JCRC – Gunma Bicycle Race. July 14th, 2013. Winner!

Sunday July 14th I entered a race with JCRC (Japan Cycling Racing Club)  My first time to this event and I was a little nervous. There were heaps of intimidating riders who had come from all over Japan. It was as expected a well organized event.

One lap is 6 km.

One lap is 6 km.

We followed the pace motorbike for the first 2 km until we reached the first hill and then the race was on. I wanted to stay near the front of the pack because of all the dangerous corners, hairpins and bad road sections. I thought I might have an advantage on the hilly sections if I was close to the front because I live in the mountains and climb them every day, so that if a chance came – I might be able to break away. Well, in the very first loop as we were climbing the steepest section near the end I pulled away effortlessly. I didn’t know if they all were saving themselves or what? I thought about falling back into the pack and waiting until later in the ride to attack but it was only a 24 km race so I didn’t. I said good-bye and left them and rode behind the pace bike until the finish. I totally expected to be swallowed up by the group near the end but that never happened. I won by a good 1 minute and 20 seconds. I totally surprised myself. I wanted to finish in the top 5 but instead, left everyone behind.

That's Me at the Top.  Woot Woot

That’s Me at the Top. Woot Woot

A happy day pour moi.

It reminded me of my youth in Canada when I used to do well in the race circuit but never thought at this age I’d still have something to offer. This ain’t the Tour de France I know! But it was packed and riders came from all over Japan, booked hotels and probably set out to do well, too.  I’ll pat myself on the back, sleep well and then go about my daily life again tomorrow like it was dream!

Vitus frame, the first look clipless pedals and the first Oakley cycling glasses.  Cooooool

Vitus frame, the first look clipless pedals and the first Oakley cycling glasses. Cooooool

Sorry for the bragging here but hey… I don’t get a chance to do it so often!  And… this is my blog. hee-hee

Avg HR: 169 bpm   Avg Pace:  37 km/hr

The trip back to the west coast (home).

The trip back to the west coast (home).

Well, after flying back to Canada for 4 weeks to tour the west coast and visit family, I found that trying to kill two birds with one stone isn’t as easy as it seems. Thanks to UBL and all my fans to help me win the Ultimate Band contest some 7 months ago, things have been moving slowly but steadily towards a brighter future. It’s a constant battle like Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to find harmony in being a musician and a business man for the music. I have found a love for both but 24 hours in a day just doesn’t seem like enough to make them both harmonize.

Stepping off the airplane in Vancouver, Canada led me jet lagged yet racing down to Seattle in a car with my father to pick up some music gear I purchased with one of the UBL prizes I redeemed so gratefully. The next day I was rehearsing with some great musicians for the up-coming shows in and around Vancouver looking like I had been on the whisky bottle for a week thanks to time zones and lack of sleep. Mark Geraghty and Kate Polsky added volume and depth to my music as well as a belly full of laughs and rekindled memories. It wasn’t easy trying to make time for practice and everything else on my plate. I keep a truck in Nanaimo that hardly gets used but when I dust it off, and remind myself to drive on the right side of the road, it’s a real life savor. I use it to zip between a divorced mother and father, a frail grandfather, friends with beer in their fridge, and all the things required to make a concert happen.

Fortunately for me, my father took over a lot of the duties and really stepped up to make the 7 shows possible. In fact, I think he missed his calling. He organized press coverage and cool venues and by the time he was finished there wasn’t a soul left in Nanaimo who didn’t know what I was up too. In some cases it felt like a high school reunion where old friends came out of hibernation to say hi and catch my shows. I literally hadn’t seem some friends in like 18 years! My mother and her hubby Fred came up from Victoria to two of my shows and I took a photo of my mom and dad together again. That’s as rare as sushi. Even Vancouver Islands, CHECK 6 news came to one of the shows to cover my story but none of us really knew how they were informed? You can watch it here. Some of the Vancouver shows were cool too. Jerry Wong and Scott Jackson were present. The incredibly talented Jerry jammed a tune with me while Scott did an evening gig with me.

Call it a wonderful disaster if you will but I had the good fortune of meeting a myspace fan/friend/music reviewer Shannon Ambrose. She flew in from Calgary just to watch a few shows. The highlights include going out for brunch and having a quite time with her and other friends in a bar after one of the gigs. We shared some stories of familiar acquaintances and got to meet in person rather than on MSN. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her for making such a huge effort and then I had to cancel one of the gigs because I was sick. She came all that way to only catch one show (which turned out to be the big dud of the lot as well). Sorry Shannon!

All in all, the Canadian/USA trip was incredible. The support and coverage I received was impressive and touching. People really went out of their way to make things happen and I’m still moved by it. I sold lots of CD’s, had a fan make Kelly Pettit t-shirts, got newspaper, radio and TV coverage, all while standing next to my friends and family. A real highlight I won’t forget anytime soon.