31 January 2008

Infrequently asked questions

Awhile back I posted answers to some infrequently asked questions. And because knowledge is power and we all want to register big wattage on the SRM of life, I've gone ahead and answered a few more below. So read and be misinformed. If you've still got any questions once you're done, check in with Fat Cyclist, since he may have some answers for you too:

What is a “century?”

A century is a word people who ride Serottas and Cervelos equipped with mountain bike pedals and compact cranks use to describe what the rest of us just call a long ride. There’s also something called a “metric century.” Riders use the same type of bicycles, but a metric century is shorter and probably involves more camelbaks and helmets with visors on them.

What is a “training ride?”

This is how roadies describe what the rest of us just call a ride. It can be long, short, fast, or slow. It can also be intermittently fast and slow, which is called “intervals.” Roadies call rides “training rides” so people know that they race. In fact, roadies only do two kinds of rides: training rides, and races. Any other type of riding is considered “garbage miles,” or “junk miles.” Garbage miles include any miles ridden offroad, any miles ridden for purposes of commuting or transportation, any miles not ridden in full team kit, and any miles during which the rider has any fun.

What is a “session?”

A session is a word fixed-gear freestylers, freeriders, and BMXers use to describe riding around in circles doing tricks. The term “session” is also used in relation to the Senate, therapy, and band recording. All of these sessions share in common the fact that they are generally self-indulgent, boring to watch, and in the end go nowhere.

How do I know if it’s time to replace my frame?

Inspect your frame closely for URLs. If your frame has any URLs on it, it means it is too new to be considered “vintage,” yet too old to be considered up-to-date. URLs on bikes went out in the late 90s and early Oughts, when manufacturers finally realized that even the dumbest person can figure out how to find a website without seeing a “www” and “.com” around the name.

Which is better, threaded or threadless steering setups?


As a cyclist, should I obey all traffic signals?

Absolutely not. The surest way to disaster is mindless adherence to rules, routine, and procedure, because they do not account for the unexpected—or, as I prefer to call it, the stupidity factor. Take pedestrians, for example. When you have the green, pedestrians will not think twice about crossing against the light, right in front of you. They will also usually look near you but not at you, as though they’re following Jerry Seinfeld’s procedure for admiring a woman’s breasts without being caught. Conversely, when they do have the light and you have a red, they’ll generally stop dead and look at you as though you’re about to run them down. When you’re dealing with this sort of stupidity, all bets are off. If you don’t believe me, go outside right now and stand at a busy corner. Wait until a large vehicle is approaching, and then run across the street. I guarantee at least five people will follow you to almost certain death. These bovine are simply too stupid to live, and if you blindly follow traffic rules they will take you right down with them.

More aggressively stupid are drivers. If you wait at a red light and then proceed when it turns green, you’re virtually assured death by yellow-miscalculating idiot.

Rules are not designed to protect you. They are designed to trap and kill you. Rely only on your wits, because that’s the only thing that will keep you alive.

Can I purchase a fixed-gear-specific hooded sweatshirt that is inspired by a Huey Lewis and the News Song?

You absolutely can! A reader just forwarded me the "Dissizit" hoodie. (Just wait for the chorus to find the Huey inspiration—if you can bear it.)

from Bike Snob NYC

29 January 2008


By GEOFF BOTTING Weekly Playboy (Feb. 4)

