31 December 2007
H I G H L I G H T S
A lot of kilometers done this year and out of them a lot of them again in the mountains. I felt very strong and confident in July, September and October and was ready to take it up against whosoever.
We had a good team this year. Nearly everybody showed up for some of the tours or to attend some of the races. We did a lot of rides with Tom and also Marek became a good addition to our team. Sometimes we lured fresh riders into the mountains - such as the correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review.
Some good racing results, in particular as a team. Shuzenji, despite the rain, was a spectacular race and I still remember the excitement when Tom just made his last lap seconds before the 5 hours deadline. Also the Motegi race and the Hitachi-Naka race were good.
Good team spirit again. Jerome was really pulling David and me on the third day of Noto when we were close to give up. Also I enjoyed to drink the evening before the race with everybody.
Bought a lot of new stuff for my bike and myself, as usual I am spending 80% of my investment in cycling on clothes and only the remaining 20% on bike parts. My Cannondale bike is now more than 7 years old.
Some good tours out in the Western mountains. Discovered Matsuhime Toge and Doshi Michi to Yamanakako for the first time. Also went up Tsuru and Tawa Toge for the first time. Getting to know the area better.
Many new tracks discovered and some of the older ones were beautiful this year. Yabitsu Toge is still one of my favourite rides (unfortunately the way home on 246 is a disaster). Went up to Hakone as well this year, which I find the most challenging climb. Missed the Hamanako loop this year as well as the Wada toge. Also I was not too many times in Miura Hanto and at the sea.
L O W L I G H T S
Someone "touching" the back of a car. Someone "slipping" over the hood of a car. Myself crashing at the Saiko race. Too many accidents this year.
Rain. Just too much rain this year. On a lot of rides we came into the rain. And then spend time at Family restaurants. Even the longest ride of the year, to Matsuhime (with Jerome, david and Marek) was partly in the rain. I went on a social trip to Tamajiman with David and david and on the way back I found myself alone on pouring rain at the Tamagawa. Thunder just next to me. Some of the races were in the rain (Motegi was so cold) and also some of the tours (Sadogashima was sooooo cold). We were lucky in Noto although and I somehow I have come accustomed to the rides in the rain.
My bike. After the crash I somehow lost the confidence in it to take me safely here and there. Will spend some money in 2008 to buy a new bike (actually I bought the frame already). As usual, the cost of the bike should be somehow in relation to my own performance, so LIGHWEIGHTS are a no go.
I tried to organize some of the races and longer rides in 2007 but the overall reaction was not overwhelming. It was somewhat disappointing to put some effort into these things and despite that not being able to create any interest.
2 0 0 8 "The way to hell is pflastered with well-meant pledges"
1. Buy a new bike
2. Joined the NFCC
3. Top 10 result in the JCRC D class point ranking 2008
4. Buy a hometrainer, more kms at home
5. Commute more to work on the bike
6. Be nice to my family nevertheless
29 December 2007
28 December 2007
Anyone around town and interested in riding Sunday, Monday or in the New Year?
... last year on January 2 I rode the course of the Hakone Ekiden from Kawasaki to Odawara and hopped the train home. I joined the course about 20-30 minutes ahead of the runners and gained from there. Most of the way the road had been closed to traffic, making it the best possible riding conditions for going through crowded parts of Kanagawa prefecture. Anyone interested in trying it this year?
24 December 2007
[Michael] I was only too happy that Tom called me the night before and confirmed that he would ride with me. Otherwise I wouldn't have the strength to leave the warm bed in the morning. Wake up at 6.20hr, left the house at 7.10 hr and was 2 minutes before 8 at Sekidobashi where Tom was already waiting. Had some strong headwind moving out but the pace was ok.
Then he really pulled it and we were going 34 km/hr average along the Mutsumi Dori towards Itsukaichi. I had problems to keep up and was already pretty much exhausted when we reached the Sakamoto crossing, the start point of the Toge Baka #5 : Jerome Hill.
Perhaps you are wondering why this hill is called Jerome Hill. Well, the hill was first described in the ancient "Annals from Zipangu" [Kodansha, AD 584] when from the nearby sea French gods descended from the waves as shown in the photo (right: original photoshot from AD 584, left: later re-done as a major movie with Halle Berry). The gods brought various types of French cheese with them which they intended to distribute to the needy and the poor in the Musashino plains. However, before reaching their destination, they had to cross a high mountain and on the way up they were so exhausted that they ate almost all the cheese they have brought with them. Upon which they returned to France, only one of the lesser gods called Jerome move over the hill to the plains where he happily lived ever after.
In any case, I was already done before I started the climb. Tom did it in 8:16 min and me in 10:28 min. The nice thing about Jerome hill is, that it is followed by an even nicer descent. The roads were still wet so we were a little bit careful. Then we had a very nice backwind taking us home and we were zooming with 38 km/hr along the roads. We saw some bonfires prepared at the Tamagawa for the new years eve and for the first time I could see the mountains behind mount Fuji from the river. The view was really magnificent.I said goodbye to Tom, this might have been the last ride of the year. Than with the full backwind I speeded home : 112 km in 4:14 hr, no breaks, some kind of sprint perhaps.
So herewith I declare the Christmas ride to Jerome's hill as a new tradition. One has to start early in the morning and be back before noon. No breaks are allowed, as this is the start of the fastening period, which lasts until 5 PM the same day. Hope you will join next year.
