01 January 2015

A Guide for Audax Staff in Japan - How to Distinguish between David and Jerome

The last Brevets of 2014 are long over, and the new year’s campaign will start in a few days.
If Jerome and I ride an Audax event together, then the staff can see us coming and just remember “David and Jerome” or, more likely, “Jerome and David”.   There is usually no need to distinguish between us.
But when only one of us rides an event, it helps to remember which one of us is David and which is Jerome.  This can be difficult for the typical Audax staffer – two foreigners, both from Setagaya area, both riding Audax events, both overweight (by Japan standards, at the least).  Goodness knows, it is difficult for me to remember Japanese Audax riders’ names, without meishi, seeing people only in “disguise” with helmets, sunglasses, etc., and as communications between riders are usually via Twitter, where people never use their actual names, but indecipherable “handles”.  It is harder even given the numbers of Japanese riders.
David - 7 Up Jersey, Giant TCR frame.  Jerome -- short shorts, Look 585 frame.  Circa 2008 
On R-Tokyo’s Ise 1000 Brevet in September, as I pulled into the checkpoint Southeast of Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture, a familiar Saitama Audax-based volunteer whom I have met at numerous previous events waved a friendly greeting.  She next yelled out “Jerome-san!  Jerome-san!”  Then as I pulled in closer, she realized her mistake, and turned her back to me, literally, to hide her embarrassment.  I tried my best to pretend that everything was normal.
A few weeks later, as I rolled up a bit behind schedule to the start of the Nishi Tokyo 200 brevet, a Kanagawa Audax volunteer I have met several times – and last spoke with at the end of the Fleche in Kamakura in April – was working at the sign-in table.  She greeted me as “Jerome-san, Jerome-san” and started to look for Jerome’s sign-in.  I was in a cranky mood, having awoken earlier than I would like and hauled ass to get to the start in Machida, so all I could counter was a dead pan 「私はジェロームじゃない。デイビッドです。」(“I am NOT Jerome; I am David”.)  Again, it was an awkward moment.
So Audax staffers, here are some pointers.


David and Jerome have both been known to elevate bicycles over head in a victory celebration, say at the top of Wada Pass, or Odarumi Pass.
David -- Cervelo frame, Assos Kazakh jersey; Jerome -- Look frame, short shorts and Credit Agricole sleeveless jersey
We both do some crazy rides, heading up Yanagisawa Pass or over Norikura in early winter. … or the mountain route through Yamanashi and Nagano at year end.
David -- Assos winter jacket; Jerome -- Look winter jacket
Jerome on Norikura in November.  Look jacket. Beeren bib shorts (with straps down?)

Jerome near Shibu Toge 2014
David at Shibu Toge 2014
We each have been known to sleep in public, on concrete or benches, during longer events.

We each will strike an occasional goofy pose -- signs of (too) long residence in Japan.

And yes, perhaps because we are both just a little bit above our ideal riding weight, we are both very strong riders in cold or wet weather!

Differences.  But there are some key differences, that will help a discerning staff member to distinguish between us.

Home Country

1.  Jerome – French, from the SW suburbs of Paris (15-20 minutes' by bicycle from the start of PBP).  France is the land of cheese and wine, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon (departed) and of course the Audax Club Parisien.

2.  David – American, from Portland, Oregon, the home of Chris King, Vanilla Cycles and numerous independent framebuilders.  America is a nation of immigrants, the land of apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet; home of Lance Armstrong (cheater) and Greg Lemond (champion); and RAAM, usually won by an insane European.

So if you are not sure which one of us it is, just ask "what is your home country"?  If France - Jerome.  If America -- David.  Better yet, just ask "comment allez vous?", and if you get a reply pouring forth in French, it must be Jerome.


This is the easiest method for quick identification.  Jerome often wears “short shorts”.   David wears traditional bib shorts, typically Q36.5 or Assos brand. Here is an example:
Another view of Jerome's distinctive dress.

Likewise, David wears jerseys with regular length sleeves, even in the hottest of conditions.  Jerome, on the other hand, can sometimes be seen in sleeveless jerseys.
Indeed, Jerome can often be seen bare-chested, or in mesh top, in a restaurant as he dries his jersey on a chair.  Jerome wears a distinctive mesh top inner layer (referred to by him as the "Finnish Condom").  David typically keeps his clothing on while in restaurants. He does not have a"Finnish Condom" inner layer.

Indeed, this basic difference in dress can be the easiest way to tell them apart, since it persists even in winter in many cases, as in this early December photo from the top of Yanagisawa Pass in a recent year:
And even in the rare cases when Jerome is fully clothed, he favors a yellow "Beeren" jersey from his former Kobe/Sanda based club.

Around Water
Jerome – Can be seen nearly naked emerging from the waves, in the style of Ursula Andress or Halle Berry emerging in a James Bond film.  Jerome will typically jump in the first body of water -- river, lake or ocean -- on a hot day.  David MAY jump in an occasional swimming hole, but is likely to keep his (cycling) clothes on when doing so.
Jerome emerges from the Sea of Japan - Tour de Noto
Halle Berry
Ursula Andress

Thank you for your time, and goodbye until we meet on the road! 
Front view -- David on left, Jerome on right
Rear view -- Jerome on left, David on right.


Manfred von Holstein said...

Haha, very funny! Now you need to print a link to this post on your cycling meishi :)

I take it you didn't attempt to complete the Festive 500 challenge this time?

Happy New Year!

David Litt said...

Hi Manfred:

Yes, ... my "cycling commentator" meishi. How could I have forgotten to get one.
As for the Festive 500, done and dusted. See below:


mob said...

Very funny, best non-technical, non-touring post since a long time. Well written, Jerome!

Richard said...

Beautiful work, which reminded me of MOB in his prime.

DJ said...

Happy New Year Positivistas. Hope to see you all soon. Juliane and David