26 June 2009

An apology of 33 minutes length

I have to say that I wrote some perhaps nasty things about a rider in our midth who openly acknowledged that it too him 33 minutes to climb up to Wada Toge. To be more precise, I wondered if the gyrostatic forces of the wheels at this rotation speed would be sufficient to keep bike and rider in an upright vertical position. Another gifted rider in our group noted dryly that his best Togebaka time is roughly half of that.

Now, I have to admit that I got it completely wrong.

When I think about Wada, I am think about the steep approach from Hachioji. And I am thinking only about this approach because I have never ever tackled Wada from the other side. Why? Well first, all roads that lead you to the other side of Wada required at least a modest amount of climing (Otarumi, Kobu, Matsuhime, Sasago) so it is no fun to climb Wada from there. And second it is even less fun to ride downhill to Hachioji from Wada. Better take the rear wheel between your buttocks and start to squeeze to increase braking power. I mean, it's a free fall, basically.

And indeed coming from Hachioji, the best times are well below 33 minutes. The Positivo Espresso record, hold by Ludwig is at 17:24 minutes as one can see on the right of the blog.

TCC has a similar hall of fame, and here the best time is hold by clay, an unbelieveable 14:15 minutes. Clay must be made out of carbon fiber with kevlar knees and aramid tendons.
There is one more Japanese web site, Hill Climb Time Trial, where the all time best is an even more unbelievable 13:39 minutes. I mean come on, that's the time I need at least to make up my mind to tackle the bloody thing and get the shoes against all better knowledge clicked in the pedals.

So, Wada always meant Hachioji -> Wada for me. And that was wrong. Because yesterday I found out just by chance that small m (the rider in question) tackled Wada from the other side (West side) in 33 minutes. Now this is a completely different story. OK, according to the same TCC site, Clay can do it in 20:23 minutes, but that's almost 2/3 of the time and not less than half. And a very respectable rider like Naomi with whom I have ridden in the past, still needed 27:55 minutes.
And let's not forget that we don't know where small m started to record his time, as there is no official Positivo Espresso convention. The TCC definition is this one.

So, summarizing, 33 minutes is a quite OK time and I have to apologize that I got it wrong. I don't think that the emperor was faster.

Did it took you 33 minutes to read this apology? No? So please read it again until precisely 33 minutes have passed or Michael Jackson will not go to heaven.

Perhaps we need an official Togebaka entry for the West Wada approach. Or perhaps not, perhaps we have more than enough rules and traditions already. That was the thing that went to my mind yesterday when I was riding out with Dominic and James and Dominic asked us to stop. In front of a Circle K convenience store. I was holding my breath, all muscles except the obvious ones were in full tension ... should I say it ... or should I wait for James to state the obvious "This is not a 7-eleven".

But luckily later on the trip all of us ran out of water which gave us some food for thought why we should stop even at our combinis.

I was some kind of associated member with Juliane of a Japanese cycling club in 2003/2004, all of them nice guys, and I even meet them today from time to time and we chat at the Tamagawa. They have a hang out close to the Noborito bridge and they really taught me a lot about cycling. The reason why I don't cycle with them any longer are many, but one important one is that they had such a unified and strong opinion on some things in cycling, that it was hard to have another, own one. One day, when we were riding up to Sengenzaka and Juliane had a flat tire (tubular) and throw it away on the spot, they were all moaning and telling her that this was the most impossible thing to do.
The tire should be properly kept and brought home where a piece of it should be buried in the garden behind the house and at least an "Otsukaresame, Tire-sama" should be mumbled in reverence to the good service provided.

Well, that was the end then and we should be also be very carefully not to fall into the same trap. It is nice to talk about "traditions" and rules, but we should not stick to them if they are not coming in handy. James made a good remark, when we stopped at the Family Mart in Matsuzaki: "Oh yes, that is the local traditional one." so let's see it in this light.
Positivo Espresso always had a slight anarchist flair to it, not to adhere to rules (traffic ones or others), not to put too much restrictions on it's members. We were not even able to draft in a group of four and change position for more than 50 meters. I think this is defining the spirit of Positivo Espresso best and that makes it easy for other riders to join us. Sometimes it is hard to organize a trip or a race, not to mention to design a jersey which everybody would like to wear, but that is the price we have to pay for a club of which Bakunin or Kropotkin would have been proud to join.

1 comment:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Well said!

Nonetheless I'm proud to report that on my latest outing (Tokyo-Wada-Kobo-Kazahari-Matsuhime-Otsuki), I did eat my lunch at the only Positivo Espresso approved restaurant on the Tamagawa lake. I'm sure this proud fact alone will boost David's stamina as he is cresting the (real) Alps.