22 December 2007
21 December 2007
Perfect weather for a first challenge of Togebaka No.4 Who is joining? (forget about Sunday...rain + heavy wind all day). We meet at Sekidobashi, ride up to Itsukaichi and from there to the Honjuku T-Intersection where the TT starts up to Tomin-no-mura... Following the TT, I plan to double back and be home in the early afternoon.
18 December 2007
2. You shall NEVER, under any circumstances, wear plain black spandex shorts or any team kit containing non-prominent Logo's.
3. The Socks must extend no less than 1cm below the main bulge of your calf muscle, and shall never extend further than 2cm past the primary calf muscle bulge . All socks shall be white in colour with prominent logo placement.
4. Cycling shoes must be of white colour only! - in certain circumstances, other colours, such as world
cup stripes are perfectly acceptable and encouraged.
5. If white cycling shoes are not available where you reside, white booties with prominent logo's shall always be worn.
6. You're bike frame must contain more than 3 colours, and must always fit tastefully with your wheel selection.
7. Zipp's are to be used as training wheels ONLY. You shall race only on Lightweights and occasionally Bora's if no lightweights are accessible.
8. Ridiculously stylish eye wear is to be worn at all time without exception.
9. In most circumstances, hair shall be kept neatly short, and matching helmet shall be worn (again with prominent logo placement). Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall a clashing helmet colour be worn with your euro kit.
10. In several cases, it is deemed acceptable to have long hair. In this event, hair shall be neatly slicked back in maximum euro-styling, and helmet shall not be worn. Stylish sport eyewear shall be worn at all times while exercising this option.
11. A prominent line where your kit ends and where your tan begins is essential to your image. Artificial tanning is banned, the tan shall reflect the level of training commitment.
12. All podium shots (pictures) shall be taken with the euro-rider wearing team kit and appropriately matching casual euro shoes (such as puma's). Socks shall remain within the guidelines above.
13. The seat shall ALWAYS be white along with the handlebar tape, and must be made in Italy or France.
- Exception to this rule are seats or handlebar tape containing the following colours: WorldCup Stripes,
Olympic Gold, Italian flag colour combo (green red white).
14. You shall not, under any circumstances, acknowledge the presence of a cyclist riding a bike costing less than $4000 in a public place. This could be severely detrimental to your image.
15. Legs will be shaved year-round. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS.
16. Nothing short of All Carbon Water bottle cages shall be used. The only exception is gold (the metal) bottle cages which can be preferable in some situations where colour coordination is key (this is always).
17. Facial hair will be restricted to a goatee, and even this is discouraged. Mustaches are EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.
18. Ceramic bearings shall be used at all time on both training and race bikes.
19. Campagnolo shall be the only acceptable componentry and is hereby deemed superior to ANY Shimano product in ALL circumstances. You are expected to have nothing less than an ENTIRE campy grouppo. Crank substitutions are NOT permitted.
20. ALL wheels shall be equiped with tubulars, regardless of your ability in gluing them.
21.You shall NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, associate with triathletes. It is FORBIDDEN to have any number inked onto your body before a race.
22. Any physical activity, other than cycling, is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. This includes any form of running or swimming and their derivatives (this includes walking).
22. You shall never rearrange your package while riding. Adjustments regarding seating/hanging comfort are to be done in private in order to preserve image.
23. In a circumstance where any cyclist ever displays aggression or disrespect towards you, you shall ride up uncomfortably close to them and slap them in the face with your team issue gloves. (which must be white)
24. MTB gloves are FORBIDDEN. Cycling gloves will be slick, white, and have minimal padding. Padding will be beige or white in colour.
25. In the event a motorist disturbs your ride, you shall proceed to ride up beside the car, form a clenched fist and bang the trunk of the car while doing your best attempt to sound irritated in Italian. Wild arm/head are strongly encouraged to enhance the apparent rage.
26. When riding, sans helmet, a team issue cycling cap, preferably white, should be worn (depending on the hairstyle). The bill shall remain in the downward position at all times. Cycling cap can be worn forwards or backwards to coincide with current hairstyle.
sambrower via facebook (see comments)
17 December 2007
- This is not just a cool bike. It is appropriate for everyday use and for racing. The vibration damping is a performance advantage on longer rides. Each frame is built to order and every frame is a unique. Tubes are selected for the weight of the rider. The geometry of the frame can be any of our usual geometries: Pro, Tri or Cross. Custom frames can also be made.
- Details. The bike is made from Bamboo that has been smoked and heat treated to prevent splitting. Lugs are available in carbon fiber or hemp fiber, for the all-natural look. The chainstays are available in carbon fiber for extra stiffness in the drivetrain.
- Finish. We coat the bamboo with Tung oil to seal it up.
- Awards. Calfee Bamboo bikes have won awards for Best Road Bike, Best Off-Road Bike and Peoples' Choice Award at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
- A Calfee Bamboo bike won 1st place in the open class at the Great Western Bicycle Rally's Concourse d'Elegance show.
- If there were an award for "Bicycle with lowest carbon footprint" (least amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the production of the frame), this frame would win, hands down.
From : Up in Alaska . This should give us some courage to ride out here in Japan in winter. There seems to be more worse weather conditions elsewhere in the world.
