Short TOITO Report

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#1
This is the first year I participated in TOITO. We formed a loose 'team' with even looser organization and went for it.

The 'Team' - Myself, Andreas 'Thor', Colin 'The Professor', Eric 'The Young' and Stefano 'Il Lupo' . Unfortunately Andreas and Colin had to drop out leaving us pretty thin on the 'engine' side of things.

We packed everything into a nice Mazda rental van and was treated to an Autostrada level drive out to Yamanashi at speeds that would humble a Lambo driver. In the same vein, we got lost even trying to find the expressway in the first place. But hey, at 160kph, 'go backs' don't take long.

Arrived Yamanshi, found the park and camped out for the night. Some weird animal bird chupacabra thing was howling , fighting or mating, I don't know - It kept me awake until I had to actually wake up - which was like only 3 hrs later.

Prepped our bikes and 'il lupo' had the misfortune of his valve extender becoming unscrewed and lost into the depths of his rear 60mm carbon wheel. A quick substitute with a clincher spare got the bike roadable, though.

Went to registration and then made our start. We started at the front of a pretty group (5:15) and pace from the line was blistering. Team Cuore, Aspen and a few others look to be ready for war - leading out breaks, attacks, parries and blocks - all within the first 50km! It was so insane that I actually had forgotton to start my Garmin! We suffered this ilk and many 'senior' riders were complaining that the pace would kill everyone's chance to complete. I told my riders to just stick in position 6-9 and stay there. No pulling, no attacking, JUST STICK. Of course il lupo never listens and attacked everything that passed him - even some dandilion went floating by - ATTACK - DAMN YOU FLOATING DANDILION! YOU ARE NOT FASTER THAN IL LUPO! At the end - we gave up trying to reel in our TEAM ARTILARY and he flew off with a couple University riders willing to play Rabbit to his Luponess. So went the first 100km nothing but ATTACK, CHASE, BREAK, REEL and repeat! By the first checkpoint I was pretty spent, frozen, numb and had a nagging case of hayfever- shoudl I take the yellow pill, or not? Yellow Pill would cure the Hayfever, but bring on parasympathetic depression leading to drowsiness, bird watching and general disability. What the hell, it can't be worse than continually trying to gouge out my right eye because it itched so bad.

Checkpoint 1- I just wanted to eat and massage some life back into my feet. And somehow get the hayfever under control. I forgot to check in! Arrghh 10min lost. Oh well, this is supposed to be FUN! NOT A RACE! Ate a burrito, drank alot of water and refueld my pockets. 'OK GUYS' Let's try to WORK TOGETHER on the next section. And chill down a bitto save ENERGY for the hills coming. OK - everyone agreed and il lupo alread saw red cause one of the Uni Rabbits jumped his game! PHOOOSH! Gone. Oh well, at least his jetstream will prove a little shelter on the headwind. Section 2 for me was 'In like lamb' and 'out like a lion'. As I warmed up and came into some hills, finally, I pushed my pace harder and harder finding my legs. Checkpoint 2 came quickly and again, re-feed, kibitz and now I'm enjoying the ride.

Between Checkpoint 2 and 3 , I told Eric and il lupo to just find their own pace. il Lupo was obviously on fire and like the werewolf he is, shape changed into Guiseppe Saronni and turned TOITO into his own private Milan - San Remo. Somewhere in this madness Tom blew by us like Roger De Vlaeminck. Now here is the TOUGHEST and FASTEST MAN! Eric and buckled down on the A-Bars and caught. I just wanted to shake his hand once before I died! Then he was gone! Pffft! With that being done - I settled back into a 'comfort zone'. Which for we was a more staidly crew of 'the experienced' who knew alot more road lie ahead! We listened to Hendrix, I freestyled some Beasties and munched on a banana and half burrito. Regenerated - we hit some rollers and I picked up the steam again. This was my game the whole day. Chill on the flats , burn through the hills. I AM training for a mountainous sportive - and this was the first seriously longish ride 'at tempo' I've had this year. So, I had no clue if my stomach reactor would provide the fuel, legs stay the distance or just become bored and decide that flyfishing is a much more attractive (and cultured) sport to engage in the Mountains of Nagano.

Surprisingly I caught Eric 'The Young' on one of the shortroulers looking lihe he'd been attacked by wolves (he was) and left for dead. Apparently he and the alpha wolf were dicing up the 40's the whole way when he dropped a chain, banged a derailler and ended up with a crippled sheep for a ride. The <other> seeing that at least THIS ONE was riding - yet only SLIGHTLY hobbled, tore on for more harried prey. The Di2 was crippled, but not dead, and with some new invigorating spirit - we pressed on. A few shorter climbs and picked up pace again as was my modus operandi. Eric got into the mood - and we worked a good TTT strategy to bring us into next checkpoint ata decent clip. I challenged hard one of the climbs, though, and was rewarded with a broken DS spoke! Damn! These are my 'old favorites' 38's , but having been crashed very hard at least 2x (once by Gunnar) and using powder coated spokes instead of my favorite Sapim - they are prone to this kind of malfeasance. This knocked my speed down a fair amount and I was afraid to challenge descent for fear of the flying-spoke-into-the-chain-dieing-a-death-off-the-corner thang.

