zondag 20 mei 2012

Silver Medal Podium!


Every year so special…every year I mutter to myself “this is the last time” and every year I find myself caught in this irreversible cycle.  The wheel of time had turned, and put me in a brand-new half-century…for the first time competing in the 50+ category.  “All right…podium chance!” I reckoned and so I went on 2-month long complete abstinence from alcohol gulping down muscle-fit proteins mixed into fat-free milk and “effortlessly” (it wasn’t easy at first) reducing my weight down to 61 in the process.

 

As my former VLAAMS team had completely disbanded in the wake of 3.11, I signaled late last year that I was in search of a team willing to take me on board.  Andy W. and his mightyじょんのびTime team supervised by the charismatic Enosan agreed to accept me and were most helpful in signing me up and organizing the event.  Such a nice team with so many different great characters including a skilled masseur who impulsively grabbed at and shook my nose bone as if he wanted to make sure I wasn’t wearing a fake party nose (don’t really blame him).

 

The happy Jonnnobi team gathered together at this wonderful winery-cum-onsen called Budo-no-oka.  We all feasted on hearty portions of jingisukan (Genghis Khan) barbecue meat that I washed down with Katsunuma red wine.  Dinner was followed by a general strategic team meeting to share shortcuts and other course tactics with each other.  Before a short-night’s rest, the team got into the rotemburo bath where we were treated to magnificent panorama of the Yamanashi mountain basin.

 

The Jonnobi team bus took our bikes to Manriki park while we had the luxury of being chauffeured all the way to the startline!  Feeling greatly indebted to Jonnobi’s incredible and very professional support team.  As it was chillier than we had expected, Andy asked the organizer Takahashi-san if our start time could be moved up a bit and so we took off 30 minutes earlier at 6:00 in the company of 3 mean-looking Tour-de-France youngsters – one complete with “oortjes” in his left ear.  Those meanies stuck with us and spoilt any attempt at sensible, intelligent co-operating…what a pest!  They were clearly out to put sticks in between our spokes and continually pestered Andy until the final kilometers.  I had to let go before the first 50k mark before it was too late to find my own rhythm which I did and could hold onto until the end without cramping once (a first!).

 

The new Fuefuku-Itoigawa course is much nicer and scenic than the original Takao-Itoigawa course and we were blessed with splendid weather conditions.  I cherished every moment and only made one プチミスコース (“petit course miss”) turning into a left road instead of entering a tunnel but costing me no more than 15 minutes.  A very pleasant surprise was the last stretch along the coast with rollers a-la-Onekan but only a bit longer.

 

Returned to Fuchu same day with David L. and some of the TCC buddies and treated myself to a HUGE Elijah Craig & amaretto godfather.  Very nice reports & recommended reading here (Tim G.S. Astuto) and here (David L. Positivo Espresso) and here (Andy W.)

 

Many thanks again to Andy and the super Jonnobi Time team!

zaterdag 12 mei 2012

Lake Kanna & Maze-toge Loop

ITOIGWAWA...here we come!

Ideal body weight finally within reach...Sirius Ti-1 in top condition...silky smooth shifting (thanks Koyama-san / thanks Nishitani-san)...SMP Forma saddle excellent support on the climbs...battery recharge system flawless!
254km @ moving average of 26.1km/h

zondag 6 mei 2012

Brief morning ride

With stormy weather and hail predicted for the mountain areas, I opted out of the planned TCC "Ghost Town" ride today and went on my standard 3-hour morning ride instead...




zaterdag 5 mei 2012

Muze Park~Nihongi-toge Loop

Splendid May weather...but large traffic snarl-up on 299 all the way to Chichibu, GW vacationers on their way to view the shibazakura fields prominently featured on the NHK news.  The rest of the ride through Muze Park and over Nihongi-toge was beautiful.  Sunlight at its strongest...got water blisters all over both arms - sun screen to no avail.  Kirishima approach to Nihongi was closed to traffic due to a landslide that had caused one-third of the road to collapse but posing no danger to cyclists.  Tried out a new saddle: the selle SMP...many buddies these days are using them, even Laurent D. was praising its qualities earlier this GW.  Based on Nishitani-san's explanation, I went for the Forma model.  The product description on the package is rather explicit and if one does not read it carefully, one may get the impression that it is some kind of sex toy!  The saddle's "eagle beak shape" performed as touted, meaning nothing got squashed!