Berichten weergeven met het label Team NFCC. Alle berichten weergeven
Berichten weergeven met het label Team NFCC. Alle berichten weergeven

zaterdag 2 mei 2009

Too tired!

Left home at 6:00 to join the VLAAMS morning training ride. My intention was to do 240km or so riding all day. After I parted from my Vlaams companions on top of Yamabushi-toge, I did a repeat of last week cycling along the Green Line. On my way down to Sadamine-toge, I ran into my old teammate GORO, easily recognisable wearing his white Catlike helmet and NFCC outfit on his blue NFCC-supplied Fury bike. It was still early in the morning (around 9:00 I think) and I was surprised to find GORO so deep in the mountains already. After some chitchat, we continued our ways, GORO homewards and I to my Kinshoji bakery. I felt tired from too little sleep during my Taiwan trip earlier this week and abondoned my plan for a long ride. I got home before 14:00 with (only) 170km in the saddle. I dropped by O-Vest and had Nishitani-san take a look at the Mavic front wheel that was giving me trouble in Kusatasu. He disassembled the hub, cleaned the inside and in less than 10 minutes the play was gone. Tomorrow I will try to add a little more distance while the weather is still pleasant. For the second half of "Golden Week" rain is predicted...

zaterdag 6 december 2008

Second morning ride with VLAAMS Tamasai

Assembled with some buddies from the VLAAMS Tamasai team at Koremasa at 6:30. Surprisingly, it did not feel that cold and the neckwarmer was of no use for the rest of the day. We cycled direction Itsukaichi first and from there to Ikusabata up to the foot of Yamabushi-toge. Here I parted from my friends who were only on a half-day outing. I continued to Chichibu and from there took Rd11 over Sadamine-toge all the way to Karibazaka-toge. The road was still wet from yesterday's rain in shadowy places of the mountain and with plenty of fallen leaves. I took the curves extra careful.

With Karibazaka-toge just one bend away, I ran into Irishman Denis! Earlier this week, Kodama-san had invited Denis and I for a bonenkai but I unfortunately couldn't attend. It looks like this Higashi Chichibu area is where Denis has been honing his superb hillclimbing skills. After a brief chitchat I descended and then climbed up again to Shomaru-toge and from there the usual route homewards for a total of 175km at an average speed of 24.7 km/h.

I think I will be cycling more often with the VLAAMS Tamasai people next year as I have decided to leave Team NFCC. Team NFCC and its founder Stephan will be embarking upon a new adventure on a much higher level and bigger scale - way too elite & way too ambitious for me - with a focus on attracting and coaching young, BR1-level riders with potential to race on an international & professional level ... http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipe_cycliste_NFCC Always admired Stephan's big dream and his passion for the sport and I wish him and the team every success in the future.

My own ambition for next year - in terms of cycling - is a much more modest one, doing only a small selection of hillclimbs, probably Kusatsu (with TCC), Mt.Fuji, Utsukushigahara and Shiobara and a few long-distance races: Takao-Itoigawa Fast Run and Giro de Hotaka (with TCC).

zondag 12 oktober 2008

LSD around Chichibu

















Second day of sanrenkyu....it was raining all morning on the first day of the long weekend forcing me to cancel an eargerly anticipated ride with my daughter. This morning I woke up quite early as always on a normal weekday and left the house at 6:15.

The Positivo Espresso guys - as I learned only late last evening - had set their mind on a Doshimichi ride to Yamanakako...for me a bit too plain a vanilla...I was longing for different rich flavors like pistache, pumpkin, dark cherry...and perhaps some new seasonal tastes.

Today was a splendid autumn day....a beautiful deep sky, dry air, a refreshing wind, kinmokusei and other delicate autumn perfumes in the air, cosmos and many other autumn flowers along the way.

I decided to try the TCC-designed Okumusashi Madness ride after three unsuccessful tries earlier this summer. My VLAAMS was riding very smooth but I regretted today's saddle choice...I find the AX Lightness comfortable even for longer rides, however, this little plank made of carbon can be so squeaky it is almost nerve-racking!

At the summit of Shomaru I had a very clear view of Shinjuku. At the bottom I rode that stretch back along R.299 to the entrance point leading to Ka(o)buri-toge. I opted for te normal rindo not the road over the pancakes this time. Cosmos were growing abundantly on both sides of the road.

