29 February 2008


Blaizing a trail with the wind rustling in the green leaves of early summer...

28 February 2008


looks like a perfect day ahead on saturday .. with 6 - 14 degrees .. spring-like temperatures. i am also feeling a lot better, having recovered from bronchitis. i would love to take the opportunity to head out there into the mountains ... anybody interested ?

TOM: Thanks for the fast ride David & David...just what I needed!

ADRENALINE is not the only thing David is good at pumping up!

DAVID L.: My pleasure. The best training ride I have had this year. This photo taken just before the last climb of the day. Tom looks a little bit more energetic than David J.

26 February 2008

Cycling = Big Legs

22 February 2008


I know that if all went according to plan, Michael K. is off in Germany, enjoying the feel of his new bicycle frame, ... but let me know if you plan to ride on Sunday.
(I have meetings at my office Saturday, but hope to be free on Sunday ... and to get a start around 8:30AM (I could be persuaded to move that up, if meeting Tom at Sekidobashi). I would like to get over Otarumi and into the area around Sagami-ko, if possible, but not go much beyond 130km.

David J. may be interested.
Jerome? Marek? Tom? Any other once or future Positivo Express members?

In other news, I flatted another tubular on the Tamagawa path last weekend, so I will stick to clinchers for training rides for the time being -- maybe I'll get some tubeless wheels for my next set ... they seem to be coming out slowly but surely.
And my rear hub is worn out on my fixie (now one ball bearing missing and the others not turning very smoothly). Nagai-san is going to build me a new track wheel.

20 February 2008

Jerome Hill

Took half a day off from work today as I will leave for Germany tomorrow. Will attend a trade fair and finally pick up my new frame. So I thought it might be good to do half a day of cycling. I rode to Jerome Hill in one long stretch, gave everything to ride to the top and was completely exhausted when I finally reached the top : 9:13 min. Tom, I am coming, there is only less than a minute gap to your best time. By the way, I also moved the times of David and david to the appropriate positions on this occassion.

Was back at my house after 4:20 hrs and about 110 km and no breaks at all. Nice trip, nice weather. Wish I would have a new bike.

So I will be back in Japan on March 1st (Saturday); perhaps I will be able to do a rather lazy ride on Sunday then.

I also applied today for the 1st Tour du Japon race on March 16th at Kawagoe.

Please think about the team jerseys if you have not answered yet. The reaction so far is not very encouraging.

15 February 2008

THIS SUNDAY Feb 17....

Anybody riding this Sunday? I'd be interested in a real lazy ride starting not too early (even 9:30 or 10:00 from Sekidobashi would be OK)...

MOB : Tried Yabitsu

As nobody else was interested to ride on Sunday I left the house at 8.30hr and rode along the Tamagawa and Asagawa to Takao. I didn't want to spend all my power at Otarumi so I made a rather slow and steady approach which took about 23 minutes up. I then went along road 412, 413 and 64 to Miyagase Ko and made a rest at the entrance to Yabitsu Toge. Just when I turned around the corner after the rest I saw the road block and one guardman stopping all cars who want to enter. As usual before the end of the fiscal year, the remaining budget is spend to work on the roads of Yabitsu. I like the idea as a bicycle rider and I hate it as a tax payer.
Construction works are scheduled to be completed by February 24th.

I thought about pressing forward in good "spilliaert-fashion" but the guardman was nice and proposed to take the road 64 to Atsugi. This is exactly the same road that David and me took last year when we were trying to attack Yabitsu early in the year. It is wide and always down so one can go there with good speed. I made the run to Hon Atsugi where I packed my bike and took the train home. 100 km in total. Nice trip but it is still so cold and snow everywhere in the area.

TOM : New route to Akiyama-mura and beyond
Got up late this morning leaving the house only at 10:00. Like Michael, my first climb of the day was Otarumi. Unlike yesterday when I desperately exhausted every muscle trying in vain to keep up with NFCC elite hill climbers, I enjoyed a leisurely "my pace" ride to the top. Experimented a little with my "heso belly button" technique and found out that the horizontal pull on the handle towards the navel should not really be real energetic pulling but simply exerting a constant "tension"...just think of it as removing the slack in the muscle groups in the back and sides of your upper torso...no need to firmly stretch them but just keeping them tightly in position that's all (well, not really all...you still need the legs to do the work) and you'll instantly notice the difference. Moving and keeping your butt in the rear of the saddle adds even more momentum. Went as far as Akiyama-mura (where I begged Lady Kannon for mercy on my Colnago's soul) along a great new route. As Michael wrote, the snow is still everywhere but fortunately the roads are perfectly ridable. Feel like going up a bit higher (Matsuhime) soon!

14 February 2008


Jerome and I participated in the JAPAN CALFMAN DUATHLON (MINAMI KANTO STAGE) last Sunday...5km run/ 30km bike/ 5km run...a first-time experience for me but not so for Jerome who is used to mountain-running, triathlons and other excruciating endurance sports. And yes, Jerome naturally beat me with more than 4 minutes!!

