The forecast for the weekend had been favorable, cloudy and mild with a slight chance of rain Saturday night. I had a doctor’s appointment Saturday morning and so I decided to ride on Sunday, planning on an early departure (following the world cup finale) and a long ride.
When daylight broke Sunday morning, though, it was very grey and pretty clearly raining. It didn’t look though like the rain would last, so I revised my departure time and my goal for the day. Rather than attempt the three rivers ride, I’d just get in 100km and call it a good day.
Having made my decision, I set about preparing for the ride. And then during a visit to the Workshop in the Sky (where Kuroko had been lounging since the return from Biwako), I was greeted by a promising sight: not just one, but two rainbows!
With all my kit in order and a fresh load of Nana’s world-famous onigiri in the saddlebag, I accomplished the unthinkable: I actually set out 15 minutes earlier than my revised target of 9 a.m.
No rain, yes puddles
The rain had cleared by the time I departed, but the pavements were still distinctly wet. As I made my way towards the Tamagawa, I was mentally inventorying the locations on the cycle course where I could count on splashing through some standing water.
The restroom at my usual park by the river was being cleaned when I arrived, so I continued on upstream a couple of kilometers until I reached another favorite spot, in the shadow of the Keiokaku Keirin cycling track. After a brief break there I continued on my way upstream to the next regular resting point, which I’ve dubbed Kaki Koen (Persimmon Park). And yes, there were kaki in abundance!
By the time I’d reached Kaki Koen it was 10:30, and I took the chance to eat a couple of onigiri before continuing. I was fighting a headwind as I rode upstream. It wasn’t getting the best of me, but it was definitely a check on my progress. I stopped at a convenience store near the end of the cycling course to supplement my remaining onigiri for lunch, when I suddenly discovered my way back to the path was blocked by construction. Once I’d exhausted my options for getting back to the course where I’d left it, I continued half a kilometer in traffic before returning to the path, just clear of the end of the construction. From there it was a straight shot (and still into the wind) to the end.
I reached Hamura just before noon and gobbled down convenience store treats and another onigiri. I figured if I’d set out at 7 as planned, and didn’t have a detour (and a headwind) to contend with, I’d have arrived about 10:30, which would have me well-placed for the three rivers ride. As it is, I messaged Nana at 12:12 that I was starting home.
As expected, the wind gave me quite a boost on the return journey. It wasn’t always entirely with me, but even when it was blowing across the path, it was more likely to be giving me a little nudge forward rather than holding me back. It had taken me 2 hours 10 minutes (including breaks and the detour) on the way upstream and 1 hour 36 minutes on the return downstream — with a lot less effort.
Usually when I stop at this last park by the river, I park Kuroko against the railing and take a photo with the waterfall in the background (and usually scarcely visible). I had a brainwave this time about leaving Kuroko near the waterfall and then walking around and taking a clearer shot. Not quite as I envisaged, but at least the little waterfall is visible.
I messaged Nana at 2:07 that I would be home about 3 or 3:30. I had my eye on the Garmie at this point and I realized I was going to be a bit shy of 100km when I reached home. I’d decided to do what it took to get the clock up to 100, but then as I was peddling home through traffic, and over the ripples in the pavement that take me out of the Tamagawa river valley, I was feeling quite exhausted.
When I reached a landmark with a known distance to home, I realized I’d only be 2km short of the goal. A single lap around the block would bring me up to the mark, and is not very challenging. I got my lap and stopped the clock, messaging Nana at 3:22 that I was home.
On a moving time of 4:57:06, I’d averaged 20.3km/h. It’s not my most brilliant performance for this route, but as it was clear of 20 I’ll take it.