After a short two-day unexpected absence I made a return to the tarmac, feeling refreshed thanks to catching up on some much needed sleep. When my alarm shook me from a deep slumber bright and early this morning, I immediately jumped out of bed, completed pre-ride prep, and Red Chameleon and I were swiftly heading upstream along my normal daily cycling route.
When I first walked out the door the temperature just felt nasty. The humidity was not crazy although the heat was utterly disgusting. However, once mobile, and smoothly slicing through the evil morning air I was met with a semi-cool breeze. This made the ride manageable though not ideal. There is no escaping the sultry Tokyo conditions this time of the year. If you want to ride, you learn to put up with the fiery climate.
Unlike the previous two 50k rides, where I had consecutive personal records for the entire upstream segment, today was a struggle. There were no headwinds, and my legs felt strong, but I was unable to maintain any semblance of decent speed. My pace was constant - just constantly and considerably slower than I prefer.
Like those prior to personal records, I really have no idea what is the root cause and cannot deduce the reasoning for the poor performance. Last night I had good sleep, I ate a decent yet not heavy meal, and this morning I hydrated and ate an energy ball - identical to those other two days. It is thoroughly confusing.
By the time I reached the halfway mark I felt no different than any other day. The only change was riding much slower than normal. I quickly hydrated and ate an energy gel before having a short conversation with a very nice older woman. She seemed pretty concerned about a friend of hers who is often sitting at this rest spot but has not seen in quite some time. Once we finished talking, I jumped back on Red Chameleon and started the long 25k ride home.
The entire return trip was also a substantial divergence. I felt peculiarly powerful, pumping out potent pedaling for damn near the whole ride home. To my surprise I was utterly flying across the pavement, maintaining speeds upwards of 35kph. The first 10km segment on the return I do not recall dipping below 35kph, except for a small incline with an 180 degree turn at the top. Outside of that, until I reached the morning vehicular traffic about 6k from home I maintained this high velocity.
I have zero complaints about today's cycling statistics. What is more important, is the ride felt wonderful. It was not too hot, and the humidity was not dialed up, so the climate was fair for riding. In August it is abnormal for the morning to feel as comfortable as it was today.
On the return trip I paused for a few moments, stopping along the Tamagawa to take in deep breaths of the fresh morning air. The clear blue sky was lovely at 6:30am. One of the important aspects of cycling for me is to take some time to appreciate nature. This helps me destressify, but also to acknowledge the beauty the world has to offer.
Enjoy not just the riding but also what Mother Nature has to offer the planet. Use your time on the bike to refresh yourself while enjoying some exceptional exercise. Have an awesome final day of the week. Thank goodness it is Friday!