4:45 – Somehow wake up and change into my kit to do the first climb of this ride, organized by Pete.
6:00 – Out the door and pedaling up to the arranged meeting point so I’ll be there by 6:30 and still have the luxury of plodding there at 12mph.
6:10 – Bump into Tim S., who is headed the same way. Tim used to ride bikes for money and is murderously fast. Crap.
6:24 – Arrive at Family Mart, shake hands with a bunch of people, and run to the bathroom. There’s another woman who showed up to the ride. Yay!
6:50 – We’re weaving up the Arakawa river path, and pick up two more guys at a meeting point further north. Wind is picking up.
7:13 – Wind is kicking my ass. WTF.
8:10 – A Dutchman is pulling us up the river, seemingly oblivious to the headwind. I cling on for dear life, but just barely.
8:27 – We’re spinning between rice paddy fields – Owen would later refer to this as “Mad Max territory,” – and suffering through a crosswind so strong we’re all doing the “Smooth Criminal” lean.
9:15 – Still a little ways to go to the mountain we’re supposed to climb and my legs are already dead. Hip flexors are screaming.
10:00 – We’re finally at the base of Shiraishi Mountain. Legs are shot and I tell Owen and Chikako [who I’m heading back with], I’ll wait at the bottom.
10:03 – Persuaded to at least try the climb. I promise everyone I won’t make it to the top.
10:08 – Owen: Hey, look at the view! Me and Chikako: ……………………yeah…
10:16 – Snap two pictures. The only two pictures I’ll take of the entire ride.
10:40 – A sign says 200m to the top, but all I can see up ahead is another fricking mountain.
10:42 – Made it to the top. The group splits up and Owen, Chikako, Tim and I start the descent down.
10:48 – I am a terrible descender.
12:00 – After a few wrong turns, we’re back at the Arakawa. Still getting pulled at a slightly uncomfortable pace.
1:15 – Tim and I are back at the Family Mart where we started the ride. We spin back up Yamate-dori road and find out that we’re pretty much neighbors.
2:00 – Home, after an unexpected century. Commence eating everything in sight.
[Times are approximate; mostly because I wasn’t keeping track.]