With their habit of racing along pedestrian-filled sidewalks and ignoring the rules of the road, bicycles have long been a scourge of Japan's city streets.
But perhaps no longer. The National Police Agency (NPA) — never mind the nation's pedestrians and motorists — has had enough, according to Weekly Playboy. This spring, cops nationwide are expected to start collaring dangerous and annoying cyclists.
The crackdown would be backed by a revision — the first in three decades — to the NPA's "Manual Concerning Traffic Methods." Drawn up late last year, the guidelines go into force this spring, adding five new cycling prohibitions: Wearing headphones, operating a cell phone, holding an umbrella or affixing one to the bicycle, carrying more than one child as a passenger and excessive ringing of bells*1.
Should a cop stop you for doing any of the above, you could be hit with a nasty fine. Cyclists with two kids on board, for instance, would be subject to fines of up to ¥20,000.
The tougher new police rules complement a comprehensive anticyclist crackdown instigated by the government. The revised Road Safety Law was enacted in June last year with the basic intent of clearing up a lot of gray-zone issues involving cyclists.
Notably, the legal revision treats bicycles as "light vehicles" — just like motorcycles — and as such, cyclists are obliged to travel on roads*2, not sidewalks, where it seems 90 percent of urban cyclists prefer riding. And if cyclists can't be bothered to switch on their lights at night, they could be pulled over, ticketed and made to pay a fine — of up to ¥50,000. That's right: cyclists could be held up to the same standards as motorists.
"Until now, bicycles have been treated like pedestrians . . . and many of the people who ride bikes are mistaken in the belief that they are pedestrians," says a man, name not given, who runs a Web site for cycling enthusiasts.
Provoking the authorities' more aggressive attitude is the large number of traffic accidents involving bicycles. In 2006, such accidents numbered 174,000, accounting for 20 percent of the total.
But now the key question is whether the cops, who have long been taking a lax attitude toward cyclist miscreants, will actually follow their new rules to the letter of the law.
An anonymous police officer at a prefectural police force thinks so. "I think there'll be a concentrated effort for several months after the manual's revision comes into force. . . . Without a doubt, it will be easy for officers on the streets to get tough, now that the manual has clarified the issues."
Yet perhaps the police's bigger job will be to create a new awareness and sense of responsibility among urban cyclists.
"I don't think riding manners will improve with a crackdown, but rather through a comprehensive form of safety education at schools and other places," the Web site operator says. He also notes that the cops on the beat often encourage cyclists to stick to the sidewalks for safety reasons — and to stay off the road.
So we can only wait and see until spring and beyond. Will our neighborhood cops actually step out of their koban (police box) to make the streets safer for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike? Stay tuned.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008

*1 ahem!

*2 ...not really "notably" Geoff...As a matter of fact, this has been the rule for the past 30 years although most people - including the cops who ride their bicycles on the sidewalks themselves (!!!) - are not aware of this. Hopefully this rule remains in force although there are rumored to be movements within the NPA to abolish bicycles altogether from the roadway...
Next time a cop tries to tell you to cycle on the sidewalk, remind him of the existing traffic law: "SHADOU WO HASHIRU NO WA, HOURITSUJOU NO GIMU DESU" or better...next time you see a cop cycling on the sidewalk, remind him - with a stern look on your face - to cycle on the road like this: "OOOI KIMI! ABUNAI ZO! SHADOU WO HASHIRANAKYA!!....and watch his reaction!!

26 January 2008



Did the Kobu Tunnel today...climbing up there was great; descent was a different story....most of road is in the shadow and I tell you with these temperatures, it is scary!! Snow and ice everywhere! I imagine Suzugane Touge will be the same: going up fine...going down eisbahn! But we can always try! See you tomorrow. Tom.

PS: I will be very slow...got tortured by NFCC's Young Hopes today!

MOB : OK, I will be there at 09.00 at Sekidobashi with my new yellow Assos Fugu jacket and my old bike,



mob : So we met at Sekidobashi at 9 AM and tried to move quickly against the headwind to Itsukaichi. After the break at the 7-Eleven we then rode along the road to Honjuku and further in direction Kazahari before we made a turn to the left and approached Kobu Tunnel. The road was much in the shade with some patches of ice so we moved very carefully. After that we rode to Fujino and down at the Uenohara CC to Route 20. This is not my favourite area really, I don't know why but Uenohara makes me always so tired.

We then went over Otarumi from the Sagamiko side, none of us clocking the time as we were already pretty tired. Nevertheless Tom speeded up and I secretely looked on my watch but the time was not worth mentioning.

We went down the other side and gad a good lunch of Tororo Soba at a place close to Takaosanguchi station. Tom rode home by bike, I biked up my son from an insect hunting excursion. He and me were in luck first - he finished already at 2 PM and I was there at 2 PM despite the time set for 3 PM so we made an early start for home.

The trip home was a disaster. I mean in the train. We made it to Fuchu when someone in the station decided to commit suicide and jumped in front of our train. We couldn't see anything as we were in one of the last cars, but as the train has not fully moved into the station when it came to a stop, the doors couldn't be opened. we had to wait for 30 minutes, then finally could move out, took a bus to Kokubunji and a train to Shinjuku - finally we were home by 6.30 PM.

