Old birds, no monkeys & a moose knuckle

After missing 2 early morning spinning sessions I was feeling guilty about being unreliable so I woke up before my alarm. Humphrey and I ventured outside and ascertained it was indeed chilly. My pleasant discovery of the day was that the guilt I had been feeling for missing the Thursday morning spinning session was in fact mistaken as today James K, he of the huge(-ish) quads, let it slip that he too was in such a state after our Wednesday night out that he did not make it either. The pain on Thursday morning was worth it as the previous night I attended an excellent concert by Jools Holland, met him and one of his guest singers, Ruby Turner, for who I worked as security in 1984 when she came to perform at my university. I also bumped into the principal of my children’s school but luckily that was only mid-evening and I was able to pull off the „responsible parent act“. Digression no.1 over. 

James K, Michael H, Shane, Jamie (not actually in the Cervelo Test Team), and dangerous looking newcomer, Peter, met at Ebisu. It should be noted that this week Jamie was playing the part of Euro-Cyclist by wearing an all white top. Thankfully this was not accompanied by white booties and if he was wearing a gold chain it was not visible. Although impressed with dangerous-looking Peter’s exquisite taste in windbreaker (Rapha), the Garmin team jersey peaking out from underneath was disconcerting. I soon learnt that he came 2nd in his age group at the Singapore Iron-Man. While on the subject of the Iron-Man allow me one more digression to share with you a priceless comment from Jerome last week: „The Iron-Man is painful for me as I tend not to train much beforehand“. Hard as nails him.

Along the river Jamie filled the role usually taken by Jerome by leading off at a blistering pace. It was Michael’s first ride for a while and he was thinking it was going to be a long day…… Jamie and Peter split off towards Takao and the rest headed uneventfully to The Aurore Bakery in Ome. Shockingly today they had not baked any Royal Milk Bread, the staple diet which sits heavily in the stomachs of PE riders. Perhaps they know that the newly appointed Professor of Cyclology is leaving these shores. Upon enquiry the baker steered me to something smaller with sliced almonds atop which he promised was made from the same dough. Tasted similar, but just wasn’t the real thing. Worth noting that early Saturday morning prices are Y100 for any pastry.

Leaving Ome Michael soon fell behind. As mentioned above he had not ridden for a while and it took him about 100m to work out the reason he couldn’t clip into has pedals was that he had not removed his cleat covers. This happened again amidst the throngs of fans as we were leaving Shinjuku station to head home. He was swallowed up by the crowd and not seen again.

From Ome we crossed the river to Yoshino-kaido and rode to Okutamako. We stopped at the PE-orange bridge for a photo, partly out of deference to our spiritual leader who will depart Japan soon. While posing for photos a group of Japanese riders in full bright gear flashed past us, probably amazed to see 4 riders none of who had any logos or sponsorship on their clothing. This must have struck them as very odd as they passed us for a 2nd look when we stopped for water stop at Watanabe & Watanabe’s (below).

There is no recorded visit here by Herge, author of the Tintin books and creator of the characters of Thompson & Thomson (Dupont & Dupont in the original French text), but he must have somehow got inspiration from W & W.

Allowing for digression no. 3 it is interesting to note that in the Greek version of Tintin books Thompson & Thomson are know asΝτυπόν and Ντιπόν. In other languages: Tik & Tak (Arabic), Schultze & Schulze (German), Dupont & Duvon (Japanese), Uys & Buys (Afrikaans) and Hernandez and Fernandez (Spanish). Now you know.

Along Rte 139 we climbed the beautiful climb to the top of Matsuhime (officially 1,250m and my Garmin agreed). Views were stunning and road condition was good with most snow having melted. It wasn’t until I was 50m from the top that I realised I had been there before with mob last year.

That time we had climbed from the other side and caught up and rode with a middle aged Japanese lady (Y.I.) with a triple up front who knew more routes than all PE riders combined. I remember being so exhausted that my only contribution to the conversation was a few grunts. While enjoying the views we chatted to 2 local riders who came tearing up the hill a few minutes after us. Both weighed 60kg or less, had single digit body fat and were the proverbial lungs-on-a-stick. Cheating.

We endured a cold descent towards Otsuki with headwinds blasting at us through the tunnels. In true PE tradition we did not exactly stick to the plan but made a detour to Sarubashi for an ice-cream. This gave Michael the opportunity to charm the local old birds running the shops.

No monkeys were spotted on the famous bridge. Note that this trip missed out on the obligatory pointless ride. We went to Otsuki, bought plenty of beer for recovery and boarded the train to Shinjuku. While a young lady diagonally opposite us was clearly checking out Michael’s and my sculpted leg muscles, James had to endure a moose knuckle (taking a photo could have led to arrest).

Shane, James and I stopped for a beer at Bondi Cafe in Hiroo. This place is the idealost-ride venue. Indoor and outdoor seating, welcomes humans, dogs, children and even lycra-clad cyclists. All I will say is the manager is extremely easy on the eye and a far cry from the obasan of Sarubashi (half the age and weight, double the height and good power to weight ratio). This place is a worthy candidate for Positivo-Espresso club-house (central Tokyo chapter) and I herewith propose it for official approval.

147km, 1843m of climbing, 6hrs 20 in the saddle and 4 beers.

2 Kommentare

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2 Antworten zu “Old birds, no monkeys & a moose knuckle

  1. Nice ride! What I admire most is your ability to down so much beer after a ride. I think that would harder for me than doing another long climb…May I point out that the German version of Tintin is called "Tim und Struppi"…And while we are at it – you will agree that you climbed just a little over 1,250m, since there isn't much up and down before and after the peak…

  2. Beer drinking is just one of a wide repertoire of skills.The actual ride statistics were 135,720.4772km with approx. 34,567.2345m of climbing. We like to omit the actual accurate data lest other riders become too dis-heartened at their woeful inadequacies.I am pretty good at eating pies too.

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