Two more variations for Kazahari: KAZAHARI (Okutamako up) and KAZAHARI RINDO (with 18%)
16 December 2007
Beautiful but cold er solo ride today -- past Takao and Sagamiko on National Rte 20, then on Rte 76 ovto Doshimichi (Rte 413) and back home again - 413, then Kanagawa Rte 20 and along the Tamagawa again. I remember taking the same ride I took with Tom, Michael and David J. in February. The thermometer on a sign half way up the hill west of Takao read 2 degrees C. I pushed some on the hill and was shocked, up my return home to see that my time (7-11 to the view area just over the top, was faster than Tom and Michael last weekend! How long will this 'record' stand? Nice view of Fuji today. The Cervelo responds instantly, climbs effortlessly, but is still very comfortable over bumps.
14 December 2007
I'm 80-90% over a nasty cold, but have a late Friday night ahead -- dinner and ni/sanjikai -- so I don't want to ride early Saturday. I could either start late on Saturday, or better yet, early-ish on Sunday. David L.
13 December 2007
And now, let’s take a look at the same dining room, after its recent makeover:
From the FAT CYCLIST blog.
Comment: I don't want to make the obvious comment, which is to speculate on what would happen if I would do this to our living room. But still I wonder, if this living room make-over was initiated by "her", what happened to "his" dolls displayed before the make-over?
11 December 2007
Before the mountain roads get icy and unsafe, how about squeezing in a few more toges before the year is out? As usual, I'll be on the saddle both days this coming weekend. Could do half day or full day rides (flexible as usual) RdV Sekidobashi @ 8:30...
PS: added Togebaka No.2...Wada Toge (from the bus stop pole to the memorial stone facing the "witch house")
10 December 2007
Difference in Altitude
And then one can register there with the achieved time and date. So it is very nice list to keep track of the developments during the season I thought. And of course to show off !
One of the climbs we do most often is the Otarumi Toge at the Takao-san where we ride almost every time when we cross over to Sagamiko. Normally we take a break at the 7-11 close to Takao Station which is the strating point of the climb. The end point is shortly after the toge on the left side where we take a break to wait for the slower riders (if any) in our group. The total distance is 7.6 km and the difference in altitude 210m. This would be an average slope of less than 3%, however the first part is almost horizontal and the real climb starts only later.
Tom and me did the climb this weekend and it took us a little bit less than 22 Minutes. I checked some previous records from this season and I believe I can do the climb in less than 20 Minutes and Tom will probably shave off another 2 minutes.
So let's see, please feel free to include your times (no cheating please!!) and let me know if you would like to add any other toge
I always wanted to take pictures of garbage collectors and also of this soba/ramen/tempura/sushi delivery bikes with the elaborate suspension mechanism mounted behind the riders seat.
So I was particular happy when these days while driving my capitalist BMW to Odaiba and stopped at a red light at Nakahara Kaido, I found this good looking, sturdy collection cycyle packed to the rim with all kind of staff, navigated by this good looking guy with a windbreaker from the Elite model agency.
Please feel free to add the photos you will never have taken.
09 December 2007
BILL MORGAN, an emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin, likes to tell the story, which he swears is true, of an Ivy League pole vaulter who held the Division 1 record in the Eastern region.
His coaches and teammates, though, noticed that he could jump even higher. Every time he cleared the pole, he had about a foot to spare. But if they moved the bar up even an inch, the vaulter would hit it every time. One day, when the vaulter was not looking, his teammates raised the bar a good six inches. The man vaulted over it, again with a foot to spare.
When his teammates confessed, the pole vaulter could not believe it. But, Dr. Morgan added, “once he saw what he had done, he walked away from the jumping pit and never came back.”
After all, Dr. Morgan said, everyone would expect him to repeat that performance. And how could he?
The moral of the story? No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way.
“All maximum performances are actually pseudo-maximum performances,” Dr. Morgan said. “You are always capable of doing more than you are doing.”
One of my running partners, Claire Brown, the executive director of Princeton in Latin America, a nonprofit group, calls it mind over mind-over-body.
She used that idea in June in the Black Bear triathlon in Lehighton, Pa., going all-out when she saw a competitor drawing close. She won her age group (30 to 34) for the half-Ironman distance, coming in fourth among the women.
When it was over, she ended up in a medical tent. “I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up or both,” she recalled. “At a certain point in a hard race, you’ve pushed yourself beyond the point of ignoring the physical pain, and now you have to tell your mind that it can keep going, too.”
The problem for many athletes is how to make a pseudo-maximum performance as close as possible to a maximum one. There are some tricks, exercise physiologists say, but also some risks.
The first thing to know, said Dr. Benjamin Levine, an exercise researcher and a cardiology professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, is that no one really knows what limits human performance. There’s the ability of the heart to pump blood to the muscles, there’s the ability of the muscles to contract and respond, there’s the question of muscle fuel, and then, of course, there is the mind.
“How does the brain interact with the skeletal muscles and the circulation?” Dr. Levine said. “How much of this is voluntary and how much is involuntary? We just don’t know.”
But since most people can do better, no matter how good their performance, the challenge is to find a safe way to push a little harder. Many ordinary athletes, as well as elites, use a technique known as dissociation.