Nevertheless a very nice ride and it is good to add a lot of kms in the mountains this early in the season. Thanks Tom.

I also bought two maps at Takaosanguchi for the Takao and Okutama area to plan the next tours.

Tom: Thanks Michael...the ride was just what I needed to take up the slack after I got broken on the wheel on Saturday. Sorry to hear about the Fuchu accident and the long way back to home. Let's go again when we have splendid weather again like yesterday.

24 January 2008

Saturday Freeze-drying Ride Jan 26?

I want to ride this Saturday. David Jacob also sounds like he wants to get back on the bike. Anyone interested in an 8AM start at my house? 8:45 at Sekidobashi?

Tom: David, I'll be there at Sekidobashi - 8:45...I love these zero temperature rides! The Hinoharamura area will have min -6℃ ~ max +2 ℃ temperatures tomorrow fortunately with very little wind....

Well ... David Jacob and I got a 10 minute late start, then I flatted a tubular tire about 5 minutes south of sekidobashi. Tom had invited some of the NFCC and rode off with them for Sagamiko. I managed to change my tire and, after some fun with the valve stem coming unscrewed, got it fully inflated. David Jacob and I rode up to Oume and over Jerome Hill (we blew through the record for Jerome Hill -- and I was coasting the first part and only pedaled at all as the road turned up near the end), back over a different hill (the hill you go over if you do not turn at Sakamoto and head up Jerome Hill, and back down the river from Oume. 105 km or so from my house. Add 20 km for David Jacob. I got 3 hours of sleep after a long, long night of bengoshi recruiting activities. It reminded me of day 3 of the Tour de Noto, after Michael's birthday party the night before, but with half the sleep. In any event, it was good to stretch the legs.

Tom: I'm sorry David I couldn't wait for you. I'm glad to hear though that you managed to fix a new tubular on your carbon wheel...those tubulars can be a nuisance if you have to change them mid-ride. About the Jerome Hill....talk about pulverizing records! ....I cannot believe what you guys managed to do 'cause I really gave everything for my time!! Are we measuring from the same start line? Something has got to be wrong haha!! Anyways, let's do this hill all three or all four (with Michael) or all five (with Jerome himself) of us together next time!

Had a nice ride with three much younger NFCC guys...first time for me to go with them (which is why I didn't want them to wait much longer at Sekidobashi)...two of them are transfers from a professional team. Whereas lately I am usually the one waiting at the top of the touge for the rest to arrive, this time it was the complete reverse! They all had to wait for me to show up! Not a very pleasant feeling having to let others wait. All three of them are more than 10 years younger than me, so maybe it has something to do with age...one thing is for sure, if I continue to cycle with them every weekend, I should be able to improve my hillclimb skills.

We are measuring the same distance -- between Sakamoto crossing and the sign at the top of the hill. but don't worry Tom, our 5 minute record was coming DOWN the hill. Michael picked up one clue -- about riding via Oume. The other was "I was coasting the first part ..." 5 minutes was a very leisurely descent.

23 January 2008

The Positivo Espresso Jersey Design Contest + Entry No. 2.1 +

I have to admit that I can hardly think of any other thing any more than the Positivo Espresso design. I looked and the last version again and again and did some more changes:
  • I checked some of the other WAVE ONE designs and found out that it does look good if you change the background color only in accordance with the different parts of the jerseys. So I made the dark grey area a little bit bigger, cutting over to the front.
  • I showed the designs to Anna and she made the wonderful suggestion to arrange the flags like a ring on the edge of the sleeves. So I selected some other flags, including the Flemish lion rather than the Belgian flag for Tom, the Portland City Flag for David and the Moenchengladbach City flag for me instead of the seal of the pope.
  • I put the Positivo Espresso Name higher on the front of the jersey, otherwise it might get compressed by an inflated bottom line.
Ok, we can have endless discussions about the background colors most likely.
But later please.

So after I did all this I thought, hey let's make some special versions for some prominent riders from the team which you can find below. Just by chance, with the yellow background, the cross is now matching perfectly the national flags of Belgium and (East) Germany.
Of course in case of Jerome, a completely different approach needed to be choosen.

