Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Seiryo Omote or: "Shut Up, Legs"

I was talking to a friend recently and he listed the 'official' Three Worst Climbs in Kyoto. They went like this (in order of horribleness):
  1. Seiryo Omote
  2. Momoi Pass
  3. Hanase Omote
I've done Hanase Omote a few times now. It's brutal but doable. I've done Momoi Pass once, and would never do it again - the road is hideously bad (slippery, riddled with potholes, super steep with zero traction) - at least, not on a road bike.

I had not done Seiryo Omote. That changed this morning, when I woke up at 6am (to avoid the worst of the heat, although it was still absurdly humid all morning) and joined Grecia, Vincent, Peter, Cory and Koji for a 'short ride'...

This is Seiryo Omote:

Which culminates in this:

Yep, it's every bit as bad as I thought it would be. Legs burning, lungs gasping, rear wheel slipping on loose gravel as the gradient ramped up... total horror show. Worse than Hanase? Definitely. Worse than Momoi? I'm not convinced, actually. Momoi is definitely shorter (from the Hanase site, anyway) but the road is much worse and it really is brutally steep. This is ever so slightly more reasonable.

Regardless, it was an interesting morning...

Grecia and I at the top of Seiryu Omote. She looks happy, somehow. I think I was too busy cursing out the climb!

We then blasted down the back side - Seiryu Touge - and back up Hanase Touge (a lengthy, tiring climb in its own right!) then down Hanase Omote to Kyoto.

A well-deserved American brunch was then had in cyclists' favourite diner Speakeasy.

Koji (centre) and Vincent (right) brunching it up in Speakeasy.

In summary: OUCH.

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