Dr. Morgan, who tested the method in research studies, said he was inspired by a story, reported by an anthropologist that, he suspects, is apocryphal. It involves Tibetan monks who reportedly ran 300 miles in 30 hours, an average pace of six minutes a mile. Their mental trick was to fixate on a distant object, like a mountain peak, and put their breathing in synchrony with their locomotion. Every time a foot hit the ground they would also repeat a mantra.
So Dr. Morgan and his colleagues instructed runners to say “down” to themselves every time a foot went down. They were also to choose an object and stare at it while running on a treadmill and to breathe in sync with their steps. The result, Dr. Morgan said, was that the runners using the monks’ strategy had a statistically significant increase in endurance, doing much better than members of a control group who ran in their usual way.
That, in a sense, is the trick that Paula Radcliffe said she uses. Ms. Radcliffe, the winner of this year’s New York City Marathon, said in a recent interview that she counts her steps when she struggles in a race. “When I count to 100 three times, it’s a mile,” she said. “It helps me focus on the moment and not think about how many miles I have to go. I concentrate on breathing and striding, and I go within myself.”
Without realizing what I was doing, I dissociated a few months ago, in the middle of a long, fast bike ride. I’d become so tired that I could not hold the pace going up hills. Then I hit upon a method — I focused only on the seat of the rider in front of me and did not look at the hill or what was to come. And I concentrated on my cadence, counting pedal strokes, thinking of nothing else. It worked. Now I know why.
Dr. Morgan, who has worked with hundreds of subelite marathon runners, said every one had a dissociation strategy. One wrote letters in his mind to everyone he knew. Another stared at his shadow. But, Dr. Morgan asked him, what if the sun is in front of you? Then, the man said, he focused on someone else’s shadow. But what if the sun goes behind a cloud, Dr. Morgan asked?
“Then it’s tough,” the runner conceded.
Dissociation clearly works, Dr. Morgan said, but athletes who use it also take a chance on serious injury if they trick themselves into ignoring excruciating pain. There is, of course, a fine line between too much pain and too little for maximum performance.
“The old adage, no pain no gain comes into play here,” Dr. Morgan said. “In point of fact, maximum performance is associated with pain.”
The brain affects everyday training as well, researchers note.
Imagine you are out running on a wet, windy, cold Sunday morning, said Dr. Timothy Noakes, an exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town. “The conscious brain says, ‘You know that coffee shop on the corner. That’s where you really should be.’” And suddenly, you feel tired, it’s time to stop.
“There is some fatigue in muscle, I’m not suggesting muscles don’t get fatigued,” Dr. Noakes said. “I’m suggesting that the brain can make the muscles work harder if it wanted to.”
Part of a winning strategy is to avoid giving in to lowered expectations, athletes and researchers say. One friend tells me that toward the end of a marathon he tries not to look at people collapsed or limping at the side of the road. If he does, he suddenly realizes how tired he is and just gives up.
Marian Westley, a 35-year-old oceanographer in Princeton, N.J., and another running friend of mine, used several mental strategies in the recent Philadelphia marathon.
She slowed herself down at the start by telling herself repeatedly that she was storing energy in the bank. And when she tired near the race’s finish, she concentrated on pumping her arms. “I thought about letting my arms run the race for me, taking the pressure off my legs.”
She finished in three hours and 43 minutes, meeting her goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. “I am over the moon!” she wrote in an e-mail message the day after the race.
That is basically the reason why I tell everybody that I am in bad shape and I refrain from attending challenging tours. In particular when David sets a pace of 40 km/hr plus during the first hour of an seven hour tour.
Also I do not usually make tours of more than, say 180 km. In particular not in December. So I checked my recordings for this year and found only these tours which were longer than the one yesterday :
Sadogashima 210km in May
Matsuhime 219km in June with Jerome, david and Marek
Matsuhime [abgebrochen] 203km in September with Tom and David
Noto Tour 440km in three days in September
Also I do not test new roads in winter. I try to stick to the known ones which don't give me headacches and provide challenges. It is always hard to climb up a mountain you don't know for the first time as you have no idea where the climb will end.
But nevertheless this was a very pleasant ride. The roads in the conutryside were beautiful and a complete blue sky added to the good mood we were in. Tom rode a very nice pace so that I could stay on his backwheel all the time. And he was constantly lying about the lenth of the climbs so that I didn't lost confidence to make it. The average speed was not so fast but we also din't made too much breaks. I felt basically good all the ride, except for some of the harder climbs and I never had the feeling I wouldn't make it. And of course the distance from my house to Sekidobashi where I met Tom is about 24 km, so I need to do 40 kms or so more than him in the end.
But nevertheless, a splendid day out in the country. We saw a lot of hoshigaki hang up for drying at some of the farm houses, sometimes inbetween the underwear after the daily washing. We asked some shops if they sell them but nobody did. I guess it is just not considered something to sell in this area, everybody does it on their own, everybody has some so there is no need for selling and buying. But luckily I found some in the supermarket today. Pretty expensive (750 JPY for 250 gramm) but they were very nice indeed. Now I finally now how they taste.
The last piece of road from the 7-11 at Takaoguchi to my home was quite adrag but I made in within 2 hours. It was getting dark already when I was in Futago-Tamagawa and I arrived in complete darkness at home. At least I had my red backlight with me.
Here is one more information, the cyclo info from this tour. The peaks are (from the left) Otarumi Toge, Suzugane Toge (after which a long downhill was promised to me), Hinazuru "Maglev" Toge (it seems that there is a depot from the maglev train testing facility located there) and Otarumi Toge again.
