Sunday, September 17, 2017

Let's try living in Japan for a while! week 1...

It was a crazy long trip here, burdened as I was with mega luggage (and a bike) - this is the nature of a one way plane ticket.  After the interminable 12 hour plane ride, it was a 3 hour bus ride, and then a 1 hour car ride.  Nice sunset while trundling along the country side.


I've been here almost a week now and we are getting ... slightly..? more settled into the routine here.

We still don't have a place to call our own and are living at Sato's parents house, which is a little awkward at times.  Imagine living as an adult with your own parents, and that's about right.

I've been for a couple short runs here, but everyday is super busy with trying to organize and get started with our lives here.  Priorities include: getting our own place, getting Ame in school, getting our cell phones functional, getting health insurance, getting a car, getting the tons of other stuff needed for daily living.... etc...  Japan is awesome in it's bureaucracy so that slows everything considerably.

Some progress has been made: after viewing dozens of properties, we've finally now put in a rental application for a new Mansion!  So, you might assume, things are about to get pretty luxuriant, pretty fast!

This is maybe where I should mention that "mansion" in Japan does not mean the same thing as everywhere else, here it means: "condo".  Ah well.  It is a nice 3  bedroom space and in a good location fairly close to downtown but not too far from Sato's parents house (for childcare assistance!).  Additional bonuses include a good public elementary school and a short walk to Mosburger and a ton of other restaurants.

Here are some shots of the view from inside, and of some of the interior.  As per normal Japan rentals: no curtains, no major or minor appliances, no furniture, no kitchen cabinetry... It's a bit crazy, made a bit more crazy by the fact there is not any form of craigslist here!  Everyone just buys new for the most part.  Ug.

front view

back window view

chez fieldwalker, in Japan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Food here has been the treat it's always been.  We've been going a bit crazy trying all our old haunts for very good and fairly inexpensive food.

Trying to limit ourselves to one meal out per day!

this was amazingly good.
Mos time!

eating some weird mochi things
Ame hasn't had a day of school yet and is in desperate need of getting going with that.  Just lots of bureaucracy involved and we are slowing wading through it.  Hopefully she starts day after tomorrow, with Monday tomorrow being a holiday.

Today, Sunday, we've had a typhoon hit.  I don't think they get names here though, just numbers.  So by tomorrow I'll know what Hurricane/ typhoon  # '185' goes.  Just quite windy right now.

One other bit of news was the party for Sato's Grandfather.  He turned 100 about 6 months ago. Anyway, the mayor of his little town finally came by as part of his officialdom and we had a little green tea party together.   Grampa had already received his prizes from prime minister Shinzo Abe and the prefectural minister so the major was the last guy to chime in with some accolades.  The mayor made a point of requesting we all move away from Himeji and into his little town and declared I could instantly have a language teacher job if I so desired.  We said we'd think about it to get him off our backs!

at Sato's grandpa's house

"Kuromitsu" (means 'black syrup') the neighbors dog

some swag for getting to 100

a tired little bus hiding in the bamboo forest

nice car for one person

Hurricane #185 hitting us tonight

big dude I almost stepped on while jogging
Holy cow - weather is currently going beserk outside.  Raining, blowing and lightning like I've never heard.  So this is what a hurricane sounds like!  Hopefully house stands in the morning!!
grampa and the gang

more of grandpa's swag for getting to 100+
OK, we are still here the next morning.  We survived the hurricane, in fact everything seems about the same as it did yesterday.  This is not Houston Texas.

One other important note: the internet here sucks.  We loose connectivity, with daily regularity.  I was going to publish this last night but we lost internet before I could post.  Blerg!   We are hoping once we get into our own apartment that we will be more connected, till then communication with us will be Spartan.

Catching (and releasing) dragonflys!
One more bonus update from today: we bought a car!  High rollers that we are: it's a Toyota Vitz!  We were planning on getting a yellow plate (660cc motor) but there wasn't really any cost savings with it, so we just went with a fairly normal car.  While a Vitz is small for Canada, it's larger than 50% of cars in Japan since it's much bigger than a yellow plate Kei car.   So we are sort of road hogs in the massive 1.3 litre engine Limousine we drive.
NEW (for us) Car!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Duathlon Worlds at the Penticton Multisport Festival - "Flopping at the Festival"

Standard Duathlon Age Group Worlds Race; 10k run 40k TT, 5k run.  Monday August 21st.

