Monday, January 26, 2009

Up and Down mid winter magic...

Condo Sensei outside his families Temple

This temple made by Condo Sensei is a scale model of a Koyto Temple. The detail is amazing inside and out. You can open the doors and see inside several Buddha statues and internal layout.

Here is another one that lives inside a unambiguous shed at Condo Sensei's factor

Brown rice / spicy food what a foil... like this building

Tooling along in a warm and comforting cockpit somewhere...

The next valley , Ashigara Pass south west to Fuji san...

Fuji san hotmix heaven

Training road...

I had a 5:30hr ride on Saturday with a group of about 10 local riders. At the turn around point, Tanzawa Lake (250m/asl) located between towering 'Numinbah like' mountains, one rider and I continued on, slipping past a boom gate restricting traffic and headed up the valley on beautifully made hotmix to about 800m/asl. A point where the road was unrideable due to ice.
It started to snow, beautiful flurries of fluffy white stuff drifting silently in swirling direction chased us down the mountain. Piling up on my arms and legs. It was beautiful to say the least.

We passed a 2000yo cedar tree...unlike the Arctic beach tree, it was Massive, Majestic and mortifying… It has its own little temple. And like many valued trees over here it had hemp like rope around its girth, some kind of tribute to its deity.
There are several hot springs in this area but we failed to stop even though I was quite cold on the decent. I managed to climb in shorts and two tops, armies, 2 headbands as neck warmers and 2 pr gloves ... but donned all the extra bits of clothing that I carry for such situations like this from my h'bar handbag... Oh I love that handbag...!
To top a ride like this, roads in places like these and there are a lot of them, carry little traffic and they always pass below 40 kph.
Why do I want to ride across the Nulla-bore....? Talk me out of it or come up with a better plan...Quick!

Yesterday I spent the sunny part of the day on my quite little training road across the valley from this unit. This road of the most perfect hotmix I have ever seen, is tucked into the side of the 1000m Izu Peninsular Ranges that quickly slip into the ocean. It curls back and forth on itself following a contour at about 200m/asl and is only 2km long.

Its still under construction so just turns to dirt while they build a massive bridge a km away.. When finished it will still just be a farmer’s road because it doesn’t link up anything in particular.

From this road you can see right along the coast towards Mira Peninsular and Yokohama. There are stone terraced mandarin farms everywhere with many steep little, gut busting, paved farm roads going mostly straight up linking the numerous little farm sheds.

These sheds are often masterpieces in themselves, mostly black, made from a 'charred' kind of Japanese cedar, perched amazingly, looking silently out over green and orange punctuated mandarins groves and ocean,. The burning process is better than paint at protecting the wood I’m led to believe.

I spent several hours sitting on a bench enjoying the view, sanding the ply bike frame to make it presentable for 'Sensei Condo'
He is a highly respected Carpenter who has built amazing large scale models of famous Koyto Temples amongst other things. If you have seen a Japanese Buddhist temple you will understand his skill. He also runs a council woodworking class which I would love to join if I was staying longer.

Its a crowd stopper ...last time I was sanding up there, I was given some mandarins, this time a bun, I think people are surprised to see a foreigner and a wooden bike... in the middle of Mandarin farms.

For a quite location going to nowhere real soon, there is a surprising mix of people wondering around.. Today I envied several farmers in their little shoe box sized Suzuki utes, a few lost 'car-bound souls' looking for the nearby 'One Night Castle', a lady walker with a stick, a Lycra clad middle aged runner ‘in the zone’ going straight up !!...a couple of walkers down from Tokyo... and three fully equipped in a 'knowing sort of way' safety orange clad, Beagle gun dog accompanied men out on a non-motorized hunt...

Only in Japan...

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