Barry-Roubaix is just over a week away. Although I have put in a lot more training this year than the last, I am not entering this race very confident.
There are currently 362 riders in my category! So, I guess I am shooing for a place of 181 or higher to meat one of my training goals.
Training has been coming along OK. Starting this week I dropped the second day of weight lifting, and I am riding an extra day per week. As of last Wednesday (9MAR11) I crossed the 1,000 mile mork for this training season. I didn't record my miles last year, but I would guess they totaled less than 1k. So, before racing at all this year, I have exceed last years miles.
Today I was in my office, and was reminded of my trip to Tsukuba, Japan last fall. In the middle of my bulletin board mess, above the phone receiver, is a card from Hi-Bike, in Japan. This was by far the most friendly bike shop experience I have ever received.
After walking about 2 miles in the hot sun, with temperatures approaching 90 F, I stumbled into this store a sweaty mess. I barely had the sense to snap a cell picture on my approach. As soon as I walked in the store owner (?) dispatched his wife (?) to the upstairs of this building. I continued to browse, looking for some bike items to bring home with me. A few moments later, she returned with this tall glass of iced green tea on a tray. It was THE MOST refreshing drink I think I have ever had. I ended up buying a shop jersey, and departed. However, their kindness is recalled to this day.
I also spent some time at another shop, Forza Bikes. This shop was a bit more frustrating. I found the store via google maps. Unfortunately, my Droid 3G was not useful here, so I had to get my bearings using the WiFi at the convention center, and head out. [ SIDENOTE: WiFi is not everywhere in Japan. Quite the opposite, it is parctically nowhere. The hotel had wired internet, and our convention had to bring their own wireless system]. Upon arriving at the shop, I noticed the doors were locked. There was the friendly black lab barking through the window. Apparently there is some international rule requiring "shop dogs".
It was easy to tell they were open from Noon to 10, but what days? So I walked to this shop every day during my lunch break (the first day twice), until I found them open (on the third day). This shop employees were also pretty friendly, and I again wandered around, looking for jersey. I found and purchased a medium short sleeve jersey. I took my prize back to the hotel, and proceed for a proper try on. The thing was small. So back to the shop again the next day and swapped it for an XL long sleeve, the only other size and jersey that they had. This one fit much better. Some of you may have seen me wearing it around, with the giant peacock on the back.
Gibert Godfried jokes aside, my thoughts go out to those in Japan, moreso since I have been there, and I know the pride and courtesy these people have for their country. The most offensive thing about this joke issue is that somebody actually thought they we funny. I wish I could go there and help rebuilt their facilities, but I know the schedule here would never allow.
UPDATE: I just received this message from the good folks at Hi-Bike:
Dear Jon W
Big earth quike......
But we staff&family all OK!!!
thank you !
Hi-Bike Hitoshi NAKAMURA