07 December 2007
But cyclists unaware of the rules--and the tough punishment system for violators--could find that their leisurely ride has taken them to court or even prison.
"Bicycles are so common, but many users have insufficient knowledge about the traffic rules they should obey, resulting in malicious and dangerous ways of riding," an official of the National Police Agency said.
Police, in fact, are cracking down on reckless cyclists across the nation in response to the surging number of accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians.
According to the NPA, 599 cyclists were ticketed for criminal prosecution in violation of the Road Traffic Law between January and September. Some of the offenders were arrested.
The nine-month figure exceeded the full-year total of 585 in 2006, and was about five times the figure for 2003.
For minor traffic violations, motorists are given blue tickets. Offenders are exempted from criminal prosecution if they pay specified fines, although they will be imposed penalty points on their licenses.
For serious violations, they are arrested or given red tickets for criminal prosecution.
But the blue-ticket system for minor traffic violations does not include cyclists.
That means cyclists are automatically given red tickets for any violation and face criminal prosecution.
Their papers are sent to prosecutors and they are sentenced or receive summary orders at traffic courts.
Bicycle riders face a maximum sentence of three months in prison or a fine of up to 50,000 yen for failing to obey traffic signals or stop signs.
Drunken cyclists can be sentenced to five years in prison or fined a maximum 1 million yen.
Riding double on a bicycle can result in fine of up to 20,000 yen.
Of the 599 cyclists caught this year through September, 196 were accused of double riding or violating other regulations on loading capacity, accounting for the largest portion.
The number of offenders who ran red lights was the second largest at 156, followed by 110 who ignored stop signs.
Police warned or gave instructions in 1.34 million cases by the end of September, compared with the 2006 total of 1.45 million, double from three years earlier.
Police will typically hand red tickets to cyclists or arrest them if they ignore the instructions or warnings.
Of the 599 cyclists caught this year, 291 were under 20 years old.
An NPA official said the number of serious violations by junior and senior high school students was particularly high.
According to statistics compiled by the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis, cyclists aged 16 to 19 were blamed for about 20 percent of traffic accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians in 2006.
Bicycles are one of the most common means of transport in Japan, with more than 80 million bicycles in use.
The annual number of traffic accidents involving bicycles has remained between 170,000 and 180,000 in recent years.
Although the number of bicycle accidents with automobiles has been declining, the number of accidents between bicycles and pedestrians increased about fivefold over the 10 years until 2006, when 2,767 such accidents were reported.
The number of bicycle-pedestrian accidents stood at 2,021 this year through September.
While tightening crackdowns, the NPA is taking measures to improve the traffic environment for cyclists, including separate lanes for pedestrians and bicycles.
According to a survey by the Bicycling Popularization Association of Japan, more than 90 percent of respondents said they had felt "threatened" by bicycles while walking on sidewalks.
A senior official of the association said malicious traffic law violations by cyclists had been left unchecked, leading to further recklessness among cyclists. "I hope that the police crackdowns, instructions and warnings will improve the manners of bicycle riders," the official said.
BY KUNIO KATSUMATA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
06 December 2007
Pedals clipping, Spokes turning, Derailleur cables plucking, Freewheel spinning, Caliper brakes clamping, Pedals hammering, Disc brakes hitting, Spokes plucking, Shifters clicking, Chain pulling, Brakes squeaking. Who needs a Gockenspiel?
Looks like fine cycling weather again this weekend! Last Sunday Jerome, David L. and I made a very short ride along some idyllic country roads south of Sagamiko. For this weekend, I intend to enlarge the cycling territory a bit and explore some attractive-looking roads running almost parallel to R20 on the south.
My plan is first cycle up to Saruhashi via R20 and instead of turning right and up to Matsuhime, turning left at Lawson and continue southwards direction Tsuru, go around "British Garden" golf course and then follow the R35 stretch along the Otabigawa and Akiyamagawa rivers thru the "Shin-Hinazuru" tunnel (anybody been here before?) and pass Akiyama country club before heading northwards again either to Uenohara or Fujino....
I'll be cycling both on Sat and Sun...if anybody wants to join please let me hear from you. I propose a departure time from the usual Sekidobashi rendezvous at 8:30...
02 December 2007
I rode on the left side of the Tamagawa at a leisurely speed of 27 - 30 km/h up to Tamagawa where I crossed over. If I ride with the other Positivo Espresso guys I normally stay on the left side, but when I ride alone I go without thinking over the bridge to he right side - perhaps remiscent of the Veloz days. Speed was not fast but I rode through Noborito and then crossed over again shortly before Y park to the left side. I met some other riders there who had about the same speed as I had and we all became a little bit faster. I felt better, although I somehow lost the trust in my beloved green Cannondale bike. Did it have some cracks in the frame? Why is the headset making these noises? I don't know, I do not want to blame my bike but it is time for a new one.
I went along further the Tamagawa up to Mutsumi Bridge. The park down there is still closed,2 1/2 months after the Taifun. Also the roads in the floodland are still in pretty bad shape. Then I took the road up to Itsukaichi and when I arrived there at the station I made a turn to the left.
