Death Star down... But back up

The team is on fire on the road, having crossed the highest point of the race Wolf Creek Pass - massive effort Chris and Jamie... And now over 1000miles coverd and under 2000 to go... All is well, except, the Death Star was down having blown an auxiliary air pipe... Joey our lead driver moved mountains to make the repairs, however, in his passionate (and maybe a tad abrasive) attemp to 'keep the show on the road' saw his co-driver Tyron (picture Tyron from Snatch meets John Collins from Green Mile) pack his bags and tell his story walking literally... Needless to say we are all having a very entertaining time!!!

 

The landscapes are incredible  

The landscapes are incredible  

The Death Star by night... And while functioning!!! 

The Death Star by night... And while functioning!!! 

Yurie - talking the greatest care of riders and Crew... And now has a BFF in Joey... They share a love of guns?!? 

Yurie - talking the greatest care of riders and Crew... And now has a BFF in Joey... They share a love of guns?!? 

Out on the road  

Out on the road  

It's on

We are just coming into the first night shift of the race, a slightly rocky start with a missed exchange left Chris and Jamie on the road (Chris especially) on the road a little longer than planned but the team pulled together and the first exchange was Chris and Jamie at lake henshaw (for those who have been bored to death already we have broken the team into two pairs of two, Chris and Jamie and Craig and danno). One pair will ride either a 4 or 6 hour shift and within that shift each rider will aim to ride 15 minutes on with the other rider in a "follow vehicle" it's tough going on the crew logistically but is widely accepted to be the fastest way across). 

Anyway back to lake henshaw,  

this is just before the "glass elevator descent taking us down to the desert floor (below sea level)  

danno brushed the glass elevator aside leaving Craig to smash it through the scorching desert before settling into. regular exchange pattern

 

Where's mr wonka

Where's mr wonka

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more.
Giddyap

Giddyap

That's a spicy meatball

That's a spicy meatball

Chris's first nighttime pull

Chris's first nighttime pull

Game On - we have started

RAAM 2015 is underway... And the Crank Addicts Tokyo are off to an interesting start with our first minor mechanical with one of Dan's rim fins coming off on the parade route... No damage done!!! 

Chris and Jamie are on the unsupported route and then we go into our genuine time trial across America

 

The Death Star

The Death Star

Danno and Craig relaxing before the start

Danno and Craig relaxing before the start

At the start... Don't be deceived by the smiles we were farking nervous!!!

At the start... Don't be deceived by the smiles we were farking nervous!!!

Chris, Jamie & Danno on the parade route out of Oceanside

Chris, Jamie & Danno on the parade route out of Oceanside

Danno & Craig relaxing in the Red Phoenix 

Danno & Craig relaxing in the Red Phoenix 

Dispatches from Oceanside

The hour is almost upon us, all the riders and pretty much the whole support crew are on the ground ad working their socks off to get everything finished in time at the Super 8 motel

 

(Note, not that super) 

(Note, not that super) 

Hertz have done everything in their power to make renting out follow vehicles as difficult as possible, however despite thei best efforts the vans rolled up at lunchtime and are really starting to take shape

 

It shouldn't be this hard when you're gouging this deep

It shouldn't be this hard when you're gouging this deep

Crank addicts dominating the car park

Crank addicts dominating the car park

Kit galoregalore

Kit galoregalore

spares galore

spares galore

Ready to roll

Ready to roll

Pretty sure these smiles won't last

Pretty sure these smiles won't last

image.jpg
image.jpg
Richard "chappers" chapman has done an amazing job in the build up

Richard "chappers" chapman has done an amazing job in the build up

One of our mechanics, Taku Sekine, don't ask

One of our mechanics, Taku Sekine, don't ask

On a serious note there is a heatwave in the deserts on our route that has been taking its toll on the solo riders who set off several days ago, there are forecast highs of 47 degrees Celsius for our projected transit, so wish us (and all of our fellow riders good luck) 

Dear Japanese government I.O.U. JPY 3,350,000

Or USD 27,000, GBP 17.631

As some of you may be aware, Japan is clamping down on cyclists and have introduced a number of measures/penalties to prevent/penalize those who break the rules 
Ticketable offenses include:
(loosely translated)
1. Running through red lights
2. Riding where prohibited by signs
3. Not yielding to pedestrians on sidewalks
4. Riding on non-designated sidewalks
5. Impeding pedestrian traffic
6. Illegal railroad crossings
7. Impeding other vehicles at intersections
8. Not following right-of-way at intersections
9. Not following right-of-way at roundabouts
10. Running through stop signs
11. Not allowing pedestrians right-of-way
12. Riding without front and rear brakes
13. Riding under the influence, drunk
14. Any behavior deemed unsafe or unlawful

The habitual offender law states that anyone ticketed more than twice for any offenses listed below within a span of 3 years will be required to attend a 3-hour bicycle safety course at a cost of 5,700yen within 3 months of the last offense. Failure to attend the safety course will result in a 50,000yen fine.