Team Jersey Special Version : Tom

Team Jersey Special Version : Marek

Team Jersey Special Version : Jerome

22 January 2008

The Positivo Espresso Jersey Design Contest + Entry No. 2 +

I found it hard to accept a jersey in white [thinking of our poor wifes who must wash them] and without any orange and grey, my favourite color combination and the basic design concept of my new bike.

Please note the fine details which you might only see in the full view, including the two German flags. Everybody who orders one jersey of the first batch should have his flag included. We might want to edit the flags a little bit although due to the origin of our members:, East-Belgium, East-France and East-Australia comes immediately to my mind.. I have the "East design" of the German Flag ready, so we can easily edit all other flags. I would refrain however to replace every star of the American flag with hammer and compass.

Zapped to Glory

Electrically stimulate nerves to build muscles. It's an efficient, legal, and very painful way to beef up athletic performance.

Video: Electrocute yourself

Article: Compex Sport is a scary, yet oddly compelling, device

19 January 2008

Tom: Right and Wrong

Ok, where shall I start? Well I did the first ride on my new home trainer on Friday evening for about 30 minutes. And I noticed two things: I use to much energy to make my bike move from right to left, i am just not pedaling smooth enough. What can be done, any ideas guys are similar experience when you are riding on a home trainer?

Then, when I went after the training to take a shower I noticed that something seems strange with my ellbow. Hm, all violet and yellow. Probably something has built up inside after the crash in Saiko in November and now suddenly bursted, can't think of any other accident I had with my ellbow recently.
This is really the disadvantage of getting older, it just takes so much longer until wounds heal and one recovers from this and that. And the other disadvantage is that one constantly would like to talk about one health problem and share them with other people. I know this from my grand parents, my parents and finally I have also reached the age to start the same thing.
My apologies.

So I started late this morning and left the house at 11 AM. Tom is right here. Instead of going fast along the Tamagawa I tried to stay concentrated and stay in a 150er pulse range with 80 rpm cadence. This went very well until I met a fast guy at the Tamagawa who overtook me. I just couldn' hold myself back and I chased after him. He was really fast - but I knew all the shortcuts along the road so we made it together until shortly after Y park where he made a stop. I crossed over the Tamagawa some bridges later and continued on the velosoph country road to Itsukaichi. I saw Tom coming back on the other side shouting "Michael", so I stopped. But he didn't, so I went on as well.

I was checking out my new Assos gear: Robocap was pretty warm and is well fixed, also the new shoe covers and the early winter gloves. I had one undershirt, one thick full arm jersey and over that another Assos Windblocker. I was feeling pretty warm. Also I bought a new Giro Atmos helmet at Friends last week. Really lost my trust in the old one.

I came to Itsukaichi station and instead of going right to Jerome hill what Tom was suspecting, I went left and made a break at the 7-Eleven because I was finally running out of energy. I got one sweet and one chocolate as service and then I continue to go along the road until I came to the Honjuku crossing. I started my timer and then to attack the Tominnomura TT. Almost immediately after Honjuku, still at elevation 250m or so, the first patches of snow appeared on the sides of the road. I continued to go and tried to restrain myself not to use all power in the lower reaches of the approach. It was getting colder and colder and there was more and more snow to see. At elevation 700 m the first patches of ice where visible on the road and it was now only 1 degree plus. I would have turned back, but I was even more afraid of going down on the icy road so I kept going up. At the deserted tollstation at elevation 900 m I took a break as I was really pumped out. To early in the season to go up in one stretch I thought.

So after a short break I continued to go up and the next curves very really full of icy patches, even the cars where going slow. Didn't saw a single bicycle going up and down all the way from Itsukaichi and even only a few bikes. Luckily not so many cars as well, but there were some Mazda and BMW roadsters with removed tops.

Basically it was just me, "Mutterseelenallein" or "moi tout seule". I write this for my new teammates from the NFCC.
So I passed another construction site just before Tominomura. There were at least three I recall, perhaps even four but it is coming close to the end of the fiscal year and allocated budgets must be spend. It is really crazy, close to the Honjuku intersection there is this huge new bridge construction which is completely useless. Unless it make sense to cut 100 - 200 m on a road which is leading anywhere to nowhere and where the living population is anyway in average 60 years plus and will be completely vanished in 20 years to come.

