31 December 2013

Shimano Brifter Blues

I've got the Brifter Blues.  What are "brifters"?  Combined brake levers and shifters.

First implemented by Shimano for road bikes in 1990 as "STI" or "Shimano Total Integration", it was pretty cool to be able to shift gears without your hands leaving the brakes -- indeed, while braking.  Eventually Campy brought out their own different "Ergo" brifter, and SRAM "double tap" is a third.  Now there are made-in-China brands such as Microshift.  

But brifters, at least the Shimano version, are not perfect.  Indeed, the versions I have used in the past 10+ years (5600, 6500, 6600, 7700, 7800) have a way of eventually slicing through the shifter cables.  (I have never lost the brake cable, fortunately.  The brake cable is significantly thicker, and its motion much simpler inside the brifter).

Usually a sliced shifter cable just means a ride home with dramatically reduced shifting (only one derailleur working).   And it is possible to fix the gear so you can even get over hills in a decent gear.   Randonneurs try to avoid this problem preventing them from completing a long event by carrying a spare shifter cable, to change in a pinch.  

So on the 29th I did not think much of it when my rear shifter cable broke just as Jerome and I headed down the last descent on Onekansen Doro.  Indeed, I thought "great, only a flat stretch between here and home, then I can change the cable and be good to go again."  

But when I got home, and inserted the new cable (careful to push the small paddle many times before inserting the cable so that the brifter was in the "outside" gear position), ... the shifter did not work.  No take up at all when I tried to shift.  I tried lubrication (CRC-56) and rethreading the cable (multiple times).  I played with the shifter, shook it upside down, etc., etc.  No luck.  It is non-functional.  Just as non-functional as the rear brifter that ceased working last year during Rocky Mountain 1200.
My dead Shimano Ultegra 6600 Brifter
These things are very expensive, and there is no way to fix them once they blow up like this.
My dead Shimano Dura Ace 7800 Brifter from last year

Is there a better solution?  Do the newer brifters (6800, 7900, 9000?) work better, with their different routing of the shifter cable along the handlebar under the bartape?

As I was heading over the C Speed today, I happened to pass Gunnar riding a beautiful looking cyclocross bike built by Equilibrium Cycle Works, a Shinagawa-based foreign custom builder.  He had shifters I had never seen before -- Retroshift CX2s.   A better solution?  I may need to give them a try!

30 December 2013

Early Winter Ride

Looking over hidden Lake Tsukui to the North Shore.  Early winter version.
Looking out from the high point of the North Shore road at tunnel entrance.  Sun glistens on the water. 
Looking SE into the Kanagawa sprawl of Sagamihara -- what I rode through to and from Yugawara
I awoke early Sunday.  Jerome had suggested we ride at daybreak (well ... 7AM) ... as he needed to get back early.  I was happy to accede, but next time he suggests an earlier-than-usual start I should place a wager -- something like "if you show up on time, free coffee and pastries; if you are more than 5 minutes late, you owe me 1000 yen."  If I had 1000 yen for each time ...   This is why I like starting our rides at my house.  If someone is a bit late, I can go inside and read the newspaper and sip coffee.

Anyway, he sent an SMS around 645AM noting that he was just waking up and far behind schedule, so even before I went outside I was able to have a second cup of coffee.  I  made some tweaks to the bike, and headed out alone around 730.
Mt. Fuji over the Asagawa
The entire day went at a slower-than-usual pace, my body conserving its energy in the cold.  I pulled off at a Mini Stop before Hachioji on the way to Takao. More SMSs and a phone call with Jerome indicated that he was on his bike and about 20 minutes behind me.   Another rest in Takao at the Family Mart (sunny side of the street -- winter alternative to the shaded 7-11) and he seemed to be closing the gap.  But I was getting cold waiting and so started the Otarumi climb alone.  Although it was now after 10AM, the Route 20 roadway temperature gauge part way up the climb, in direct sunlight, stated 2 degrees celsius.  Barely warmer than when I left home.
Mt. Fuji and Cyclists from Otarumi Pass
Jerome and I finally met up on the far side of Otarumi Pass near the Sagamiko train station, and rode the remainder together -- Tsukui-ko, the Tank Road and Onekansen -- and one more convenience store stop, back into town.  It was a decent 110 km ride on a sunny winter day.
Mt. Fuji from Otarumi Pass

26 December 2013

Festive 500; Annual 14000

Recently over on MOB's blog I saw mention of the Rapha/Strava "Festive 500" challenge -- ride 500 kms over the 8 days between December 24 and 31.

