Forty-eight! “Still so young!,” commented lovable Saruto-san. Six VLAAMS members left this morning from Koremasa-bridge under very pleasant weather conditions. As usual Saruto-san did most of the pulling, safely guiding us as far as Itsukaichi.
Just before we were readying ourselves for the traditional Umechan mini-race, both Saruto-san and Nagashi-san hit a big piece of black rock, almost invisible against a background of black tarmac. Saruto-san was safe but Nagashi-san punctured. We were all amazed to see how little pressure Nagashi-san pumps into his tires…less than 6 bars I think but then this guy is a real featherweight fighter. On the last curve going up Umechan, Nagashi-san almost caught up with me – hillclimbs are his speciality – but since we are still early in the season, he has not worked up enough power yet.
Today, the Super Six was rolling incredibly smooth again and as soon as we passed Okutama, I took my turn leading the pack. Nagashi-san doubled back halfway to the Tomin-no-mori turn-off and after a while I was cruising ahead all by myself. I took a rest at the soba shop facing the Ura-kazahari bridge until Undo-san and Saruto-san arrived.
Saruto-san and I went ahead at a leisurely pace climbing Kazahari while chatting about tenkara fly fishing and fly tying, motorbikes and many other topics. I told Saruto-san how I used to ride my off-road bike to fishing spots deep in the mountains many, many years ago trying to catch yamame trout. Posted an old picture of me as I was leaving with my tent to some remote place in Nagano. Fishing was a nice hobby and I’m sure some day, I’ll get hooked again!
About half-way our descent towards Itsukaichi, Saruto-san suddenly veered to the other side of the road…here is this most lovely bakery run by two charming ladies! After a while 36go-san joined us and we were feasting on delicious cinnamon-raison and other pastries. How many times have I zoomed passed this place…never knew this was a bakery!
I arrived home around 1 o’ clock, had lunch and then dated my wife doing some shopping together. Got a nice bottle of Hibiki 12 Years Whiskey for my birthday...in two years when I turn 50, I’ll get a Hibiki 17 Years bottle! Wow...something more worth living for!
Today, I never shifted to my inner chain ring…not even once, even going up Kazahari and funny enough, it works! “Yareba dekiru!” I thought. It was of course a great incentive to have judge Saruto-san besides me so I could resist the temptation at times to shift and keep working on my pulling-the-pedals technique instead. Hope this will help me move up Fujimi-toge a little faster than usual next Saturday!
zaterdag 15 mei 2010
donderdag 10 september 2009
Accidentally came across some old photographs taken more than fifteen or so years ago wearing the outfit of the most successful Belgian team at that time.
The lime-green aluminum Giant CADEX 2 was my first "road racer" since I came to Japan. In retrospect, I really liked those down tube gear levers and I am now wondering if it would be possible to have similar shifters fixed onto the down tube of my neocot Anchor...
I remember paying 110,000 yen for this Giant but I only rode it for two years exclusively along the Tamasai (which was much less crowded in those days!). Much poorer housing conditions at the time meant that I had to leave my Giant outdoors...cables started to rust, body weight continued to raise and I somehow lost interest in road racing...
The other two pictures were probably taken around the same time (same outfit) with my visiting younger brother 10 years my junior and sporting exceedingly fashionable shades (they were!). Back then, my brother's athletic phsyique (update: 174 cm / 58 kg - now 70 kg!) came near to that of a pro hillclimber while I was in a different class all together! Be that as it may be, for two or three August days, we simply terrorized the entire Tamasai at breakneck speeds even and especially against strong headwinds; no road racer was fast enough for us!
I continued to ride this tandem with my wife until she became too scared and/or too occupied with child rearing. For many years now, this tandem has been slowly rusting inside a piece of tarp in our backyard. I guess it would still be perfectly ride-able if the chains and wires are replaced but devoid of a decicated stoker, I simply see no point in doing so. I suppose this dear tandem is now ripe for the junk yard / scrap dealer unless - and I welcome anybody - someone is interested in inheriting this piece of metal from me!