vrijdag 30 april 2010

39th 東京⇒糸魚川ファスト・ラン

Last year' s TOP 15 ...how will I fare this year ( 年齢別 1 )?

Andy has the same starting time and it looks like Japan's fastest bike shop owner Nishitani-san is competing this year as well ...those two should be a very close match!

Will try to take advantage of this GW as much as possible to get into my best form but even so, I seriously doubt if I can stay in Andy's wheel even as far as Sasago !

donderdag 29 april 2010

False note

"There will probably be a rain shower around noon but nothing heavy enough to deter me from completing my super-long training ride"....is how I was boasting to my PE buddies yesterday.

Left as usual on my asaren with Saruto, Yamazaki, Ichiro and Narashi. It was windy and we weren't cruising like we usual do, getting caught at every other traffic light instead. As it is still early in the season, I had another easy "victory" cresting Umechan first in outer ring. Soon Narashi and Yamazaki will become unbeatable again. For the first time we tried the new Sankus convenience store on the left side following Umechan and I was happy to find my favorite Kanipan. Today's plan was to see me off at Kori and I would continue solo to Yanagisawa and beyond. Suddenly, "ameotoko" Ichiro decided to join me as far as Yanagisawa and the two of us were going fast through the Okutama tunnels, taking turns up front. Slowly but surely however, the skies turned grey and it got increasingly windy. Soon the first drops came down but "nothing heavy enough to deter us from pushing ahead". As we got to Tabayamamura, however, the rain was all over and to make matters worse, Ichiro got an instant puncture going down over the gravel section of ongoing road construction works. Fortunately, we found some nice shelter in the form of a covered car space. Ichiro fixed his front tire but the rain wouldn't stop and looking in the south, it seemed like more and more rainclouds were approaching.

This is when Michael called! The PE bunch got stuck in Ome (where else!) and Michael wanted to find out if it was still raining further up higher in the mountains... "Let's meet then at Tamajiman!", said Michael, and I realized this was probably the last time I will hear Michael's voice....how sad but the memories will always be there. Ichiro and I rode back home without making any stop and I got home at 13:00, hot lavender bath waiting!

This year's Golden Week got off on a false note but I'm sure there will be at least a couple beautiful sunny days for riding "super-long" distances !

Spent a nice afternoon with my wife, grocery shopping and sampling some whisky from Japan and Scotland (both are good!) Today's ride details.

zondag 18 april 2010

15th Tour de Kusatsu

Watch me trying to accelerate in a ridiculously heavy gear...video made by team mate here .... Must work on my spinning !!!

RESULT: 20th (out of 550) in 41~50 age group with a time of 0:47:34.92...

Photo credit: Specialized DJ

Spent a nice weekend in Kusatsu with people of TCC and their friends. Kusatsu is no longer the cubbyhole "kojinmari" -type of hillclimb race it used to be...this year's 15th edition officially counted as many as 2,376 participants (although there were a couple hundreds of DNStarters). A bit too many to my liking so I decided this will be my last Tour de Kusatsu until I'm in my fifties....perhaps.

Had a great time though at Kojima-ryokan with the TCC people. Met an old NFCC friend as well; Kenichi was helping out at the Graphite Design booth. Graphite Design is a Japanese maker famous for its carbon shafts used in golf clubs and recently branched out into carbon cycles with the help of former Bridgestone Anchor engineers. The same guy who designed the famous Anchor Neocot is now in charge of the Graphite Design carbon bikes. His mission is to design carbon frames "that feel like and have the same "pliancy" as steel frames. The 2 models (lugged and monocoque) on display looked very attractive.

The race itself was much too short but still a hard nut to crack because of the sometimes icy strong headwinds. Decided not to hang around too long after the race and rode down and back right to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi station where I was the only (first) cyclist to board the 13:38 express train to Omiya after eating my traditional bowl of tempura soba at the station. The lady at the tempura shop recognized me from the past years and served me a free cup of coffee. Took only 1 picture this time....on the JR Tokkyu Kusatsu 32-go train taking me home....

zondag 11 april 2010

Supposed to be a warm-down...

Did this morning's asaren with David L. and Jerome. What was supposed to be my warm-down turned into a rather speedy ride with a moving average of 29.2km/h...including 2 umechans (梅ヶ谷峠) ! Jerome was particularly impressive having slimmed down some 8 kilos. We took a break at the 7/11 situated at the Omekaido T-junction and my plan was to double back here. Just when I was about to mount my bike, I noticed that my rear tire was flat...again !! Third puncture in two days and this time on a different bike. How is it possible? The last time I punctured on the road was probably 2 years ago. Hope I will be spared this misery at Itoigawa!

zaterdag 10 april 2010

punctured twice

Too exhausted to write anything meaningful. Almost got killed by a very malicious tourist bus driver. Caught up and cursed him to hell in flemish (that felt good), plus I took a picture of his numberplate. Metal splinter pierced my back tyre but only found out after the second "slow puncture". At 1600m+ height on Kamihikawa (still closed for the winter season), I run into a female deer wearing only a dazzling white miniskirt - chased her for a while until she disappeared into the bushes. Got out my camera a little too late. Lots of insects out - mayflies in particular - a big one got under my sunglasses and into my right eye....