Month: December 2020

Arima Hot Springs and Mount Rokko, I

Free-wheeling downhill through the hot-spring town of Arima I almost hit a rubbish collecting truck at 60km/h. I couldn’t tell you exactly where it was. I can’t read the road signs. I need images to remember things. If you look at a map of Japan it looks a bit like a sausage dog with a long neck. It stands on short hind legs with one of its ears raised. Fukuoka is just above its hind leg and below South Korea. Tokyo is where the front leg is, folded in. Sapporo is the top of the neck.  I’m just above the sausage dog’s navel near Kobe in the town of Arima at about 350 m above sea level. My target up on Mt. Rokko is five-hundred meters higher, fifteen kilometers away. It took KMorita about 34 mins to complete the course at the Arima-Mt. Rokko Race five months ago. KMorita seems to be reference point for virtual cycling in Japan. He won the Digital Japan Cup in UTSUNOMIYA in October. Perhaps I should make Utsunomiya my …

Passo Giau II, Impure

I’m not the only rider this time. I think impure thoughts aimed at overtaking. When I get close to the first rider about a quarter of the way up the climb he speeds up. I stay at a steady 3 w/kg. The relationship between input and output is pure in cycling. That’s part of the draw. It’s what brings others to Passo Giau. Virtual purity. One should be mature enough to interact with one’s fellow virtual riders on positive terms or not at all. Maybe there’s a way of hiding them. I’d like to spend more time in the area. South-east from Cortina d’Ampezzo, it looks like you can take a left rather than the right towards Passo Giau. Then I’d eventually get to Lagole di Calzalzo with a 2500 year old shrine to a deity known in ancient times as Trumusiate. This was an ancient place of healing. A spa of sorts. The website of the local museum says the spa’s resident deity was Apollo. But was Apollo a healer? His son Asclepius is …

Passo Giau I, The Scotland of Italy

A travel writer called the Dolomite Mountains The Scotland of Italy “because of its character and that of its people, and the legendary and historic romance that surrounds them.” It’s an unexpected connection between places. Alexander Robertson wrote his travel book in 1896. We could try and put ourselves in his shoes. What sort of whiskey would you take to the Scotland of Italy to have on the night before an ascent of a famous pass? I chose Laphroaig, not least because there were two bottles available. Laphroaig Select and Laphroaig 10 year-old. They were both peaty. The 10 year-old had a darker colour. I didn’t want to spend very much time getting to know them better on the evening before the ascent. It’s safe to say that Laphroaig’s Select and 10 year-old are closer to each other than Scotland is in style to Italy’s Dolomite Mountains. I had enough comparisons in mind to make my nervous system jittery and to give me trouble sleeping the night before the first climb. A bird was singing …