Returning to Kyoto, to Hot Summer Cycling and Destroying my iPhone
Ascending Through Layers with an isolated cloudburst in the background -- Monroeville, Ohio, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ascending Through Layers
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.

Splash of Sun -- Bellevue, Ohio, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Splash of Sun

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).

Traveling Companion the tiny speck in the center of the frame is another plane -- West Liberty, Iowa, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Traveling Companion
the tiny speck in the center of the frame is another plane

Not quite the closeup view from eight years ago. 🙂

Still There an hour and a half later.... or maybe it's a different plane -- Woodrow, Colorado, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Still There
an hour and a half later.... or maybe it's a different plane
Bleak new Bishop, California -- Bishop, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Bleak
new Bishop, California
Contorted Canals one wonders about all the factors that contribute to such a herky -jerky path -- Patterson, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Contorted Canals
one wonders about all the factors that contribute to such a herky-jerky path
Spacious Property not many homes in this part of Tracy, California -- Tracy, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Spacious Property
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.

Hot in Ohara crappy iPhone camera doesn't do the scene justice -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/2000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Hot in Ohara
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...

Heading In temperature now 35°C (95F) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/1200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading In
temperature now 35°C (95F)

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.

Fellow Traveler -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Fellow Traveler

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.

Nice Views that break down to a blotchy mess with the heat, humidity, and tiny iPhone camera sensor -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/2200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice Views
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:

Big Buddha I realized then that this was the difficult “ Buddha road ” I'd heard about -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Buddha
I realized then that this was the difficult Buddha road I'd heard about
Exiting the Forest into the rice fields (near these fields from nine years ago) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/1250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Exiting the Forest
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...

Death of my iPhone Courtesy of a TiGRA Sport mount that failed -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
map & image datanearby photos
Death of my iPhone
Courtesy of a TiGRA Sport mount that failed
Predictable Result -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Predictable Result
The Culprit two teeth failed and another is in the process... seems like a simple case of plastic fatigue )-: -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/4.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
The Culprit
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.)

Heading Toward The Mountains -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/3000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Toward The Mountains

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:

This is The Mild Portion -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Cycliq Fly12 — map & image datanearby photos
This is The Mild Portion

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...

Cooling Off frame grab from the bike's front-facing camera -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Cycliq Fly12 — map & image datanearby photos
Cooling Off
frame grab from the bike's front-facing camera

A little later, just as the road enters the forest, there was a little waterfall and pond.

Oasis in the Heat -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Oasis in the Heat

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.

Mild Gravel -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/350 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Mild 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.

near Kaji Pass (梶峠) -- Kaji Pass (梶峠) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 6+ — 1/1600 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
near Kaji Pass (梶峠)

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.


One comment so far...

For some reason, I find “Bleak” a particularly fascinating photo. And an interesting not – the negative image of that photo – with just minimal tweaking – looks like a really good photograph of rugged ice-covered mountains at dusk with the sun coming from the opposite direction.

— comment by Marcina on August 25th, 2016 at 6:44am JST (11 months, 1 day ago) comment permalink
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