The first climbing started and I was doing ok. No great, but ok. Then at Sakamoto I took the road towards Jerome Hill. As we all know, the hill is named after the shape of the belly of Jerome, which you can see not at all in the attached touring profile. This is a beautiful road and it is even more so during the autumn season. Red and yellow leaves everywhere, kakis, mandarins, some nice farming houses with thatched roofs, open sliding doors with rice paper - really beautiful, really countryside.
At 2:20 hrs I was on top of Jerome hill. I never did this under two hours, so the time was ok. The desccent was also fast with maximum 63 km/h, although I didn`t felt very comfortable. I made a longer rest at the 7/11 close to the Wachi bike shop where I also needed to visit the toilet.
I am not sure why I am riding such uninteresting, tasteless and embarrassing things, but going to the toilet during wintertime is always a hassle. In order to get prepared, I need to get rid off my winter jacket,then get a naked upperbody to remove my other jersey before I can finally lower by bibs. I always double check if the toilet door is locked - I do not want to be found half naked on a 7-11 toilet having sex with my bicycle.
After the break I tried to follow the Tamagawa somehow and tried a lot of new roads. When I was back on the dike, I met by chance Jerome, David and Tom who came back from a light training ride to Sagamiko and some secret mountain roads I am not supposed to know of. Tom was as usual in good shape, David and Jerome looked rather tired so I hat no problem to keep up with them. The new Cervelo of David is really beautiful. I like the Positivo sticker on the backside in particular.
So we took it easy going home and I visited Nagai's store with Jerome. But it was so crowded.
Went home, played soccer on the PS2 and had a nice cheese bread from Kaisers.
All in all a good ride, 5 hours in total and a good start to train again.
Of course on a new bike.
01 December 2007
I picked up my new bike today at Positivo!
It is the largest frame size R3 SL Cervelo offers = 61 cm. Ride quality so far is great.
Weight with pedals/cages is 7.2 kgs, under 16 lbs. Yippee!
if everybody would register as editor with this blog, everybody would get e-mails of the new postings. So we do not need to send e-mails around any longer.
David invited for Sunday :
I spoke w/ Jerome Friday night -- we are planning a morning ride leaving my house early (7:30ish) Sunday, back by 1 PM.
Not worth major organizational effort ... but happy to ride with anyone who is interested.
Let Jerome and me know if we should be looking for you on Sunday.
If I pick up the Cervelo today, I may be able to give it an inaugural ride.
Anyone interested ?
30 November 2007
"Mohan Samaroo, 19, is part of a mostly teenage crew in Richmond Hill, Queens, who lavish their time and money on bicycles outfitted with elaborate stereo systems.
Turning bicycles into rolling outdoor sound systems is a popular hobby in the home countries of these riders who are of Guyanese and Trinidadian background.
Car batteries power these mobile stereos, tricked out with amplifiers, bass woofers, and speakers. Some bikes, like this one, even have DVD screens for viewing while riding.
Extra braces rest on training wheels to support the heavy system and an extra rider who can stand on back.
Usually, the riders crank heavy Caribbean beats out of their stereos.
Mr. Samaroo's sturdy Mongoose supports a system with four 12-inch speakers that can handle the 5,000 watts. He's co-owner of a business called Legal Intentionz that mounts steroes on bikes.
The group rides in packs just west of the Van Wyck Expressway in Richmond Hill, each taking turns playing his sound system. When they're not cruising the streets, the riders tinker with their bikes in a garage.
Many riders finance their hobby by installing car stereos and doing other such handiwork.
The motocross bicycle of Stephen Sonnylal, 17, bears a 200-pound system with a 50-CD changer. It has 3,000 watts of power and cost $800. "People say, 'It's the next best thing to having a system in a car.' But it's better because you don't even have to roll down the
windows," said Nick Ragbir, 18.
Think I'll stick to an iPod.
29 November 2007
The obvious question is.. Why?
I like the caveat.. "Disclaimer: This is a highly-advanced hack! Do not attempt it unless you have great confidence in your metalworking and mechanical ability. This article assumes that you are already very familiar with the inner workings of Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hubs. If you have any questions that you can't figure out the answer to from this article, you're not ready for this!"
I began riding, as many did, years ago on a Raleigh Chopper and a Raleigh Commando (my brother had the Grifter) which had the classic 3 speed Sturmey Archer setup. It had a little oil grommet through which you could top up the oil in the hub. It meant the hub got quite oily and picked up dirt easily. Difficult to clean. Can you believe the Chopper has an owners club! Crikey.
28 November 2007
If you are thinking of switching over to winter equipment such as a different set of wheels or even a winter bike, then perhaps you might like to consider these tires pictured to the left.
Name: Hello Kitty (SKU:1917)
Type: Tire Size: 20 x 2.125''
Color: White Side-wall
Description: Hello Kitty by Nirve
20 x 2.125 tire white side-wall with black tread.
World famous Hello Kitty molded into the tire.
I am sad to inform you that it they are currently only available in a 20x2.125 size and with a white sidewall.
Surely some of you Positivo Espresso readers would be interested in a 700x23c version? Any takers?
via engadget.com and nirve.com
15 November 2007
Bike sex man placed on probation
A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation.
Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years. Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.
Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply. "They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down.
"The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex.
Both cleaners, who were "extremely shocked", told the hostel manager who called police.
Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: "In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a 'cycle-sexualist'."
Stewart had denied the offence, claiming it was caused by a misunderstanding after he had too much to drink. The bachelor had been living in the hostel since October 2006 after moving from his council house in Girvan He now lives in Ayr.