Following a succession of smaller hills, I reached Karibazaka-toge in no time...and then proceeded to Shiraishi-toge. This is the playground of Goro of Team NFCC and I have had a yearning to climb this mountain pass for quite some time. Well...the hill did not turn out what I had bargained for! In no time and without braking a sweat I reached a crossroads with 白石峠 marked on signboards...this can't be the famous Shiraishi-toge I thought so I asked a couple cyclists who were taking a rest. Sure enough, this was it! A bit disappointed I continued direction Chichibu along Rd 11...this would be a very nice road if it didn't have those annoying and dangerous speeding-prevention elevated strips...I almost lost control over my handle!

As I approached Chichibu, the majestic silhouette of Bukoyama showed up...in olden times this mountain must have been much more impressive before the cement plants began to hack away its flanks...poor mountain.

I visited a few temples that are regularly visited by pilgrims and part of the famous "Fudasho-meguri" circuit. At Chichibu Station I had Chinese noodles with gyoza. It was still only 11:30 but I was starving.

For the return trip I avoided the Shomaru tunnel and enjoyed a medium-fast ride to Ome and from there along the Okutama-kaido (so many traffic lights!) to Fussa Tamagawa.

I intend to go again tomorrow...this time cutting the Ka(o)buri and other toges and riding straight into Chichibu for a pilgimage by bike.

zondag 5 oktober 2008

Fourth Suponichi Shiobara Onsen Hillclimb












Bridgestone Cycling Cup Road Race Tournament & Eight Race of the 2008 JCRC Road Series

Yesterday and today Michael and I - both representing Team NFCC (officially) and Team Positivo Espresso (off the record) - were in Nasu Shiobara to participate in the two-day Shiobara Onsen Hillclimb event: yesterday a 6.9 km “hillclimb time trial” and today a 19.2 km “road race”.


The rural mountain village of Shiobara Onsen boasts the second largest hot spring area in Tochigi Pref. with the most popular hot springs located along the Houkigawa (箒川)river. We were staying at a recently renovated pension called Honjin (本陣, http://e-honjin.net/)in a very convenient location not too far from the event’s venue, “Hako-no-mori Playpark” and within the ideal “warm-up distance” to Tepco Shiobara Land, the startline of today’s road race. Pension Honjin prides itself on owning its very own hotspring source and the mineral content thereof is allegedly one of the best in the entire area. The okamisan is a sweet elderly lady who runs the place with her son and daughter in law (or perhaps her daughter and son in law)…the facilities were very clean and the cuisine was a great enjoyment enhanced with a cheap but OK bottle of red wine from the local supermarket.

After we checked in, Michael and I left Honjin to examine the road race parcourse and the event’s base camp in Hako-no-mori at the foot of the majestic 1,392 meter high Yatarozan 弥太郎山 mountain formation.

We took a few funny pictures to be featured on the Positivo Espresso weblog, enjoyed a hearty meal at the Hell’s Angels’ local hangout and returned to our room for a siesta and a review of our game plan. Michael kept repeating the numbers of the guys I was supposed to push off the road so he can most assuredly clinch victory in the JCRC 2008 series! I tried to input those figures into my head and visualize myself as the bad guy in the Benhur amphitheatre producing daggers out of his chariot’s wheels, “de-spoke-ing” and sending his rivals - chariots and all - into orbit. Come to think of it, for some reason, the movie stars I am told to resemble are always the evil, bad guys…like that double agent in Snake Eyes.

At the start line of the time trial we soon found Goro beaming in his pink Finalow Jersey. Michael pointed all his direct rivals out to me to make double sure they were going to get eliminated…ah…all the pressure on my shoulders as if it was not under enough pressure already. I was supposed to “bucchigiri” escape and leave my D Class competitors behind with a wide margin according to Hiroshi who claimed the JCRC “D Class” is only for first-timers…beginners!

In the same D Class, I met one somewhat taciturn guy from Hiroshi’s Keihin Pista club as well as Yoshinori’s good friend. Yoshinori, very unfortunately, recently broke his femur as was solo riding a tour of Japan. His thigh has in the meantime been fixed with titanium rods and bolts…my closest rival getting even lighter and stronger…awesome!

Five seconds left, four, three, two, one…I took off behind Michael and immediately accelerated en danseuse raising my heartbeat almost to max. In no time I was fighting against the hill all by myself. It is funny what can go on in one’s head as one is desperately trying to stay in the race. The most crazy excuses for forfeiting the race keep popping up…on the road surface I saw several motionless snake-like insects and I imagined I was a research entomologist coming across a very rare species. Get off the bike and scoop up the creature!

