Monday, 24 March 2014

Winding down

As I look to my last week in Kyoto - and Japan - it begins to dawn on me how many great people I will be leaving behind here.

Since starting Cycling Kyoto back in September 2012, I have met countless people who I not only consider acquaintances or riding partners, but also very good friends. I honestly couldn't ever have hoped to ride with a better bunch of people.

Although I have handed over control (mostly!) to two long-term members to ensure that the group will continue, hopefully for many years to come, Saturday saw what will probably be my last major group ride. We had a great turnout and it was a wonderful day of cycling. After finishing the ride, we all got lunch and chilled by the river with a couple of beers, before going home to prepare for the big farewell party in the evening.

Great riding, great food, great drink and seriously amazing friends. A perfect day all round.

I'm gonna miss these crazy people...

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Strava Gran Fondo 3

After getting some disappointing news regarding a PhD application (a project that I REALLY wanted!) yesterday morning, I thought I'd ease the annoyance by spending the day riding 100 miles. As you do.

I chose a nice route, with a bunch of climbing in the first half (and a couple of nice descents to go with them), an easier, flatter second half, and some lovely scenery. Added to the weather forecast - a little chilly and overcast, but nothing extreme - it promised a cracking day on the bike.

The first half was magnificent. I felt great, the sun actually made itself known and I got to take in some wonderful mountain scenery.

The second half began with a solid bonk - I just flat ran out of energy. I stopped and ate a proper meal (a light rice pilaf) and had a Coke, which sorted that out. Heading down the final long descent - around the 90-100 km mark - I felt an uncomfortable rumbling from my stomach. Had I not found the very well-placed 7Eleven, I think I would have had a messy final 60 km. Ugh. No idea what caused this - I can only assume I ate something bad the day before, maybe? When I finally got to the final flat 60 km,  the weather changed on a dime and I got snow, hail, rain, cloud, sun and... wind. Oh god, the wind. No matter which direction I was headed in, I was always against it (funny how that happens...) and it was STRONG. Strong enough that at one point I just gave up and took a 15-minute nap. By the time I got home, I really had nothing left to give.

That said... it took my mind off other things!

Friday, 14 March 2014


Just a couple of days following the 3rd anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, we just had another relatively large earthquake (magnitude 6.1), on a different fault system much further south (and rather closer to Kyoto).

Despite being awake at the time, I actually didn't feel it, nor did my phone give me any warning (it was below the intensity threshold here).

Anyway, I'm fine! I hope those closer to the epicentre are ok as well...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Hieizan Descent

Beautiful day yesterday, so I took a spin up Hieizan with Alex. Seems like Spring is finally here - from 6 to 16 Celcius in 2 days!

Featuring one of my favourite roads in the Kyoto area...