And close to Tominnomura another slope work construction site. Really, I hate three things from the construction industry in Japan: a) slopeworks b) costal defenses c) river dykes. Ok, and basically everything what Mori Building did. Why can things not be let in their natural shape, even if there is a slight risk that some minor disaster happens in some super remote part of the country.

As you can already understand from this I was not in the best of all moods and I just tried to reach Tominnomura. I took one more break to make a nice picture of me with all the snow in the background

I tried to pretend that I am having fun, hope that I could fool all of you. And then finally I was there. I looked at my watch: 1:27:01 hm, not good but at least a first time for the toge no baka. So Tom, this is where you were wrong.

A lot of cars, but no motorcycles and no bicycles. Bought a cafe and looked around but I was getting cold. The Assos gloves are not warm for 0 degrees and alsomy feets were freezing cold. But who I am to complain! Just as I was freezing I saw a young women with skintight high heels and miniskirt going hiking with her boyfriend. Only those of us who spend 12 winters in mini skirted school uniforms can do this kind of things without complains. I am not one of them.
Then after having a hot coffee I decided to go back to Itsukaichi. No way that I would make it in time before the darkness to Ome and there were all this warnings about ice on the road on the Okutama side of the Kazahari. So I descended. Very slowly. This must have been the slowest descent ever from Kazahari I did. David Litt would have probably died laughing if he would have seen me. I was so slow and it was so cold.

Anyway, I somehow made it to Itsukaichi where I backed my bike in the bag and took the train home. I was really done and I am just waiting to finish this blog to take a hot shower.

I guess I must intensify training nevertheless, the first JCRC race for this year is already scheduled for March 16th in Kawagoe. Anybody interested to join me?

Deserted Tomin-no-Mori

RdV at Koremasa Bridge with Jerome (NFCC), Adam (NFCC) and Nishibe-san at 8:30...everyone on time...not a small feat with today's freezing temperatures! A midwinter ride it turned out to be indeed. Like last week, there was a fairly strong and chilly headwind blowing from the northwest slowing us down far below 30km/h. Nishibe-san left us at the Itsukaichi 7/11 and the 3 of us headed towards the Honjuku T-junction undecided where to go from there as we had entered twilight snow zone. I was intent to break my previous TT-record and as soon as we passed the T-junction, I began to give everything in my might. Sorry for leaving you guys behind! Once I passed the Uenohara Y-junction, roadside snow and ice on the road began to take increasingly frightful proportions. For some reason (the cold?) I just couldn't find the right cadence today and was shifting gears constantly...no good for the legs - I tell you! As soon as I drove into Tomin-no-Mori's parking lot, I stopped my stopwatch....1:04:10...sh*(*)t! I had just failed to reach my under-1h goal. It has got to be the season....only way to defend myself. Wrong season for breaking records...yeah yeah! Tomin-no-Mori was completely deserted, just like when I got there the day after last fall's typhoon. Tried on one of those special "heat-tech" face masks (the kind that makes you appear like a bank robber) for the descent...wow this feels great...except my big nose felt like freezing off and so did my fingers....gloves being of very little avail. Heartbeat dropped down to 110 during the descent and this does not help to keep warm. I was careful not to gain any speed in order to avoid slipping and slamming down the surface on those "Eisbahns" that were lurking around most shadowy curves. I reached Itsukaichi safely and it then occured to me that I had not crossed Jerome and Adam...they must have wisely turned to the left at the Uenohara Y-junction. Saw Michael who was cycling on the other side of Mutsumibashi-dori direction Itsukaichi...quite a late start you made there Michael! I bet you did the Jerome hill... Took a long 42C hot bath right after I reached home a little before 14:00...wow this felt good! Can't wait for my next 大寒 ride!

18 January 2008

Saturday Jan. 19 Ride / Tomin-no-Mori TT

Jerome, Adam and I will brave the elements tomorrow and go for a TT of Tomin-no-Mori. Anyone more than welcome to join!!

