Jerome planned Sunday's ride (hence the mid-ride beers). He had a visitor in town on business this week from Singapore, Sean, who borrowed Jerome's Look and joined us. Jerome rode the "Bette Noire." Guillaume, Jerome's friend, and Frank, Jerome's brother-in-law, also joined us to make it five.
It was wet early Sunday morning, raining steadily. But the forecast suggested the rain would taper off by mid-day. And this year in Japan, if we stayed off the bike just because there is rain in the morning ... we would almost never ride. And by starting a ride in the rain, one can always take solace in Rule #9.
I confidently declared to the group that the rain would stop by mid-day, and this time, for once the weather obediently followed the forecast, even though our ride took us into the wet, misty hills to the west of town.
We rode out One-kan, then the "Tank Road", and then took Machida Kaido to Takao, then finally the climb up Otarumi out of Takao on Koshu Kaido. For 3 of the 5 members it was the first time they had done this climb by bicycle (Frank is at times a serious runner and has been through these hills before on foot). Sean, from Argentina but living in Singapore the past year, has not ridden in the hills for some time, but managed Otarumi without problem. He did go slow on the descent, as the triple front derailleur on Jerome's Look seemed stuck on the lowest (30-tooth) ring, forcing him to essentially coast down the hill.
The rain stopped definitively as we were heading through Takao and onto the Otarumi climb. At the pass we were able to sit outside for a lunch of ramen and gyoza at the Fujimi cafe, and even enjoy a view between the clouds at the hills across Tsukui-ko/Sagami-ko. No views of Mt. Fuji today.
Heading back we took the path along the Asagawa, not very crowded for a Sunday afternoon given the continued cloudy weather, and then the usual route home along the Tamagawa. Somehow it seemed much more scenic than the trip out of town, now that the rain had stopped and we were away from the car traffic.
All-in-all, a good ride with new friends, 100 kms covered on a day when many would have taken one look at the window, turned off the alarm clock and gone back to bed.