Beating the heat on the Arakawa

Kawaguchi, where the Arakawa meets Tokyo Bay

The Halfakid was out all night with his karate sensei, so I headed off solo this morning. My own energy was at an ebb and I knew it would be hot today, so I chose the Arakawa – Disney route: flat and not too long.

From the start, I knew Kuroko wasn’t happy. There was a bit of squealing coming from the rear brake, and the rear derailleur was playing up. I was even hearing some noise from the crankset, and was worried about a return of the bottom bracket issue that I thought I’d fixed. But I soon found there was no crankset noise when I was on the larger chainring, so I knew it must be something else.

Arrival at the Arakawa
Arrival at the Arakawa

Once on the cycle path of the Arakawa, I got fed up with the brake noise. I pulled off the path in the shade of a bridge and leaned Kuroko up against a pier. I was in the process of adjusting the rear disc caliper when I realized the rear wheel was loose. That explained everything! When I tightened it up and gave it a spin, the brake wasn’t squealing. I figured that would sort out the derailleur issue as well, and that proved to be correct.

This is the second time this has happened, and when I stopped later to lunch on Nana’s world-famous onigiri I searched for a solution. This Reddit thread came up. It sounds reasonable and I’ll give it try.

Meanwhile, the heat was getting to be a bit much. I found myself stopping more than usual when a shaded spot appeared — usually under a bridge.

In the shade of an overpass
In the shade of an overpass

Not the only one trying to get out of the heat
Not the only one trying to get out of the heat

After each break I felt refreshed (although the water in my bottles was already warm), and soon I found myself nearing Kawaguchi (the mouth of the river). In the last 5km towards Kawaguchi the wind turned around was coming from the front, so I lowered my gear and kept at it.

I thought at this point about skipping the Disney visit and turning for home, but I realized I wanted a place in the shade to eat the onigiri, and those were all on the Disney side. So I doubled back, crossed the river and made my way through the park, onto another path and across a final bridge to reach the Disney entrance.

Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort

When I got back to the park with some fresh water and Pokari, the picnic benches in the shade were taken. So instead I found a shaded spot that was strewn with fern needles and sat down there to eat onigiri (and a Snicker’s bar). I saw some sort of park officer on a bike and wondered if he would tell me to move, but he left me alone.

A spot in the shade
A spot in the shade

On the return trip I could feel the sun beating down. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a sunburn to show off at the office tomorrow despite my efforts to cover up and my use of sunscreen.

Nihonbashi
Nihonbashi

The police presence really picked up in Otemachi and around the Imperial Palace. Hmm … there must be something important going on. I made sure to obey the traffic laws to avoid a recurrence of the scolding I got last weekend.

Chidorigafuchi
Chidorigafuchi

There’s still a lot of construction going on around Budokan, but I was able to find a park bench in the shade near Chidorigafuchi to finish off the last onigiri and drain the remaining water from my bottles. I messaged Nana that I would be home soon and set off for the final stretch.

Arakawa - Disneyland in the heat
Arakawa – Disneyland in the heat

I was surprised to find on my arrival home that the GPS reported I’d clocked up several personal bests along the route. I hadn’t been pushing too hard, and I’d been taking lots of breaks. I also recall that on my last blast down the Arakawa I’d had the help of a strong tailwind. But I guess the GPS doesn’t lie …

The GPS also reported that the temperature varied between 27 and 38! I think the official high today was 31, not the 39 registered in Hokkaido, so I think the unit was picking up the reflection of the sun off the pavement.

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