Bicycle leaning against hedge. The hedge circles a fountain, which is spouting in the background. At the far side of the fountain, a family dabbles in the water.

Detox Fondo

We’ve been eating out — and drinking — far too much this past week. I wasn’t sure I’d be in shape to ride today, but it’s the only chance for a few days so I decided to go for it. I wanted to get in a 100km fondo. Given my weakened feeble fragile overall state, I thought it best to have a go on my fallback, the ride on the Tamagawa up to Hamura and back. It’s 100km, it’s flat, it’s relatively traffic-free — it’s perfect for the occasion.

It was nearly 11 when we got home last night after our private nijikai, and Nana hadn’t prepared the rice. So no world-famous onigiri for me. I stopped at a convenience store in Futako and loaded up on carbohydrates. While I was in the store the sky clouded over completely, so by the time I was on the trail I was wondering if it would rain (despite the forecast for dry weather). I made it to the first stopping point without any precipitation and stopped to enjoy a yogurt drink.

The restrooms at the park were closed for maintenance, so I stopped again a few kilometers later at a smaller park with larger restrooms, for a much improved restroom-park ratio. After that I was on the open road with the wind in my hair, my cares behind me, the light of good fortune bursting from my brow … anyway, I was progressing upstream again. There was a dicey moment or two getting past a slow-moving group ride, with the leader riding side-by-side with a curious ojisan, chatting along and not concerned with the hazard they were creating for overtaking riders.

I next stopped at the usual park roughly 15km from the goal to eat the rest of my convenience store goodies. There were a number of riders of all stripes spread across the park’s various benches and tables, so it’s no surprise a fellow rider joined me at my picnic table after a couple of minutes. We greeted each other and then ate and rested in silence. I was soon on the road again, still heading upstream.

The next park brought some muddy paths strewn with blackberries. Sorry for the extra laundry challenges, Nana! I was feeling good but still not quite satisfied despite my recent fuel stop. I checked the time and realized it approaching noon, and so my stomach was anticipating a proper lunch. I stopped at another convenience store just a few kilometers from the end of the cycling course to stock up on more carbohydrates.

When I set out in the morning, I’d made some silly remark to Nana about being home by 2:30 or 3. I’d made a late enough start that it was already after noon when I arrived at Hamura, and about 1 when I set off for home. With a belly full of carbohydrates I had energy, but I also had a burgeoning headache — a result of the bright sunshine now breaking through the cloud cover and the jarring from broken pavement. So I continued on at a good clip, but with more frequent breaks than usual.

As I reached the original resting point at the fountain, I had a choice. I could leave the cycling course and strike off in city traffic towards home, as has been my preference recently, or I could continue on the course to Futako and from there homewards — a slightly longer course. I took stock of my condition: good legs, numbing hands, an increasingly sharp pain behind my left eye. I was also getting rather sore from sitting on my asperger for so many hours. Then I considered the two routes. Both of course involve riding home through city traffic, but the route from Futako is quite a bit more forgiving in this respect — Setagaya Ave. is just traffic and lights and lots of both the whole way.

I consulted Garmie, and to my surprise it looked like the Futako route would only be an additional kilometer or two, with a few kilometers left on the cycling course and then a somewhat shorter route through traffic. (I’m going to have to have a good look on the map for this, because the figures don’t seem to add up. The Futako route should be about 5-6km longer, but it doesn’t work out that way.)

At any rate, it was already 3, and now (with the Futako route) I had another 20-21 kilometers to go, with 13km in traffic. I messaged Nana that I should be home about 4:30 and set out again. I had smooth sailing on the remainder of the cycling route to Futako, and a slow but steady climb out of the Tamagawa valley once I reached Futako. I checked the time again: it had taken me exactly 30 minutes on the 8km from my previous stop to this one, which left me an hour to make the deadline I’d told Nana. I messaged that I was in Futako and on my way, and set out on the last bit in traffic.

No rain!

And there’s not much more to add. The sun had emerged — in force, at times — and erased any fear of rain. I had good legs to get me home, despite the growing pain in my hands and backside (and forehead). I’d topped up the water along the way and so had a ready supply. Traffic was not horrible. I made it home and messaged Nana, 10 minutes before the time I’d told her to expect me.

And I was exhausted.

GPS record of bicycle ride
Detox Fondo

It’s far from my best time on the route, but with a moving time of 5:22:54, I averaged 19.9km/h. After hitting the shower I relaxed in my den and took another body inventory. The headache was abating, gods be praised. But my back was aching, as was my right hip. My hands were still feeling the effects of the pressure, while my bottom was recovering nicely.

When I tried to stir from my chair, it was a slow and painful business.

Now, after dinner, I’m feeling somewhat better. My head is fine. The hip is moving freely and I can stand or sit with ease. I’m still exhausted. I’ve been thinking about longer rides this year, particularly multi-day rides, and I’m wondering if I’ve allowed myself to get too out of shape to realize my goals.

It’s something I should sleep on.

Today’s ride netted me the Gran Fondo badge for a single ride of 100km, plus the May Cycling Challenge for riding at least 200km for the month.

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