TCC also had thread about this challenge.  I signed up, and was happy to see that after uploading my trip to Yugawara and back, I was ranked #21 out of 353 Japan-based participants.  Of course, the ranking will fade quickly, but still I hope to complete this challenge.

The ride to Yugawara and back also pushed me over 14,000 kms cycling for the year, based on my mileage log.  Time to start thinking about cycling goals for 2014 ...



Well, I completed the Festive 500.  I ended up at 509 kms, ranked 4407 out of 26565 (as of the evening of January 1, Tokyo time), and 158 out of 688 on the "leaderboard" in Japan.  If only I had switched on my GPS timer when I left home for the office on December 26, I could have moved way up in the rankings for a top 130 finish in Japan.

On the morning of December 31, despite requests from my spouse to help with year-end window cleaning and shopping, I played hookey in the morning, rode to Tsukui-ko and back, to get the last 84 kms I needed. Except that it turned out I had needed almost 88 kms.  So after the housecleaning was done that afternoon, I turned on the GPS once more and made a quick spin over to C Speed and then a loop through my neighborhood.

It was exhausting to record in-town rides on my GPS and upload them to Strava, something I do NOT plan to make a habit.  And silly to be riding toward a fairly mindless goal of just getting in a few more kilometers on the last day of the challenge, as opposed to actually training, or riding socially, or because I wanted to ride somewhere.

So I will not join any more of these challenges.  Except ...

I happen to see a "Gran Fondo" challenge for January (repeated for each subsequent month).  The challenge is to ride at least ONE ride of 130 kms during the month.  Piece of cake.  In 2013 I did so in each month except December ... and this challenge will not require me to record my commutes.

The Gran Fondo prize?  A "digital finishers badge" and the chance to pay $109 for a special jersey ... with a different color potentially earned each month.  What a privilege!

Further update:

Well, I completed the January, February and March "Gran Fondo" challenges, but have yet to purchase a jersey.  For April, I looked forward to blowing away the challenge, riding a 24 hour Fleche and other long events.  At the end of the Fleche, I uploaded the data expecting to move way up the leaderboard ...  to around 25th place out of 45000 participants!   But nothing.  I had failed to "reset" the Garmin after 23 hrs and 58 minutes of Fleche, and kept the same data recording as continuous ride between the Fleche finish and the post-ride party at the Kamakura Prince.  So Strava must not recognize it as a ride of less than 24 hours.  Ouch. 

At least I am 10748 out of 57751 participants in the Spring Classics challenge ... and should move way up after this weekend's 300km Brevet, and my SFC 76 km commute on Wednesdays.


My wife planned an onsen ryokan (hot spring inn) trip for our family, just an overnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning with our two sons back in town from university for the holidays.  She found a place in Yugawara.  Yugawara is a town on the coast between Odawara and Atami, just at the gateway to the Izu Peninsula from the eastern (Tokyo) side.

As the weather was nice, and I needed to stop back at the Keio SFC campus to teach a class on Wednesday afternoon (Christmas is NOT a public holiday in Japan), of course, I decided to ride my bicycle.  I had wanted to take Yabitsu Pass, but my start was delayed until just before 1PM, so I headed straight out Route 246.  This meant I would traverse the entirety of Kanagawa Prefecture and its sprawl in each direction.  Not my favorite place for riding, but if I need to do it, best in winter.

I turned south off Route 246 somewhere around Yamato as 246 got completely clogged up, with the shoulder too narrow at places to pass the cars and trucks at anywhere near full speed.  I hunted and pecked my way to the coast, through Samukawa and to Hiratsuka, names I recognize but cannot quite place.

As I rode along the coast, at one point I saw a sign for the "Pacific Coast Bicycle Path" and headed about 200 meters off Route 1 to find a bike path adjacent to the Seisho By-Pass.  I had seen the sign before, on ekiden rides, but never tried it.  The bike path was passable, but only continued for 2 kms and ended in a sandy cul-de-sac.  I needed to dismount through the sandy patch, then remount and head back up a neighborhood street to Route 1.  (On the way back, I also took this path, and managed another 500 meters or so in the eastern direction to confirm the entire length.  The eastern end also dumped out into a bit of sand.  Slower than Route 1, pathetically short, but good to know of.