Checkpoint 3 brought on some more drama as our support vehicle (with some sorely needed spares , was not there!) At Checkpoint 2 we'd found our SUPPORT TEAM - But NO CAR! Apparently in the rush to leave CHECKPOINT 1, Eric had stuffed the keys into his Jersey pocket! Tour our amazing fortunte - and probably more to the cuteness of our support staff - one of the volunteers DROVE them to Checkpoint 2, Where after reclaiming the keys, drove them BACK to Checkpoint 1 to retrieve the Van. THEN, our Support Team, having NEVER DRIVEN on an actual expressway - managed to make it by escort of the amazingly friendly volunteer to CHECKPOINT 3!! YEY - Our van arrived and we began repairs!

We straightend and re-adjusted the Di2 Bike and got it working again. I furiously ripped my wheel apart and using some salvaged bits from my spare wheels got my trusted '38' backinto business. il Lupo spent the time playing 'shake a pick' and also managed to get the spearated valve extender out of his <other> wheel. Now at least we had working bikes again , AND , a nearly complet set of spares. Onward!

We pushed il Lupo forward and told him go for broke on the last section. Who knows - maybe we'd be lucky and post some good team times. Scine we'd already lost so much time with the vehicle key thing and repais at Checkpoint 2 and 3, at this point it was about THE RIDE and not about THE WAIT. Eric and I went into serious TTT mode and rode the last 90km nose down on the rivet. We made a brief , pre-celebratory stop at the 45km Joetsu junction and downed an obligatory ice-cream bar and coke. I also bought a small pint of Jim Beam and poured a little out for MCA (and me too). If was going to die on the last 45km, it better be with a bottle of Beam in my pocket!

The last 45km were hard down, but the most beautiful and finally the wind was not threatening to tear us apart. We chewed up the k's over 35kph average and into the 40's for quite a bit of the time. it was a fast cruise into the finishing area.

All our team made it, which was great. In spite of some bizarre logistics mishaps and mechanical issues, we all had a great time and ride together!
 
Likes: TOM

TOM

Maximum Pace
#6
Very entertaining report Tim! I must admit I was totally flabbergasted when you and Eric staged that comeback and pulled by so energetically and even managed to crack jokes :D. That was real class :cool:!

Super strong finish for all TCC riders! Mikey was 13th and the TCC team top finisher.
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#10
Congratulations on a job well done. Hilarious write-up!
The night without sleep beforehand ... is all too common. But the forgotten car key adds a whole new level of logistical complexity to what is already a really tough day.

Will GS Astuto be back for the 42nd TOITO?
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,685
1,324
133
Niigata
#11
Great write up Tim.

Too many great lines to quote but:

If was going to die on the last 45km, it better be with a bottle of Beam in my pocket!

could be your epitaph!

Your write up really brings it to life. Like the Cannonball Run on two wheels!

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#13
Great write up Tim! Well done to you, eric and stefano. Sorry i couldn't make it, unfortunately find myself in (not so sunny) london for a bit. Looking forward to getting back out there with you guys soon.

:bike: :bike:
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#17
From our POV , it was more 'Carpe Diem' than 'Epic' , given the variety of mishap and fun all around. For those TCC riders who really fought hard on this event, subsisting on roadkill, gels and battling long hours in the saddle with nothing to keeep them company except the howling breeze and saddle sores ... that would be nearly EPIC.

Lest we not forget the defiition of Epic:

Begins in medias res.
The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe.
Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation).
Begins with a statement of the theme.
Includes the use of epithets.
Contains long lists (epic catalogue).
Features long and formal speeches.
Shows divine intervention on human affairs.
Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization.

Definition of Carpe Diem:

Theme of living (or in our case, surviving, for the day)

So, I'd like to propose that rides fall under the heading more of 'CD' than 'Epic' , unless we actually encounter monsters to slay, Gods to appease and Henry-the-5th type of pre-starting grid psychup speechs presented by Owen wearing a Johan Bruyneel mask.


<tongue firmly planted in said cheek, of course>



Sounds like an epic race!:eek: Congrats all round!
 

Quicksilver

Maximum Pace
Jan 9, 2011
113
32
48
Tokyo
#18
From our POV , it was more 'Carpe Diem' than 'Epic' , given the variety of mishap and fun all around. For those TCC riders who really fought hard on this event, subsisting on roadkill, gels and battling long hours in the saddle with nothing to keeep them company except the howling breeze and saddle sores ... that would be nearly EPIC.

Lest we not forget the defiition of Epic:

Begins in medias res.
The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe.
Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation).
Begins with a statement of the theme.
Includes the use of epithets.
Contains long lists (epic catalogue).
Features long and formal speeches.
Shows divine intervention on human affairs.
Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization.

Definition of Carpe Diem:

Theme of living (or in our case, surviving, for the day)

So, I'd like to propose that rides fall under the heading more of 'CD' than 'Epic' , unless we actually encounter monsters to slay, Gods to appease and Henry-the-5th type of pre-starting grid psychup speechs presented by Owen wearing a Johan Bruyneel mask.QUOTE]

:clap: