|October 1, 1989|
Although Team Volvo was not in the Tour du Japon as a team (I was the only team member entered), we were still getting noticed at Yokota Airbase.
Because of our high-visibility, wearing our Volvo jerseys and showing-off on base, we had many contacts. We were the only cyclists on base not mandated to ride on the bicycle path because we were a danger to cyclists on the path, knew many cops, had weekly newspaper adds, had plans for putting on our own events, and once, a member of the Japanese Olympic cycling team came to Yokota to ride with the team.
I became aquainted with newscaster Clay Cogsdale of the base television station. He gave me uneditted video footage of our races. On August 5, Clay and I organized a television spot on Team Volvo, the first all-American bicycle racing team in Japan. We were stars, or something.
Art Robledo had completed the Ironman Triathalon in Hawaii, and I'd won six of the eight Yokota events I'd entered (so far), finished 2nd and 3rd in the other two. But now I had to race the fourth and last event of the Tour du Japon.
Race three had been cancelled due to a typhoon, which was good for me
because I was in Korea.
The first photo is Keith (#29) and I (#73) wearing all black. Miimii (also in black) and I stayed at her friend's house near Matsuyama and the next day the four of us went to the race. They video taped the horrid event.
I suck at criteriums and this was very fast. The average speed was above 27 miles an hour, easy to keep if you ride in the pack, but impossible for me, riding alone.
Nervous, I lagged at the back until I lost the draft. The Japanese didn't like working in pacelines, as you can see from the photos and second video clip. Riding alone, I had many Japanese who rode in my wake but refused to help me catch the main pack, so I fell further and further behind. I'd gain back a few seconds on one lap, then lose more in the next, until I was 50 seconds back and in danger of being caught by one of the two races circling the one-kilometer course. After fighting alone against 70 riders working together, I was pulled, 13 miles into the 21 mile race(along with many others). Keith finished 25th. I was humiliated in front of everyone. Bummer.