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After the reports

Training Report - Kenashi Pass 10

The trend of high temp we mentioned in the Training reports/Tohmaru Pass 2 and Training reports/Kenashi Pass 9 was continuing. We thought that El Niño could cause this trend. But as this trend was observed also in Europe and North America, the Arctic Oscillation might have more effect on that than El Niño. Last season, especially in december (refer to Training reports/Comment 2005-2006) we had enormous snow because of La Niña and the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation. Maybe this season was opposite. Furthermore, we suspect if the Arctic Oscillation and the Southern Oscillation are linked together as they often show simultaneity.

This day, a low pressure which had caused a lot of damage in all over Japan became still stronger on the Sea of Okhotsk. Its central pressure reached 950hPa during our training. So strong wind faster than 20m/s was intermittently blowing.

The precedent night Cairn mailed to Tesseract and asked:
"Wind faster than 20m/s is blowing. Do you think tomorrow will be OK?"
Tesseract replied:
"I know by experience that Mudmad (extremely heavy but effective studded tyres of IRC Cairn and Tesseract were using) can stand against the crosswind of 20m/s. There'll be no problem with me. But you weigh less than me. So I'm not sure if it applies to your case."

In early morning, Dr.K called Tesseract and asked:
"Do we really go to training in this wind?"
Tesseract who doesn't care about bad weather replied:
"In mountains, the wind would be less strong as it's surrounded by mountains and trees. I think there will be no problem."
"OK. If you say so. See ya later!"

So Dr.K ended up by participating in the training under such extrem weather condition.

To the rendezvous point, riders drove in their cars. Tesseract passed Oyafuru which is infamous for strong wind and realised that the snow fences had fallen over because of the strong wind for about a kilometre.

Fallen fences in Oyafuru.
This photo was taken when he was going home after the training. Repair materials were already in place.
Fences in Oyafuru

When Dr.K and Tesseract arrived to the rendezvous point, Tesseract received a mail from Cairn. Cairn wrote he was sick and he couldn't participate in the training. Unfortunately he had a sore throat and fever. So this day, only Dr.K and Tesseract went to train.

As the training at the Asari Pass was cancelled last time (refer to Training reports/Kenashi Pass 9, we retryed to ride on the Asari Pass. When we reached the foot of the Asari Pass, we realised the gate was closed.

"The Asari Pass is closed!!"

The Asari Pass was closed due to extremely strong wind and large quantity of snow.

We saw each other and Tesseract said:
"It's closed for cars. But how about bikes? They won't let us go through?"
Dr.K responded smiling:
"I don' think so. But worth asking."
"Let's ask them!"

A road patrol car was parking in front of the gate. When we approached it, two staffs got out of the car.

Tesseract asked one of them:
"Good morning, sir. We'd like to pass the Pass on bikes. Are bikes allowed to go through?"
Even in Hokkaido, biking in the snow is not very popular sport. So the concept of climbing mountains by bikes in such blizzard is not easy to seize for normal people. So it took a while so that he understands what that was meaning. And the man responded:
"I'm afraind not to. We can't allow even pedestrians to go further. It'll be dangerous during the snowremoval. Sorry."

So we had to change the plan and decided to train on the Kenashi Pass although we were not sure at that moment if the Kenashi Pass was open.

And we moved to the Kenashi Pass. The Kenashi Pass was open, not closed like the Asari Pass. We climbed up to the parking at 510m by cars.

At last, we could begin our training. The temperature was about minus 7 degrees Celsius at the Kenashi Pass.

Sometimes strong wind blew and the visibility went down because of ground blizzard. But Tesseract was right. The wind between mountains was not as strong as that on the plain. The ride was quite comfortable.

We rode chatting together up to the second hill. In the final descent before the summit, Tesseract went alone and reached the summit solo.
Tesseract at the Kenashi Pass

And soon, Dr.K arrived.
Dr.K at the Kenashi Pass
Do you see how big that traffic sign is? That sign is much bigger than we had thought.

We descended in the direction of Akaigawa and climbed again to the Kiroro Skiing Resort from Tokiwa.

At the Kiroro Resort, we talked to a bus driver.

The bus driver:
"Where did you come from? Did you come passing the Kenashi Pass on bikes?"
"Yes. We came from Sapporo."
The bus driver:
"Really? It's incredible. Came so far on bikes in the snow!"
"But we had come up to Otaru by cars."
The bus driver:
"Anyway, it's incredible! You know, we were shouting on the radio (between bus drivers) that it's unbelievable seeing cyclists in the snow!"
The driver continued, looking our bikes:
"Your bikes are equipped with studded tires. Is it safe?"
Dr.K responded:
"Of course it's safe. Thanks to them, we can go over the Kenashi Pass."
The driver:
"But I've never seen bikes passing the Kenashi Pass in the snow."
"Are you sure? One of our friends (mentioning Mr.Takahashi) always rides there."

This photo was taken by that bus driver in the front of the main building of the Kiroro Skiing Resort.
Tesseract and Dr.K at the Kiroro Skiing Resort

We said good-bye to him and began to descent (passing his bus).

We found a nice and friendly small restaurant at the entrance of the Kiroro Resort. We entered the restaurant.

The owner of the restaurant said:
"Did you come here by bikes? passing the Kenashi Pass?"
The rest of the conversation was similar to that with the bus driver.

We ate there very delicious Bibimbap (kind of Korean dish).

During the lunch, we brought our bottles inside the restaurant so that they recover from the frozen state. Tesseract's bottle wasn't frozen because he had made the concentration of the beverage in the bottle very high (refer to Bottles). But Dr.K's bottle was frozen because he had put just fresh water. He thought the temp wouldn't be so low. After the lunch, we said good-bye to the owner and resumed our training.

We climbed up the Kenashi Pass through the usual narrow road up to 530m.

Series Mt.Yoichidake:
Tesseract is engrossed in the view of the Mt.Yoichidake although it's not being seen because of snowfall.
Tesseract with the Mt.Yoichidake

That's the point on the narrow road from where we often watch the Mt.Yoichidake.
Dr.K in Akaigawa

From the altitude of 530m, we rode on the National Route 393. At the altitude of 580m, Dr.K gave up to follow Tesseract. The road condition was not good as the snow-removal was delaying.

Tesseract arrived at the summit solo.
Tesseract at the Kenashi Pass
Thus far, Tesseract rode his new bike several times in the training. He said his new bike is extremely comfortable. She transmits the force well, her manoeuverability is very high, the brakes are good, she is very stable on the snow even in a high speed and she is very beautiful.

Dr.K arrived about 20-30 seconds later.
Dr.K at the Kenashi Pass

That's the snowplough turning place at the summit.
Snowplough turning place at the Kenashi Pass

We descended in the direction of Otaru and reached the original point of the training.
Dr.K arriving to the parking

Dr.K's (Tesseract forgot to activate his cycle-computer so his didn't record anything) traveled distance was 34km, the average speed was ? Tesseract's maximal velocity was a little more than 55km/h (He remembers seeing 55km/h on the display although it didn't record it).

The Kenashi Pass Profile
Kenashi Pass profile
Routes Introduction/Kenashi Pass 1/2
Routes Introduction/Kenashi Pass 2/2


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