Fuji Project Report
Saturday the 28th of August I left Yokohama at around 7AM to go to the Fuji San, a 140km ride and then climb the volcano. To make it more fun I rode a fixed gear bike, the Fuji Track Comp courtesy of Fuji bikes Japan.
I train myself during 2 months, nothing very intense but enough to be back in shape for this challenge, I haven't done much sports prior to that this year.
Here is the route I took with the fixie : from Yokohama to Kawaguchi Ko station
and then the last climb to the 5th step : [click the map to go to the service for more info and play the animation]
On my way I took pictures, tweet some of them that were uploaded to my flickr account. I was nicely surprised by the support I received all along the way. It was an interesting experience, I will do that again for sure with a better logistic. My preparation was a bit in hurry (changed the road and schedule at last minute etc..)
This time I carried my iPhone 3G, so a well-known bad camera and a short battery life and the Softbank network. I had also my Android mobile (that I got last year from the google developer day), it can use my Softbank SIM so when the iPhone battery is out of energy I input the SIM in this one. I also carried the Nikon D5000 to shoot better pictures and the following videos. Plus some clothes, water bottles, tools to repair and tubes etc... : the bag was near 6kg. A bit heavy for a long distance specially during the mountain part...
Next time I hope the iPhone 4 that I should get soon will suit better for that kind of project (better photos, HD video recording, Ustream/Qik for example...). I must find a good bike mount also to shoot from it.
So for the following videos, they were all done in one shot, and not prepared so please don't mind : my accent, my broken English sometimes and my broken Japanese at one point. Most of them I shot myself at arm length with a 18mm lens so it makes me a weird face...well I mean weirder than usual... ;-)
7:10 : Start!
7:30 : On the fixie : Forgot to set the focus before to shoot... The road was like that (and getting bad) during the first 30km : lot's of traffic, dirty road, I had a puncture just after 19km...
9:35 : Leaving the terrible road 16 for the 413 that bring me towards the Mount Fuji.
9:48 : Just passed by when they started.
10:00 : Quite radical motorbike, even crazier shot by the iphone on the move :-)
10:38 : km 50, awesome scenery, I'll be back in this lakes area. Loved it! From here it was really mountain roads with ups and downs.
11:45 : km 70
13:08 : one of my several stops at a conbini (convenience store), 2 cyclists arrived also, checked the Fuji bike and made round eyes when they noticed it was a fixed gear, they probably thought I was one of these crazy gaijin :-)
At km 93 :
15:10 km 105 : Kawaguchi ko station. (yeah I had a long rest before that.) Getting ready for the last climb, 33km to reach Fuji San 5th step, start of the trek.
I flipped my rear wheel to change the gear from 44x18 to 44x20. Necessary to climb 5% to 8% slopes, especially with a 6kg bag on the back... Actually 42x20 would have been better for this part but hey..
16:45 : somewhere on the Fuji :-) I almost took a nap at this place! The start of the climb was the most difficult part with the highest percentages I think.
If you do it don't forget to bring your own water as there is absolutely nothing all the way until the 4th steps which is something like 6/8km from the 5th step.
17:50 : km 131 : 3th step, took a 30mn rest here, talked with some people from Nagano and shooting this video with Wataru San that I met few km before when I reached him. Actually he started from west Tokyo at 7am. So basically we did the same trip and one thing funny is that he is the guy on the picture at 9:35AM!! I was a bit faster on the bike but I took much more rest than him so we ended up to finish together, very cool!
Sun went down very quickly better not to rest too long.
18:33 : Wataru San for the last kms, just a little bit more, Ganbare!
We arrived at around 18:40 in the night!! お疲れさまでした！「 Otsukaresama deshita : to make it short : "We did it" 」
My wife then joined me in the evening after her work at the 5th step by bus (from Shinjuku) and we stayed at one of the hotel. We took a room but you can simply share a huge tatami area with some other people.
5:05 : Sunrise and start of the trek (well it is definitely not Nepal, even kids and grand-ma can do it). Unfortunately I had an even bigger bag than the one on the bike to carry...So I gave up the idea to bring the bike with me to the top for a shooting session... too bad.
6:00 : this is my Terminator look :)
You can see the Subaru road I took with the bike, I think it is the largest one in the middle.
10:00 : Exactly 5 hours for the climb!
Salary man at the top of Fuji San...
I also met a guy in his marathon outfit who climbed in only 2:30 hours! It was his 6 times this year! He was training for a mountain race, impressive fellow.
The whole thing was quite an experience, I am happy that I could reach the top of Japan from the sea by my own strength, plus on a fixed gear bike for the cycling part. This challenge was first a way to motivate myself to go back running and riding but now I m totally into it again and I really hope I'll be selected for the Tokyo marathon at the beginning of 2011, and I want to participate to some triathlons also, I miss that.
I want to thank all the people on twitter who followed me until the Softbank network failed on the Fuji...
Here you are tweeple! [I had also some cool messages on facebook thanks]:
Thanks to Fuji bikes Japan and Rapha Japan for the support, it was much appreciated! And thanks to Michael and Alban at UltraSuperNew who let me work less to have more time to train.