Rendez-vous times:
7:30 Futako Tamagawa Bridge: Jerome/Adam/..../..../....
8:30 Koremasa Bridge (a.k.a. "Guillotine Bridge"): Tom/..../

(* Koremasa Bridge is one bridge ahead of Sekidobashi Bridge when going stream upwards - about 9 minutes on the bike between them)

Bike Jump

17 January 2008

Physiology of Pedaling Cadence

an interesting article I found in regards to Cadence :

Using a slightly lower gear with a faster cadence can be more efficient than riding a higher gear with a slower cadence. The difference in efficiency is due to the unique physiological demands of each style. A high cadence pedaling style involves frequent, low muscular force productions while a low cadence pedaling style is comprised of less frequent, but more forceful muscular contractions. Since the slower cadence requires more muscular force per each pedal stroke, a greater percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers are recruited. Fast twitch muscles are not as efficient in their use of glycogen, so your body’s energy resources are drained more quickly when they are used. This can lead to increased fatigue late into your rides. During a stage race or when training frequency is high this becomes very important since stresses are compounded from one day to the next. On the other hand, the relatively low muscular force used with a high cadence relies more heavily on the slow twitch fibers, which are more aerobically efficient in using the body’s energy stores to produce work.

Typically, a cyclist will be most efficient with a cadence of 80 to 90 revolutions per minute (RPM). Cadences lower than 80 RPM require greater muscular forces, while cadences over 100 RPM place a higher demand on the aerobic system. Incorporating low and high cadence workouts into your routine will have you best prepared for your goals, though a majority of your riding should be done with an average cadence of 80 to 90 RPM.

16 January 2008

15 January 2008

Manly spending

" One of the great joys of being a man, along with not needing to multitask and not having your legs ogled in bars, is that you have the ability to gain disproportionate pleasure from all sorts of gadgets and equipment. It doesn’t really matter what sort of kit it is – tennis racket, wetsuit, toaster – as long as it does something clever.

In normal circumstances, it is hard to get excited about insoles but these ones had a remote control. Any clothing with a remote control is exciting.

..the hours wore on and the least well-equipped members of the group started to whimper, I remained almost disturbingly immune to the deteriorating conditions. The lesson from my Peak District adventure was clear. Flashy kit is not a waste of money. I can’t tell you that it’s the difference between life and death. But it’s close. It wasn’t me, after all, that stopped in a muddy, windswept field on the brink of tears, no longer able to feel anything important, and say: “You lot carry on. I’m just going to stay here. I can’t pedal any more. Just leave. I’ll be all right.”"

OR without the spending..

" The cheapest tip is to put newspaper under your jersey, a trick used by early Tour de France competitors, though it can quickly get soggy Put a layer of aluminium foil under your insoles for extra insulation Cycle against the wind on the way out and with it on the way back.