The course turned out to be less steep than I had feared with several flat stretches allowing me to get my breath back and make up distance on my closest rivals in the big chainring. I finished in less than 25 minutes in 15th place (out of 33) my only solace being the fact that the fourteen guys who finished before me are a lot younger (the youngest a 13-year old boy…incroyable mais vrai!).

With less than 800 meters left just before the last bend, Michael met with bad luck in the shape of a sharp stone or was it chestnut burr? In a very pathetic and touching moment, Michael arrived running pulling his deflated Cervelo over the finish line to the compassionate applause of the organizers and Bridgestone pros.

Following a few more funny pictures and some chitchatting with Aichan on the Hako-no-mori lawn, we headed back to pension Honjin but not before getting Michael his reward of the day…ice cream from the local supermarket! Thirty minutes later, we put our feet up in the hot bath, soothing away all aches and pains and before 21:00 found ourselves in the Land of Nod!

This morning, we woke up at 5:00…and I took breakfast consisting of pumpkin bread, a banana, yoghurt and a cup of cold coffee. 6:00…time to leave for Tepco Shiobara Land, I carefully lowered the bikes outside on the ground right through the window of our room…this arrangement couldn’t be more convenient…no need for negotiating with the okamisan and carrying the bikes through the entrance.

At the start line, I greeted Nakano-san, the owner of my bike shop, Friend Syokai. Michael and I were in the very front row of our “D Class” group but I only managed to stay in front until the top of the first small hill...no bucchigiri! In no time I was overtaken by more than 10 very eager and aggressive riders…no, those are not beginners Hiroshi! I could somehow stay with a group right behind the leaders until the Rd 266 turn-off and hillclimb part of yesterday. Very happily, I was able to find a good rhythm alternating some “out of the saddle in big chainring” and some “final 27T-low” moulinette pedaling (I forewent the normal 12-25T cassette after all and it turned out to be a wise decision). With the finish line in sight, I outsprinted a guy who had been constantly overtaking me with surprising ease.

Michael arrived a few minutes later both wheels still fully inflated and looking like a cat that had just swallowed a canary!

Gunma here we come!

dinsdag 30 september 2008

Shiobara Hillclimb Time Trial & Road Race


Michael and I will participate this coming weekend in the 8th race of the JCRC 2008 series - also named the "Bridgestone Cycle Cup Road Race Competition" - at Shiobara Onsen. I think I'm in pretty good shape thanks to the recent Hotaka training sessions with my friends from TCC! We'll see! The incline does not look too steep so I intend to use a normal 12-25T cassette....
For me, the Day Two road race part will be the main event...my strategy is to go full blast from the start - even launch a crazy escape - until the 266 turn-off and the start point of the Day One time trial...from that point I will just take it easy and enjoy the scenery!

zaterdag 23 augustus 2008

Another wet ride…

Atmospheric depression approaching from the south, cold air from the north…today’s ride started under overcast skies and temperatures felt more like October than August. I had arrived 20 minutes too early at Sekidobashi and just as I was trying to re-position my cleats, Travis, sparkling gold ring half hidden under his glove, showed up. We were soon joined by Kotaro, Deej, Thomas, Kenichi and Goro who made it just in time.

We decided to leave without Sergey and David after we waited another 5 minutes or so for them to turn up, figuring they most likely forfeited today’s outing due to the poor weather. David whose most reliable locomotive on crowded Tamagawa and Asakawa cycling roads was dearly missed, did however make a very brief appearance just as our troupe left the Takao 7/11 behind for a sprint up the Otarumi hill. On our way to Takao, it had been drizzling constantly and it didn’t look like the skies would clear up. It was unanimously decided to abandon today’s ambitious ride plan (for the occasion named “OHSMK-Loop,” an acronym standing for 5 more or less serious hills: Otarumi, Hinazuru, Suzugane, Matsuhime and Kazahari) and do a mini version (Otarumi + reverse Wada) instead.

With more than half of the Otarumi climb still remaining, I was already made the laterne rouge, no matter how hard I tried to hang on Thomas’ wheel. Since our last ride together in Kusatsu, Thomas has really metamorphosed into an awesome mountain killer. I wasn’t too happy with the position of the cleat on the right shoe forcing the tip of my foot inwards. As such, I was unable to exert a pulling force and make even rotations (here I am making up excuses for my poor performance again!).

