Monday, 28 September 2009

Tsugawa to Kitakata - part 2

After briefly stopping at the village of Hideya we pressed on and we were making good time in the cool weather but already we had encountered more hill climbs than we thought there would be along the riverside. Some of the villages we passed through had tiny train stations and not much else and most of the inhabitants seemed to be busy employed harvesting their rice crops etc. It was hard to believe that this road was a national route as in many of the villages the road narrowed to one car lane width and was only a few feet from the front door of many houses. About mid morning we came to the road sign stating that we were about to cross the border into Fukushima, as on our previous forays into Fukushima once you cross the border into Fukushima the roads deteriorate and the road surface is not as well maintained at least from a cyclists point of view. Not long after that we faced some serious climbs - by serious I mean there was a warning sign saying that the road ahead had a 9% grade and one foreign driver yelled out to me " Good luck " for a while I was able to slowly ride up the start of the hill in low gear however my 22T pass storming cog was no match for this mountain and I was forced to dismount and walk to the top . All this while my cycling pal Brian was slowing spinning his way to the top of the summit to lay in wait for a very knacked 3 speed cyclist to appear pushing a high tensile steel Humber sports covered in sweat. I almost thumbed a lift from a driver of a pick up truck but I'm sure I would have gotten a lot of grief from Brian had I done so. The downhills were fantastic and my drum brake and fibrax brake pads kept my speed under control just but as the roads were rather twisty there were more than a few hair raising moments taking sharp corners at speed. I'm sorry there are not any photos of the downhills but they went by rather quickly and at one point the Humber got up to 48km per hour when riding next to Brian. After the hills we descended into the highlands of Kitakata and had a short flat ride before one last hill into Kitakata town

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