Mikan orchards between Odawara and Yugawara
Route 135, the coastal road from Odawara to Yugawara offered its benefits, despite the traffic volumes.  The fresh air and views were a relief, both in late afternoon and the following day.

The last surprise was finding the onsen.  I got to Manazuru, just north of Yugawara, around 430 or 445PM.  Only then did I try to identify the exact location of the onsen.  It was not in Yugawara, but at the far edge of "Oku Yugawara", more than 5 kms beyond Yugawara station and at several hundred meters elevation.  I arrived in the dark, after 515PM.  The attendant took my bicycle inside and to a luggage room, no questions asked.  I wanted to go straight to the room and meet my family, but was told "no", the correct order was that I first rest in the lounge and be served a bowl of "macha" tea.  This happened very quickly, I downed it in one gulp, and was led to the room.  Greetings, then off to a hot bath and a gorgeous meal.
Trying to get a photo without a car in it ...
Was a bit of a challenge.

08 December 2013

Yomiuri V Dori

It was a cloudy, cool day, and not too much time for a ride given the various tasks.  So Yomiuri V Dori beckoned.

I should make this a regular destination in the colder months. ...
Six ascents ... none very fast.

06 December 2013

Tokyo Metropolis Guide to Tokyo Cycling

There was an interesting article online in English language Tokyo Metropolis magazine recently entitled Roads Scholars.  You can find it here.

Did you know that Tokyo is ranked as the 10th most bicycle friendly city in the world by "Copenhagenize"?  I did not.  That 14% of everyday trips in Tokyo are by bicycle?  (14% sounds about right, given the bicycle's dominance as a mode of transport here for local shopping and to/from station and school commuting.  That compares to 2% for London and 3% for San Francisco.)

Just as important, the article highlights other English language resources and groups on cycling, including TCC, Half Fast ... and this very blog:  "a venerable blog with postings on routes around Kanto and other useful resources, which once featured hilarious posts by the blogger known as MOB, who left Japan several years ago."

01 December 2013

Yabitsu Pass in December

Most places in the northern hemisphere December 1 is long past time for riding over passes.  Not in the area around Tokyo, where we are blessed with relatively dry, sunny weather and fall foliage in late November through December.  Today was no exception.

My tire went flat here on the lower Yabitsu climb. I could enjoy the view while I changed the tube!
I took one of the shorter classic Positivo Espresso routes, just under 120kms -- out Onekansen Doro, the "tank road", Machida Kaido, the south to briefly join Route 413, then looping around the North side of Lake Tsukui, winding my way to Lake Miyagase, then up and over Yabitsu Pass (Elev 760m -- approx 2500 feet), and down the South side to Hadano.

Instead of taking the slow Odakyu train home, I rode in another almost 20 kms on Route 246, then hopped the Denentoshi Line train from ChuoRinkan Station.
Often photographed -- the Michi no eki and park at Lake Miyagase.

Both bike and rider rest at the top of Yabitsu.

Today's ride.  118 kms distance ddddand 1400 meters climbing logged.

24 November 2013


Last week when I crested Wada Pass and chatted with a group of Audax riders seated at the cafe, I asked (jokingly) if they were on a brevet.  One of the women said that no, they were "cycling".  I guess this is Japanese (among Brevet riders, at least) for a more relaxed ride ... as opposed to training, racing, etc. (all of which I would consider "cycling").

Today I went cycling in beautiful weather.  Out One-kan, the North side of Tsukui, Kanagawa Routes 517, 518, Makime Pass, then across Doshi Michi and through the countryside North of Miyagase, then winding my way toward Atsugi for a quick hammerfest along Route 246 as far as Yamato/Chuo Rinkan, and home via train.  Spectacular weather and a nice ride.
Fall at Lake Tsukui

Fall along the road to Makime Pass - Kanagawa Route 518

Fall as the climb steepens
a 1MW solar power project just over the south side of Makime Pass
The Route

23 November 2013

LEL Jersey

I had not planned on ordering a commemorative jersey for London Edinburgh London 2013 ... but upon seeing them in July at the event, I changed my mind and joined the "post event" order.  Mine arrived on Friday.
Full zipper, of course.  Zippered waterproof back pocket, of course.