With only 700 or so more meters left to the top, I found Goro, Deej and Thomas by the side of the road. Goro apparently had brushed his front wheel against Kenichi’s back wheel just when Kenichi had momentarily dropped speed trying to find a more aggressive gearing ratio. Goro was grimacing in pain holding his shoulder but in no time he took off again like an unstoppable rocket. As soon as we all cleared the summit of Otarumi, however, Goro decided to call it a day.

Kotaro took the lead always followed closely by Thomas. When it comes to descending in the rain, I’m a real sissy…in no time I was trailing far behind the rest. Ahead of Fujino, Kotaro took us on a marvelous little shortcut* leading to “ura-Wada”. This is where we parted from Deej who seemed very keen on attacking Wada from the opposite side.

The five of us (Kotaro, Thomas, Kenichi, me & Travis – mostly in this order) rode through Yuzurihara, also known as “the village of long life” (youthful appearance of the villagers attributed to a molecule called hyaluronic acid (http://www.mimsglobal.net/files/yuzurihara.pdf). At the Kosuge turn-off, the usual road leading to the Kobu tunnels was closed for repair work forcing us to follow a narrow road through what seemed at first the front yard of local farmers. The narrow road went winding up and up very steeply – at two points the inclination must have been more than 20%! A very sweet shortcut though…must try this one again next time I pass through the area! Once through the Kobu tunnels, the descent towards Itsukaichi was superfast with Thomas setting a very strong pace. Following a brief rest at Itsukaichi Station, we headed to the final destination of the original ride plan: Ishikawa brewery! Thomas was not thirsty (??) though and continued his ride along Tamagawa homewards. In spite of the cool and wet weather, the beer tasted fantastic. After we each emptied a couple bottles with some smoked cheese, we parted from Kenichi who rode back to Ome.

Strangely enough, two bottles of beer seemed to have produced a very tonic effect on me, so much that I was at times staring in disbelief at my Cateye. In reality though, it was my right cleat which I finally managed to position in the right angle. It felt great to be able to rotate normally again + there was virtually no headwind at all for a change! I took my leave at Koremasa bridge bidding Travis and Kotaro farewell.

Today’s ride was much too short (116k) but I enjoyed every minute of it (average speed of 27.2 km/h!). Thanks a lot everyone! Next time, I’d like to do the “OHSMK-Loop,” hopefully again as a combined TCC, NFCC and Positivo Espresso team effort!


* Ura-Wada shortcut from R.20: Following the descent of Otarumi, with Sagamigawa 相模川 on your left side, take the first turn right after you pass the Fujinomachi 藤野町 Seven-Eleven. This turn is called Yoshinosho-mae 吉野小前

zondag 17 augustus 2008

Second Tokyo Hillclimb Nariki Stage

Still a bit jetlagged, I left home at 5:15 this morning heading for Stephen & Ryoko's new home in Ikusabata which happens to be very close to the race course of the "Second Tokyo Hillclimb Stage". Midway the Tamagawa CR, a misty rain started to fall and by the time I reached Ome, I was already completely soaked.

I don't remember at what time I arrived at Stephen's place but everyone was still sound asleep (sorry David for waking you up!). Around 7:00, Ryoko came down and fixed us big cups of good coffee, scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon... With a constant and rather strong drizzle outside, nobody seemed in a race mood though and it took forever to cycle to the Nariki reception venue.

With all the rain, the organizers were lenient towards latecomers. We learned that the first stage had been cancelled; only the second and real race part was to be staged as planned. As we were lining up at the start line, I recognized Team NFCC jerseys...Kenichi, Jacques and Stephan who happened to be training in the neighborhood had thoughtfully dropped by to wish us (Michael and I) good luck.

The race pack was divided in several groups according to the "zekken" race number and leaving with 2-minute intervals. I started in front of my group and was riding up front for the first 700 or 800 meters until a rider calling my name overtook me....there was Yoshinori in full action wearing his Belgian National Champion jersey! I was so surprised, I could only mutter "Doumo, doumo!" I tried to follow but Yoshinori's pace was too fast for me. I continued in second position until #435 overtook me....this time I managed to stay in his wheel. Because the road surface was so slippery with mossy patches and metal ditch covers here and there, it was impossible to do much dancing, my favorite way of attacking hills. After a while, I passed Michael who had started 2 minutes ahead in a different group. Amazingly, Michael knew to tell me that I was in third position in my group!

