Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
I did my second December century and last century of the year on Dec 28 - 162 km total, leaving home at 05:30 in the morning.
My son Shintaro invited me to join the "Race Ride" by the Y's Road Shiki bike shop, a fast Sunday ride that goes around the Saiko lake on the Arakawa river. I had heard about that location but had never been there. I was going to borrow my wife's GS Astuto carbon bike to better cope with the pace (the gearing on my Bike Friday is better suited to Randonees than races). Then Shintaro caught a cold and decided not to go, but changed his mind again the night before. So after midnight I set my alarm for 04:30...
The ride out from Tokyo, mostly before sunrise, was very chilly. I was wearing all my winter stuff, but judging from the ice on the road in places it was below 0 C that night.
At one point we passed the site of an accident. Lots of police and a fire truck were already present, while an ambulance was leaving. The remains of a small scooter lay crushed in the middle of an intersection. The front wheel was nowhere to be seen and all panels were broken. It looked like a vehicle must have run over it, perhaps a truck that was stopped not far away. Anybody's guess what shape the rider is in.
We made it to the assembly point before the 07:00 start. On the way we hadn't stopped to buy any food, so I got us some canned cocoa from a vending machine.
The first round of the course was slow, to familiarize first-timers with the course. Then the speed picked up, mostly doing around 32-35 km/h, with me hanging on to the back of a group of maybe 20 people. After 4 rounds (20 km) we stopped and the ride organizer explained the schedule. Those 4 loops had just been for warm up. The plan was to do 10 rounds (another 50 km). He also introduced Shintaro and me to the group.
At the proper pace I soon dropped off the back and did two loops on my own. With 60 km in my legs, the low temperatures and only 140 kcal in 3 hours, I was running out of gas at that pace. So I left and hunted for a convenience store where I bought two bunches of bananas, one onigiri (rice ball) and a pack of dried mango. Back to the course. I soon met Shintaro, who was struggling because of his cold and not enough breakfast. He really appreciated the food
After the race ride had finished the two of us grabbed French toast with coffee at a family restaurant. Then we split up, with me heading down the Arakawa for the second half of my ride.
Tokyo Tower, 634 m high
At the Imperial Palace they were already setting up booths for security checks for the New Year's reception by the Imperial family.
I did two loops around the palace to bring the total distance over 160 km. I wasn't setting any speed record in the last two hours of the ride, not after riding with the fast guys in the morning.
I ended up with over 9,500 km for the year and 724 km for December, despite no rides of 50 km or more on three consecutive weekends. Also I went for a hill repeat ride on New Year's eve just to bring total climbing over 90,000 m (295,000 ft) for the year, as I was only 250 m short. It was a pretty good year for cycling and I hope 2014 will be even better