When we planned to organize a classic ride on Sunday, we didn’t know that this would draw the biggest group in team history. And for some reason it comprised of only one David, actually the original one, now with beard. And, of course it became an undisciplined, unorganized „recovery“ ride in the typical fashion of our team.
I woke up early in the morning still with very heavy knees as a result of the 200 km trip the day before with Ludwig where we circumferenced the Hakone mountains. Already on the way to the meeting point at the Tamagawa I noticed that I could barely ride 30 km/hr in the flat, neither force my heart rate to go over 155 BPM. But not to worry, as this was an official Positivo Espresso „recovery ride“. So I expected some fast pace along the Tamagawa until everybody burned out and then a leisurely ride up to Otarumi and Tsukui.
Well I arrived on time at Tamagawahara bridge and already a large crowd has gathered, not only the usual Positivo suspects such as David, Jerome, Dominic (David), Bryon, Yair, James (David) and Michael on his Cervelo with new Shimano Di-3 (this is an upgrade from Di-2 which includes a small electrical assistance motor, invisble to the human eyes), but also Fumiki and his friends „Ko“ and „Sho“ (together they ride under the name 故障) and Deej and Jules from the TCC. I was tempted to collect participation fees and ride home (150 Yen for PE members, 15 million Yen for first timers) as a free and rich man.
And while I was talking with Fumiki as he casually mentioned „Everybody’s riding already“ and I turned my head just to see our group taking the first bend at the horizon. So we had to hurry up and chase behind the peloton. It was impossible to catch up as everybody in the front group pedalled as fast as they could and there was a strong headwind that we had to overcome. Finally at the bridge after Sekidobashi we caught up but at this point we have lost already Bryon and either Ko or Sho, not sure. The tempo was just murderous for me and I was looking forward to the point where everybody would relax; this was supposed to be a „recovery“ ride.
We then rode the usual road along the Asagawa where we encountered a dispatchment of stormtroopers or perhaps baseball kids and where we left a mildly negative impression on the local population. Little girls were graping there teddy bears tightly and small boys looked up to there mothers, saying „Mama, when I am big I want to become a foreign bicycle rider.“ „Rather I will set fire to the house and kill the whole family.“
We somehow made it to the Takao 7-Eleven where we re-grouped and linked up with Tom, Hiroshi, Nishibe and Clay from TCC. To the neutral outside observer we must have looked like a very fast group thanks to the strong additions from other teams.
I spoke with Jules and he asked me „Are you the guy with scars all over your leg?“ How did he know? Where my lovely deadhead-diapers lurking out from the bib trousers? But I agree, scars on the legs are even cooler than shaved legs. And they hurt more. But the part of my body that hurts the most was my behind, as I did more than 400 km of cycle riding the last five days. I will refrain from posting pictures here.
Then we started the Otarumi TT and even before the official starting point Tom, James, Deej, Clay, Hiroshi, Fumiki and Jules went off like rockets while I stayed with Nishibe, Yair and David in a second group, followed by Dominic, Ko, Michael, Jerome.
On the top of Otarumi we took a group shot to document this historic event (more riders then average blogviews per day in 2008).
From there on we continued downhill and then took the classic turn to Tsukui lake. All of this still at very high speeds. Things became a little chaotic. I guess all of us took the left turn at the Circle K that leads to the Tsukui North road, but then not all of us went along the North side and definitely many lost track when we rode into Hashimoto. David proposed to ride his favourite backroad shortcut and I was hanging on for dear life, as I had no idea where I was and in case I got lost, it would have taken me days to find the way back to Onekan.
Somehow we managed to re-group at the Starbucks 7-Eleven at Onekan, but in the process we had lost Tom, Michael and Dominic who rode home on their own.
Deej, Clay and Jules started first on the Onekan, followed by Jerome, me and the rest of the pack. Just a few hundred meters behind the tunnel we saw Deej who was screwed. No, I don’t mean that he was bonking, I mean, to be precise, that his tire got screwed by a app. 20 mm wooden screw, NiCr plated, judging from the look, probably made in China. After making sure that he was OK and had everything he needs for repair we continued along the Onekan and at one point I met David and Fumiki again while finally continuing leisurely with James along the Tsurumigawa home. Fumiki said that he enjoyed the ride-out but that he would now ride into the mountains to do some more serious things.
At least the last 20 km or so I had the feeling of a „recovery“ ride.
So I guess it is time to propose two or three things here to „avoid confusion in the market place“ (the most favourite quote by Japanese business executives when a company/competitor starts to do things differently than before):
RENAME THE POSITIVO ESPRESSO TEAM INTO POSITIVO ESPRESSO TEST TEAM
Well, the Cervelo Test Team is called so because in addition to racing, it also fulfils the role of testing the Cervelo bikes under severe conditions. We do not belong to a bicycler maker (well, Prolite, perhaps), and therefore we are not testing any bikes. But we constantly test the well being, patience, nerves and physical composure of all team members and therefore we rightfully deserve the name „test team“.
DEFINE „RECOVERY RIDE“
Recovery Ride – As opposed to the common understanding of a recovery ride in standard cycling, a Positivo Espresso recovery ride is defined by the fact that most of the riders attending, will be recovered sooner or later from the roads by firefighters, ambulances or archaeologists eventually („Hm, high BMI index and DuraAce 7800 group set – probably an investment banker from the early 21st century I would guess.“). The average speed will be ridiculous high and climbs can be long and painful. However, regardless of distance and elevation, a recovery ride must include a statement in the official announcement that it will be finished in the early hours of the afternoon.
Again, if it comes to organisation of rides and freedom of individual members to do what they please, Positivo Espresso is second only to Bakunin. I understand that some of us are not happy with this and I can understand their point of view. On the other hand, the quest to get our unorganized, undisciplined team changed, i.e. to ride organized, perhaps even in a paceline (!) and stay together has been undertaken by many brave souls and not led to any success so far. I also feel that I am lacking the divine powers to change this. So perhaps it is more important to change expectations. An organized rides, in Positivo Espresso fashions means, that we meet in a somewhat organized fashion.