Left shoulder

Right shoulder
Lots of nice details, like this area at the back of the neck.  And of course it will be a perfect fit next year, when I lose those few kgs. ...

21 November 2013

Cycle Polo -- Komazawa Park Wednesday Nights

Jerome and I had dinner with Laurent last night near Omotesando.  Laurent had a car parked in town, but Jerome and I were on bicycles and rode home.  As we passed Komazawa Park, in the shadows on the opposite side of the road we passed what looked like an organized cycling event of some kind.  It required a closer look.

It looks like a younger man's (and woman's) game, with a requirement for track stands, bunny hops etc. to be any good.  But the mallet does provide a third point of support, and everyone seemed to be having fun!

One of the guys recognized me (and my bike) from Above Bike Store.

Wednesday nights.  9PM on ...

This video gives a better idea of the light conditions and the action.

17 November 2013

Reverse Paul Jason -- Kobu Tunnel, Golf Course Hills and West side of Wada

It was a beautiful day today, perfect for cycling.  Jerome and I did a longer half-day ride -- 140 kms of the "reverse Paul Jason" ride, one of our classics.  Up the Tamagawa and Akigawa, over Kobu Tunnel, the "golf course hills" of Uenohara, and back over Wada Pass.

We left my house a little around 7:45AM, and I was back around 2:20PM.  Unusually, I was well ahead of Jerome at the top of Kobu Pass and Wada Pass (he stopped for a drink at a vending machine on the ura Wada climb).  Jerome was ahead of me through the golf course hills, more in form.  Beautiful weather the entire way, some headwinds coming back into town, but we have been in worse.  We met a group of about 10 regular Audax riders who were resting at the Wada witch's son's cafe.

Not really a lot to say about this ride, except "beautiful!"

Heading up the Tamagawa -- lots of walkers and cyclists out today.
Just about to start the descent into Yamanashi from Kobu Tunnels
Mt Fuji barely visible from the back side of Wada Pass, now snow covered.

10 November 2013

Clif Bar in Japan ... at an almost reasonable price

My longtime favorite energy bar for cycling is the Clif Bar.  Back when others were inedible and full of preservatives, Clif Bar stood apart as really tasty and easy to digest.  And the little tale on each bar about how the brand started out, won me over.  Clever marketing.

But it was not available in Japan, until quite recently.  And once it became available in Japan, the prices were very steep -- well over $2 per bar.

So I was very happy to see a variety box of Clif Bars featured at Costco in Kawasaki yesterday evening.  18 bars for under 3000 yen.  Arount $1.60 per bar.  Still not U.S. pricing, but much better.

The end of an institution -- no more 7-11 on the Tamagawa in Fuchu

When I first started cycling in Tokyo back in 2004, it was a rare ride that did not include a stop at the 7-11 along the Tamagawa, a few kilomters past Sekidobashi and just beyond the Yotsuyabashi (Pref Route 20) turn off to head out toward Takao.

Even if it is only 20 kms from my house, that is not too far for a morning stop after saddling up without a full breakfast or coffee.  And it is 30-35 kms for riders who come from central Tokyo.

A few years later, after Y's moved its Tamagawa store up the river to a building next to the 7-11, this intersection (Yotsuya 5-chome) became an unofficial mecca for road cyclists in western Tokyo.  On any sunny weekend midday, you were pretty much guaranteed to see not just serious road cyclists staging for a trip into the mountains, but some "potterers" and at least a few MAMILs with expensive road bikes -- including one slightly overweight guy posing on his Colnago with rear disk wheel -- stopping for food and drink before heading back into town to complete a flat, sub-50 km ride.

Jerome and I rode up and down the river today, and I am sorry to report that the 7-11 is gone.

Wouldn't this be a great place for a cycle shop/cafe?  Maybe something a bit different than Y's?  If interested, you can call the real estate broker a the phone number on the window!

Shimano SPD pedal self destructs?!?!

I started my commute to work on Friday morning and quickly headed via Kaminoge Dori toward Meguro Dori taking the fast route rather than the more relaxed Komazawa Dori.  I was using my standard Azabu-and-back commuting rig -- the Yamabushi, with SPD pedals and Shimano cycling sandals -- comfortable, easy to change out of at the office.

