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Today December 2023

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I rode my December century on the first Sunday of the month (162 km on Strava), one week after my November century on the Izu east coast. Back then I complained about not finding any road side stalls selling mikan so this time I went to the Izu west coast and did get what I wanted :) With this ride I am now at 136 consecutive months of "Century a Month".

It was cold and very windy. Often I was cycling directly into the headwind, especially on the flatter, more exposed parts of the route. I had enough clothes so I could deal with the cold, but especially after sunset it was really chilly.

Some days when I ride in west Izu it's so overcast that half a day goes by until I catch the first glimpse of Mt Fuji but this wasn't one of those days: I already saw the mountain from along the Kano river while heading south from Mishima, where I had parked the car. I would see it again and again all day.

Mt Fuji from below the tunnel above Osezaki:
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I bought a bag of mikan at a fruit shop while riding to the northwest corner of Izu. Later I also passed a roadside stall attended by an old woman and decided to buy some there too. I inquired how old she was. She told me she was 84. "There's nothing good about age. My body hurts and I just want to die. My husband went a long time before me and I am looking forward to be with him again." Her answer was as direct as my question. Her mikan were really good and she lives in a beautiful part of the country but dealing with pain and loss must be hard.

Heda port:
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In Heda I visited the sand spit to get the view of Mt Fuji behind the entrance to the port, near the shrine. Unlike the summer there were very few people around.

In the forest near Morokuchi shrine in Heda:
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After Toi the road gets busier and the wind became more of a problem. I turned around before Matsuzaki, when I had covered about half my planned distance.

Shizuoka coast across the bay from the Izu west coast:
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Matsuzaki coast:
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As it got dark on the way back towards Toi I decided to not continue on the coastal road but to climb over the mountains on Rt136 where there would be more traffic. I didn't fancy being alone on deserted roads through the forest in a cold night. That climb is much higher (450 m max, about double of the highest points of the coastal road) but there's no up and down.

I stayed warm on the climb but descending on the other side was really chilly!

Ugusu river after sunset:
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Also, because Rt136 over the mountains is more direct than the winding coastal road I would have ended up with less than 160 km if I had directly returned to Mishima so I doubled up a part of the route between Shuzenji and Mishima to get enough kilometers in total.

I was really glad when I got back to the car. This was my first ride with over 2000 elevation meters since July. I did not get another long ride for the rest of the month -- getting too busy with the plans for building a new house next year.
 
"There's nothing good about age. My body hurts and I just want to die. My husband went before me and I am looking forward to being with him again."
exact sentiment my own mother expressed at the same age. She died in her 85th year and the knowledge she was looking forward to it was a tiny slice of bitter sweet solace.
as usual Joe great pics and report.
 
exact sentiment my own mother expressed at the same age. She died in her 85th year and the knowledge she was looking forward to it was a tiny slice of bitter sweet solace.
as usual Joe great pics and report.
Yeah, it also reminded me of my great-aunt who was bedridden for her final years, always talking about pain and wanting to die.

Let us appreciate our health while we have it! Without it everything becomes nothing.
 
Love the pics Joe, and congrats on your 136th consecutive ride!

I have met a few elderly who seemed to feel the same way even though nothing was directly mentioned like the lady you spoke with. It is romantic in its own way and shows a ton of wisdom and understanding. I hope there is an afterlife, but I am not a religious man. I just think we should all live our lives as fulfilling as possible, and when it is time we should eagerly find out if there is without any sorrow or regrets.
 
Been a bit too cold for me recently outside so ended up getting a Tacx Smart trainer off Yahoo and been setting it up the last couple of days. Very nice little system but was wondering what people use for apps. There are a lot out there and am a bit confused by it all. I already have a Garmin account so the training app there is free for me but would appreciate some alternatives - though not fussed about the social online aspect of it all.
 
Arrived back in Tokyo from Okinawa on Christmas Day and on the 27th began my (insert financially dire cycling clothing brand here) Festive 500 challenge. Completed 505km over the four days, and some how made December my best month for riding at 1031km.

Despite having a rinko bag for a few years now, prior to the two trips this week I had only used the bag once. Have always hesitated to use my rinko bag, but with the over those two journeys I feel a lot more confident about taking advantage of trains more often.

Highlights were definitely the two days I decided to catch the first train out to Miura and Kasumigaura, both places and rides I had yet to see.
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Great effort there. I didn't do the 500km thingy this year - life has gotten in the way and killed the training.

Those two routes - Kasumigaura and Miura - are definite highlights for me. When the weather is like what it has been, the views are majestical and I can't wait to do them both again in 2024.
 
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