Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
with an isolated cloudburst in the background
I'm back in Kyoto, after spending the better part of a month with my folks in Ohio. Mom continues to recover from her February stroke. I snapped a few photos out the window as we crossed The States on the Cleveland → San Francisco flight.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
An hour later crusing along well above the clouds, I noticed another plane keeping pace with us in the far distance (just a tiny speck, dead center in this next photo).
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
the tiny speck in the center of the frame is another plane
Not quite the closeup view from eight years ago. 🙂
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 140 — map & image data — nearby photos
an hour and a half later.... or maybe it's a different plane
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 220 — map & image data — nearby photos
new Bishop, California
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
one wonders about all the factors that contribute to such a herky-jerky path
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 140 — map & image data — nearby photos
not many homes in this part of Tracy, California
I arrived back home in Kyoto last Wednesday evening, and slept well the first night. Jetlag has been much less of a problem lately. It used to crush me for weeks after returning. Looking back at my blog, it turns out that I have two blog posts entitled “The Mystery of Jetlag”, one 10 years ago and another four years ago. Lately it's been so much better... maybe my current higher level of fitness helps? Still a mystery.
The next morning, I thought I should do some exercise to truly wake myself up, so I went on a bike ride. It took a while to get everything set up, so I didn't get started until 9am. Kyoto is hot and humid in the summer, and it was 28°C (82F) by the time I left.
iPhone 6+ — 1/2000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image data — nearby photos
crappy iPhone camera doesn't do the scene justice
The ride went well at first and despite not trying all that hard, I got PRs on the first climb, so I guess my fitness level hadn't dropped too much in the month away. I went into the mountains of Shiga Prefecture to a big climb (5km @ 8.4%) on an isolated, little-used road I've been wanting to try...
While on this climb I was suddenly overcome with deep fatigue. I think it was jetlag and not heat or The Bonk (lack of calories). I literally lay down in the middle of the road and closed my eyes for a while.
Rejuvenated after a 20-minute rest, I finished the climb at a leisurely pace, eventually just missing the worst time recorded for the segment. 🙂
The little guy in the previous photo was just the start of the most “nature” I'd seen on a ride... I was continually joined by some critter or another.... snakes, crickets, deer, small lizards (salamanders?), butterflies, toads. Typing it out like this, the list doesn't seem that impressive so perhaps I'm forgetting the bulk of it, but I had a sense of amazement during the ride about how much wildlife I encountered.
iPhone 6+ — 1/2200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image data — nearby photos
that break down to a blotchy mess with the heat, humidity, and tiny iPhone camera sensor
The long steep descent down the other side was fun, and made me happy that I had not tried to climb it, for I felt it must be much harder than the side I'd actually done. Part way down, I came across this Buddha statue:
iPhone 6+ — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image data — nearby photos
I realized then that this was the difficult “Buddha road” I'd heard about
iPhone 6+ — 1/1250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image data — nearby photos
into the rice fields (near these fields from nine years ago)
As I descended into a village on the exposed road, the temperature climbed from the 27° it had been in the forest, up to 39° on the exposed open road. (From 81F to 102F.) It was hot.
I somehow had the idea that I should go ahead and retrace my steps back up the mountain, doing the climb that I was so fearful about on the way down. So, after buying 1.5L of water at a vending machine, I did exactly that, heading up and then repeating the descent right back down to the same vending machine (where I stocked up on another 1.5L).
The second descent was faster than the first because I didn't stop for photos, but otherwise it was pretty mild, so I was surprised to find that I got the KOM on the descent. Anyway, I felt satisfied that I'd not shied away from the tough climb after the first thought of dreading it.
Later while coasting downhill after a milder climb, the TiGRA Sport bicycle iPhone mount that I spoke so highly of last year failed at a mild bump, and my iPhone 6+ hit the pavement at 44kph...
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/4.8, ISO 5000 — map & image data — nearby photos
two teeth failed and another is in the process... seems like a simple case of plastic fatigue )-:
The action shot above is a screen capture from the video from the bike rear camera. The road was mildly bumpy, but nothing enough to make me think it was one particular jolt that the TiGRA mount failed on. Rather, I'm guessing it was just accumulated fatigue that just happened to cross the line at that time.
