Friday, August 19, 2011

草津白根山ツーリング - Kusatsu Shirane Bike Tour



I invited a friend of mine to a tour ride in Kusatsu area. We left Nerima at 6:30 yesterday morning and we were in Kusatsu at 9:30 because the traffic of Kan-etsu expressway was very smooth. My friend planned a hill-crimb following the course of Tour de Kusatsu, but my level was not that qualifiable and I originally considered running from Kusatsu to Tsumagoi instead. Unfortunately, I have just recovered from my sickness of almost a month that was found to be light pneumonia, and during this period of time, my mussle has almost gone, therefore I had to avoid sudden and excessive exercises. I packed my bicycle and went to the summit of Mt. Shirane by bus where I could wait for my friend’s arrival.
He was thinking of running further to Shibu-Toge Pass, the highest point in the route, and I joined him and then had a long downhill back to Kusatsu Onsen. The route offered impressive views here and there, and we could immediately understand why it was very popular among bike riders. The entire uphill of Tour de Kusatsu that looks extremely demanding may be more manageable than it appears because it always prepares a relieving flat section after some tough crimbing, and the end reward must be truly specical.

The next day, our plan was to have some short ride in Tsumagoi Panorama Line, but the rain forced us to give it up and we decided to go through the course by the car. The traffic of this road is scarce, which is ideal for bicycle tours. There was two big bridges over deep valleys and we went uphill for a while, then we found ourselves in the middle of huge cabbage fields with 360-degree open views. If the sky was clear, we might be able to see Mt. Asama in front and Mt. Shirane in back… The distance from Kusatsu to Ohmae was about 24km, and because the slope from Tsumagoi side was very steep, I would prefer running from Kusatsu side, generally going downhill and with wider valley views on the left while running.

No comments: