South

Today was tough. Mentally tough. Full-body tough. I had a massive headwind all day long. It started out incredibly bad but slowly became more tolerable, though it never got the point where I actually enjoy cycling. The weather report was a total lie. It reported a sunny day, max temperature up to 28C. Instead it was cloudy, foggy, dark and occasionally rained. All this wouldn't even bother me that much if it weren't for that goddamn wind. It's so frustrating and tiring to deal with wind. I had to lean in to it a lot today and ended up hurting my back on one side. I think it's just a muscle ache which should pass soon, but it's the same thing I felt when we were cycling to Wakkanai, also with insane winds. The gusts of wind are so strong that they just rip the handlebars right out of your hands, pointing your bike in a bad direction, so you've got to grip the handlebars tight, tiring out your fingers. Ugh. Many times ugh. It took me 1.5 hours longer today to cycle the same distance I did to get to Wakkanai. That's quite bad.

It's not the first time that I've had a day like this in Hokkaido, although this was the first full day of bad wind after Akita/Aomori. The weather really isn't very good very often. It's quite bad, quite often. Most of the roads vary from tolerable to nice when it's sunny, but everything looks crap when it's cloudy and gloomy. Combine that with the fact that if you cycle in Hokkaido, you pretty much commit to seeing the same scenery for at least half a day, and you come to the conclusion that you'd better pick your days right or else just stay home. I really would not recommend anyone to cycle in Hokkaido, not while there's so much more convenient Japan around to be cycled. Go to Kyushu instead. Cycling in Kyushu is nice. Cycling in Hokkaido is a challenge, mostly in how much boredom and bad weather you can tolerate.

Two more days and I'll be in Sapporo. After that, one day of scenic cycling, or a quickie to the ferry if the weather's crap. We'll see.

Posted in Spirit of Japan 2