But soon after I got onto Meguro Dori and up to speed, I felt am odd slippage on my right pedal, my foot sliding off the pedal entirely.  Somehow, the pedal had come entirely off its spindle.
Left pedal, still in one piece; Right pedal, useless
What triggered this?  I have no idea.  I guess nothing lasts forever, and these are more than 5 years old, with heavy usage over the past year or two.  But it was a bit disconcerting, since I am using other SPD pedals (with a platform) on longer rides, and would hate to have the same thing happen during a long randonee.  I am not about to start traveling with spare pedals!

03 November 2013

Gando Toge! 厳道峠

Jerome and I headed out around 8:15AM on a beautiful early November morning, without any set route plan.  When we got to Tamagawahara bashi, the light was red and so I suggested we head across the bridge and continue out Onekansen Doro, the first time in quite awhile.  We saw lots of cyclists, especially on this stretch.
After a quick trip out Onekan and then along the Tank Road and Machida Kaido, we were just about to turn onto Route 413 when we saw a familiar face and bicycle.  The bicycle was a Cervelo R3 SL with Lightweight wheels, impeccably maintained and clean as usual.  
The rider was Laurent, on a last training ride before next week's 210km Tour de Okinawa.  
The river along Doshimichi at Ryogoku Bashi
We rode together around the north side of Lake Tsukui, and decided to head up Doshi Michi.  At a rest stop at the 7-11 before the first real climb of Doshimichi, Laurent suggested that Jerome and I might want to try Gando Toge -- a new route for both Jerome and me -- though Laurent could not join as he needed to head back into town more quickly via the Route 76 loop.  
Too many cars and motorcycles on Doshi, as we try to turn into the rindo entrance
We found the entrance to the rindo (forest road) and were glad to leave Doshimichi with its heavy holiday car and motorbike traffic.
Rindo entrance for Gando Pass -- within a kilometer of the fountain where people fill water bottles
I remember Laurent once telling me that his favorite climb is Nokogiri, a relatively steep grade with plenty of rocks and debris on the road surface.  The south side of Gando also started relatively steep and with plenty of rocks and leaves on the road surface.  Within a kilometer of the entrance, I rode over some sharp gravel and heard a hissing sound.  A flat tube, and worse a nice slice on the sidewall of my tire. I fitted a folded 1000 yen note inside the tire at the tear and managed to inflate a replacement tube without it protruding through the slice.  A few meters further, the road became much clearer, and stayed that way all the way up.

The climb took us from 500 meters elevation at the entrance up to 800 meters elevation at the pass, with the grade usually in the 9-10% range.  So much easier than Nokogiri or Wada.
At Gando Pass
Then it was a nice descent to the north, ending up at Akigawa Onsen. 
We headed back in along Pref Routes 35 and 517, then 76, to Fujino.  We made one wrong turn and ended up at Fujino Onsen, a day hot spring that seemed teeming with visitors on this Sunday in the middle of a 3-day weekend.  The hot spring building looked nice, and we stopped to eat a snack on the benches in front. 
Fujino Onsen
Unfortunately, the views of nearby mountains and river were largely blocked by the huge hospital/nursing home facility just down the hill.

Then it was out onto Route 20, over Otarumi (with a stop for ramen at the pass), down past Takao and on the roads through Hachioji and home!

A classic Positivo Espresso ride, over 140 kms and a few good climbs, as well as a new route, discovered by Laurent and passed along to us.  Thank you, Laurent!

300,000 visits

It has taken awhile, but Positivo Espresso has now had 300,000 pageviews/visits, according to Google's web statistics.  Congratulations.

27 October 2013

Tour de France -- Saitama Criterium Etc.

As noted last week, there was an event at the French Embassy in Tokyo on Thursday evening, October 24, in advance of Saturday's Criterium in Saitama by ASO/Tour de France.  The evening event was sponsored by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (CCIFJ).

It was good to see a number of TCCers at the event, many of whom I have not ridden with in far too long ... as if I could keep up with them!

