10 February 2010

For a fistful of holes in the gloves

Image to ride by her and hear this music. Yes, you are now in Tsukui country.

With bad weather forecasted for Thursday and Friday I thought that it would be nice to mount Bad Boy and ride up into the snowy mountains of Yabitsu Toge today. That proved to be quite a painful trip.

Rather late in the morning I jumped on Bad Boy and rode along the Tsurumigawa river and the Onekan road to Hashimoto and Tsukui lake. Riding Bad Boy is rather a slow affair, it took me 1:09 hours to the Onekan crossing while I can do it in less than an hour on good days on the Cervelo. As I was slow and not chasing speed records, I had time to take some long overdue photos, like the "House of the hanged foils" and the residence of the Columbian druglord along the Tsukui lake North road.
I went along Doshi to the Yamazaki shop at the entrance to Miyagase-lake and Yabitsu and I was surprised to see there many typical cycling related food like Weider Jelly, Soy Joy etc.. Clearly there must be more cyclists on the road and the shops are adopting accordingly.

After a very short break I continued to ride to Miyagase lake and then started to climb Yabitsu Toge. There was some snow left and right of the road from elevation 300 meters upwards but not too much. Instead it started to drizzle, not too hard but not very pleasantly as well. The road was completely deserted for (normal) cars. I didn't encountered a single bike or (normal) car when riding up. However: There were five construction sites on the road up and all of them did slope works. More concrete out there. And of course a lot of construction related trucks and concrete mixers.

By the way, the maximum capacity for a street legal concrete mixer in Japan is 3 m3, while in Germany for example up to 6 m3 is permissible. Actually the truck itself is not that much bigger, this is more related to the size of the drum and the ratio of concrete to air inside. But the consequence is, that double the number of mixers are required to deliver the same quantity of concrete to construction sites.

Whereas I thought last year, that the fury of public works might be related to the change of the govt in Japan, I am not sure if the change in gov'&t has changed anything at all in this respect. Or do I need to wait for the end of the fiscal year in April? At least Yabitsu was not closed for traffic in the winter like some of the years before.

It took me more than an hour to get to the top. Bad Boy is not only slower in the flats by 10 - 15%, but also climbing is slower in the range of 15 - 20%. Bad Boy is pretty heavy and the 700 x 30 tires add rolling resistance as well. On the top there was no Snow on the road, foggy views, drizzling rain and 5 degrees Celsius.
That was much less romantic than I thought I could be and I could have made it on the Cervelo as well. Within no time I started the ride downhill to Hadano, Bento capital of the world.

It is a pleasure indeed to ride downhill with Bad Boy, so steady and stable ,so easy to use the disc brakes. I was easily reaching speeds in the 50 to 60 km/hr range and was enjoying the ride. Also the rain has stopped on the Southern slopes.

A truck (construction material!) came up the road close to the observation point and I took the hair needle left turn coming down when it suddenly happened. Without any warning my rear wheel slipped to the outside of the curve, I fell heavily on the left thigh and elbow and slid with my bicycle in direction of the truck driving up. Luckily he was able to brake before I could touch him.

I felt a little bit dizzy, the rider came out of the cabin and the usual dialog started: "Daijobu? daijobu? Daijobu? Heiki?" Ellow and leg really hurt but basically I felt OK and I told him that I would just need a little break and then continue to ride to Hadano. My jacket and long trousers were also not torn despite the pain, however my Assos winter gloves had big holes in the area of the palm on both hands.

It seems that I have ridden over an icy spot and lost control. I am not very good at maneuvering curves and I normally leave a lot of reserves so I wonder what has happened here. Too much braking with the rear disc brake?

After a few minutes and checking that Bad Boy was still in acceptable shape, I continued the ride down very slowly and made my way up to Hadano station. Took the train home. Finally at home I could undress and take a better look at the damage done. Nasty scratch, that will hurt for some days. Surprisingly swollen as well. Took a long nap. Took it easy.
So, not sure about the Saturday Izu ride. Let's see. Be careful out there. There was no indication of ice and I haven't seen any on the road riding up.


James said...

Really sorry to hear you stacked, it could have been a whole lot worse though however especailly if you were on the Cervelo.

Also bad luck with the gloves, although you might want to check if they are covered by ASSOS's crash replacement warranty as I know they do a service where if you crash they will replace them with new at a cheaper price. Worth checking.

David Litt said...


Sorry to hear about your fall and hope your knee swelling is down.

Thank you for the long overdue photos of the Pablo Escobar family compound on the North side of Lake Tsukui. I usually hear this Ennio Morricone music as we pass:


("The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," not "Fistful of Dollars"), though with Morricone's music for the Italian westerns of Clint, it is ALL GREAT!

Manfred von Holstein said...

That was bad luck! Sorry to hear. I hope you will recover soon. The biggest damage is probably to the trust your family will put into your safety when going out for bike rides...

the ups and downs of a belgian amateur cyclist in tokyo said...

phew...Michael, your fishtailing Bad Boy turned out really ugly but it could have been a lot worse (thank God that truck came to a halt in time!!!). I once had a similar fishtailing experience 4 years ago on my first descent of Matsuhime ending up in the ditch with a cracked front fork...in my case, I was braking too late and too hard in the curves instead of before them.

Wishing a a speedy recovery!