One before the thunderstorm

Selfie of two cyclists in helmets and masks in front of Japanese shrine torii

It’s rainy season in Japan, and more often than not there’s no chance to ride unless you’re willing to brave the elements. Today was a brief respite in the rain, but with a deadline: thunderstorms were in the forecast starting at 3 p.m.

I’d gone to sleep with a forecast of a small chance of rain only, so I was thinking perhaps we’d ride today to Takao-san or maybe — for a new destination — Enoshima.

Then I woke up this morning to this:

Rain-enshrouded cityscape
Not looking very sunny at 5 a.m.

Before I had a chance to check the forecast, I already had a message from the Halfakid: thunderstorms from 3 p.m. OK, with that deadline, Enoshima was out. Takao-san was doable, but iffy. The only safe bet, really, was Haneda.

Nana was up (with no more than the usual amount of prompting) not long after 6 a.m., rustling up a mess o’ onigiri, and I was on the road at 7 to meet the Halfakid at Nikotama at 8. The traffic was neither lighter nor heavier than usual, and I arrived on the river near the appointed time. By the time I’d taken a photo of my location and posted it to the Halfakid, he was there, waving at me from under the bridge. I donned my UV-block sleeves and he daubed on some sunscreen, and we set off down stream.

Ripping the Halfakid’s legs off

The Halfakid has taken up golfing in a big way, and as such hasn’t been on the bike since we did Shimanami Kaido. We made pretty good time downstream, despite the weeds growing over the cycling course, and at the first rest break he asked if we were making exceptionally good progress, or if he just was sucking. The truth was he was a bit slow on the uptake, accelerating from a stop or climbing what little hills there are along the way, but overall he was right behind me every time I checked over my shoulder.

We reached Haneda in good time and sat down to a feast of Nana’s world-famous onigiri. In the time it took me to relate to the Halfakid my upgrade plans for Kuroko, and to make my way through half my first onigiri, he’d finished off three.

Selfie of two cyclists in helmets and masks in front of Japanese shrine torii
Give us all your money

More of the same

The way back was just more of the same. The wind was a bit more mixed, and the long puddle across the path we’d encountered on the way down was even longer and deeper. The temperature was rising, but when I checked the time it wasn’t yet 11 a.m. This was all to the good, as we were racing not only the forecast for thundershowers but also the burgeoning heat.

We continued to make good time upstream, and it was still before 11 when I messaged Nana that I’d reached Nikotama and should be home before noon. I was feeling the heat by this time — it was already 32C, which is about my limit — but I made passable time on the way home, not pushing overly hard, and rolled up to the courtyard before 11:30.

GPS record of cycle ride

Still waiting

It’s early evening as I write this. Dinner is done and Nana is watching baseball on the television. There’s no sign yet of the forecast thunderstorms, or even of rain.

I don’t mind.

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