#triexcuse ?... or perhaps "" might be better titles for this post.  Ah-well...

It was a whirlwind trip fitting this race in while we are in the middle of selling our house/moving out and keeping up a heavy work schedule.  So training sort of went out the window over the month prior.  Luckily I did get in one week of quality training just before the race, so I was vaguely hopeful this 'cramming' might produce a good result.

Rolled into Penticton on Saturday evening before the Monday race.  Enough time to do a package pickup and give the course a quick look over.   It was smokey as all get out that first day, so was not the usual pretty view when rolling into town:

Crazy hazy, smells smokey

Idiot me part 1:
Last minute before leaving Vancouver I decided to switch tires and run a soft racing compound 25mm rear clincher tire, with a latex tube.  Might get me a couple of seconds, right?!  Back to this later...

Sunday morning we woke up to clear skies - hooray!  

modelling the latest in arm tattoos

I needed a short test ride, so did a quick 20k loop of the course and everything seemed fine, good to go!

Rode back into town and dropped off my bike in transition.  Had a good laugh at the hidden motor scanning station that is now part of the routine at bike check in.  I guess it's a thing now....!

Beware motor dopers- UCI provided IPads!

several million bucks parked in transition overnight

Race morning dawned clear and cool.

Blue carpets, heartbeat sounds on the loudspeaker, all those international kits everyone is wearing...  Worlds is a big serious event, with serious people, as usual.

Idiot me part 2: 
We arrived at at race venue at 6:57am - when transition officially closes at 7:00am.   

ITU officials all over the place enforcing every little rule, including this rather simple one.  So in a mad rush I put my shoes into the pedals and got a Velofix dude to slam some extra air into my rear tire.  With the latex tube, I assumed it probably had lost a fair bit of pressure overnight.

I didn't have adequate time to check anything.  One other thing to note: the entire transition area was in the shade and in fairly cool temps at this time.

I was booted out of transition - so with nothing else to do, I ran off towards the start line to warm up. I had about 33 minutes to kill.
In this 30 minute time frame, the sun arrived in earnest and it got quite hot and intense.

Usual worlds routine:  start in big paddocks with tons of others in your age group, slowly come up in turn to the start area ...and then countdown heartbeat music and the gun!

My first 10k run went well, with a 36:40.  Nothing spectacular, but I didn't want to burn myself up in this first stage of the race.  Felt quite hot so I didn't skimp on the water stations and took fluids every time we passed.

Wave starts so people of all speeds were spread everywhere on course

I ran into transition 1, which by now was baking in the sun.  It had been baking in the sun for probably about 45 minutes by this point?  I kicked off my runners and grabbed my speed machine and ... it wouldn't roll.

Whaaaa..??!!  Is it a shoe elastic caught up in something??  Lifting both sides I quickly determine it's my rear wheel  that won't turn.  What the hell?

I undo, and re-do, the skewer a few times.   No luck.  Still sticking.   Was my bike vandalized?  No... I was pretty much dead last in leaving transition!

Tonnes of people passing me now...  ARG!!  

In a panic I flip the bike over and it appears the brake (under the bottom bracket) is out of alignment.  I reef on it and get it straighter looking and the tire now seems to turn a little better.  So, I flip back over and charge off toward the mount line.  Lost a minute or 2 ... but the race doesn't seem a total loss at this point.

Hop on the bike and ride out of town... things still seem... wrong.  I'm getting passed by everyone!  I persevere and plan to ride to the first turn around at 10km before maybe checking things again?  But still I'm going too slow, and I'm more and more aware of a weird sound that isn't normal.

Also, I'm killing myself for 30kph, on this same road where I was averaging 40kph the day before?

After 6 or 7km of slowness, and getting passed by hundreds of people.. I mentally threw in towel on the race and pulled off the road and stopped.  😞😢😣

Stopped on side of road in the baking sun ... it finally hit me: could my tire size be the issue, rubbing inside the wheel well on the frame?

Pulled off valve covers off the disc, started letting air out of rear tire, maybe 20 psi?

Re-installed cover and tried again:
It still was not spinning well, but it was spinning better!!! 