I tried not to jump over #435 "Itchan" and kept myself hidden behind him all the way until a lady shouted "the finish line is now in sight, you're almost there!" That really fired me up and I launched an attack dancing and shifting two gears higher...Itchan, who had been breathing more heavily than me, did not follow allowing me to finish in second position with a comfortable margin. I was relieved and happy to see a tent with tasty pieces of watermelon!

RACE RESULT: 0:19:37 / 77th out of 403 starters / 9th in own age group (41~50) ...next year, I'll try to shave off 2 minutes!

I soon found Yoshinori in the crowd and we had a nice conversation while descending the Nariki hill. Once down at the venue, I waited for the rest of the Positivo Espresso bunch to arrive. We decided to skip the "awards ceremony" and "return to base," Stephen & Ryoko's wonderful house tucked away in a small hamlet behind the Ikusabata Oohashi Bridge. The post-race & homewarming party was very cosy in spite of all the rain. I sampled some of the delicious dishes and enjoyed an excellent barbequed hamburger before I decided to brave the rain and head back home. I left around 15:00 and got home at 16:20.

This was my last day of summer vacation...wish there were a few more!

zondag 13 juli 2008

Shadowy Suzugane

Went solo today after all. As I was heading towards Sekidobashi for a 8:15 RdV with some Positivo Espresso riders and newcomers, mobile in back pocket started to vibrate. Michael kindly informed me that departure had been delayed and that they would be arriving at Sekidobashi by 8:45. I didn't want to wait in the blistering heat so continued to ride on my own direction Akiyamamura again. I was imagining a superlong ride over Suzugane-Saruhashi to Matsuhime and then Kazahari...but the heat again was too oppressive. The trail leading to Suzugane-toge was very verdant, rather cool with lots of shade. I discovered an alternative way for writing Suzugane 鈴ヶ音峠 -> 鈴懸峠. Rd. 509 took me through lush green meadows to Saruhashi where I decided to head back to Tokyo via Koshu Kaido. After a while I got bored on Koshu Kaido and as soon as I reached Uenohara I took a right turn (Rd. 506) back to Akiyamamura! A very quiet route with a couple tunnels that are not marked on my map. Once through Akiyamamura, I took 517 -> 76 -> 520 -> 20 overtaking tens and tens of NALSHIMA riders...the guys looked exhausted! Each time I overtook a Nalshima guy or gal in my Team NFCC jersey, I felt my self-esteem growing!

zondag 29 juni 2008

AMEGAHARA ツール・ド・雨ヶ原高原自転車レース大会2008

Tour de Amegahara Bicycle Race 2008
Tour de Utsukushigahara + Rain Seasonal front + Post-typhoon Atmospheric Depression = Tour de Amegahara (translation: Bicycle Race Cancelled because of heavy rainfall!!)

Tour de Utsukushigahara…distance is only 21 km, but vertical gain is 1270 meters. Notorious for its GEKI(S)ZAKA (20%+) immediately following the start, this is my No.1 favorite hillclimb time trial! Last year, I finished with a time of 1:19 with “still plenty in reserve” as I recall and naturally I was intent on breaking my record this year and make my entry in the top 10 finishers in my age group.

I had abstained from drinking any alcohol two weeks prior to this race and reduced my body weight to less than 60 kilograms…drivetrain on my Sirius Ti-1 fine-tuned ...everything fully prepared.

I left home early Saturday morning, got on the train in Kokubunji to Tachikawa where the Azusa Super Express No.5 to Matsumoto was waiting on the other side of the platform. Arrived in Matsumoto around 11:00, unzipped my bike out of the rinko bag and headed towards Asama Spa with a brief stopover planned at Matsumoto Castle.

