A large vermilion torii with large characters 平和 (Peace) written vertically in black on a tan wooden placard at top center. A bell on a rope hangs under the center. The right leg of the torii is covered with a large blue banner with white text reading (in part) 世界平和への愛の鈴 (Bell of love for world peace) and red origami cranes. On the pavement in front of the torii, a bicycle leans against a stone plinth topped by a bronze plaque with vertical rows of Japanese characters. There is a white box on a dark wooden base in front of the torii, covered in photos of the torii during different seasons. Behind the torii, a construction fence runs from the left to the center of the picture. To the right, three people sit on a low concrete wall. A river runs from the right of the picture to the center rear, and some buildings are visible on the far side of the river.

Beat the Heat

Following a couple of days of rain, the forecast for today was sunny and hot, with a high of 34C. I’ve set 32C as my limit based on a few summer rides over the past years, so I decided to get out early this morning and be back before the heat became unbearable.

Fortunately for my plan, Nana woke much earlier than usual and set about making onigiri. I’d hoped to get out of the house by 7, and ended up departing just a few minutes later than that. On my last ride to Haneda, two weeks ago, I’d brought in the round trip at 4 hours 2 minutes. Could I beat 4 hours today? I had two stats I kept my eyes on the whole ride: elapsed time and temperature.

Fortunately traffic was smooth this morning, with none of the congestion I’d experienced in Futako on the last ride. After a brief stop at my usual resting spot, I continued downstream and into the wind. There’s a spot where the path is wedged between the levy wall and a parking lot that always fills with puddles after a rain, and today was no exception. I took a moment to clear a family on bikes led by a young boy who was not too picky about choosing a line, and then I blasted through the puddles with abandon. My shoes were soaked but I didn’t mind.

As I neared Daiichi Ohashi, I looked for signs of the detour that had been set up for construction on my last visit. There were no signs, so I continued on the path for Haneda.

I arrived at the Anamori Inari Shrine Torii before 9 a.m. after just 1h42m of riding. As soon as I got my snaps, I sat down to message Nana and eat a couple of her world-famous onigiri. “Already?” she responded to my sending her a snap of the torii.

WaypointElapsed timeTemperature*
Arrival at Haneda1:42
Depart Haneda1:5527C
Futako (Dogseal park)2:5731C
* According to Garmie’s built-in thermometer in the hot sunshine

After wolfing down the onigiri and gulping some water, I mounted up for the return trip. I was feeling good about the prospects for a sub-4 hour ride. I had the wind helping me back up the river. I splashed through the puddles at such a speed that my shoes were squirting out sprays of water with each pedal stroke for the next several kilometers. I had another onigiri at the regular rest spot and continued upstream, counting off the kilometers as they passed under my wheels.

Back in traffic at Futako, I started playing the traffic lights. When one turned red I continued along the sidewalk at a right angle until I reached another light that was nearer to changing — and to my goal. By the time I reached the climb out of the Tamagawa valley, my thighs were feeling the effects of the heat and the pace I’d been keeping. I took my time getting up the hill, rapidly moving down the cogs in the rear until I had a comfortable pace. I arrived at Dogseal park at the top of the hill at the 2h57m mark. One last onigiri down, and most of the rest of the water. I was glad I had two fully insulated bottles. The water wasn’t cold at this point, but it was still somewhat cool.

I left Futako at 10:10, messaging Nana I’d be home about 11:30. My thighs were feeling it on the small hills remaining, but I was otherwise good. I gamed a few more lights. I had Garmie on the nav screen so I wouldn’t be staring at the stats on the way home, but I did have a peek at a traffic light with about 4km to go. I was still looking good.

There aren’t many lights to game after that point, short of just running reds as some cyclists are prone to do. I beat some lights and waited patiently at others. A final glance at Garmie showed I would be well under 4 hours, and perhaps beat 11 o’clock as well. The final light changed just as I reached it — didn’t even need to unclip. I sped on homewards, rolled into the courtyard and stopped the clock. I messaged Nana at 10:58 at that I was home.

GPS record of bicycle ride
Beat the Heat

I’d handily beaten my goal of 4 hours, and got home before 11 into the bargain despite a slow start. Google said it was 30C on my arrival (and I’m inclined to believe that more than Garmie’s sun-addled numbers). Looking at the numbers, I was only 2:23 off a 3-hour ride time as well. Now that would be a tougher nut to crack.

A table of statistics, with times in a column on the left and speeds in a column on the right
Some stats
A mud-spattered red cycling jersey with CYMRU written near the neckline in green and yellow letters.
Welsh mud?

When I took off my jersey I discovered it was splattered with mud all the way up the back to the collar. More work for Nana.


Red bicycle jersey on a clothes hanger. The word CYRMU appears near the neck of the jersey in green and white, and one sleeve has a green and a white stripe. The lower back of the jersey has a faint monochrome image of the Welsh Dragon heraldic symbol, which overlaps the elastic pockets at the bottom of the jersey.
Clean dragon

Nana has performed her usual magic with the washing machine.

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