Looking out of the window & checking the sky, I saw some blue sky spots here and there…right after all ! * I thought and happily I got my bike ready. Left the house a little bit before 9:00. Patches of blue sky became broader and broader as I rode along the Asakawa cycling road. The Tamagawa and Asakawa rivers were flowing at a high level much faster than usual giving me the impression I was going at 40km/h!
Here and there under the bridges, though the passage was entirely flooded or mudded over. I crossed one point with my bottom bracket completely submerged; feet and brand-new 3-carbon layer Northwave shoes got there first wash!
In Hachioji, towards the end of the Asakawa CR, I saw three houses that had apparently suffered severe flood damage…water had clearly risen above floor level. From Thursday night through Friday morning, heavy rain had hit a wide area including Kanto, where mudslides in Hachioji had destroyed a house. This summer, a succession of sudden, torrential downpours (for which the Japanese media coined the – in my ears – weird-sounding word “guerilla downpours”.... somehow, just anything with a negative or unpleasant connotation, gets an English-sounding word in this country….) have concentrated in a number of locations around the country. Rapid increases in air temperature to more than 30C cause unstable atmospheric conditions accompanied by the formation of humongous cumulonimbus clouds (picture taken today as I approached Itsukaichi Station).
At the Takao 7/11, I bought a dorayaki and 2 daifukus to eat underway…I had by then made up my mind…the first OHSMK-loop of the weekend (for tomorrow, I had promised Philip of TCC to accompany him on the same ride covering Otarumi, Hinazuru, Suzugane, Matsuhime and Kazahari) it had to be!
As I rode through Akiyama-mura, I regretted I forgot to put on my sunscreen…blue sky everywhere even the minmin-zemi were having a concert! Yes…still summer, still August…autumn is still far away…those thoughts made me so happy!
Once I got through the Hinazuru-tunnel, the sky was clouding up again though and on my approach of Suzugane, the first raindrops started to fall. Most part of Suzugane-toge runs through a densely wooded area and the road surface was mostly dry until the top where I passed a tree that must have come down with all the torrential rain of recent.
After a pleasant descent down to Saruhashi, I filled up my bottle and got ready for the second-last climb of the day, Matsuhime-toge. To my surprise, the road was in a very good condition, no signs of havoc caused by the recent torrential rains.
Kazahari-toge came faster than I had thought, the downhill towards Kosuge and the bridge leading to Tomin-no-mori went very smooth. Near the top of Kazahari, it started to rain again; temperature was 18C and it did not feel cold, just pleasant and comfortable! Even the downhill to Itsukaichi was not chilly except for a few pockets of ice-cold air where small waterfalls are near the road.
It kept raining softly all the way to Itsukaichi where an “Aki-matsuri” was about to get into full swing…
Just before I hit Tamagawa, the road surface became dry again…I stopped and drained all the water out of my titanium frame…amazing how much water can creep inside! Fortunately titanium does not rust! The skies above Fuchu looked very threateningl…no, not another guerilla downpour please!
I did get a fair amount of rain inside my frame again by the time I reached home…I was completely drenched but didn’t care, I was ecstatic and utterly satisfied!
* Yesterday, on the Positivo Espresso blog I had written: After all the rain last evening, my gut feeling is that tomorrow (Saturday) will be a splendid sunny day)...the weatherforecasters chickens as they are - as of this hour of the day - just don't have the courage to admit it !!
For the record:
the complete OHSMK-loop (starting and ending at Sekidobashi) is exactly 190k
Average speed: 24.2 km/h
Max: 65.6 km/h