Got up very early last Saturday, very silently this time so as not to wake up the ladies in the house, to make it to my 9 a.m. appointment in Makuhari Messe, the venue of the annual “Cycle Mode” extravaganza also known as the “Disneyland of Bicycle Freaks & Addicts”. Madone in rinko bag, I arrived at the site at 8:30…
It was under one of those many pedestrian bridges connecting various Makuhari conference and exhibition halls that I underwent my one-hour long ポジションクリニック “position clinic” amidst cold autumnal blasts. The measurements for my custom-built bike (the titanium VLAAMS) were taken in a most efficient tekipaki way on and off the Madone saddle. As part of the “clinic,” I was taught a few secret – or rather (h)esoteric (yes, it all has to do with the “navel”) – lessons on how to improve my hill climb skills. The secret techniques confided to me were quite different from what I had so far read in specialized cycle magazines and publications and the ever-doubting Thomas I am, I was rather skeptical about the new recipe’s merit. When I tried out the heso “belly button trick” the next day, however, I was simply amazed and filled with sheer rapture at the obvious difference…I was going up the Mt. Takao Otarumi-tōge at an average of 15~16km/h compared to my usual 13~14km/h!
Once inside the Cycle Mode venue, I happily met with Thierry and my namesake whose green bike (what a weird saddle!) was very prominently displayed there by the eager sponsor. The first 30 minutes were exciting but as more and more bicycle energumen & -women were streaming in, the whole place became too uncomfortable for me to stay much longer and I was homeward bound by noon. Made a few water mouthing discoveries though, the most attractive one being an all-carbon set of OEM-produced aerodynamic clincher (!) wheels priced at less than 10-man yen (produced by Light-Cycle Bicycle Shop).
Following a late lunch at home, I called David to confirm the time and place of our rendezvous in Futakotamagawa. A rather intense feeling of sadness overtook me when I mounted my Madone for the very last time…some 90 minutes later I parted with my trusted workhorse who, starting next year, is slated to graze on the landscapes of England. May she make the next owner as happy as she made me!
Before getting into bed, I refitted my Colnago CLX – paying careful attention to the saddle’s position according to KH’s instructions. Sunday’s ride was one I had been looking forward to with much anticipation most of all because it had been such a long time since I last rode with the guy who caused my cycle mania three years ago.
It turned out to be a perfect day…gorgeous weather, not the slightest wind, beautiful sights along peaceful country roads around Sagamiko. Thanks Laurent for sharing this off-the-beaten-path “Anaba Route” with me! The whole circuit has got to be kept secret like some kind of sanctuary! Here, another analogy can be drawn with mountain stream trout fishing. Just like those so-called "anaba" surefire spots known to only a few anglers, there are these hidden country roads offering intense cycling pleasure that – fortunately enough - get bypassed by most riders.
On our way back, while we were both taking a 7/11 break, a familiar-looking guy on some fancy bike zoomed by at a speed too fast to convince myself who it was. As Laurent would find out an hour or so later, it was indeed the Vélosophe…who was found devouring, Cervélo within sight, a cinnamon & raisin roll at his regular haunt, a bakery called “Flanders”(!)
Late in the afternoon, the weather suddenly changed...kogarashi ichigo had begun its invasion of the Kanto Area with cold blasts presaging winter…better keep those warm gloves handy (in the right place)!
maandag 19 november 2007
zondag 7 oktober 2007
Did exactly the same ride as yesterday but on a different bike...the idea being to decide which bike to take to the "Giro de Hotaka" next month... Weather & traffic conditions were virtually the same...maybe a little more windy today but no rain shower. At first it seemed it would be an easy victory for my workhorse, the Trek Madone...average speed until the foot of Matsuhime (Saruhashi) was 27.2k! It was on the first stretch with a more or less serious climb that the difference became obvious...as soon as I sat down in the saddle after 250m or so "en danseuse," it felt like something was pulling my back wheel! How I suffered...was it fatigue because this was the second day in a row? or was it because this is a normal crank compared to the compact crank on the FKC?...I doubt it was any of those excuses! Proof: even maximum speed was slower than on the FKC!!
Average speed: 24.4 (vs. 25.1 on FKC)
Max speed: 58.3 (vs. 58.5 on FKC)
Time on bike: 8:02 (vs. 7:48 on FKC)
Distance: 196.25 (vs. 196.39 on FKC)
Although the contest ended in a total defeat for Trek Madone, I really enjoyed the ride...autumn weather was gorgeous. This weekend, I used my armwarmers & windbreaker for the first time since Spring. Kazahari was crowded with motorbikes...I've done Kazahari maybe 30 times but never saw so many of them...some kind of sacred congregation?! Once the colder days arrive and the "kouyou zensen" 紅葉前線 autumn leaves front moves further southwards, their number will dwindle away and it will be paradise again for cyclists!
woensdag 25 juli 2007
Alain took the first place in his category but almost missed his gold medal on the podium (as an obedient team member, I was more than happy to take his place & receive the medal from no one less than Miss P-Cup! - not to be featured on this blogsite...sorry). On the podium's very left is our lonely hero from the DDR (Michael of TEAM POSITIVO ESPRESSO).
Zelf nam ik deel aan de 4-uur durende "Enduro" waarin ik op de 23ste plaats eindigde met een ongelooflijke gemiddelde snelheid van 39.07 (dank zij het "drafting effect" van het peloton)!!
This is the "hidden & secret" entrance point to the steepest mountain slope in all of the Greater Tokyo Area...Kazahari Rindo...rumored to have areas with an incline of +18%. I only go there if I feel I have good legs or when I'm in need of a crash training session prior to a hillclimb event. The road is more or less a private road with almost no traffic (closed by gates at the top).
Kazahari...the name is slightly reminiscent of Kazakhstan.... 1,146 m at its highest point, this mountain pass boasts the highest paved road in the Greater Tokyo Area. This road, which runs between the town of Itsukaichi and the artificial lake of Okutama, is part of my cycling turf. It is ridable almost all year long except for the colder winter months when the road gets icy or covered with snow.