I found the smashed phone right away, but despite searching for 15 minutes along both sides of the road, I couldn't find the case. One side of the road dropped off steeply and was overgrown with tall weeds, so I figured it must have slid somewhere in there. Until I saw the video (after returning home), I had assumed the case separated from the phone on impact with the road, but the video shows the light plastic case sailing away on its own. It probably went way off into the high grass.
(Armed with new info from the video, I returned two days later to search again, but 15 minutes struggling in the overgrown embankment yielded only cuts and bug bites..)
Sigh. I'll have to ask TiGRA Sport about this.
Dejected, I continued home. There wasn't much tree cover for quite a while, and though the 35° (95F) temperature wasn't so bad, the direct sun was brutal and I was quickly drained. The final climb that stood between me and a cool shower at home should have taken 15 minutes, but I was wiped out, so stopped for long periods when I could find shade. In the end it took an hour. This wasn't jetlag... just heat and lack of fitness.
I was happy to find that the phone still actually worked, so I could download the photos and make a backup. The tracklogs weren't complete though, so I was happy that the new Garmin Edge 820 cycling computer I was using for the first time (having just acquired it in The States) had recorded the ride fully. Longtime readers of my blog know that Garmin has earned a passionate hatred over the years, so I was expecting the worst with my first real cycling computer, but everything seemed to work out fine. For now.
The next day I swapped my broken phone (and ¥42,000... about $400) for a new phone.
The day after that I set out on a ride more or less in reverse of the first. I left earlier in the day, before it got too hot, so I felt really good on the initial climbs.
I returned to the tragic scene of my iPhone death and dug through the overgrowth for 15 minutes, but still couldn't find the case.
I intended to go to the same big mountain I'd done twice the other day, but this time via an alternate approach that seemed appealing on the map. I'd used a mapping site to route me there, following on the non-map on my Garmin 820. (I've not yet put Japanese maps on it.)
I had to pass through a little village to get there, and was surprised when the route brought me up a back alley with a ridiculous 20+% slope, followed by a flat section, then another milder (but still ridiculously steep) slope:
Later on a whim, I made a Strava segment for this little stretch of road, “Brutal Kamioogi Shortcut”, and found that I wasn't the only person to have taken it.
Overall, the little stretch averages 18.9% for 200m.
Something felt oddly familiar about it, but I didn't pay much attention to it until I got home and looked at the map. Strava uses OpenStreetMap data, and the data in this area was pathetic, so I updated it:
As I do with many roads where I ride, I used detailed survey data from the Japanese government to guide the updates. They tend to be very precise, which is how I like my maps and my Strava segments.
While working on that update, I realized that I'd actually been on that exact steep route before, as a passenger in a car, during the winter (with snow!), on the way to “Filming a TV Segment about Mochi and Shiga”. Small world.
The main road continued up toward the mountains, but without tree cover it was hot, so I stopped by a roadside culvert to cool down by dipping a towel into the cool water, and squeezing it over my head...
A little later, just as the road enters the forest, there was a little waterfall and pond.
I stopped to put my whole body under the tiny waterfall of very cold water. It was freezing and wonderful; it felt like this.
The road pitched up steeply from here, though now mostly under tree cover. After a long while, it turned to mild gravel, then disappointingly, increasingly rough gravel.
I had hoped it would be all paved, but it was gravely enough that I don't think I'd like to do it again on a road bike. I views I was rewarded with, though, were lovely.
Even though I stopped often for photos or to cool down, I still got the #4 spot overall on that 4.5km 9% climb. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone that there were only five registered attempts 😉 )
After descending a bit it connected to that “Buddha Road” climb I'd been proud of attempting two days prior. It connected after the worst of the climb, so the remaining 2.5km at “only” 7.4% felt almost flat. I was feeling much better this day, so my time was ⅔ that of the earlier attempt.
So, I'm happy to be back home and that my fitness level didn't drop too much. Kyoto is hot hot hot, though, and I've a lot of work and tidying to catch up on, so I'll probably not get out too much in the next weeks, but we'll see. Maybe some early morning rides, and heat-of-the-day getting-stuff-done in the comfort of home's air conditioning.