24 November 2008


I promised my family to be back from cycling by 1 PM. And I was back at 1:15 PM, which is unprecedented and breaking every existing Positivo Espresso tradition. So what went terribly wrong - how could this possibly happen?Well it started with all the ingredients of a typical Positivo Espresso tour at David's home at 7 AM. I needed to devour my 7/11 breakfast and delayed our start. Juliane didn't show up at all and couldn't be reached by phone. Jerome was assuming that she might be on her way to Ome, so we even didn't had a clear plan where to go. I had previously discussed with David, that we will ride to Wada and then return through route 76 to Doshi and back into town through one of the amazing maze roads David was able to identify in the mess of Western Tokyo.

We started to ride along the Tamagawa and immediately tried to make up for the lost time. Three quarters of the members of our superior Saiko race time trial team were present and we rode a fast pace line which went exceptionally well. At Seikobashi we made a last phone call to Juliane, finally giving up on her and then deciding to do the original plan in reverse: First riding out to Tsukui, then travelling along the Doshimichi road 413 until the crossing with road 76, which then leads back to the notorious route 20.

The roads selected by David were very good, it was still early in the morning and even the traffic on the big roads was light. He led a through all the shortcuts with sherpa-like qualities. There were some fast downhills and a lot of climbs.
The crazy Tsukui climb. Almost as high as the offical approval rating of Kim Il Jong in North Korea [close to 120%]

I have done some of this roads before with David, but always in the opposite direction. Now going there it felt less than going downhill, but more like "reverse-climbing".

We continued to pull each other through at a fast pace; David also has improved compared to the last Chichibu trip. And finally we took a break a a Daily Yamazaki Conbini where not only us, but also other customers of the shop could witness a highlight of the day:

It was cold outside and we were sweaty, naturally we rested inside the Combini at the adult magazine corner and ate our replenishments. All three of us were wearing high quality, overpriced Assos jackets in the colors of the German flag, but what was hidden beyond that jackets was quite different.

When Jerome peeled off his jacket, his space-technology grade high-tec underwear was revealed. As he explained, this garment was originally developed for the Usbekistan army as a full body condom for contraception of male army members. One cannot see this on the photo, but it fully encloses every possible boundary of the human body, starting from the toes on the neck. It also provides labour to the rural knitting community of Usbekistan, having much free time during long winter hours.
Unfortunately after extensive testing by the army, for unknown reasons, it failed to shown the expected contraception functionalities, upon which it was sold to France as cycling gear. Jerome swears that it keeps him warm and the amount of sweat emitted by his body should proves him right.

We then continued along road 413 and finally to road 76. Beautiful ups and downs in the autumn scenery. When we reached route 20, Jerome decided that he would try to ride over Wada as originally planned (again, clearly against the Positivo Espresso tradition as we never ride as planned), whereas David and me decided to go home along road 20 and make it back home by lunch.

With a nice tail wind in the back we went fast to Sagamiko station where a big truck lorry, coming up the hill, wanted to turn left and almost crashed with a minicar. I stayed on the scene to watch the whole tragedy unfold, while David moved on to climb Otarumi. This was the second time in three days that I encountered a crazy truck driver.

On Saturday when David, Ludwig and me rode into Chichibu, we made a fast downhill ride at 40 km/hr + on road 299 where we were overtaken by a very long speeding truck. He left ample clearance with us, but by doing so he occupied more than half of the opposite lane and as the road was winding along the valley, there was no way to tell if cars would come up or not. A motorcycle coming in our direction was barely able to squeeze in between the truck and the guiderail, and another white family van could just do the same. I remember all the details, as I was expecting to hear the sound of a crash any moment.

So David was ahead which gave me the motivation to start the reverse Otarumi time trial. The first part is mostly flat which even some descents, but I got blocked by traffic congestion three or four times. But I was feeling good and when the real climb started, a tried to stay at 20 km/hr spinning at a high cadence. Finally I saw David in front of me and overtaking him at elevation 300 meters. He was shouting encourageously:

"Come on Michael, keep going, PUSH IT!"

which gave me the neccessary extra motivation. The last thing I heard of David was:

"Ahem, I am keeping it easy, don't wait for me!"

I arrived at the top at 17:17 minutes, which is fast, but not my best time. But it is OK I guess.

I nevertheless waited for David on the top and together we made the fast downhill from Otarumi, which was blocked by traffic at the entrance to Takao. But after that the roads were OK and we continued at 35 km/hr towards Sekidobashi, first along road 20 and then later along the Asakawa. Where we went into pace line again.

After a last break at the Y park 7-eleven we started another fast pace line at 35 km/hr along the Tamagawa. Clearly it was starting to rain any minute and there were less people on the pathway as usual. We were really fast and that brought as home so early.

Much earlier as expected. Of course my family has given up all expectations that I would be back on time after many disappointments and subsequently no lunch was prepared. The Saturday trip to Chichibu must have been the last nail in the coffin, I guess. Everybody was out and they came home at 4 PM only, much surprised seeing me showered and neatly dressed.

Jerome made it over Wada, as usually excelling late in the ride. He was also home by 1:30 PM, so on his own he rode on the last stretch very fast as well.
Last 30 minutes are cut off, as the Ciclo stops after 6 hours recording.

A very enjoyable mid-length trip, just the right ride for autumn.

View Larger Map


TOM said...

Very nice lean (300k less bikes?) & mean(esp. downhill prowess) group photo!

mob said...

What I liked most about this wonderful ride was, that it was the archetypical Positivo Espresso ride: Fast along the Tamagawa, fast downhills led by David, few breaks, mid distance and not too much climbing in the mountains, although 1.100m (my data count) is not too bad either.

Plus good teamwork while riding in a fast paceline. Felt as good as riding with Jerome and David in Noto (day 1 + 2).