13 November 2007
Henri and our Aupair Anna took the BMW and headed in the morning for Saiko. Because of the stupid BMW navigation system we missed the right exit from the Chuo Highway. Bad enough. But it turned out to be a very good mistake as we entered the Saiko area from the West side by a beautiful road through the mountain area we have never taken before. Thank you BMW. Then, we met at the Cafe M which is our favourite hang out in the Saiko area and had huge bowls of spaghetti with mushrooms and excellent curry.
After a good lunch it was time for some training laps. The road surface was still a little bit wet but it was not raining as when we left Tokyo. So I took a lap first on my own which felt good. Then I rode together with Henri who was registered for the 10 km race for the first time. He had no problems to complete one 10 km within 30 minutes or so which made me confident that he would finish the race on the next day - this year it was anyway the idea to set a benchmark time against which he can measure himself in the years to come.
After that we all went to the Onsen next to the ex Kuwarubi Hotel on the shore of the lake and enjoyed the outside pool. Still Stephen and Ryoko haven't arrived so we settled again for a nice dinner at the Cafe M and went to bed early.
Next morning I started to do some training rides in the area and then I went to attend the D class race. I felt very confident. When racing in Saiko I always have some worries despite the fact that I really love the race: In 2005 I got dropped by the peloton after being too optimistic in my strategy to run out the peloton together with David Litt [also I was under the influence of drugs which were given to me because of a stiff back on the day before the race]. Then I am worried that I am surrounded by riders on the left side of the peloton and have no room to sprint. And then I am afraid of crashes, so I stay in the first third of the peloton, also because I am not a technical very good rider and I always loose some meters in tight curves.
Ok, consequently I tried to stay in the front group. After the first lap I was in the third position - this was not really necessary but a good show for my family that was waiting for me at the finish line. Then after relaxing the next 5 km and falling back, I attacked the front again and from 15 to 19 km I was almost all the time in the front doing a lot of drafting work for the rest. But I still felt strong. And suddenly I was also in front at the 19 km mark, so there was only 1 km to go until the finish. So I accelerated even more, but then I ran out of steam. About 400 meters before the finish is a slight uphill stretch and I couldn't keep up with the other riders. Just as every year, good run but then wrong strategy at the end. A lot of riders overtook me on the last stretch and also Stephen managed to pass by. The race was rather slow as the road surface was still wet (31 minutes winning time), so the peloton stayed together until the end, not many riders were dropped.
So in the end a result like every year, a 29th place (out of 41 riders), but only 4.4 seconds behind the winner. in 2006 I was 25th in the D Class out of 42 riders 8 seconds behind the winner. 2005 was a disaster. 2004 I was 28th out of 62 riders 5 seconds behind the winner.
Ok, I thought it would be better to have two chances ... so later my twin brother Jan started in the E class race.
Ok, the next event was the Milky Way race for my daughter Karen. This is only a 500 meter race from the parking space at the bat cave to the finish. The two years before Karen went on her bike with supporting wheels, but this year she tried without for the first time. I waited with her at the start area with my bike somewhere parked 10 meters behind. So suddenly there was the start sign and the race started. I ran back to my bike as I wanted to ride together with Karen. But she was so fast! I caught her only close to the goal.
There are no results for the Milky Way race, as this should be non-competitive, but she was really strong. Ok, her future fate is already decided as her mother set her career course in figure skating ... but with some subtle manipulation there might be still a chance to convert her to bicycle riding.
In the years before all Milky Way kids got medals from Mr. Nakano presented, however this year there were a lot of riders in this class so unfortunately Nikkan Sports decided to abolish this ceremony. But all the kids got some toys and Karen was happy with that one too. Of course, nothing can be beaten by a medal handed over by P-cup idol Fuko. Alas, only Flat-cup idols Lady Marmelade, partly dressed in fashionable Scottish pampers,made it to the race and Dennis collected his 5th place MTB certificate.
Then it was time for Henri to start the Primary School higher grades 10 km race. He hates loud noises so when the start pistol was shot he covered his ears and he couldn't pick up speed fast. Hm, he is special anyway but that is ok. He also made a good race and he ended up in 28th place, so one place better than his father [ok : 5.50 min gap to the winner]. But I was very impressed that he managed to finish the race in a good time of 22:56 minutes and an average speed of more than 26 km/hr. Last year when he rode the 3.2 km race with the same bike he was at 20 km/hr average speed. So, as every father should be, I was very proud of my son.
We then went home quickly has we wanted to avoid the traffic jam on the Chuo. The weather was now beautiful and we could see mount Fuji with the summit in the clouds on the right side of the road home. Jan was driving. His body started to hurt and it was painful to make it to Tokyo - but surprisingly fast. There was still some time to visit the fantastic WORKMAN shop on the Nakahara Kaido, introduce Anna to cheap construction worker T-shirts, Pump trousers and tabi socks and to buy a nice orange handkerchief for my daughter as a bonus.
