This weekend Andy ‘Ditchman’ E. asked me to join on one of his now infamous ‘torture rides’. Not refuse the pain , I hesitantly agreed. You see, the reason Andy got the nickname ‘Ditchman’ is because in his commitment to finish the double Okutama, triple WADA, Tsuru Throwdown, triple Tobu whammy ride within a day resulted him repeatedly falling off his bike in a hypersomniac slumber with the end result of spending the night sleeping in some car park out in the dingles. Or as embellishment would have it, a ditch. Nonetheless, such was born , ‘Andy’s Torture Ride’. Not to be confused with the normal caffeine grading typically used by our TCC brethren – as they truly deserve the honor of such expedient and masochistic pursuits – but rather the rides of the near-geriatric , like myself, that makes one wonder if AED’s are duly located along the route.
Digression. So we press out from Shinjuku at our appointed hour which is almost always an hour late due to one thing or another and high tail it to the hills. I’ve forgotton (senility, dammit) my peanut butter wrench so – its either turn back – or find one on the way. Here is where I discover that the world’s stock of 15mm wrenches are simply NOT ALLOWED outside of Tokyo. NO WAY, NO HOW. After more than an hour of searching everything from 100yen shops to precision tool companies – we finally give up – and I give in and buy a Crescent Wrench. Ack for like $17.00 !! No wonder the Japanese economy thrives. The same bloody, POS monkeyy wrench ANYWHERE would cost less than $5.00. But TIJ – its either buy the wrench or ride the whole day with nothing to change a tire (or cog) with a rock and a piece of re-bar (it has been done before). I buy the wrench.
Finally with tool in bag – we hit the hills. Today I’m trying out some new food – cause frankly I hate eating at Conbini and not finding foods I really want to eat on the road. So the night before I cooked up a mess of burritos and Andy nuked about 20 spuds. This would be our ‘Burritos and Potatoes’ tour. The goal – see how it fares based against the endless gel packs of squeeze carbs, coke, cheeseballs, chocolates, corn dogs, tuna mayo onigiri, pokey, and assorted umeboshi gummies.
The logic. Intake a roughly 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein utilizing relatively medium / low GI index with some occasional high GI index foods for quick intake of starches / sugars. And at the same time avoid eating ‘designer supplements’ which generally leave your mouth feeling like a bad case of hoof and mouth disease, plus, I’m not convinced all that healthy.
Before the climb from Takao to Fujino – we popped a couple small potatoes and drank water. Made the climb, which is not that hard, but always gets you in gear for the rest of the day. My legs felt fine and I felt no lack of energy or nagging need to feed. At the top, more water, then descent. After th wrench incident we hit the climb through Tobu tunnel to Tomin No Mori. In the heat, this is a bit of nasty climb. Again – felt pretty strong up the hill and we took our lunch at the peak – 2 burritos each, plus plenty of water and an ice cream. Lengthy and boring descent to Okutama – a quick right – then up another pass. By this time I started to notice the food effects. Was feeling a bit tapped, but still plenty strong. So just hammered away up the hills. At an intermediate water stop, snagged another potato. Boom, to the top, then back down. Now here’s where things get interesting cause we have at least another 1000m of climbing to do on this torture ride.
Up and down, again. A couple of walks through the 18% section – sorry – my gear selection of 44/17 just doesn’t work <for me> over like 9-12% grades. And these were short – so no reason to swap cogs. I was decreasing in overall power – but at no time felt famished or bonked. Just slower. We finally pulled into Sagamiko and due to pressing biz matters, I had to jump the train back home. Otherwise – I’d be fine with continuing the road back to Tokyo. Ditchman joined in on the train.
The following day I was pleasantly aware that, while a bit stiff and sore, I felt pretty good and could’ve taken on another similar route. Ditchman actually did so – and he went back up for a WADA double dipper.
In keeping in line with my less is more tirade, I’m working as hard as I can to:
1) Poach water from standard taps – refrain from PET bottles as much as possible.
2) Minimal conbini food – its great for a quick chocolate, or in our case, fresh peaches!! But stay away from processed junk.
3) No squeezey gel packs. I know they’re convenient – but my mouth always feels like crap after eating, and it doesn’t really hit the spot.
Is this really different than what your mom told you when you were 12yo? Eat your breakfast, drink lots of water and stay away from fast food snacks! If you get hungry, eat healthy! By the way, the burritos are awesome – I tossed them in the freezer, so , on the way up the hills I had a natural cooler in my back pocket. By the time we hit the summit – perfectly thawed out and warmed!
Here’s a shot of the ‘Bates Hotel’ – always seem to come across this intersection and now I’ve named it accordingly.