Add a loop at the end to make 100

Bicycle in foreground against fence with kagura of imperial palace and moat behind

We planned an easy ride today with José and Tomo to Tokyo Disneyland. When Tomo dropped out, I messaged José:

Let’s stretch a bit and head for Kawagoe.

Guy Jean

I usually get to Arakawa by taking Yamate Dori from just near my flat, a very straight shot. This morning the plan was to meet José at Nihonbashi and take Eitai Dori out to Arakawa. I figured this might add 20-30km to the usual ride of 86-87km.

Slight miscalculation

After the meet-up at Nihonbashi we rode to Arakawa without incident. Once on the river, though, we were battling the wind. We joked about whether it would change heading and we would be facing a headwind on the return leg as well. We soldiered onwards, with me suffering from the wind much more than José.

I’d forgotten again what I already knew, and had been reminded of when supporting José’s marathon effort: Eitai Dori joins the Arakawa cycling course at the 1km mark, while the place I usually join at the Toda Bridge is at the 26km mark. So in addition to whatever extra kilometers I put in reaching Arakawa via Nihonbashi, I had an extra 25km (50km round trip) to reach Kawagoe!

The wind eventually eased up as we traveled further upstream, and our speed increased accordingly. But we were still looking at reaching Kawagoe at 1 p.m. at the earliest, and then having a longer-than-usual return trip.

It was José who cried “Uncle!” in the end. In addition to not having been on the bike for a number of months, he has a huge client meeting tomorrow for which he’s totally responsible — everything from the agenda to the lunch. He didn’t want to face that while being totally exhausted from a bike ride with dad. We cycled along without forcing the pace until a natural return spot suggested itself: Asaka Weir.

After a brief stop we turned and headed back downstream. The wind was more with us than against now, but we were already tired and that was obvious. I was also having issues with finger numbness, so we were stopping every 5km to rest instead of 10-15km. Meanwhile we were being passed at speed by pacelines of club members on carbon fibre bikes and wearing matching kit.

Back in traffic

We finally reached Eitai Dori and re-entered Tokyo traffic about 1:35 p.m. We immediately stopped at a convenience store for cold water, Pokari, ice cream and other treats. We didn’t feel any need to hurry as we enjoyed our treats and cooled off. I drank off half the Pokari bottle before turning to the ice cream, and felt all the better for it.

At this point my question was whether I’d post 100km for the day. I’d already realized I’d made a miscalculation on reaching Kawagoe, but I didn’t concern myself at figuring out what the total would have been — I just wanted a fondo for the day. After José finished a protein bar (and he offered me one several times), we mounted up again and headed straight into Tokyo. We soon passed a sign showing we were just 5km from Nihonbashi. José is lucky — he’s just a few minutes from home at this point. But I didn’t mind that I have longer to go as I was still looking forward to booking 100km for the day.

I made it up Kudanzaka with more in reserve than I was expecting. I had a headache at this point from the pressure on my neck and shoulders, and I took a couple of minutes to relax and stretch out. I’d reached Budokan about 2:50 p.m., so I messaged Nana (and thanks for the great onigiri again!) I’d be home about 4.

I was really flagging at this point — I’d posted several personal bests for the day, but they were all long before we reached the turn-around point. Nevertheless, I was determined to get my 100km. As I entered Shinjuku, I flipped Garmie from navigation to stats, and I noted as I passed the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings that I was going to be just that bit shy of the goal. So at the end, within a block of my home, I turned the other direction and made a short lap around Central Park. That did the trick, and I finally rolled into the tower plaza just seconds after Garmie beeped to let me know I’d cleared the 100km goal for the day.

Cyclist in pink jersey balancing bike while waiting for the light to change
My dude making a track stand waiting for the traffic signal
GPS record of cycle ride
Add a loop at the end to make 100

We weren’t in any hurry today and the record certainly reflects that. Breaks were frequent and at times unabashedly prolonged. Based on a ride time of 4:52:21, though, the average speed was a respectable 20.6km/h.

I had a bath after getting home and have been relaxing since then, and the headache is scarcely bothering me.

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