21 March 2010

A Severe Case of Wind



On a gorgeous and unusually warm March morning James, Jerome, newcomers Jamie and Shane, and Dominic set off towards Ome. This cosmopolitan team (USA, France and UK - BOTH north and south) met up with the newly appointed Professor of Cyclology,mob, at Tamagawaharabashi, but sadly, due to a misunderstanding, mob was only able to join us for a very short part of the ride, not realising that out plan was to ride to Ome and then on to Itsukaichi via Tomin no Mori. At least someone had the obligatory Positivo Espresso Pointless Ride.

Early in the ride, perhaps as a form of intimidatory psychology, Jerome sat up in the saddle (no hands, very Euro) and produced his secret food weapon, an egg. Little did he realise that this week the shoe was on the other foot and it was my turn to be the one with the obligatory hangover, thus fulfilling an unofficial PE rule. Along the river Jerome felt genki and pulled the train along at a fast pace. Luckily both Jamie (who doesn't actually ride for the Cervelo Test Team) and Shane are very fit and have done plenty of cycling in their time. After dodging a construction worker with a hose and various children risking their young lives crossing the cycling path in front of The Jerome Train we arrived in Ome in no time. New members were introduced to the PE approved Aurore bakery but, perhaps for the first time ever, no member could bring themselves to attack the Royal Milk Bread for fear that it would weigh them down.

The Jerome Train continued along to Okutamako and crossed a bridge painted in PE orange just prior to refuelling at Watanabe & Watanabe's place ahead of the assault up to Tomin no Mori. The climb was spectacular: great weather and views, very little traffic (only a few motorcycles had broken the rules and ridden up the road) and an excellent road surface with a gradient that felt more constant than the range listed on my Garmin (5-9%). The neophytes slipped back after a while and James, Jerome and I held a steady pace. Jerome, last week's Gallic Hero, had a bit of a wobble on the way and managed to knock the computer off his handlebars while trying to get some food out. Things were not so bad that he needed the egg. At the top Shane joined us to say that he thought Jamie's sore back had caused him to turn back, but much to our surprise and pleasure, Jamie appeared soon afterwards crying the Paratroop Regiment's motto: "Pain is just weakness leaving the body". Hard men those Paras. It turns out Jamie is a medicine cabinet on 2 wheels as he produced Panadene and Nurofen Plus for anyone that needed pain or swelling reduction. We stopped for fried rice and noodles (and Jerome had his egg) at Tomin no Mori where my attention was caught by an obviously outrageously priced Ducati bicycle (made by Bianchi). Being an owner of a 1978 900SS I have a weakness for anything Ducati. Last week I bought new wheels, each of which weighs more than a fully equipped road bike. Total weight is 225kg.

A fast descent to Itsukaichi followed where Shane and Jamie made the smart decision to hop on the train. Both had done extremely well considering their lack of recent cycling and deserve the right to don a PE uniform. The wind back along the river was ferocious; ferocious winds always seem to be headwinds. At one stage all three of us were standing in the pedals just to maintain a speed of 20km/h. After such a gruelling ordeal I thought I was being a wimp by suggesting a Segafreddo stop in Futagotamagawa (so close to home) but my colleagues loved the idea. The world looks to the French for culinary excellence and we should all take note of Jerome's choice of recovery drink: Beer.
After getting home and showering, I went to the pub for 2 pints of recovery Guinness with Humphrey (the dog for those of you who did not see last week's blog) who still thinks I am the best cyclist in the world.


192km, 1,785m of climbing, average speed 24km and exactly 8hrs in the saddle.

6 comments:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Well done! What a nice training ride for the Tour!

As always, I doubt the Garmin altitude gain reading. The total gain should have been something like 1,200m, since Kazahari is a bit lower than that and there is hardly any "pointless climbing" on the way up or down.

TOM said...

Lovely story Michael!

Ludwig was the one who first pointed out GPS-based elevation data tend to be sketchy (he was of course envious of my boasting that I had climbed the equivalent of Mount-Everest in 1 day...haha!).

With the older generation of Garmins the elevation data is indeed rather questionable.

The new Garmin 500, on the other hand, records true altitude based on barometric pressure (elevation sensor) and is much more accurate. I did Kazahari-rindo today and my Garmin 500 got the altitude correct & close enough at 1,135 meters.

TOM said...

Oops, I meant to compliment Dominic.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Tom, I have to disappoint you... It is precisely because cyclo computers use barometric measurement that they are rather inaccurate. They are fine for determining the current altitude. Mine does this also rather well. But because they measure altitude gain in increments and because barometric pressure changes frequently in small increments even when not moving up or down and all these changes are added up by the computer, altitude gains and losses become grossly exaggerated. The only way to avoid this problem is to rely on map-based altitude readings, such as mapmyride which uses google data (which probably slighly underestimates altitude changes as the embedded altitude data is rather crude).

TOM said...

Ludwig, that is disappointing news; I guess I'm too naive, blindly believing the clever advertising tricks of new product launches. Anyways, the latest elevation sensors are definitely more accurate that mere GPS-based elevation readings. I still like it as it provides a good "meyasu" yardstick to measure and compare ones climbing efforts.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Tom, a GPS-based reading of one's current altitude will always be most accurate, provided your GPS has a free view of the sky and can receive many satellites. Barometric measurement is always relative to atmospheric pressure not changing.