Unlike yesterday, when the weather was not the most cooperative for cycling, today was absolutely intolerable. Even before departing I was suspicious of today's ride, but pressed on, hoping the strong winds outside my house were not indicative of what I would find along the river. As I hit the Tamagawa, I found the situation even worse, making for one of the tougher days on the tarmac in recent times.
Once I crawled out of bed, the first thing I did was take a peek outside to get a lay of the land. The wind was nowhere near as strong as it was last night. Today was going to be a fine day to log some kilometers. I pressed on, gearing up, and then headed upstairs to take care of the pre-ride ritual.
As I was downing some water while eating an energy ball I looked outside and saw the wind strength had kicked up a few notches. I did not really think much of it other than to acknowledge the potential annoyance the added wind may provide. I proceeded to finish energizing, and walked out the door towards Red Chameleon.
The wind did not seem terribly bothersome. It was noticeably heavier than yesterday but manageable. Rather than think too deeply about it, I jumped on Red Chameleon and started riding towards the Tamagawa.
At one point during the first leg I have to ride through a number of high rise tower mansions. It almost feels like riding through downtown Tokyo for three straight blocks. I suspect because of how these building are situated, and how this area has been developed, there is this almost wind tunnel-like impact created from the tower's positioning.
I rounded a corner onto the long stretch of buildings and was immediately pushed laterally thanks to a considerably forceful side wind. Needing to gain control before I crashed, I wielded Red Chameleon like a knight handles his sword, expertly parrying the enemy and getting back on course without incident.
This is not the best way to start a morning meditative ride. It would also prove to be Tuesday's unfortunate theme.
Despite the non-standard wind, not all was lost. For the second day in a row, floating above the same part of the river, was yet another rainbow. Two days, two rainbows. Is this some mysterious messaging or just coincidence? I neither believe in coincidence nor this particular brand of spirituality, but who really knows, right? One thing was for sure, the rainbow was definitely no sign of choice cycling conditions.
I pressed on, fighting the wind as I powerfully pedaled upstream. While I was basically enjoying myself, and getting a decent workout at the same time, this is not the type of ride I savor. I can deal with the evil heat and humidity, so long as I can just spin to my hearts content.
However, the wind is a completely different story. It prevents forward progress, which is the entire point of why I like cycling. My personal preference is to ride as fast as I possibly can, pushing my body to the limit, so I can then gauge any given days ride against the entire library of previous rides. Wind does not allow me to enjoy the speed I prefer when cycling.
At the 10k mark I decided I had enough fighting with Mother Nature. The ride was no longer pleasant. I crossed the Tamagawa and started to head back home. While I would normally prefer to ride nothing short of 35k, today I logged a meager 20k due to the wind.
I could have continued riding. There is no question completing a 35k was in the realm of possibility. But recall, I do not ride solely for exercise, but also to take a mental break. When I am struggling to make forward progress thanks to fun things like high speed wind, it ultimately interferes with me extracting positive psychological benefits from riding. Wind is inherently incompatible with my stated cycling goals.
This all probably sounds like a shit ton of excuses. I guess it is easy to chalk all this up to trying to rationalize giving up. Sure, that is definitely one perspective. I am comfortable with this context because at the end of the day I know why I opted to return home. This is all that really matters.
When I got back home I used the extra time to meditate in the traditional sense. Even if I am unable to get the mental break while cycling, I do have a plan B to meditate at home. Today I had to break glass due to the "emergency" and take matters into my own hands. And it felt great to do so.
Tomorrow is another day, but unfortunately a very busy one. I may not be able to get out of the house for a ride due to a couple of early morning meetings. I will have to play it by ear. I really hope I can escape for a ride after these calls. It will be really nice if I could log a 50k ride tomorrow, but I am certainly not placing any bets on that happening.
One thing to note, we are making plans to head to Kamikochi for some overnight hiking in mid-September. This is one of the most exciting and beautiful hikes Japan has to offer. We plan to hike all day on the first day, stay overnight at the most famous place to overnight, and then return the next morning. More to come because this will be a really interesting trip and something I have been wanting to do for about five years now.
Stay strong and continue to be awesome!