Glad to be Alive

Kangaeroo is easy to be critical and cynical, less so to be thankful.

Today, he is taking a moment to be thankful for life.

Kangaeroo loves life, even though he has largely made a mess of his own until recent years.

Life interrupted this week, preventing any significant entry here, but not stopping time on the bike.

Rustic Relaxation

A weeklong festival of cycling drew to a close with series of unexpected bonuses: forecast rain failed to eventuate; an area usually only viewed while frenetically racing along on the jalopy turned out to be filled with delights; and Kangaeroo came to the realization that 100 kilometers is not an impossible distance to cover every day provided time and speed are not needed to be accounted for.

The day was spent with a group of mates, riding through the hills of outer suburban Tokyo, stopping frequently to eat, drink or soak in the scenery.

We each went our separate ways to return home and the idyllic day came to an end, Kangaeroo completing a journey exceeding 100 kilometers for the fifth day in succession, albeit all of them at a snail’s pace.

Reality beckons again tomorrow. Let’s burn that bridge when we get to it…

More Climbing

Continuing on from yesterday, today was another day of climbing through the mountains on the beautiful Belladonna (a Cervelo R5 road bike).

Kangaeroo is too exhausted from the energy-sapping ride and a rush to get out to go into much detail.

But he is eternally grateful to cycling for giving these opportunities that have been unimaginable for most of his life, and to his wife for allowing him to pursue these dreams.

And, of course, to his bikes for carrying him there, and the cycling mates who help and encourage him.

Climbing

Kangaeroo loves cycling.

He cycles a lot. And I mean a lot.

The line between a moderately good rider and a strong rider can largely be drawn at climbing; specifically, how fast a cyclist can make it up the hills.

The best cyclists are all good hill climbers.

The key to strong climbing is having a good power to weight ratio, which basically means weighing little but still having lots of power.

Look at most pro cyclists and they all look like skeletons with disproportionately huge legs.

Unfortunately, the only thing disproportionally huge about Kanageroo is his belly.

He has practised hard at becoming a better climber, but the results haven’t arisen.

Now, he is old and climbing is hard. It won’t be possible soon.

So he is doing it while he can.

And the courtesy of some time off work and glorious weather meant exploring the exquisite mountains on the outskirts of Tokyo and into its neighboring Kanagawa and Yamanashi prefectures.

Tiptoeing through the Tulips

Today was something of a landmark occasion: Kangaeroo made his first century ride on a recumbent bike.

Owning and riding a recumbent has been a long-held dream for this blogger.

And the dream finally became a reality earlier this year.

But the dream turned into a bit of a nightmare as Kangaeroo discovered how difficult it is to ride these bikes.

It took over a month of steady practice to learn how to ride.

Even then, a sense of unease persists.

Early plans to name the bike Lay Down Sally gave way to Death Machine.

If nothing else, the recumbent brings back the thrill of being close to death on wheels.

But finally, having enough confidence to tackle flatlands at least, Kangaeroo headed upstream along the Tama River.

Blessed with a handful of days off and glorious spring weather, he hopped on the Death Machine.

The objective was the Hamura Tulip Festival, about 40 km from home.

Kangaeroo arrived safely and without trouble at the festival only to find that there were almost no flowers there.

Chatting to his wife while eating lunch, he realized once again that she has exquisite taste in everything except her choice of men, Kangaeroo was advised to head to Showa Kinen Koen Park, where there would be a plethora of spring flowers.

Fortunately, the trip was on flat land, too, and the advice was spot-on.

The flowers were absolutely delightful and the cycling path around the park proved to be a wonderful spot for the Death Machine to strut its stuff.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and Kangaeroo can now point to a record of traveling more than 100 km in a single journey on a recumbent.

Beating Jobsworths with Luck

Waking early gave Kangaeroo a slice of luck this morning, enabling a visit to Yakushiike Park in Machida before the jobsworths arrived there and booted him out for bringing his bike.

The park is a delight, unbelievably located in the Tokyo suburbs.

It has some spectacular wisteria growing on trellises, with a huge pond (the ike of Yakushiike) surrounded by a picturesque garden currently flourishing with bright new leaves.

The wisteria are yet to reach full bloom, so there may be another visit before we’re finished this year.

Sensational Sunrises

There have been some sensational sunrises to greet me in recent days, though each weekend for the past six weeks has seen at least one day rain.

This week it was Saturday and Kangaeroo spent the day on the Death Machine, riding only a short distance.

Sunday, though, was a different matter, and we headed out on a 200-km under beautiful blue skies, but dogged by gale-force winds that proved energy sapping.