Yatsugatake and the tap tap tap of rain. I had longingly looked outside every morning waiting for this chance, the chance to try roads I have never ridden, a luxury less common nowadays.
Tap tap tap. Maybe tomorrow.
A little adventure; a token sense of discovery, a chance to map a new route. No recommendations, no hearsay, no guidance, just an old fashioned paper map and a careful eye for contour lines, rivers and the shape of the roads.
Tap tap tap. Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.
A little sense of mystery where it may lead, not knowing if that barely visible line is a road that can be ridden. And the possibility – successfully accomplished – of getting lost.
Tap Tap Tap… Tap … hang on … Jezus! Run ! Run get my bike… clear sky !
Spectacular views of the southern alps in the dawn light as I descended a long long way into the valley and a huge unanticipated climb to Shinshu Toge, an old road from Yamanashi to Nagano prefectures, deserted of people and cars. And perfect for a minor tradition in such infrequent circumstances, I take the freedom to relieve myself in public, not huddled in the undergrowth, but proud and relaxed, in the the very middle of the road. The road drops down into thousands of acres of farmland, and trucks and tractors thunder along dusty roads – all this at 1400m above sea level.
And then a final long straight climb past the toy town of Kiyosato, never ending up to the Yatsugatake Kougen Line – a family of dear cross in front of me, a nonchalant glance thrown in my direction. Lunch with the family in a restaurant buried deep in the forest, and a 10km hilly warm down to the lodge.