04 April 2011

So Tired

On Saturday, Jerome and I rode a Shizuoka 300 km Brevet.
We saw lots and lots of neat rows of tea bushes, a Shizuoka specialty.
There is a restaurant on the 7th Floor of the Shin Marunouchi Building (where I work) called 'So Tired'.  I prefer the food at three or four other restaurants on the 7th Floor (Sawamura, Rigoletto, Jiyu ga Oka Grill, and Kihachi (soba)) as well as the food others on the 5th and 6th Floor, and so I rarely eat at 'So Tired'.  But the name also has steered me away. Why would anyone want to eat at a restaurant that reminds them of their fatigue?  Don't we go to restaurants to escape from such thoughts?
The view up the Abe River, as we head toward the turn around point in the headwaters, at Umegasaki Onsen.  Another rider ... must have been from the earlier, 6AM start group ... heads back down river, an hour or two ahead of us.  We traveled several other attractive valleys that looked pretty much the same, with broad/flat river beds, plum and cherry trees just starting to blossom.
Jerome, on top of today's longest climb,
Fujimi Toge (not to be confused with other
passes bearing similar names).
But today, I am so tired.  So tired I could ... lie in bed and sleep all afternoon, get up for a quick dinner with the family at our local wine bar (including much of a nice bottle of red wine), then sleep all evening as well (now up for a quick blog entry, then back to bed).  It is the best kind of tired I know -- my body completely relaxed, my mind clear and alert, and with the slight buzz of satisfaction from having completed a goal -- very  different than the kind of tired one gets from working too hard  (at a desk job) and sleeping too little.  And this time the sense of satisfaction is all the greater given the protracted lead-up to this event.  So tired indeed.

1200 meters, but a gradual
climb, for Japan
Anyway, when Jerome had inquired last week about weekend cycling plans, I told him I could not join him since I had a Brevet ... but he was welcome to show up at my house at 2:45AM Saturday for the ride to Shizuoka and a 6:00AM or 6:30AM start.  Not a very attractive offer, I thought, but he called me Friday evening from work and told me he might show ... Another call ten minutes before my planned departure told me he was leaving his home.

After a two and a half hour drive, we got to Fukuroi City, grabbed breakfast from a convenience store, and were at the start on time for the 6AM "briefing" -- it was the same start area as for the January 9 Brevet I had joined.

The course this time was a bigger loop that extended much further into the mountains.  All-in-all it was a very nice course, quickly entering the hills and only re-emerging into the more crowded cities again after 200 km, at dusk.  As with the January route, there was a return leg along the sea into a headwind, but this time we headed all the way South to Omaegasaki, and only about 30 km was ridden facing directly into a stiff wind (and at that point Jerome was pulling me).
At the turn-around point, Umegasaki, 170 kms into the ride (176 km for us)

Looking North at the turn around point -- not much here, but at least we could look forward to a very fast 20 km, heading downhill, downriver and downwind as we retraced our steps.

Only 130 km (for us 135 km) left to go.  A short rest, then I'll need to put the shoes on and get back in the saddle.
We did not push the pace, and ended up finishing about an hour slower than the 300 km Brevets I did last March and April.  Then again, we did have plenty of excuses.  We did ride an extra 10 km (5 km and 2X over a little hill on an early detour caused by a combination of poor signage and my overconfidence), and we did pull off for a sit-down dinner in a tiny Izakaya in an older lady's home on the shoreline of Shizuoka City, a few hundred meters from the sea wall where I rested in January.  And I did leave in the car the bananas I had brought for early-ride fuel.  And we did start the ride without nearly enough sleep.  And the front fork/headset on Jerome's trusty but old Peugeot did start to wobble noticeably on the first leg, until I figured out how to tighten it by hand at the first checkpoint.  And I did suffer two flat tubes, each of which took longer than usual to fix -- the first due to an incompatibility between my valve extenders and one of the replacement tubes I was carrying (Vittoria), and the second due to darkness and fatigue.  Next time (April 23 -- 400 km) we will do better and try to complete a bit faster.

Good night.


Manfred von Holstein said...

Congratulations on finally completing another brevet this year. I hope you can convince the organizers of Paris-Brest that the earthquake in Japan is a good reason to wave some miles.

The Shizuoka brevet looks like a very nice route. Should try this or some part of it just by myself some day. Fukuroi is a familiar place to MOB and myself. I used to visit a fair bit, 12 years ago...

David Litt said...

Thanks, Manfred. I do not think the PBP organizers will cut entrants from Japan any slack, so I'll plan to ride the 400km on 4/23 and the 600km on 5/7.

The "out" leg in the hills/mountains of Shizuoka was a very nice route. The return ... I don't know because it was dark, but I'm guessing much of Route 150 was not pretty in the daylight.

Maybe the next time you ride Akiba Kaido from Suwa/Chino to the south, in addition to the detour/side road up from Jizo Pass to Shirabiso Pass for a view of the Minami Alps, you could turn East before you get to the endless reservoirs onto Route K389 and go over a lower pass some of the territory we travelled ... would be a 2-day ride.