would be better, since I knew others had ridden it recently and told me, I thought, that it was all paved.

It's not all paved.

All Gravel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/80 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
All Gravel
Still Pretty -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Pretty
Still Gravel rare photo of Gorm riding on gravel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/320 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Gravel
rare photo of Gorm riding on gravel

The sections of bad pavement I'd seen last year were replaced by gravel, so it was all gravel for 15 minutes until we finally got to some pavement, which was then very nice.

Finally Nice Pavement -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/50 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Nice Pavement
New Not-Washed-Out Road where the road was impassable last year -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/200 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
New Not-Washed-Out Road
where the road was impassable last year
Really Pretty Areas -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/60 sec, f/3.3, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Really Pretty Areas

On the way home, we stopped by a cafe I first wrote about six years ago, Yama no Ie Hasegawa, for sustenance.

Good Food Yama no Ie Hasegawa (山の家はせがわ) -- Yama no Ie Hasegawa (山の家はせがわ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic DMC-TS3 — 1/50 sec, f/3.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Good Food
Yama no Ie Hasegawa (山の家はせがわ)

Gorm had deep-fried shrimp and fish; I had bacon-wrapped hamburger. Both were tasty, and washed down with Cokes.

The ride ended up being 114km (71mi) with about 2,000m (6,500') of elevation gain.

This was the second ride in a row that I'd ridden in the rain (the first having been a short ride to search, unsuccessfully it turns out, for an old iPhone I'd lost on a ride the day prior) so the bike was full of grime splashed up from the road.

So I spent the next day washing it, and after cleaning the relatively-new tires was horrified to find plenty of bits of gravel and such wedged into the rubber. I dug them out, but don't feel they'll last all that much longer, so I've already ordered another pair of different tires. We'll see.

The sheer amount of grime on every surface of the bike was stunning, and depressing, so even though I don't mind riding in the rain, I've avoided it since. It looks like I'll be able to get out on Sunday... I'm thinking to ride to Himeji, a ride of comparable distance to last week's ride to Nagoya, but one where the route looks much more appealing. We'll see.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

For some reason, during normal scrolling down to read, “Effects” moving up or down gave me a strong sensation of movement. Not just that the picture was moving forward or backwards, but that *I* was. Very odd, but interesting.

Oh, and Josh just repaired his very first flat tire. He was quite satisfied with himself, but I’m sure it took him (with a little help) considerably longer than it takes you. 🙂

— comment by Marcina on June 25th, 2016 at 6:19am JST (10 months, 1 day ago) comment permalink

One of the things I love about riding in a bike on a photo adventure is that (unlike driving a car) you are much more engaged with your environment. You notice things that would be missed driving by at 60 MPH. It’s easy to stop and explore scenes that catch your eye. Great shots, by the way.

— comment by Christian Lange on July 9th, 2016 at 6:23am JST (9 months, 17 days ago) comment permalink
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