13 January 2008

Otarumi TT & Attack of Suzugane Tour

David, Marek and me met at David`s house at 8 AM and left for Sekidobashi, where we met Tom. We went first to Otarumi Toge and than decided how to proceed. Tom was pushing us very hard against the headwind. For some reasons there were many firemen matsuri along the road, with one big one just before Hachioji.
When we were resting at the 7-Eleven at Takao we saw a group of mixed Japanese riders; we greeted the girls and tried to ignore the guys as good as we could. They went ahead but made a rest halfway where we overtook them. But they had some strong riders, including one of the girls and they overtook at least me again and perhaps also Marek...(Tom's comment...don't worry; it happened to me too 3 years ago and I was devastated. This young tiny lady with ponytail going up and down overtook me and no matter how hard I tried I could not stay in her wheel. It was the biggest affront to my pride I ever suffered in my life and from that day I swore to myself I would never ever let it happen again!)
Nevertheless I set a new personal best for the way up despite the traffic jam and a crazy bus driver who was trying to kill Marek and me backwards.
After the descent to Sagamiko Station we decided to split: Tom and Marek rode on in direction Otsuki and David and me went back over Otarumi Toge. I decided to push it again and was very much faster than my previous first try.
Now we had a good tailwind and constantly rode in the 35 - 40 km/h bracket home. After a break at the Y-Park 7-Eleven we continued our way home and were pushed by a newcomer who wanted to keep up with us but, because he didn`t know the pecularities of the Tamagawa track, almost crashed into one of the chainlinks on the closed portion of the road.
Shortly before Futagotamagawa David and me accelerated and he had no power left to stay with us.
My first trip of the year 2008, I am feeling well with the newly positioned saddle by Nagai-San. Let's see, if the weather is good tomorrow and I am feeling ok, perhaps I will go for another ride.
Don't know now what happened to Tom and Marek but I am sure we will read on either of their blogs later.
Tom: As we were making headway along a Koshukaido with very little traffic (for a change!), it occured to me that I had taken Marek to the Tawa & Tsuru touges (originally planned destination of today) last Summer so I proposed the Suzugane/Hinazuru touges instead. Marek always open to challenge as he is, liked the idea and off we were going at a real strong pace taking turns. A deja-vu was waiting for me...at almost exactly the same spot where Michael suffered his puncture last month, I heard Marek behind me using plenty of four-letter words. "It's your back tire, right?" My intuition was right but I had already noticed during our approach to Takao that Marek's tire was pretty much deflated...a typical case of スローパンク. We took turns pumping up the new inner tube after Marek removed a metal splinter that had penetrated the tire some time ago. Ate a few sandwiches at the 7/11 near Saruhashi and then we took the left turn towards Tsuru City for the attack of Suzugane...this whole area is pretty much virgin land for cyclists I guess...never encountered another cyclist on this Rd 159! Near the summit, a middle-aged couple who had just hiked to Suzugane's peak took our picture. Hinazuru touge was cleared in no time and we soon found ourselves zooming our way down Rd 35 direction Akiyamamura - almost one straight descent ending at the wide Katsuragawa river. I had no power left to try a reverse Otarumi TT and it wouldn't have made sense as we encountered a traffic jam on our way up...car accident. Parted with Marek nearby Y's shop on the Tamagawa. Marek has made a lot of progress since last Spring...super cadence! Keep it up and you'll be Positivo Espresso's champ Marek! What!? I just checked my stopwatch 17:57....I did break the record after all!! When asked by Michael, I had the previous time of the reverse Otarumi TT in my mind and with disappointment in my voice, I replied "just made it under 18 minutes..." I feel exalted right now....got to update the record!
Marek : What a ride ... thanks Tom for dragging me all the way (and for waiting) .. Apologies if I slowed you down. Please find my side of the story in my newly updated blog.

12 January 2008

11 January 2008

sunday - anyone ?

tomorrow looks like rain - but sunday should be fine (though cold). anyone interested in going for a ride ?

08 January 2008

New Blog Title Logo

Since the winter vacations I am tinkering with the idea to make some simple Positivo Espresso T-shirts. I did this a while ago for the Yamanote Challenge. Just print some logos on a special printing paper and with an iron you can easily transfer it to T-shirts. Provided you do only one or two, it is a fairly good method, otherwise you need to go to the fitness studio to enlarge your upper arm muscles plus you better made sure not to burn the table on which you are ironing.

I already bought a nice t-shirt a MUJI yesterday. Hope I will make it home early to give it a try tonight. If you like to do one yourself, please let me know.

Also I decided to change the title blog logo with my t-shirt design. For some reasons, it doesn't fit as nicely in the the green frame as the old title did. Perhaps I will play around a little bit.

06 January 2008

Jerome and I had a nice, relaxed winter training ride today. He started slow -- the aftereffects of a trip to Tomin no mori earlier in the week and a long run yesterday. As usual, by the end, he was pulling me home down the Tamagawa.
We went over Otarumi west of Takao (no attempt for the record today), took C.V.'s once-secret route around the South side of Sagami-ko, then Rte 76 over to Doshimichi and home from there. We tried a detour on Rte 513 (the North side of Tsukui-ko), which was beautiful with the sun reflecting on the lake to our south, and very little traffic on that road as it climbs up and then plunges down to a bridge over the lake ... and back to Rte 413.

Here is a map of the ride:

View Larger Map

04 January 2008

Ride Sunday Jan 6

Jerome and I are planning to ride on Sunday, leaving my house at 7:30AM.
Weather looks good! Dry roads and well above freezing. Let us know if you are interested.
David L.