Results Under-50 Category:
Jerome 28th 01:44:32
Tom 35th 01:48:37

For next year, I'll certainly add some running to my training program. Highly recommended this Calfman! You'll love the muscle pain!

12 February 2008

Escape from Tokyo

I was on a business trip to Osaka on Friday and looking at the weather forecast for Tokyo I thought that I might better take my bicycle with me and stay in the Kyoto area. To escape the snow and do some nice rides in so far unchartered terrain.

The girls from our Osaka office were so kind to book me a hotel in Kyoto which was quite difficult due to the extended weekend. On Saturday morning I assembled my bike and wanted to start to ride. However within hours it looked like this:






[psychological tension built-up trap]



The rest of the day I spend in museums, department stores and other cozy and warm places. I even went to the local Sento around the corner and took a long bath. Much more than Onsens, Sentos have the tendency to be hot. Very hot indeed. This one was no exception, I could lower myself only up to the belly into the water and when I went out again I looked like the Polish flag (red below, white above). The only basin with an acceptable temperature was the one with free distribution of electric shocks, which I found out only after I have moved inside. I encountered one of the rare occassions that I wished to be born without testicles.

On Sunday morning I move on to Hamamatsu. I have lived there from 1998 to 1999 and I liked it very much. There is much less to go, see and do compared to Tokyo, but it is so much easier to do something. So in the end, in Tokyo I do nothing because it is too much stress anyway, while in Hamamatsu I had a lot of fun.

On Sunday I made a round trip at lake Hamanako. This is the tour I always made when I lived there, it is only 63 km long and the hills are ridiculously easy to climb today, but 10 years ago it was very hard. The landscape is beautiful, especially in the north of the lake. The civil engineer in me rejoices, seeing all these fine examples of bridge building culture. I was aiming to do this round in 2 hours in the past, but this time I rather tried to stay in high cadence of 90+ and make a lot of breaks at temples and sightseeing spots and take some photos which I never did in the past.
Here is a nice photo of my bicycle enjoying the view at Bentenjima with four Japanese mops.

All in all it was a little bit cold still, but much better than the day before at Kyoto. The only bad experience I had came when I went to the CYCLE POP shop and asked if I could use their pump to inflate my tires. The owner said no, even after I repeated my question and even after I offered him money for it. This is actually the shop where I bought the pump I am currently using in 1999 from exactly the same guy. There are many Japanese-Brazilians (or Brazilian-Japanese) in Hamamatsu and the town is famous for its prejudice against them. I guess I was mistaken for one of them, despite my super-expensive Assos gear.

On Monday I went to the North to Tenryu and than up into the mountains. One needs about 25 km to come out of the city but then one is in the middle of the country side. I opted to go to in Western direction first, then took a smaller road leading me over a 400m elevation pass. There were no signs of snow and the roads were in good shape. The area is similar but somehow different to the Okutama area where we do most of our rides. A lot of tea paddies deep in the montains, some lonely houses here and there, I even saw a small waterfall. Also there are many temples and shrines in the area and virtually no traffic. If I encountered a car, it used to be a minicar or a minicar type van, rather than tourists crusing the area. For the friends of WADA, there were also some difficult steep slopes.

I only made about 90 km, but in high cadence and took a lot of breaks. It is clearly different to ride a track which one has ridden many times before or to go into new terrain where you don't know how much more meter you have to climb before you reach the pass. This showed me, that I have become a little bit complacent in recent times, as I did not try to many new things, more variations of the same theme.

In any case, it was a very good experience and as there are many nice onsens in the area like Shibukawa Onsen, I wonder if we should not go together there in spring before it is getting really hot. The trip by Shinkansen from Shinagawa to Hamamatsu is about one and a half hour and a return ticket costs 16.000 Yen. I stayed in a pretty good business hotel close to the station for 6.500 Yen per night - so if we leave by first Shinkansen on Saturday we could ride both days and visit some Onsen for 24.000 Yen plus this and that.

Please let me know if there is any interest.

07 February 2008

Spinning classes

My local gym has a room equipped with Schwinn spinning bikes ~ until yesterday I had never participated in a spinning class, but the instructor (a very cute girl who always wears a Lampre outfit) gave me enough reason to go an try it out. The "Start" lesson was scheduled for 10PM .. I spent 5 minutes to adjust the bike and then waited .. nobody turned up apart of me and the cute instructor (!) - how fortunate !? The 45 minutes that followed had everything : a free Nihongo lesson, useful advices in terms of positioning and pedalling, a mixed course of flats and climbs and something nice to look at (that being a fit & cute girl in cycling gear). During the entire period I rode a cadence of above 100, which caused me being very exhausted at the end. The girl told me afterwards she has a road bike herself and occasionally goes for rides. I sure would love to go for a ride with her one day ... but for now I will confine myself visiting her spinning classes ;)

06 February 2008

Bicycle Registration Papers

While traveling the Philippines last week my wallet was stolen containing my japanese bank cards, alien registration card, health insurance card and my bicycle registration papers (for both my bicycles). The problem now is that I dont know where to get those papers re-issued !? Does anybody have an advice / idea ? Your help is much appreciated.

03 February 2008