Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Heeeeere's Jamesy!

I'm back!

Am I in Japan now? No. Is the blog now completely irrelevantly-named? Yep. Do I care? Not really.

So, why start this blog up again? Well, I've signed myself up for L'Étape du Tour 2015, it's going to be quite a journey getting there and I thought it might be fun to document that journey.

So here goes. Recently I've not been riding as much as I'd like, and the hills in the UK (especially Cornwall) are kicking my ass after the longer, more alpine climbs I'm used to in Japan, so it's going to be a tough slog to get to Étape fitness. So... baby steps at first...

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...