View from the top: Yokohama Bay Bridge

Yokohama in the sun

The Halfakid was ready to go this morning, and Nana had fixed up a mess o’ onigiri, so I didn’t have much choice about riding. Plus the weather was very clear — cold in the morning but warming up as we went. I was hoping to see some cherry blossoms today, particularly along the Tama river, but it’s a week early for that.

A mess o' onigiri
A mess o’ onigiri

For a change I decided to return to Yokohama, which we last visited in early December. On that occasion Tomo joined us, and it was cold and rainy. When we reached the lookout point at Minatonomieruoka Park, we were all freezing and eager to get back on our bikes to generate some heat.

Today, although it started out slightly colder than it had been in December, the sun was shining in blue skies and we were soon working up a sweat.

Blue skies over the Tama river
Blue skies over the Tama river

We were familiar with the route this time, and we knew it was simply a matter of fighting through the traffic (and traffic lights) on a long, flat stretch until the destination. There, just before Minatonomieruoka Park, the road rises suddenly and steeply, and we were muttering various colorful nicknames for the hill as we approached. As it turned out, the Halfakid rode right up to the top, while I made it about halfway, and dismounted and walked up from exactly the same point I had back in December.

View from the top: Yokohama Bay Bridge
View from the top: Yokohama Bay Bridge

The payoff for the climb, though, is the great view from the top overlooking Yokohama Bay. We sat under the pavilion there and ate the onigiri so thoughtfully prepared by Nana this morning. We didn’t dawdle, though, as we planned a slight addition to the course this time around: once back over the Tama river in Tokyo, we turned downriver to Haneda and the peace shrine.

Blossoms -- of a sort -- at Haneda
Blossoms — of a sort — at Haneda

(It was after I’d taken the photo and posted it on Instagram that the Halfakid pointed out these are fake blossoms. Someone has wound a plastic garland around the tree.)

Haneda Peace Shrine on a sunny day
Haneda Peace Shrine on a sunny day

There we ate the last of the onigiri and discussed our resting points on the way home. I messaged Nana that I would be about another two hours.

Not long after we left Haneda, we encountered a bit of crosswind. I was already feeling the kilometers traveled in my thighs, and the Halfakid took this opportunity to rocket past and leave me in the dust. As I soldiered onwards I watched his yellow windbreaker receding in the distance. Soon he was out of sight, and I was busy contending with pedestrians and other cyclists on the path. I didn’t see him again until we reached the agreed-upon rest stop.

From this point it’s mostly flat until we reach Futako, where we leave the path and climb in traffic up out of the river valley. I wasn’t sure about the climb with my tired thighs, but when we got to it I was able to keep the bike moving upwards, albeit slowly. Once again, the Halfakid rocketed past me, although I noticed that he too was slowing as he reached the top of the hill.

Yokohama in under 7
Yokohama in under 7

I dropped the Halfakid at his home and continued to grind my way homewards. In the end I made it home in just under seven hours since I’d set out. This was an improvement of a few minutes over the total elapsed time in December, when we hadn’t included the Haneda jaunt.

all flat but too many traffic light
all flat but too many traffic light

After getting home and soaking in the tub, I reviewed the ride in Strava. The segment above caught my eye as the name perfectly describes the conditions there where Daiichi Keihin turns into Minato Mirai. (And before you comment on my speed through that segment, understand it’s one of the few where I’m in the top 1,000. So I must be timing the lights pretty well, if nothing else.)

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