SUPER FUN!! Cycling in Supertyphoon Jebi (2018 Typhoon #21)

Just a Bit of Rain
Supertyphoon Jebi (Typhoon #21) passes near Kyoto
(My area of Kyoto is the black dot to the lower right of center)
Ready to Head Out in the calm at 10am, four hours before the radar screenshot above -- Shirakawa River -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready to Head Out
in the calm at 10am, four hours before the radar screenshot above

Having grown up in Ohio with its summer thunderstorms, I like dynamic weather. I enjoy riding my bike in the rain, even if the rain is hard and the wind is blustery, so long as it's warm. If I know it's going to rain, I know I'll get wet and so I'll prepare accordingly, and I'll embrace the rain instead of try to avoid it.

This lack of fear of getting wet is apparently sufficiently rare that it makes me appear to be crazy in the eyes of many. Whatever. I enjoy it.

A supertyphoon was forecast to pass near Kyoto at about 2pm, so I thought I'd go out for a ride beforehand, to enjoy some of that dynamic weather before it got too bad. I set out at about 10am intending to do a loop that normally takes me about two hours. There was no rain yet, but the wind was a bit blustery.

Denied! the typhoon claims its first victim: my certain KOM on a favorite segment -- 3 -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Denied!
the typhoon claims its first victim: my certain KOM on a favorite segment

Half an hour into the ride, I came to Zenkoji Flyby Northbound, a short punchy segment, and I hit it hard. On my previous visit last week, I set a new personal record and came within 8 seconds of the KOM (King of the Mountain, the best-recorded time), despite having to go somewhat gingerly because the road was wet in some areas. Today the road was dry and I was feeling really good, putting out more than 1,000 watts at the start, until I came around a corner near the end to find the road was closed.

Someone saw me standing there in front of the gate, and told me "oh, it's fine for you to go... we just put that there because the typhoon is coming." Great. I was bummed, because I'd been I was 8 seconds ahead of the current KOM's pace, so I certainly would have gotten it. I asked whether I could move the gates aside temporarily so I could give it a try, and he said something along the lines of "I'd like to say yes, but the city asked me to put the gates there, so I can't". Oh well, I'll try again after the ground drys off.

At least it afforded me the chance to take in the view from the area, which was nice:

Calm Before the Storm Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan -- 3 -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/1800 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Calm Before the Storm
Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Closed Today Mii-dera Temple (三井寺) closed in preparation for the typhoon -- 3 -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Closed Today
Mii-dera Temple (三井寺) closed in preparation for the typhoon

It wasn't until an hour an a half into the ride, at 11:20am, that it started to rain.... just a mild, spritzy-drizzle. The wind continued to have stronger gusts at times, but it was still entirely fun and not even close to being any kind of danger. So, I decided that once I got back to Kyoto, instead of heading home I'd pop into the mountains a bit, and I invited a few friends to join.

Blown-Over Tobidashi-kun -- Hieidaira Nichome Bus Stop -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Blown-Over Tobidashi-kun

I returned to Kyoto around noon, and met up with the one friend who could join, Maithilee, and we headed off to do the western half of Kyoto's Heart Loop, starting with the climb up to Kyomi Pass.

Starting to Get Soaked but the rain still wasn't very hard yet (yes, she should have a helmet ; she has one, couldn't find it, and decided to come anyway) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting to Get Soaked
but the rain still wasn't very hard yet
(yes, she should have a helmet; she has one, couldn't find it, and decided to come anyway)
Some Small Debris Accumulating -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Some Small Debris Accumulating

Here's a short video:

Not Toooooo Bad....
(the video makes it seem a lot worse than it was)

At this point the wind was definitely dynamic, but not dangerous. Still, I wouldn't want to stay out if it got much worse.

Bent Trees I'm starting to feel that it's getting worse -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Bent Trees
I'm starting to feel that it's getting worse

It started to get stronger as we neared the top, and I thought we should abort the ride and head back soon.

Let me make it clear that I'm intimately familiar with the damage a typhoon can do. As seen in 2017’s Typhoon #21 (Lan) was Quite the Doozy for Kyoto, trees and utility poles were snapped like toothpicks. I want no part of that, and we were no where near that point. I wouldn't be near that point if it were near that point.

Still, the debris were also getting bigger, and especially with her not having a helmet, I worried about a branch or something bonking her on the head, so head back soon we would.

Okay, This is Now Officially Crazy
Relatively Calm at the Top but time to get back to town -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/35 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Relatively Calm at the Top
but time to get back to town

Back in town it was much calmer.

