17 January 2011

Bremen Ekiden

When I was still living in Tokyo, the Positivo Espresso Ekiden ride used to be the first ride of the year in the last years. Snow and ice in Bremen made all rides too dangerous so far, but with temperatures well above 0 degrees, blue skies and dry roads I finally wanted to get out in 2011.


When one is working on an old bike, one can forget easily that the purpose of repair is not to have a good looking bike in the garage, but to have a good ride on a well functioning bike.


I woke up late and read the post from David, describing his trip with Froggy  to Wada and Bijotani in cold weather today. That inspired me finally to get out of the warm study and get the bike ready. Thank you David, for getting home and blogging quickly.


The Galibier project is no finished yet. I spend some evenings building the wheels with old hubs and new rims but I wasn't comfortable if I have applied the right amount of tension on the spokes. The trueing went quite well, lateral trueing and dishing Isn't so difficult but vertical trueing is. So I decided that the last adjustment should be done by the pros. And a lot of things they found were wrong: Did you know, for example that braking wires and shifting 
Fixed gear? No gear is much cooler.


wires have different diameters and so have there hulls? I never looked that closely at my bike as to notice that the brake cables are 5 mm and that shifter cables are only 4 mm thick. And to mount old school aero shifters on bullhorn handle bars is so difficult, that even the pro shop doesn't know what to do. I will get surprised on Monday.


The Galibier not ready. The Peugeot too nice to move it on even slightly wet rodes. The Cervelo also too nice. The Pinarello is sold and shipped. Bad Boy too slow. So after long back and forth I opted for the trusted Gazelle. Not so fast but reliable and with mud guards. I felt like a girl in font of a mirror, selected a dress for a night out in town.


Still I needed to do another half an hour of preparation. The chain was rusty, I had no spare tube ready, the air pressure was way too low ... all this tiny things one have to take care off today. I relish the times when I just didn't know and consequently just didn't care about all these adjustments.


Heading out in direction North Sea a strong headwind met me just from the start. Along the usual roads at the "Siel" the first cyclists were out and I tried to maintain a pace of 30 km/hr even while exhausting myself quickly. When I arrived in Ritterhude, I made a left turn for Worpswede following my standard loop and suddenly I had the strong wind in my back. That was fun now. So I reached Worpswede in almost an hour with 31.0 km/hr average speed, climbed up the hill and continued in direction Fischerhude. As this was the first longer ride of the year I didn't want to overdo it, so I stayed in the 150 - 155 HRM range. at Worpshausen I made a short break and Gazelle and me remembered the guys from Worpshausen that were killed in world war I. This is a long and cherished Positivo Espresso Bremen tradition, that the first ride of the new year always stops at a WW I memorial. Even my parents knew about that: They married January 4th, 1962 and their honeymoon led them to, among all possible place, Verdun. Where they visted Fort Douaumont and perhaps met other couples on their honeymoon who had the same splendid idea. Or perhaps not.


Again, I was facing a strong headwind. The part between Worpshausen und Quellkorn is the most boring portion of the standard loop. The headwind was getting even stronger when I took a right turn at Fischerhude and rode on a small road in direction Borgfeld. Borgfeld is located within the federal state of Bremen (while the rest of the tour is mainly in the federal state of Lower Saxony) and for some reasons the family and relatives of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II, are living here. 


There is nothing special about Borgfeld though, one doesn't feel any wind of history, only the smell of horse shit. Well, this is what you would think of Borgfeld normally. But today it was quite different. As the snow of December has melted and it takes some time for the water to reach rivers and get carried to the sea in the flat lands of Bremen, all the pasture to the left and right of the road was flooded. That looked very nice, finally I had the feeling that I am living close to the sea.


I continue on my way home. Three hours out on the roads. 75 km done. Shabby by Tokyo standards but not too bad for Bremen. The Gazelle was wonderful as usual. It would have been easier to ride the Cervelo, but riding the Gazelle costed more effort and was the better training therefore.


I noted today that the Assos Airjack 951 jacket is too warm for temperatures of 10 degrees and more. I need a long sleeve jersey from TCC, possibly now.



4 comments:

TOM said...

Thanks MOB for keeping the Tokyo and London PE Chapters posted on cyclelife in Bremen.

Nice picture of that road running so low over the water. Of all your bikes I have seen, the blue Gazelle is the most aesthetically pleasing (so far), I must say!

Have you noticed how Tokyo has been constantly beating Bremen and London in terms of low temperatures lately? (nice addition to the blog BTW)

mob said...

Thanks Tom.
Yesterday was one of the few times, when I found something positive about the cycling landscape in Tokyo. I will scout for more.

The Gazelle is a good looking bike. I am wondering if I should add some more Dutch bikes, perhaps a Duell Vogue?
http://www.duell.nl/index.php?p=VOGUE&id=19

I did the negotiations for Hiroshi with Duell and he has now exclusive distribution rights in Japan (with the exception of Hokkaido, Kyushu). So perhaps I should own a Duell bike as well.

Gazelle is really my winter bike. I shall avoid to fall in love with her as I am really treating her badly. Also the design is somewhat IKEA like: Blue and yellow .....

What I would really love to have is an Italian bike.

And the Galibier will be ready today, so perhaps I can ride out tomorrow on a brand new bike.

The shop called me and asked me if I can supply some more handle bar tape. Sure I said, I will drop in after work. So I did; and I asked, where is the bike? They said: Ah, it is standing outside. So I expected a shed or something, as it was raining. No, nothing, it was standing exposed in the middle of the yard. My brand new old bike, with NOS components, can you imagine? Before they get another bike from me, I will check the weather forecast.

David L. said...

MOB -- Glad to see there is a brief break in the weather. As one of my Washington DC-based cycling mentors used to say -- the headwind is your training partner!
Look forward to the report on your day at the 6-day track races -- looks really great from the website.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Here is the hint from a worried David L. "the headwind is your training partner!" Notice the exclamation mark, which expresses an increasing amount of anxiety about your state of preparation for the TransAlp, yet tries to be polite and encouraging.

I guess I can afford to be more direct!

When the forecast looks decent, get the bike ready the previous day, leave your house in the dark and cycle as far as you can, until it gets dark again. Where has all this German discipline gone??