Tagesarchiv: 22. Februar 2010
No Davids in sight. Also no slot machines.
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.
Mishima and Atami are two adjacent stops on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. By Shinkansen train, it takes precisely 8 minutes to travel. It took Ludwig and me almost 10 hours on Saturday.Shinkansen lines are almost straight, direct lines, connecting points with each others. Moreover, they rarely cover higher elevations, so a lot of tunneling and bridging works are required to built these railways. As we didn’t dare to run with our bikes on the Shinkansen tracks, the second best option to ride from Mishima to Atami is to take natinal road number 1 which leads through Hakone and includes a nasty and congested climb and a ridiculously steep downhill from Atami Toge. Yes, 32 km of joyless riding over some big hills. Conclusion: The best way to get from A to B is not necessarily the shortest straight line. Ludwig and me wanting to avoid the mountains, chose the road which circumferences the mountain ridge at Hakone. Unfortunately the ridge continues until the tip of Izu peninsular so our trip on Saturday looked like this:I admit that we cheated in the very South and took a shortcut over Jaishi Toge which turned out to be the highest pass of the day at 370 m elevation.
This time we found the way out of Mishima rather fast and arrived at the West coast road in time when suddenly I felt my leg hurting and my bicycle moving somehow strange. A short inspection revealed, that I have broken another spoke on my Zonda rear wheel, the one next to the one which has been exchanged last month. Luckily Ludwig had a spoke wrench tool with him so we could somehow true the wheel and continue to Atami.The West coast was beautiful as always with blue skies but too dizzy to see mount Fuji in the back. Although the road runs along the coast, there are a lot of ups and downs and it is not easy to keep a good pace. So when we arrived at Matsuzaki, we opted to take the Jaishi road, which was also more pleasant to ride than the rather busy main road along the coast.In Shimoda we met David (another one, not one of the Davids mentioned recently on this blog) and took a look at his sailing boat which he is currently outfitting for the trip from Shimoda to Sydney. He told me before about his plans so I expected a huge boast, two masts at least, perhaps 20 meters long, cannons sticking out from every possible opening, the Jolly Rodger hoisted at the top… but no, this was a rather small boat, which looks to be suitable to cross the Tamagawa for example. But again, I am no expert in sailing.We approved the port but not the boast and then continued to have a quick lunch at the Lawson in front of Shimoda station. Is it OK under Japanese regulations to sit in front of convenience stores in urban locations and check mails on the Blackberry?Now we had a nice tailwind when we rode North along the East coast. But there was also a lot of traffic which was due to the fact that many visitors came to see the blooming plum trees in Izu. Or perhaps the blooming cherry trees. Ludwig and me saw a lot of blooms along the way, but he being an economist and me being an engineer, we couldn’t decide whether they were plums of cherries. Or both.For the first time this year I had the feeling that spring is now knocking on the door. Spring, the season where you suddenly fall in love with the girl selling Tofu at the local supermarket and you start to plan ridiculous long cycling tours for the summer.
Traffic became now really terrible. And drivers in Izu are bad. Or perhaps they are from Tokyo and want to return as fast as possible and they are ready with there nerves.And some of them don’t brake for cyclists. This might be, because they drive Toyotas and they don’t brake for anything because they cannot brake at all.
I started to think about what would have happened if the recent quality issues with Toyota would have happened with Shimano group sets and which countermeasures could be enacted:
„Dear Shimano Dura Ace 7800 group set customer. We are sorry to inform you that under certain circumstances the following situation might happen: You are riding on your bike and you want to brake, however instead of braking you feel the urge to pedal full speed ahead as fast as you can go. Even if you brake you cannot come to a stop any longer. If this has happened, please bring your bike to an authorized Shimano dealer who will upgrade your bike so that in case you pedal full speed and you pull both brake levers as hard as you can, the crank will disengage from the front cog and you will come to an immediate, sudden and perhaps painful stop.“
Now, we took another longer road to avoid the traffic shortly before Ito city (the pointless ride tradition )and I could convince Ludwig that we must complete our original goal and reach Atami in daylight. Which we actually did. Just milli-seconds before the last photon of the day was shot in direction Atami station from the sun, we managed to arrive and take a wonderful evidence photo.
All in all, it was for both of us a trip that involved more than 200 km distance and more than 2.300 meters elevation. I still wonder if we wouldn’t have been faster going over Hakone.