On the way out of town, we'd noticed that a friend had left her windows open, so on the way back down, with the rain now getting stronger, we stopped in to close them for her.

We also took the opportunity to try a short segment nearby, that I've been wanting to get the KOM on. In the past I'd come close, but had trouble with bad GPS tracking (my pause after having completed the segment would somehow get added to my effort time), or with having to abort the attempt because of people or cars or something. Today I wasn't sure whether I should even bother, because the wind felt like it was blowing all directions at the same time, but I gave it a shot and did well and got my KOM. I'll want to go back on a less-blustery day to see just how much of that was from the weather and how much was from me.

Maithilee got the QOM (Queen of the Mountain) on it by virtue of her being the first female to do it. 🙂

By this point the wind was still much more calm than in the mountains, but the rain had started to pick up.

This is Super Fun For Me
I just love riding in this
Perhaps Not So Fun For Her she was getting soaked to the bone just like we were, but unlike us, she didn't do it on purpose -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Perhaps Not So Fun For Her
she was getting soaked to the bone just like we were,
but unlike us, she didn't do it on purpose
Lots Of People Out and About
though the rain is now strong
Having So Much Fun -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Having So Much Fun

We knew the main storm still hadn't arrived, but would, so we were winding down our ride. As I escorted her back to her place, stopped at a traffic light we noticed that the wind really had picked up, and was racing through the small alleyways...

Whipping Wind
River with Waves the waves were against the flow of the river -- Aoibashi -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
River with Waves
the waves were against the flow of the river

Just before we got to her place, a gust of wind came that was unlike anything I'd experienced since my rides up Mt. Fuji a couple of months ago. It was so strong, instinct brought us both to a halt and off our bikes, to steady ourselves. This was the real storm arriving.

We happened to have a good view of a river, which was flowing away from us, but it looked to be flowing toward us:

Backward-Flowing River

It was time to get inside, and we did.

The storm raged outside as I fought with Apple's Air Drop feature, trying to send the photos and videos I'd taken to her phone. It normally works so smoothly, but for some reason just didn't want to work well this time. I eventually gave up and headed back out. I hadn't been there long, but the worst of the storm had clearly passed.

I felt completely safe riding home, except for the occasional bit of flying sheet metal. I kept eagle eyes out for that, and otherwise enjoyed myself immensely.

Flipped-Over Bus Signs their base looked to be so heavy that I didn't even try to put them back -- Oike Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Flipped-Over Bus Signs
their base looked to be so heavy that I didn't even try to put them back
Rust Gave Way -- Oike Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Rust Gave Way
The Kind of Sheet Metal I Was Worried About as the metal shutters flapped in the gusts -- ディアクレスト京大熊野 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
The Kind of Sheet Metal I Was Worried About
as the metal shutters flapped in the gusts
Behind the Heian Shrine Its trees still looked full, but so does the street -- ディアクレスト京大熊野 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Behind the Heian Shrine
Its trees still looked full, but so does the street
In Front of the Heian Shrine a tree fell across the road -- Heian Shrine (平安神宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/160 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
In Front of the Heian Shrine
a tree fell across the road
At the Heian Shrine
Proper Preparation That crane has been in use for a year, now tucked away safely for the storm -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Proper Preparation
That crane has been in use for a year, now tucked away safely for the storm
On Sanjo Street -- 堀池橋 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/240 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
On Sanjo Street
Kamo River Seems Fine no problems, unlike previous times like this and this -- Oike Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Kamo River Seems Fine
no problems, unlike previous times like this and this
So Very Fun! -- Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus— 1/120 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
So Very Fun!

The wild weather was winding down quickly, so I called it a day and headed home.

Here's the ride on Strava:

I'd seen some big damage, as shown above, and a lot of small things like fallen roof tiles and people's stuff being blown around. I knew it would take some cleanup. But nothing I'd experienced out on the ride prepared me for what I'd see online when I got back, mostly from Osaka. It was horrifying:

There are also now plenty of compilation videos showing more.

There's also this video of Kyoto Station, often accompanied by text claiming that the roof was falling in. My guess is that the big square metal thing we see fall was actually blown from somewhere else, and simply came crashing through one of the glass panes.

In any case, all these Osaka videos were quite a shock. Kyoto didn't get hit nearly so hard, thankfully.

The next day was calm and pleasant, and I took a ride to check out the mountains where I had been as the storm approached. That's a story for the next post, but let's just say that I'm very, very glad that I turned around and came back when I did.

Continued here...


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