I’ve been moaning about the fact I have a four-day weekend and the forecast is for rain the whole time. But the weather relented yesterday and I got a mostly rain-free ride, with the added benefit of sakura.
The day started out looking a bit bleak after the previous night’s rain, but we were graced with a view of Fujisan. I took my time getting ready for the ride as Nana prepared onigiri. A check of the forecast showed it was already a surprisingly warm 17C, with an expected high of 23. I dressed in shorts and a summer jersey, and didn’t bother with the sleeves. But with my history of sunburn even on overcast days, I took time to cover myself in sunblock.
I hadn’t been thinking about the sakura when I set out — I was just glad for the break in the weather and a chance to ride — but they were suddenly everywhere. The sky lightened up for a time as I rode upstream along the Tamagawa, and Fujisan appeared a brilliant white among fluffy clouds. I put off the urge to stop for a photo at each new sakura tree along the path, but kept in mind certain sections where I knew there would be rows of trees in bloom.
With an early start, I reached Hamura just after 11. With a goal of 100km for the day, I was still shy of 50km at this point, so after finishing Nana’s world-famous onigiri I continued on along the sakura-lined path until I reached Aso Shrine.
It seems the main tree at the shrine was not quite ready to put in an appearance, but this was made up for by the many sakura on the path to the shrine, including a magnificent shidarezakura.
… and a bit of rain
With my shrine visit over, I turned back towards home. I’d been toying with the idea of extending the ride a bit to visit Sakura Shinmachi and its famous sakura boulevard on the way back, depending on the weather and how tired I was. The clouds were gathering again as I rode back downstream, and I was feeling satisfied with the sakura I’d seen already. I was feeling good and avoiding saddle soreness and hand numbness via shifting about and taking frequent breaks. But I was also feeling tired. When I came to the park where it was time to make a decision, I checked the clock (1:40 p.m., 84km done) and decided to go straight home.
I was surprised by the amount of traffic on the way home, but soon realized I usually don’t take this route on weekdays. I bided my time behind a wide flat-bed rig until it came to stop at a long line of traffic at a light, leaving me enough room to slip past. I powered my way up the two slight rises on Setagaya avenue and set personal records. After that I’d blown all my energy and just kept up the pace on the flats and coasted on the downhills.
It started raining with 8-10km to go. I’d already turned on my lights, so I just removed my shades at the next traffic light and continued on. It wasn’t a hard rain — I’d gotten wetter riding through some puddles earlier in the day — and it soon stopped. The wind had picked up though and the temperature dropped as I continued homewards. Finally with just 1km to go the rain started up again. I happily rolled downhill to the tower and was pleased to hear Garmie chime that I’d completed 100km just as I rolled to a stop.
I’d missed the goal of 6 hours that I’d told Nana, but I was happy with the progress considering all the traffic and the number of times I stopped to photograph the blossoms. With a moving time of 5:06:17, I averaged 19.6km/h. I’m at 398km for the month, so if the weather clears next week and I get in some commuting, I should be well over 400km for March.