Pulled off cover again and let out quite a bit more air:
Put cover back on and spun - a free moving wheel now!!!

So I jumped back on my bike and the rejoined race.
My power was poor but with free spinning wheels I started passing some of the people who had recently flown past me.

First bike lap was ~34 minutes (slow start, and I had stopped and got off) 

With the bike sorted out, my second lap was reduced to 29 minutes and change, yay!

Things were finally working ok by this point:

Unfortunately, I knew was wasn't going to make back any time on the fast guys at the front.  As a result, it was a fairly disconsolate final 5k run.  I ran hard, but with a rather grim mindset.
Also, tried to enjoy it a bit and encourage others who looked like they were in dark places.

At the finish I had a fun sprint with an American guy who was just in front of me, and think I pipped him at the line.  We hugged and laughed a bit; I always think it's funny but cool for guys to sprint for ... 29th place?   I assumed we were way way back in the minor placings.  

Our meaningless sprint was making me laugh, but it had to be done.  I should've unleashed a Shaunae Miller dive

The Epilogue of Highly Obvious Stuff:
- don't swap bike parts at the last minute
- thoroughly check it if you do 
- don't give yourself 3 minutes in transition to prep everything
- maxing air pressure in a 25mm soft racing tire stored on a cold morning, might not work well when it's burning hot sunshine 1.25 hrs later.  
- and lastly - don't swap out bike parts last minute.

Interestingly - when I picked up the bike after the race a few hours later (while it sat in the sun additional time), the rear tire had gotten bigger, again, and I had let more air out so I could move it, again.

Surprisingly, I ended up in 8th, about 3 minutes off the podium?  I don't know exactly how much time I lost with my silliness, but fear it might've been a first ever podium at a worlds event that this mistake cost me.  My fitness didn't really earn me anything but I sure would've taken it!  Dang, 4 tries at worlds, and counting!  The worlds monkey is still on my back.

Looking peaceful sitting in the sun, but the rear tire is growing like outrage over a trump tweet

post script. feeling zen about things.

 Next year..Maybe ???

First half half... Half?


Well, it doesn't sound as good put that way...  
How about: 7th, in men 40-44!
Nope nope nope.  I think that sounds equivalent in weakness.  
Ok: ignored pace, ran comfortably for most of it, and PB'd easily - sounds winning! 

Start line late arrival was fine.  Except had to really push to get close to the front.  Almost got made to go to the back again after jumping out of line!

This is a competitive race!!  probably ~50 did the first 10K in under 36 minutes.  I was dead slow doing a 38 minute first 10.  

Crazy pretty as fog lifted and sun reflected up off the sea.  As usual the little bumps here and there killed my splits.  Paul M on seawall watching gave a thumbs up!  

By about 14k my legs were getting tired but could still bounce at full speed.  Tank feeling empty tho'.

Gravel loop on lost lagoon was killer.  Passing lots here.

Last hill under Granv Bridge was a killer, brief drop to 4:40 pace, Argh!

Emptyied tank in last km, almost caught another guy in last few meters.

All done and time to eat!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The 2016 wrap up

And what a solid 2016 it was:

1. Cultus Lake Spring Triathlon
Sprint Distance, Overall Win

2. North Shore Triathlon
Overall win

3. Ambleside Mile - 4:49
7th Overall, 1st masters

4. Longest Day 5k UBC - 17:19
11th overall, 2nd masters

5. Turner Valley Triathlon (Alberta)
Overall win
(Note: first place on this link is an uncorrected error by the timing company)

6. BC Duathlon Championships @ UBC
2nd overall, First Masters

7. BC Sprint Tri Championships @ Self Transcendance Triathlon 
2nd overall, 1st Masters

8. Glotman Simpson Cypress Challenge - 35:26
61st Overall, 7th Age group, (PB to powerlines at 32:36)


9. Americas Masters Games
Sprint Triathlon, Overall Win

10. Vancouver Triathlon, Sprint,  Stanley Park
Overall win


11. Whistler Gran Fondo - 3:31:00
32nd Overall 
(chip fail, not on the official timesheet, timing company refused to add despite Garmin file)

12. Just Giver 4PD TT 16km - 22:27
2nd Overall
(not chipped)

Big thanks to my partners in speed: 
KJ, Speed Theory Vancouver, Academy Tri Club and VFAC!