Today, with Nana out of town and the Halfakid beating up other people’s children, I had the perfect chance to take advantage of the nice weather and put in a quick (lazy) 100km. It’s been a couple of weeks since the last ride, and I’ve fixed the broken spoke meanwhile.
I was expecting some leftover signs of flooding from Typhoon #19 (Hagibis), as Tama River was particularly hard hit, and perhaps some puddles. But I wasn’t quite prepared for how quickly Kuroko was thoroughly spattered in mud. I did expect to see some damage and perhaps to encounter a detour or two, and I wasn’t disappointed in this regard.
In a couple of cases, one rather lengthy, I had to leave the path in favor of public roads. I did my best to parallel the river and find my way back once the path opened up again. In the case of the path buried under the mud, I just followed the route through the grass that many bikers had taken before me. In all, I was impressed with the amount of clean-up that had already been completed.
The weather was mild today, and cloudy. I felt there was a crosswind on my way upstream, but the fact I clocked three personal bests during this leg leads me to believe there was a tailwind component. (Certainly on the way back I was fighting a headwind.) I was making good time and arrived in Hamura almost before I knew it. I had a brief rest there while I ate onigiri (store-bought this time, with Nana out of town).
On the way home, recharged with rice fuel, I continued to make good time despite what had become a headwind. I got a bit off track during one of the diversions (where the footbridge was covered with flotsam) but I soon made my way back to the path. The sun came out for a bit and I ended up with a red nose. Despite having ordered special sunblock from the US, I left home today with a speck of protection given the overcast skies. (And yes, I assure you that the red nose is from the sun … )
With temperatures in the upper teens to low 20s, I wasn’t sapped by the heat. I was able to skip some of my usual resting places, only stopping when my hands or butt were crying for mercy. I could feel my energy slipping away and I knew I was getting hungry, despite all the onigiri I had eaten, but by this time I just had a couple of dozen more kilometers to go. I stopped in a park and drained my water bottles and had a close look at Kuroko. Oops.
They call me Mr Mechanical
Up until this point, Kuroko had been performing flawlessly. No noise apart from an initial brake squeal as we burned off the accumulation of moisture from a typhoon and subsequent rains. On the return trip, one of the pedal cleats got a bit squeaky, but that’s not a big deal (and can be nearly impossible to get rid of). The new thru axles were locked in place with no slipping. But when I left the cycle path after nearly 100km, a grinding noise started up in the crankset. Sacré bleu! Are the crankset bearings going already? I just replaced them a bit over a month ago, less than 350km. I continued on, listening carefully as I went. And then I tried to shift the large chainring and … nothing! The lever wouldn’t even budge in the proper direction. I gave it a couple of clicks in the other direction and tried again: same result.
As I rode along, I stole a quick glance down at the front derailleur: Yes, it was certainly rubbing the chain. Well, that accounts for the noise. I haven’t yet had a look to see what the problem is (I’ll no doubt give Kuroko a bath tomorrow and have a look at that time), but at least it’s not the bearings. I was stuck on the lower chainring, but that’s not a bad place to be (as Tomo can attest). I typically only use the larger chainring in a couple of places during the ride home through the traffic, and this time I just did the best I could — and took it easy.
I made it home in a touch over 5 hours of riding time, or 6 hours 44 minutes total elapsed time. Not bad for an overweight ojisan who hasn’t been on the bike in more than two weeks. I parked Kuroko on the balcony (because she needs maintenance and a bath), where she may remain for at least another week.
Next weekend may not be so great for riding.