Japan day 33
Japan day 33
Rumoi-Wakkanai 190km/118 miles
Monster day, monster mileage…..how did that happen? It certainly wasn’t planned…..
I’ve noticed a pattern in my last few treks, especially last year in Turkey, when the last two days are sometimes compressed into one mega-day, and I get to my destination a day earlier than planned. I know it has something to do with the psychology of reaching the finishing line, but today the weather played a huge role.
I climbed on the bike at 8.30am and, apart from a handful of refreshment stops, I stayed on it until 6pm, frequently achieving speeds of 50-60kph, and generally cruising between 25-30kph. Cyclists, like sailors, will always take full advantage of a ‘fair wind’
and, today, I had a very strong south-westerly breezing up my left flank. Japan has thrown a lot of strong headwinds at me on this journey, and today it seemed to be acknowledging the efforts of this mad ‘gaijin’ to get his job done, and move on…..
The route hugged the coast for more than 120km and, instead of rain, I was accompanied by the angry rollers of the sea,
throwing its spray at me, misting up my glasses…..but no map reading needed today….one road, one direction, and a wind pushing from behind. It was exhilarating…fast……almost addictive…..even better than the contents of one of those mysterious little bottles.
The nett result is that I am now one full day ahead of my schedule, Cape Soya is now only 32km/20 miles away and, not having used any of the flexi-days (extra days allowed for mechanicals, sickness or unavoidable delays), it gives me the opportunity to head out to the two remote islands of Rishiri and Rebun, lying off to the west of Hokkaido.
But when I entered Wakkanai this evening, the most northerly town in Japan, I was reminded of the proximity of the Sakhalin Islands, islands which belong to Russia, but have been a bone of contention for many years. The fact that a regular ferry runs between the islands, and Japan has deigned to include Russian Cyrillic in its signs,
is more than tacit acknowledgement of the relative permanence of the situation.
And as I write these few lines, the weather forecast for today fully corroborates my decision to make a mad dash for the finishing line…..
because the outlook for tomorrow has a very different complexion…..not just rain, but winds that could reach 65kph, and not in my favour on the return leg….
And as I looked out of my 8th floor window this morning at 5am, the ‘solar barometer’ tells me this is the day for getting to the Cape….
See you there….