With heat, rain and typhoons, I’ve been off the bike for more than a month. The forecast for today looked good, so I asked the Halfakid to join me. He agreed to a short ride, so long as we could be back by 10, and that pretty much left Haneda as our only workable destination.
Atrophy begins at 60
When I first mounted up shortly after 6 this morning, my body said, “What is this thing between your legs?” Particularly surprising as it usually has no objections. I felt pressure at first in the same location I suffered a bad saddle sore in England, but after shifting my position everything was OK. Within a couple of kilometers I was back on form, although I was taking things pretty easy.
I arrived at Futako on the dot of 7 to find a message from the Halfakid saying he’d left home at 6:30. It typically takes him more than half an hour to reach Futako, but he arrived within three minutes, while I was still fiddling with my derailleur. His Strava record now shows a string of PRs for that portion of the ride.
We made a quick jaunt down to Haneda, although when we stopped for a rest along the way, neither of us was in a particular hurry to get moving again. The day was overcast but with no threat of rain, and the path was dry — at least until we reached a familiar point under a bridge:
After that we made good time, and I set a PR of 30km/h over a stretch of 2km as we approached Haneda.
We reached Haneda about 8 a.m. Often I’m just setting out at that time! After resting and chatting for about 20 minutes, we mounted up for the return ride.
Revenge of the puddle
I was a bit slower on the way back upstream and we fought a crosswind. The puddle was right where we’d left it — if anything deeper than it had been a month ago. The Halfakid took to the gravel to bypass the puddle this time.
After that we were fighting our way through gaggles of little leaguers who ignored our warning bells and shouts. Steady on — we got through them. We took another, even longer break, before continuing. Coming back into Futako, I could feel the aching of my thighs even before getting to the climb.
From Futako I got home without much incident. A couple of drivers cut me off, but I was watching for them.
About that derailleur
I was having trouble with a couple of mid-range gears first thing in the morning. The derailleur would keep jumping off one, and was making a bit of noise on the adjacent one. I’d just swapped out the wheels and I’d adjusted the derailleur as part of that, but evidently I’d not got it quite right. While waiting for the Halfakid at Futako I added in some tension via the barrel adjusters. That helped — the derailleur was staying in the selected gear, but it there was still some chattering on the mid-range gears, and shifts were a bit clumsy and noisy.
Finally, during a long straight stretch on the way home, I backed off the tension about one-quarter of a turn, and that sorted everything out. The gears were silent, the shifts crisp and quiet.
The tires held pressure the whole ride. I’d pumped them up before the start, the first time in the two weeks since I’d remounted the front, and in the meantime the front had held more pressure than the rear. Happy.
The only other sort-of mechanical thing was the food pouch I added yesterday. I put a water bottle in it today to give it a try. It held the bottle without any noticeable wobbling, but it didn’t make it any easier for me to drink on the fly than having the bottle in the regular bottle cage. Meanwhile, the pouch got in the way of riding on the tops, and one strap kept working up against the bell and muffling it. It did keep the bottle clean while I was splashing through the puddle, but apart from that it doesn’t really solve any problems while creating a couple more. I removed it at the end of the ride and it will go in the parts bin for now.
From Futako I’d messaged Nana that I would be home by 11. I rolled into the courtyard and messaged at 10:37 that I was home. I was starving and thirsty, my thighs and butt were aching, and my energy level was negative. After parking the bike, showering and wolfing down a lunch of fried rice (and after a lengthy chat with Fearless Leader Joe), I laid down for a nap and nearly didn’t get up again.