This Spring I had some spare time so I decided to revisit some of the spectacular roads from the 2010 tour with Alan and Naomi with a few twists. This time I made the distances shorter due to my lack of fitness giving me more time to enjoy the views. And enoy I did Total Distance: 190km Total Ascent: 3900m Day 1: Atami - West Izu Skyline - Matsuzaki http://www.mapmyfitness.com/routes/view/79474013/?new_route=1 Distance: 114km Ascent: 2,246m After taking the Tokaido Line to Atami I assembled my bike and was ready to roll at 8am, but not before taking the traditional photo in front of the Atami Steam Train! I rolled out and headed down the coast for about 5km to the turn off to Yamabushi Toge (R80) and began the first climb of the day. Once over the top it was down to Shuzenji along one of my favorite roads, completely deserted of traffic which pretty much was the case for the remainder of the day! Incredible weather allowed for stunning views of Mt Fuji along the West Izu Skyline! From there it was down to the west coast to enjoy more views. I rolled along until I hit Matsuzaki, then turned left onto R15 and was rewarded with some beautiful flowers and cherry blossoms lining the river there. Next week this place will be in full bloom....I think I may return! I stayed in this hotel in Matsuzaki: http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/135962/135962.html It was 8500 yen for the night with dinner and breakfast (buffet) included. Nice western style room with twin beds, TV fridge, shower etc. The bed was very comfy and nice and hard so I had a great nights sleep. The views from the onsen on the top floor were great, but I wasn't that impressed with the quality of the spring water...Also, if you stay here I'd advise calling ahead if they can store your bike. When I checked in the first guy was umming and ahhing as if it was going to be impossible, but luckily the other receptionist who was born in Yamato (my town!) told him it'd be fine and let me put my baby in the conference room ovenight as it wasn't being used. Thanks mate, you were a champ! Another word of caution for cyclists, while the buffet breakfast had breads and fruits, perfect for us westerners, it doesn't start until 7:30am, quite late! If I stay here again I'll just order the dinner which was very nice, and have a convenience store breakfast in my room. Day 2: Matuzaki -Ito http://www.mapmyfitness.com/routes/view/79474289/?new_route=1 Distance: 75km Ascent: 1,621m After a good brekky I saddled up and headed north for a few miles and turned right onto R59 which would take me most of the way across Izu. I did some stretching along the river before the first climb up to Nishin Toge (900m) began. There are some roadworks going on up near the top and there were several signs stating that the road would be closed daily from 10:30am -11:30am and from 2:30pm-3:30pm. This had me going a bit faster than I'd hoped and it brings me back to my point about the late breakfast starting time! Anyway after 20km of climbing I passed easily before the closure time and was greeted with ferocious winds at the top! I hastily put my winter jacket back on, zipped up and licked my licks in anticipation of a fast descent. Unfortunately it wasn't to be as the winds buffeted me making high speeds dangerously impossible! Once down a bit though I was soon out of the wind and could enjoy roads through dense pine and bamboo forests. A nice smile returned to my face and I found myself shouting out aloud....moments like these make me truly happy to be alive Once the roads flattened out the wind kicked in again as they ripped through the valley. My bike fell over from the wind as I was taking this photo After checking for damage, luckily only the hood cover was scratched, I rode on to Bandai Waterfall. Take my advice, DO NOT visit this joke of a place. The waterfall was made of what looked like artificial rocks with obvious cement filling in the cracks! I know they love concreting everything in this country but this was really taking the piss! After a 2 km climb up to it I left shakng my head....what a bunch of morons who did this! One can only laugh! Before heading to Ito I took a quick and this time very worthwile detour down to Okuno Dam where I could enjoy the srping colours. On the way down I quickly realized the descent was seriously steep, averaging over 12% for 2-3km! I had a choice though, either roll down R12 to Ito or go back up the same way I'd come. Can you guess which option I chose? Were you right? I went straight back up and enjoyed the final bit of pain before this adventure came to an end. Another great tour of Izu on almost deserted roads. Something I'll never forget. A big thanks to Alan and Naomi who I originally rode with 2 years ago here, and to Andy for recommending R59, it was indeed a 'cracker' of a road! Please join me next time!