27 April 2010

Impressions from my Sayonara Ride

It is very strange to write in detail about one's own Sayonara ride while one is still in Japan. So I would like to make a few comments here and there only, post some pics and thank everybody who came along and send me off to the far shores of Germany. Still it is hard to write something which hasn't been written already a thousand times before. But you have given very much to me and I am very thankful for that.
So, we had a good time.

It started as a nice day in spring with the carp streamers high up in the sky. I met some of the PE guys at the Tamagawahara bridge and we rode off to Takao. On the way we passed a cyclist with an exchange frame on the back. Perhaps, I thought, we should re-start the TCC-thread about the proper content of a saddle bag and include "Exchange carbon frame" I thought before we realized that the bicycle free flea market was hold at Sekidobashi along the way. Just like cycling, the flea market has come a long way, from a hardly noticeable event to more than 100 people attending last Saturday - not bad at all.
We said goodbye to Dominic who was asked to attend a ballet recital of his daughter before she will be send to Borneo where she will live in the jungle with the Aborigines for two years; hence the need for ballet education which will come handy.
And by chance I also saw Zenbiker along the way at the Asakawa. Or perhaps I understood something wrongly. My English is not very good, sometimes I mix up easy words such as "fencing" and "fanzine".

The ride was not really leisurely so far, but we took the peaks out most of the time. Suddenly I was alone with Fumiki and (Ko)shu, but we all arrived more or less arrived at the Takao 7-Eleven. Can you see where this picture was "photoshopped" to get rid of some unpleasant detail?

A huge crowd has arrived already and I was very much impressed by the turnout. Doing my round of shopping at the 7-Eleven, I noticed a small detail at the Weider Jelly Stand.
It seems that nobody so far was interested in Vitamins, Proteins or Beauty, but everybody was preparing himself for a "leisurely" ride. More energy was much in demand.

We then rode on through Takao, the Showa cemetery (where I once almost met the emperor with the zipper of my trousers open) and along the Jimbakaido to the bus stop at the base of Wada Toge where we assembled the group for the first ever organized time trial of TCC and PE.
There was some reluctance first and some riders choose to disappear before we could get started, but overall we manged this quite well and we had a lot of competitive results. James time was very impressive and so were those of James and Tim on their fixies.

Here are some photos which I took at the start of each rider and which documents the various pro starting techniques which are acceptable in Japan as per Japanese Cycling Rulebook paragraph 248 b):
The "Handle is piping hot" style. It is not allowed to touch the handle before the command to start and Tim also never did afterwards until reaching the top.The "Ground is piping hot "style: It is not allowed to touch the ground ever unless a flat tyre needs to be repaired. Which happens every 20 km.
Zen-like concentration paired with minimum wind resistance in standing position. Headtowel soaks up sweat from extreme concentration.The "I am gone already, cannot possibly wait for your finger to push the shutter" style executed by Yair.
The Scottish copy of the previously described Hiroshi-Zen starting style. The rucksack is filled with real look stone made out of polyester to increase the awe-factor. Note: More efficient when rucksack is open.
The "When speed is more important than direction" style.
This style is appropriate for rides from Tokyo to Nagoya or further as proven by Travis.
This is Kim starting - easy to mix up with Fumiki as both belong to the blue men group.
The bike starts to move at 40 km/hr immediately after releasing the brakes. The "American dragster race" style.
Sorry to say, Steve, but this style is not yet described in the rulebook.
Please note that as usual Mike lines up behind Sergey at the start so that his motivation to overtake him is amplified by a factor similar to the amount of Japanese government debts.
.... as we can see here.

Sorry, there are no photos of Thomas, Graham, Tom, James, Kim and me. Our huge group was then assembled at Wada pass when I finally made it up and much to my surprise everybody was sitting in front of the witch's tea house. The witch was nowhere to be seen. Really, I never have seen such a sight in my life at Wada. We then continued with a fast downhill and the cumbersome climb through the golf hills of Uenohara. Tom had selected this course to execute his final punishment on me and also in memory of Paul Jason who rode this precise course once.

