|An early scenic checkpoint|
|The scenic Ushiku Checkpoint. Next time I ride a course like this, I think I will try to play "count the convenience stores".|
|Choshi checkpoint views. I got a nice harbor views a few steps away ... but really did not want to spend any more unnecessary time in the rain to go back and get the photo after I had my warm food!|
|Starting the return trip up the Tonegawa - looking back at floodgates in the distance on a bridge.|
|Another rider in another checkpoint convenience store.|
|Sunset near Toride.|
Thanks to Utsunomiya Audax for a course that was mostly nice, and in nicer weather would have been mostly easy. The course was not the most interesting, but at least the heavy traffic was limited to the Ibaraki stretches around Lake Kasumigaura. So if I compare this route with the Nihonbashi 300 I rode in early 2015, which took those same heavily traveled routes around Lake Kasumigaura in the other direction from Choshi, I would estimate that this time we had 100km out of 400km that was somewhat unpleasant, whereas on the Nihonbashi 300 maybe 175kms out of 300kms was so. This ride I would do again; the other, never. And if I were to design a course to/from Choshi, I would definitely use the Tonegawa path in one direction, and Kujukuri-hama and rural Chiba in the other.
In any event, after a few hours on a bike path in the dry weather on the return, the rain was only a distant memory!
Update: The 392 kms during a 24-hour period I captured on my GPS unit put me at #118 out of over 180,000 participants in Strava.com's "March Gran Fondo" ride challenge. Not bad ... though still less than one-half the 24-hour distance recorded by the #1 rider.