It’s been far too long between blog posts but if you’ve been glancing at my twitter feed over there on the right, you’ll at least have been reassured that I am still alive. In short, since my last blog post, I had a last ride in Japan then packed up the pista to be shipped to Perth and spent my last few days there saying farewells and watching Kazuko and Masako tidy our flat. We then flew back to Perth and have both settled back in to full-time work and riding our bicycles.

The point of today’s post is to clear the decks of all the things I’ve meant to write about over the last couple of months so that I can feel less guilty but can also get on with coming up with some new posts. So here’s what we’ve been up to:

My last ride in Japan was a 150km jaunt with Mr Sato, who won his third grade race last year on the same day I won my fourth grade race. We rode to Yoichi, the home of Nikka whisky, but managed to avoid the demon drink when we got there. There were plenty of mountains to climb and I was a bit worried Mr Sato was going to punish me up the climbs but he kindly kept a steady pace for me. The ride looked like this:

A nice mountain loop. Click picture for more details.

We stopped for photos at the top of the first climb out of Otaru:

We were fine but the bikes needed a rest.

And then Mr Sato led me along some roads I had never ridden before and to a cheap and tasty restaurant for lunch in Yoichi.

Mr Sato doing the work at the front.

It was a great ride to finish up with and I can’t wait to get back again next year. That night I met some of my students from Hokkai University for a happy evening of drinks and the farewell dinners didn’t end until we got on the plane. The highlight of the trip back was the box of wasabi-flavoured Kit Kats I bought at Tokyo airport:

No really, they were good.

Back in Perth, it was straight back to work for me while Kazuko teed up the remainder of the unpacking I hadn’t done over the summer and then strolled back into her old job at Royal Perth Hospital. I had hoped all that cycling around Hokkaido would have made me stronger but I still found myself only hanging in there on the ERD ERC Saturday ride.

The early morning ride.

We also came back to plenty of rain. Rain is always welcome inPerth. It’s been years since we got as much as we need. I enjoy riding in the rain. The bike paths are nice and empty and as long as I’ve put enough clothes on, I’m happy to enjoy the weather.

Here's a wet ride in the hills.

And here's a wet commute home.

It’s not been all rain, though. Here’s the same site on a clear day from the other direction:

When it's not raining, we've had some beautiful still mornings.

I’ve joined the masters cycle races and entered a couple of road races. In the first one I got into an early breakaway and three of us averaged 39kmh for our first 35km or so. With two laps to go, I couldn’t quite keep up with the other two guys up a climb and once on my own, I was soon caught by the bunch. I now have some inkling of how the guys in the breaks on stage races feel. To get into the break you have to go so hard that your legs start burning and that burning doesn’t stop until you cross the finish line or get caught. The pro cyclists might spend five or more hours like that in the knowledge that more often than not they will be caught by the bunch but still hanging on to the hope that today might be the day that the break gets away.

The masters racing has been pretty intense for me and the legs have been taking quite a while to recover. I’ve had to cut down on my commute distance and I’ve been coming home knowing that I ought to update this blog but instead being so tired that I’ve preferred to spend evenings on my new hobby of computer gaming. I feel like I’ve finally caught upon my sleep and the legs feel normal again so I shall endeavour not to drink too much while watching the Tour de France’s final time trial tonight so I can get up bright and early tomorrow for a nice, lazy ride through the hills.

6 Comment on “Clearing the decks

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