Monatsarchiv: Juni 2008

Talking of "family service" and "family obligations"….

….at least this CERVELO guy seems to have found the perfect solution:

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Coming Soon — Miyakejima Results and Stories

[Insert here — Michael Kraehe’s humorous posting about this weekend’s JCRC race on Miyakejima. Let’s hope he takes a camera and gets some photos of the volcano.]

… for those (like me) who could not make it to Miyakejima, I was thinking of a ride on Saturday morning … back by 2PM or so with enough energy left to interact with family.

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No more heroes

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 10, 2008:

Former world champion and Tom Boonen has tested positive for cocaine, Belgian judicial authorities confirmed on Tuesday. The Paris-Roubaix winner returned the positive in an out-of-competition control carried out by the ministry of the Flemish Community, on May 26, three days before the start of the Tour of Belgium.

„A suspension is foreseen when controls took place during competition, but it’s not the case in this affair,“ said Sonck.

And the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that Boonen would not be facing any sanctions under their rules.

„The UCI will not be requesting that a disciplinary procedure be opened,“ a UCI spokesman told AFP. „We have not been informed of this result but if the information is confirmed as it is an out-of-competition control UCI rules like those of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) do not have any sanctions for cocaine.“

According to reports, Boonen, a contender for the top sprinter’s green jersey in the 2008 Tour de France, is currently in the process of negotiating a transfer to French team Bouygues Telecom.


„out-of-competition control“ so it doesn’t count.. that’s ok then.

TOM’s comment: ….I’m very sad and extremely disappointed in my national hero. Removed the official website from my favorite cycling links…..

another viewpoint from trust but verify..

„If Boonen’s OOC test were being done under UCI and WADA prototols, and the finding is not of a type that can produce any disciplinary action, why have we heard about it at all? Who blew the confidentiality of this non-actionable result, before any B sample test could have been requested or performed?

Another car in the train wreck.“

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JCRC Narita Automobile University Race

After preparing myself yesterday with David and James on a hard 137 km ride with 1.000m plus of climbing plus attending the start of the soccer European Championship festival at the German school afterwards, I rode out to Narita in the early morning to attend another JCRC race. My personal goal was to achieve a top 30 finish. With 31 registered starters plus the odd guys not coming despite registration that seemed to be a somewhat feasible target. The roads were empty and luckily it didn’t started to rain so I was there well before the start of the race and I used all the time I had to practice on the track. The race schedule for my (D) class was 12 laps on this 1 km course. The course itself was flat with the exception of one tiny hill, however a lot of tricky curves to maneuver, so it wasn’t boring at all.

The usual strong teams were there: Cicli Hide, Ravanello, Maid School, Yukirin … you name it. I sported my Positivo Espresso jersey plus the NFCC bib shorts to show my heart (above) and my duty (below). Nagai-San was so kind to repair my Gravity Zero wheels the evening before, so I could take full advantage of advanced cycling technology to compensate for the state-of-the-art body of myself. I watched some of the other races, like kids and women and over50 and slowly got excited. Then I went away from the venue to do some more training on a normal road in order to get warmed-up. Chiba can be so ugly I thought, then I looked at my watch – only 10 minutes to the start! So I made a fast u-turn and arrived just in time for the start of the C and D start races. As usual I was very nervous and I wished I would suddenly become blind, break my leg or get pregnant in the 9. month so that I had a good reason to abandon the race. Of course nothing happened but only the start signal. As usual the race was fast. There were also some idiots from the bicycle club of Yokohama Kokuritsu Daigaku who constantly cutted the lines and subsequently crashed in lap10 to my full satisfaction. I was able to keep the pace of the main field. My strategy was as usual to be very careful in the curves so I lost always some places during the curvy part of the track. But then I sprinted up the small hill and added to the pace when going down again so I found myself back in the front group. That strategy worked out well for the first 6 laps, then I got tired and I thought that I would skip the hill sprint once. Also for some strange reason the organizers hat the D class started first and then 30 seconds later the stronger C class. In lap 6 they caught up and it got a little bit messy. So I lost the overview and I found myself trailing with some other D and C class guys in a second group behind the main group. Now the track was not as crowded as before and I felt better. I kept almost the same lap time for all 12 laps (except the first of course), the fastest one being 1:37 (lap 3) and the slowest one being 1:42 (lap 10). Two laps before the finish I was in a group with 7 D-class and about 5 C-Class riders. I sprinted up the hill in lap 11 to get into a good position and finally I was in the front of the group. I didn’t want to do all the drafting work but I had no choice. In the last lap the C-class riders started the sprint at the hill and I had no power to keep up with them. But I controlled almost all D-class riders, only one guy was sprinting ahead. I tried to stay in his wheel but I couldn’t in the end. Result : 15th out of 22 riders reaching the finish with an average of 38.6 km/hr (acc. to my ciclo and 35.7 km/hr according to JCRC). Managed to stay 2nd in the second group of 7 riders. I lost about 48 seconds on the winner, so the speed was definitely picking up in the second half of the race. Would I have reached a better result if I hadn’t rode out to Wada yesterday? Perhaps, I was feeling tired especially on the climbs. But cycling is not only about racing and not only about touring for me and I wouldn’t like to miss the fun part with David and James.

