18 January 2009

Roller coasting with the Positivo Espresso Crew

Early on Sunday morning Positivo Espresso assembled a large group of eight riders on the shores of the Tamagawa. At good speed we first cruised along the river, overtaking countless less competitive Japanese amateurs, the riding along Asakawa until we arrived at the 7-Eleven in front of Takao station, the Positivo Espresso approved refreshment stop.

Since a long time we stop there, nowadays it is not any longer question if we need food or drinks, like pavlov's dog we are stopping there. No matter that there are combinis further down and further up the road en masse. This is our combini.
On the way we lost David and almost lost Alex who was able to arrive almost at the end of our break.

Ludwig and me felt good, so we went for a fast ride up Otarumi Toge. We wanted to draft each other up, however our plan failed already at the start point where Ludwig overtook a BMW on the right at the lights, while I stayed behind the car. I was not able to recover the gap which was then created and could see Ludwig speed ahead in front of me at the steeper parts of the climb.

I felt really good, but made only a disappointing 15:27 min up to the top, way below my best times. Ludwig did well. I was although not completely exhausted and I felt that I could have raced a little bit faster if I had really tried. For a winter TT the result wasn't too bad.
We waited for the rest of the group on top of Otarumi. Ludwig tried to take a group photo with the camera resting on a stone on the other side of the road. With the help of our precise information, he was able to make some nice pictures of cars racing by.

Here he is positioning the camera.
And here he is asking for some additional information which were unfortunately not at all correct.

There was already some ice rain on top of Otarumi and we were wondering if we could continue. But as usual the weather on the other side of Otarumi is different than on the Tokyo side and once we were back in the lower reaches the situation was OK.

We continued towards Tsukui lake where we take a very nice road over a small hanging bridge and then along the North side on a very small scenic road. Just wonderful and incredible that we haven't found this road earlier.

We then continued to ride towards the Hiroshi-Mitsubishi tank training range road, which we somehow missed and then along the Minami Tama One Kanbu towards the Tamagawa. This is a very nice and fast road indeed with many ups and downs. One could race there at a good pace and we were testing ourselves against two younger Japanese riders.

Unfortunately there was a group of apparently non-Japanese cyclists who drove through the occasional red traffic light. Mistakingly believing that Ludwig was the leader of that unidentified group, he was approached and reprimanded by the Nalsima cycling police. We others watched interested as he got approached, but didn't felt much called upon and rather less inclined to join the discussion. In true local fashion, Ludwig took all the responsibility on himself even though he didn't really feel any.

After going home I thought about what the guy said and I would like to give him some credit because his arguments were not along the lines "This-is- the-rule-in-Japan-you-know, an argument which one hears so unnecessarily often. These days "rule" is also frequently replaced by "compliance" which already has made inroad into general usage. Bad enough, there should be a law confining usage to business matters.

We parted at the Tamagawa river and I rode home through Yokohama where I arrived after 118 km in the saddle. It was a very pleasant and fast ride with a good group. Although we were at different performance levels we could stay together and have fun. I had plenty or opportunities to climb, draft, go fast downhill and make the occasional sprint, I guess this is also true for the other riders.

Could do this more often, it doesn't need to be the weekend 180 km tour every weekend.


Manfred von Holstein said...

Wonderful. I have uploaded the missing critical photo.

James said...

Ah. Now that is better.. more as I remember.. wonderful fun.