Now this is quite interesting as RE-training implies there was some sort of training in the first place (there wasn't). 
So just for fun i decided to see how many infractions i clocked up on my pre-work, 75km ride this morning, 
67
so 67xJPY50,000 is JPY3,350,000
(as there's no chance me attending any of these seminars)

Just for the record, i wasn't going out of my way or in any way trying to break the rules, this is the usual number of supposed infractions i would accrue on a regular ride.
 It strikes me this cycling lark could end up getting 
A: very expensive 
B: very slow

Now i am in no way condoning reckless riding that puts the rider or others at risk however i think this may be taking things just a touch too far. This law was introduced on June 1st and we already have reports of police hiding in bushes jumping out on unsuspecting offenders

Now with this HUGE amount of potential revenue going to waste we fully inspect a renewed troop buildup at Gaien to catch us out on our morning rides
 

Could this be waiting for us tomorrow morning?

Could this be waiting for us tomorrow morning?

So people please be sure to make sure you adhere to the many, MANY wonderful rules of the road when cycling in Japan, but if you do find yourself (accidentally of course) breaking them, 
like the man said

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS BY NO MEANS A CONFESSION AND IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN A COURT OF LAW (I HOPE)

Our home for a week in June

Much has been made of the Sky Procycling team bus, jokingly referred to as the Death Star, 
well i'm happy to report that for our shot at the 2015 Race Across America the Crank Addicts will have out very own Death Star, although i envisage the only deadly thing about it will be the stench after 18 people have been living on it for one week, 
 

Our pimpin' ride for a week across the states

The inside as it looks now

The inside as it looks now

And about three days into the race

And about three days into the race

You can see the bunks we will be sleeping, there are another 6 directly opposite

You can see the bunks we will be sleeping, there are another 6 directly opposite

This year we have the ultimate luxury, the restorative powers of a shower after a number of days in the saddle and on the road CANNOT be underestimated

This year we have the ultimate luxury, the restorative powers of a shower after a number of days in the saddle and on the road CANNOT be underestimated

Hoping to avoid a repeat of our 2011 escapades by renting something a tad more robust with people trained to drive it......  

Hoping to avoid a repeat of our 2011 escapades by renting something a tad more robust with people trained to drive it......
 

Desert acclimatization weekend

A couple of sweltering days in Tokyo with the temperature touching 32 on Saturday and 33 on Sunday, all good training for what we will face in the states but pretty challenging all the same. This weekend marks the last really long weekend of training we will face as we begin to wind down the riding to get to the start line well rested and uninjured.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
Craig gunning it

Craig gunning it

I think it's fair to say, that although we are all a touch on the nervous side the overriding emotion in the team and support crew is sheer excitement. None of us are underestimating the challenge that lies ahead however we're all itching to get going......... Bring it on!!

Police buildup continues unabated and unchecked

We were greeted this morning by a continued escalation of police presence as the mornings warm up and the gaijin scourge continue to disregard traffic signals

WE ARE OFFICIALLY AT GAIJCON 1

WE ARE OFFICIALLY AT GAIJCON 1

Just a small selection of the vast rozzer presence

Just a small selection of the vast rozzer presence

So off it was to the imperial palace for a few laps, upon returning for a closer inspection of tokyos finest I realized with horror, our mistake. 

Today being one month until the start of Race across America this police buildup wasn't to scare us off but (I assume) to salute the intrepid adventurers heading off to conquer the continental United states by bike

 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Clearly our invitations had got lost in the post (or more likely were in Japanese so we couldn't read them)  

i tried to take the podium to thank the massed throngs for their attendance however it became quickly evident they weren't too keen on my new skin coloured Lycra  

 

image.jpg

So if anyone has any spare bail money please contact azabu police station ASAP  

I saw you (and him) riding in the rain....:.