Nobody was really in the mood to start another time trial up to Kobu Tunnel (OK, I was not in a mood to do so) but nevertheless once David gave the "Go!Go!Go!" sign everybody started to move up quickly. I was staying with Yair almost all of the time. Already a bunch of guys were waiting at the top when I arrived and the others came in one by one.
Steve almost crashed while trying to raise his arms in victory salute. He barely could stay on the road and in order to calm down he went for a pee with fellow Englishman Michael. Which lasted for only a few seconds as the warning shout "Naomi is coming up!". Steve managed to zip-up and to play the innocent bystander while Michael couldn't manage to stop.Naomi nevertheless didn't noticed anything and showed Steve how to cross the finish line not only in style but also straight and paralell to the road. Also I would like to mention that she was also so kind to finish behind me, I guess some form of Sayonara-present. She overtook me once when riding up to Tomin-no-mori and that was when I set my personal best time. Amazingly after a while also the Fixies were arriving. They had the huge respect of everybody that they could do that extensive climbing on their bikes. Still I guess that everybody else thought that theyr were happy to posses 20 speed geared bikes. I like this photo of James with enchanced colors. The bike itself is rather not enhanced. Cool helmet color, by the way.

And then we went superfast down to Itsukiachi in nice duells giving no rest to the wicked. This also continued on the Mutsumibashi road to the Tamagawa, where Ludwig, James, Travis, Yair and me speeded along at 40 km/hr plus. And what did I get for all of this effort? One lousy T-shirt from Israel!No, I was joking, I think it was the perfect present for the day, Thanks Yair.
As this was my Sayonara ride I rode out the next day with Ludwig to Chichibu, but this is another story to be told another time.



Manfred von Holstein said...

It was indeed a very memorable day out, very different from my usual rides. The group spirit was fantastic. I enjoyed the many fast rides in mini-groups which one doesn't do on your own or in pairs.

It started with a really fast ride between James, Yair and me into Takao. Then the nice warm up to the start of the Wada TT: nice working myself through a fast moving field from the very end to the very top, led by an impressively strong Yair.

Then the Wada TT which resulted in a new best time for me, but also in losing the title to James - but then his impressive time was reassuring as it means he stands a good chance to become A or even S class champion this year.

Then the race up to Kobu Tunnel, where I again worked myself from the back of the field to the front and managed to stay only 10m behind James and Mike till the end.

Then the race-like descent in a small peleton towards Itsukaichi, and finally another similar "race" towards the brewery, where I was surprised at my own ability to pull the small group at 40-45km/h against the wind.

The jibiru was really great, the food acceptable, the company outstanding. No hang-over, but certainly not the fittest on the next day riding another 170km with MOB.

Yair said...


First of all, I am touched by the new PE blog design... On behalf of the Jewish people around the diaspora - Thank you!!
And for the few you who, for some unclear reason, can't read hebrew - it says,right-to-left (yes, that's how you read / write hebrew...):
Hope, Spirit / Soul, Faith
Very suitable for this blog.
Again, I regret not meeting you earlier, and not being able to ride with you some more;
I might have some business trips to Germany in the future (Bochum? Dachau?) - I might bring along my folding Riese & Muller Birdy bike, so perhap we can ride together on German soil.
L'hitraot! (means see you - not goodbye! - again, for those of you who skipped hebrew classes in school)

Fumiki said...

It's difficult to put some words.

If you're not puncture at that time,at that place,We never known each other...?

Saturday massive ride was so impressive for me.
I enjoyed Wada TT and Ko-bu climb.
Were like TDF on a TV?

I will never forget that day.

*By the way,I think you're mistaken me&kim-san on photo caption.
And thanks for you picked up the photo I post on tcc.