July 9, 1989

Shiroishi Zao...race #2 of the Tour Du Japon series.
Keith Orme was supposed to drive the 360 miles to this mountain town with myself, Miimii and his family to race. He called me two nights before the race and said he'd decided not to go.
After a short panic, Miimii suggested we take the Bullet train to the race. We had to be there by Saturday, so she called the promoters and ask if we could show up Sunday, race day, instead. The Japanese tended to cater to Americans, so they said,”No problem, we’ll take care of you Yankee!”. I had no way to carry my bicycle so I went Nakamura's bicycle shop and bought a Very Cheap bag that was for bikes. It could only hold the frame and part of a wheel. Then my stem seized up and I couldn't loosen it to fit it in the bag. I unwrapped the handlebars, slid them around, turned the brake levers and did all kinds of maneuvering to fit it. It worked and Miimii carried the front wheel. Parts of the bicycle were hanging out of the bag…it was like a bicycle bikini.

We video taped much of the trip and the preparation, including walking to the train station in Fussa, acting like idiots, wrestling, and dropping in unannounced at Art's door...with a VIDEO CAMERA! We got his reaction live (click play twice).
Art Surprise!

Beam me up Scotty>>>
We took the commuter train to the Bullet train station carrying bicycle parts among crowds of Japanese commuters. After a two-hour train ride at 125 miles an hour and a taxi ride, I reconstructed my $1500 bicycle in a parking lot with the few tools I could carry and duct taped the handlebars. On the photo I'm wearing a cute,tiny stuffed cow-head which Miimii had given me the year before (white and yellow) on my chest.

The race started and when we hit the first climb my chain fell off…deja vu. Once again I was in the Tour du Japon, putting my chain on among spectators, as the pack disappeared. In the magazine clipping, I'm swerving to my right because my chain had just fallen off.I re-started after losing about 30 seconds.

The race went around a rugged mountain circuit four times and then up a final 2 1/2 mile climb gaining 970 feet of elevation maxing out in a 23% grade. It rained the whole race, and my light weight racing wheels, great for going uphill, made the bicycle hard to handle going downhill. I finished an undistinguished 31st out of the top 81 top amateur riders in Japan, but I was just thrilled to be with the big boys. Then, in the pouring rain, I took my bicycle apart, threw the pieces in a bag, and we took the Bullet home.

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Okay...hold still everyone...smile>>>
Zao Finish (click on play twice)