The highlight, of course, was meeting the stars -- Le Blaireau (the Badger), Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour de France, and winner of all 3 grand tours - the Vuelta and the Giro, as well as the Tour.  He is a very important presence for the Tour, and as Graham Davis notes in a Pez Cycling report, saved the day yet again.  I cannot wait for next year's Tour--genuinely excited about the initial 2 stages in northern England (beautiful Yorkshire) and the day on the Pave in northern France.
Arashiro, Bardet and Hinault, photo courtesy of CCIFJ
And Romain Bardet, the 22-year old French hope for future greatness, who hails from the Auvergne region near Clermont-Ferrand, where I had such a memorable time with visiting with Jerome and Didier for the Etape du Tour Acte II in 2011 (Issoire-St. Flour).  Romain was in Japan for the race, and his girlfriend was along, so they planned to stay an extra week.  Maybe Jerome will show them around Kamakura or Nikko??

Romain Bardet and his girlfriend, with Jerome and me!
Romain said his father had ridden the 2011 Etape Acte II.  He recalled the miserable weather that day. Exactly!  The headwinds and cold rain gave me a chance for a decent showing, as the thinner cyclists and many of those from warmer climates -- the Brazilians, Spaniards, Italians, et al. got chilled and huddled in the lee of buildings, abandoning early.  It was exactly the type of conditions under which Jerome and I excel -- a war of attrition with 210 kms and 3500+ meters elevation gain over numerous small/medium sized climbs.  I hung in there with the Belgians and Brits, and finished something like 1300 out of 1900 finishers (over 3000 starters and more than 4000 registered--major attrition).

Jerome introduced Yukiya Arashiro to the #2 at the French Embassy, so Arashiro-san can get some VIP treatment in getting his visa squared away for next season (not so easy for a non-EU citizen, but in this case essential to Franco-Japan relations and to the Tour's and French cycling's status as a global sport).  Of course, Yukiya rides for Europcar, a primarily French team and home of the always exciting Thomas Voeckler.  He said he lives in Setagaya (when in Japan), actually quite close to Jerome and me.  He weighs only 53~54 kgs, but said that if he wants to content for the GC (instead of being an attacking rider, one-day competitor and super-domestique), he would need to lose more weight to climb faster.  Impossible to imagine, but good to know that we have something in common.

I missed much of the marketing presentation -- so much the better -- but enjoyed mingling, as well as the table full of Bretagne-style crepes, both the kind that make a meal and sweet dessert crepes.  I managed to eat every variety on the table, and to wash them down with a few glasses of French hard cider.

On Saturday, Jerome and I had planned to ride up to Saitama Shin-to-shin to watch the criterium and see the related exhibits ... but the typhoon passing offshore dumped heavy rain all morning, so we hopped a train instead.  Most of the exhibits were only tangentially related to cycling, though there were some with a French theme (cheese, wine, etc.).

There was a big crowd, which just got bigger as the day went on.  I guess there is not much else to do on a rainy Saturday in central Saitama?

Indoors in the arena there were cycling exhibits, but nothing to write home about.  There was an educational exhibit on the Tour -- which included a nice photo of the Issoire-St. Flour stage from 2011!  And there was a video running where we say excerpts from Chris Froome's incredible ride up Mt. Ventoux this year.

We did run across Jamie S., one of the few Tokyoites (perhaps the only?) to have ever completed the Race Across America (RAAM), with a 4-person team in 2012 and, much more difficult, a 2-person team in 2013.  Jamie said he and his partner each rode 330 kms a day, on around 3 hours sleep.  They rode 2962 miles (4700 kms) in all, with a time of d 15 h 46 m. That sounds like starting with LEL, but adding 30-40 kms a day, and extending the event for an additional 3 days/900 kms, and of course riding at a faster pace (but with more time off the bike, when your partner is riding).  He said it was very hard -- something about saddle sores and exhaustion.  Not going back again.  Respect.
People keep coming and coming toward the events.
Jerome and I visited some of the booths, and as the rain stopped early afternoon, we saw a points race with Alejandro Valverde, Fumi Beppu and others.  The Japanese police did their very best to ensure that no one stood on the walkways, staircases or other places where it would be possible to actually SEE the riders as they passed in both directions.
Move along.  Keep away from the edge where you might get a good view of the race.
Of course, the races were just exhibitions, not the world championship circuit.  Chris Froome mysteriously won the main event, out-racing several better sprinters who did not even get out of their saddles to sprint, I am told.  Let's hope that if they ever do this again, that the weather cooperates better, and that they get a longer course with better views for a crowd 3, 4 or 5 persons deep, and maybe even a climb or two.