On Friday, the rest of the racers arrived in Tokyo: Ben Berden, Tim Johnson, and Eric Tonkin.
Christian, Jamey and I were passing time in my hotel when Berden arrived at the hotel in Daiba late Friday afternoon and stopped by our room to say hello.
Ben’s most pressing question was what we were going to do at night.
He was welcomed to our room by a pant-less Christian, who spent many hours like this on Tim’s bed before he arrived to that evening.
“I can do this because I am Euro.” That is an actual quote. And he’s right.
Local Rapha rep, Daisuke Yano, also showed up to join us for a course pre-ride that would be happening a few hours later.
I sat where I usually do, in front of the laptop trying to upload photos, videos and write posts like this one…
A few hours later, Tim and Eric had arrived, the course inspection was done and we were on our way to another authentic Japanese dinner with our Champion System hosts, Ryoji, Shinya, and Chiharu.
The dinner we had is called Shabu Shabu. It’s basically a large pot of boiling water and oil, into which you dip an assortment of vegetables and, more importantly, delicious, thinly-sliced beef.
I ordered myself a Ginger Ale. It turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever had.
I had told our hosts upon first arriving here, when asked what type of Japanese food I knew and liked, that I loved Tempura. They were thrilled about this, so naturally they surprised us with some appetizers of Tempura fish, shrimp and vegetables.
The Tempura was amazing. Light, clean, and delicious. The shrimp barely required chewing. I don’t know what the fish was, and I don’t care, because it was good.
They placed three large pots of the water and oil mix on our table and beneath them were what basically amounted to gas-fired Sternos.
Then they brought out three large plates of items we would be dropping into the boiling pots.
There was cabbage, Udon noodles, mushrooms, carrots, seaweed, tofu (which is amazing here - more soft and gelatinous that what we find at home), green onions, and more.
Then came the thinly-sliced beef.
Once the water oil was nearly boiling, we received two dipping sauces, a sweet, almost citrus soy sauce and a sesame-based sauce. We also each got a bowl of rice to pair with all the other items. We got the nod from the server to start dropping food in the pots and we had at it.
I had the misfortune of sharing a pot with Jamey Driscoll. He eats quickly. He eats a lot.
After we could eat no more, Ryoji and Shinya had to leave to attend to preparations for the next day’s race. Chiharu asked if we needed anything else and I said we needed dessert. Christian, Jamey and I had stumbled upon a crepe/ice cream vendor earlier in the day, so we went there.
After eating some crepes filled with ice cream and chocolate covered bananas, the fatigue started to show on the faces of everyone and we called it a night.
Saturday morning would be more course time for Cyclo Cross Tokyo 2012 and then the big event at 12:00. None of us knew what to expect, but this being a blog, and tomorrow actually really being two days ago, it would turn out to be amazing and more than anyone could have expected. More on that soon.