A very nice weekend for me and my family. Not so nice for Jan although.
dpa / After being inactive for over a year in Germany, Jan-Ulrich decided to attend the E-class race at this year's Saiko event of the Tour de Japon. When the race started, the sky was a full blue and the road surface had almost completely dried up, perfect conditions for fast two laps at this 10 km round course around the lake of Saiko. Against strong contenders from Japan as well as from the French NFCC team, Jan-Ulrich controlled the peloton from behind and managed to stay with the field until the sharp corner at the 15 km mark. When he start to accelerate hard out of the saddle after the curve, his rear wheel blocked and he flew right over his bike on the road. Three other riders were also caught in the crash, but all of them managed to continue the race after a short break.
It later turned out that the rear wheel has not been fixed securely in place as the tension device of the TUNE spanner has dropped over time. The rear wheel then jumped against the seatstay and blocked. Accelerating Jan-Ulrich virtually catapulted over his bike when he couldn't stop his feet movements.
He then proceed to the next first aid station, where he got some band aid and bandages - his orange jersey has been ripped to pieces. "I was lucky not to broke my two wrists when I tried to dampen the impact to fall on the road." he said later. Also he was lucky that none other rider rode over him.
He then completed the race, stopped on the way to chat with some supporters from Ireland and finished last in dismayal 44 minutes.
Three days later he seems to be on the road to recovery, although every move still hurts. "First I didn't felt any pain as I was still under shock and I could even enjoy the Milky Way Race. But driving home was already very painful and I still can't move properly. I guess my comeback is over."
08 November 2007
One drawback as David pointed out correctly is the dangerous "touristy ride-cum-race" mixed format and this is what our friend Marek found out much to his frustration. Some guy touched Marek’s back wheel at the first downhill section at 40-50km/h, started to whobble and crashed! Marek, his wheel damaged beyond repair, was forced to sit out the rest of the race in the “broom wagon” trailing behind the last rider (which Marek told me was a pain to look at).
For some people including me, the event did not fully live up to its expectations. A lack of race marshals on major turns and intersections caused too much confusion. At the “Junction of Doom,” I led a pack of about 15 riders on the wrong road losing more than half an hour! Otherwise the organization was good…o-miyage maitake mushrooms, bananas & VAAMs at two aid stations, mushroom soup, a piece of apple & lunch box at the end of the race...
“Giro de Hotaka” + the short Hotaka Hillclimb on Day 1 is a two-day event I definitely want to participate in again next year. Hopefully there will be many of the Positivo Espresso riders going as well.
Here is map / elevation chart of this marvelous "Giro": http://www.ne.jp/asahi/bicycle/race/htkgiro/route.htm
mob: and here are the results : http://www.ne.jp/asahi/bicycle/race/result.htm
And I have some more pictures I wanted to add :
One showing Marek still optimistic before the start of the race. If only his speedmeter would have worked properly.
My family was also completely at the race and Anna our Aupair also joined. I hope that I can convert her during her 10 months stay in Japan into a cycling addict.
Should present her with the TREK bike from Tom.
TOM: If it's for Anna I'll fix you a special price!!
MOB : Did you see that Anna? Tom and me are getting serious here. I think you can do it, I mean you can still watch our kids, learn Japanese, go to HipHop dacing classes, enjoy nights out in Roppongi, Skype all your friends in Germany, get your friends to come to Japan, maintain your blog
ANNA: Ok, here is the deal: I'm looking for the kids, going to my Hip Hop classes, keep on stalking my family and friends in Germany (and get them to visit Japan), BUT: I'm quitting my Japanese class. Because I don't think that I need any Japanese skills during cycling... :)
Then there is a photo of Ryoko, actually taken when I wanted to take a photo of Stephen as he was assembling his bike before the race. But as he was bended over and showed bis back to me it turned out not to be a good photo at all. But just by chance Ryoko was also somehow on the photo and she looks here very mysterious like Bernard Albrecht from NEW ORDER on the famous cover of FACE magazine, designed by Neville Brody in the Eighties. Stephen and Ryoko are really nice people and as a couple very harmonious. I should be full of praise.
21 October 2007
The rugby worlcup final match England against South Africa has started just at 4 AM the same day, so david was without any sleep and promptly he rode over a red traffic light on our way to Futago Tamagawa. So when I heard the sound of a car braking and then flesh on metal I naturally thought that david was still sleeping or just became awake, but in fact in was David who has hit a brandnew black Audi A6. Some scratches on the motor hood. David basically ok, stating that this has not heard as much as the crash with the Taxi some weeks ago. we needed to call the police and make proper filing, then we had a chance to visit the Segafredo at Futago while David was returning home to exchange his broken front wheel. I asked him if he told his wife about the accident. No, he didn't, he downed two pain killers, told his wife that he had a mechanical problem and off he was to join us for a cup of coffee.
Finally at ten we left. Tom decided in the meantime to do his own training. We made leisurely speed up to Miyagase Lake, where we had a longer break. Total beautiful autumn weather. Kosmos and Kibana Kosmos blooking everywhere. Had a good meal and then we made the approach up to Yabitsu. Really one of my favourite rides, it is like going down two times because going up is mostly so gradual and even some flat stretches, you hardly realize that you are going up.
Midway I accelerated and went up on my own. Then we took some pictures on the top and went down the other side to Hadano where we hoped the train and went to Noborito (David and me) and Yoyogi Uehara (Juliane and david) respectively. Most beautiful day, I felt so happy on the road. Probably radiated happiness.
17 October 2007
After all I came to the conclusion that it might be better to divide this blogs into two. And give the other riders also the possibility to add blogs, posts photos etc. on this blog.