Matsumoto developed as a castle town in the sixteenth century. Matsumoto Castle 松本城 is listed as a national treasure and is famous as the oldest wooden castle in Japan. It is also called the “Crow Castle” owing to its resemblance to a crow with black walls appearing as “spreading wings”. It is a typical example of a flatland castle as it was not built on a hilltop or amidst rivers. The castle's origins date back to the Sengoku (Warring States) period. At that time, Shimadachi Sadanaga of the Ogasawara Clan built a fort on this site in 1504, which was originally called Fukashi Castle. In 1550, it came under the rule of the Takeda Clan and then Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Following a brief photo session, I headed towards Utsukushigahara Onsen and Asama Onsen in that order. Asama Onsen has been a famous hot-spring resort in Matsumoto since ancient times. Taking advantage of the picturesque location, many travelers today use Asama Onsen as a “base camp” for sightseeing the Nagano area. Asama Spa is located at the foot of Utsukushigahara Plateau, commanding a superb view of the Northern Alps. Founded in the second year of the Tenkei era (939) by a powerfull local family, this hot spring area boasts a long history and has served as a source of inspiration to a group of poets (Araragi School). The hot spring (approx. 42-47 degrees Celsius) is reputed to be effective for women’s diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, skin disorders rheumatism and arteriosclerosis. The atmosphere in this little town is truly relaxed and reflects the atmosphere of an old style hot spring resort (much like Kusatsu but less commercialized). Tranquil walks (with an Ebisu beer in one hand), strenuous hikes or even more strenuous bicycle hillclimbs are available in the area as well.

I checked in at Hina-no-yu (just 10 meters from the T-junction where the GEKISAKA starts!!) a little after noontime...the proprietress was extremely kind and her daughter very graceful too, left my rucksack in the room, had lunch at a nearby “Indian curry” restaurant and then proceeded to the venue to complete the registration. Blue skies…long-legged race queens (correction: “race princesses”…) what else does one need to make the long trip worthwhile?...Answer: a trial ride of the parcourse!

I left on a test ride around 1:30 and had no particular difficulty clearing the Gekisaka, mostly en danseuse using 39/25. When I reached the flatter area leading to the artificial lake, I ran into “Humble Mr. Imanaka Himself,” the guy even greeted me! Higher up, I passed three busloads of photographers shooting away at the famous “renge-tsutsuji” (Rhododendron Japonicum). Stupidly, I stopped and took a picture of the same scenes they were focusing on (…missed shutter chance! I should have aimed my camera at them shutter bugs!). The scenery was quite beautiful though and it was nice to be able to enjoy it at a slow speed for a change!

On my way down, I met GORO and had a brief chat…GORO mentioned about the weather forecast for Sunday…rain and I laughingly said…the more rain, the better chance I’ll have for a top 10 finish!

Back at the venue as I was wandering around the few tents set up by the sponsors, I heard a lady call out my name and the company I’m working for!...Are you Tomu-san of O?C? Corp.?? What a small world! I also met frame builder Hosoyama-san and his wife calling him “Otosan”. “Otosan!, remember me? I’m the furyogaijin who’s always ignoring traffic rules!” I re-introduced myself as I pointed to the “ITOIGAWA FAST RUN” sticker on my helmet. We shared a good laugh!

Dinner at Hina-no-yu was excellent (so was the bath!) but I missed my pre-race evening beer (after 2 weeks of complete abstinence, who wouldn’t?!) so I took a leisurely stroll along Asama Onsen Main Street and got myself a can of Ebisu beer. No clouds in the evening sky but strangely enough raindrops were coming down in “potsuri potsuri” fashion. Low-diving swallows were almost hitting the road…there couldn’t be a worse tell-tale premonition of rain! At dusk, I ran into Dan U. from New Zealand. Like me, Dan was secretly hoping for some rain to go with the race…that’ll beat the young guys!

The two other guys in my “aibeya” room sure looked like serious cyclists and turned off the lights around 9 o’clock! Slept well and woke up this morning at 4:30 for a breakfast of raisin bread and yoghurt (my stomach simply cannot take rice in the morning – especially right before a race). When I looked out of the window, it was pouring and the ditch on the other side of Hina-no-yu was flowing rapidly with a gurgling sound. After a while, the okami proprietress came to inform us that the organizers would be calling soon with an announcement… 30 minutes later as I was mounting my water bottle in the lobby downstairs, I hear the phone ring. “Haihai …a so desuka…wakarimashita” “Chushi desu ka?!,” I cried out as soon as the okami hung up. “Chushi da so desu!!”

10 minutes later, deep down in the dumps, I mounted my Sirius Ti-1 in pouring rain and rode to the parking lot venue to return the time-measuring chip…no more race queens only old men with orange caps shouting “Chushi da! Chushi da”….Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.
Boarded a 7:59 Super Azusa to Tachikawa and arrived home at 10:30…