There are some truly awe inspiring views and mountains in cycling

 

The col du tourmalet  

The col du tourmalet

 

The switchbacks of alp d'huez

The switchbacks of alp d'huez

The moonscape of mt. Ventoux

The moonscape of mt. Ventoux

 But I honestly think this one beats them all,  

for your consideration I give you

 

Shinjuku by drizzle light....... 

Shinjuku by drizzle light....... 

A particularly wet grey miserable morning at jingu-Mae for some intervals, crappy weather but a great workout and  feeling really good.....

The police have had many, as yet unsuccessful, attempts to curb the morning jingu crews traffic light running however this time boys, I think we might be outmanned and outgunned

 

Typical Japanese police overreaction

Typical Japanese police overreaction

Training, Tomin and Textbooks

With Kimbo hiting the textbooks to ensure he knows how to appropriately trade other people's money... The remaining boys headed out in atrocious conditions for a training ride to One, Okutama over Tomin no Mori and back to Tokyo... About 185km with 1250m climbing.

 

Jamie and Danno at our first rest stop

Jamie and Danno at our first rest stop

Jamie working one of the many tunnels up to Okutama

Jamie working one of the many tunnels up to Okutama

Danno pushing through the rain and low level fog - had a cracking day on the bike!

Danno pushing through the rain and low level fog - had a cracking day on the bike!

Today's crew

Today's crew

Jamie nearing the top of Tomin

Jamie nearing the top of Tomin

3/4 of the Crank Addicts Tokyo near the top of Tomin... What a view!!!

3/4 of the Crank Addicts Tokyo near the top of Tomin... What a view!!!

Gaien Recovery Spin

Early morning spin at Gaien to dust off the weekend lactic... 

 

Danno & Jamie doing their thing...  

Danno & Jamie doing their thing...  

There was a noticeable absentee from the morning session... Reported knee soreness however rumoured over indulgence during mother-in-law day celebrations maybe closer to the truth. 

 

Danno testing out the Cervelo/mavic combo...

Danno testing out the Cervelo/mavic combo...

A good weekends riding

We were due to set off at 8am on Saturday for a loop taking us out from Tokyo and up to lake okutama, a 1000m climb up to tomin no mori and back to Tokyo, Craig was flying back from Sydney overnight however due to his foolish error of flying with his national carrier and we were greeted with

 

This

This

So Chris Dan and I had breakfast and set off. A pretty grim, grey, wet day greeted us but mercifully it wasn't too cold. At our first rest stop we got word that Craig had actually had a pretty good turn around and wasn't far behind us. We decided to wait and before long the four Crank Addicts Tokyo were together for our first ride together this year.

 

Dan, Chris and Craig on the climb

Dan, Chris and Craig on the climb

Chris crushing it

Chris crushing it

As was craig

As was craig

Climb conquered, time for a freezing descent

Climb conquered, time for a freezing descent

all in all a great ride which we backed up with 5+ hours on the TT bikes at oi futo on Sunday morning, tedious but good practice for the Great Plains we will have to cross in the U.S.  

Last day

And just like that, they were gone..... My legs that is....... Very pleased with a solid six days riding but also very pleased it's over, ready for a massage. 

Another terrible morning  

Another terrible morning  

The word had clearly gotten out to my fan club

The word had clearly gotten out to my fan club

Another long grueling climb  

Another long grueling climb  

Hakuba training day 4

Finally felt like I had some legs today thank god and was greeted with some of the nicest weather I've known in hakuba

 

Early morning alps

Early morning alps

My supporters cheering me on, I'm bringing a little pitchfork horns and red tights for this fella next time

My supporters cheering me on, I'm bringing a little pitchfork horns and red tights for this fella next time

A la

 

Didi senft  

Didi senft  

Who's more stupid me in my pink shirt or the people in the distance still skiing in 25 degrees

Who's more stupid me in my pink shirt or the people in the distance still skiing in 25 degrees

And that was where my ride/road/cat track ended today

And that was where my ride/road/cat track ended today

Still managed to drive todays route and get some better shots though

Still managed to drive

todays route and get some better shots though

All in all its been a challenging block of training with a lot of accumulated fatigue in the legs however finally my legs came good today and I feel like I'm about on track for our June 20th appointment  

jamie