Anyway, this was a much nicer race than expected. I woke up at 6 AM and was home at 12.30, not too much time and effort lost indeed. Will go there next year again with my kids perhaps.

When I tried to dismount the Gravity Zero wheels from my frame, the lever on the tensioners got sheared off. Ups, I had to admit that I also turned it into the wrong direction … Anyway, again a problem with these wheels. I guess I am going to mount some standard Champagnolo tensioners instead.
In the end I am pretty happy with the results of this weekend. I went to the local expat-supermarket next to my house and bought my a lot of good food as reward. Miyakejima can come.

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Wada Quickie

Today something incredible happened. David, James and I agreed on a riding plan and guess what, apart from the fact that I was too late and had to catch up to the guys at Sekidobashi, we rode exactly as we had outlined it the day before. We never do that. Normally we have big plans, which tend to be too big, such as: „OK let’s try to go to Ensan and then we cross over to the Araikawa.“ And then we end up going up and down the Tamagawa. But today we had a perfect match. I didn’t want to overdo it today as I plan to attend the JCRC race in Narita tomorrow, but we went quite a brisk speed to the Takao 7/11 and then further on to the Wada start point. There we went for the first TT of the day, the Wada climb. This is a very hard and steep climb and we were all pretty much exhausted when we reached the top. The start is a little bit flatter (that means 6%+, but then it is 11% average, alternating in the 9 to 15% range. Sometimes my speed dropped down to 6 – 7 km/hr and I could only go up by riding in circles. And once you are on the top, there is only the teahouse witch waiting for you, trying to blame you for not buying something …. so it is really not a pleasant climb. But we wanted better times for our togebaka records and all of us did. One could see the effect of the Fuji hill climb last week. After that we went down the long slopes on the other side, returned to route 20 and started the next TT, the reverse Otarumi time trial. After Wada, everything is flat and a thing such as a slope ceases to exist. So all of us again were very fast up the Otarumi (see Togebaka) and David please note that I voluntarily added 10 seconds to my time in order to compensate for the wrong finish timing. Today we had a lot of longer breaks, but once on the bike we went very fast, also despite headwinds on the Tamagawa. I was back home by 14:30 and even before that we had the traditional coffee break at the Futago Tamagawa Segafredo (since 2008). It was a good and fast ride and I think it is a good idea not to strive for longer and more demanding rides every weekend, but also do some shorter ones. Not that this one was easy although. Thanks to David and James who kept pushing me through at the right points. Please feel free to add some photos. [Photos added by David L.] The sign at the bottom of the Wada Touge hill climb TT — „only“ 3.7 km of pain ahead. James and Michael share a joke at the bottom of the Wada Touge TT, next to the famous Jimba Soba noodle factory, „Under [the] Mountain Shop.“ Also be sure to visit James‘ blog (Jimmy from Shinagawa — link on right hand of page in „important people“ — for another photo.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Cervelo Soloist, David, James, Mob

Saturday June 7th Ride

Weather looks excellent on Saturday (27-19 degress, 0% rain) and David as well as me would be available for a short/mid range trip. which lasts until perhaps 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

How about the following:

7:30 David House
8.20 Sekido Bashi (if Tom comes)
Tamagawa -> Asagawa -> Takao -> Wada -> back to route 20 -> reverse Otarumi -> and back

Should be app. 120 – 130 km from Davids house maximum, we could be back by 2 easily.
And add some more results for our „togebaka“ chart.

I hope Juliane is OK after going up like Pantani, then making the Australian Track Salto and finally resorting to a pure Millar.

I have JCRC race on Sunday as well, so I don’t want to go out for too long and a too exhausting ride. Wada is just fine. Soccer EM is also due to start tomorrow.

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A weekend out there

I am not sure but some of you might actually be aware of the rumor, that there is a very large mountain in Japan called mount Fuji. Sometimes friends from abroad come on tourist missions to visit me and then they always want to visit two things, mount Fuji and the emperors palace. I find it ironic that you never ever see mount Fuji anyway, as it is almost always shrugged in clouds (if really there) and that you have no access to the emperor palace so you cannot see it either. What one sees is usually rain and mist in the first place and a huge field of gravel in the second. And these are supposed to be the two major tourist attractions of Japan.

It is the mystical mountain which always leads to announcements in airplanes such us „Here is your captain speaking. On the right side you can now enjoy a wonderful view of Mount Fuji in the sunset.“ Unfortunately I always tend to sit on the left side, sometimes in the middle and I never had the chance to actually see this wonderful mount Fuji. I also refrain from jumping off my side and trying to get to the windows on the right. If everybody would do so, the airplane would surely get out of control and crash into Mount Fuji. If really existing.

So I was not surprised that when we rode the magical mystery bus organized by James and Walter from Azabu in direction of the Fuji, the air was full of rain and mist. Another ploy to feign the existence of the said mountain. We were supposed to attend a Fuji Hill Climb race the next day as TEAM BGC, a fictitious name of a fictitious company taken from a novel by Nick Leeson. This is of course for all of us except david, who belongs to TEAM HSBGC. According to the organizer this mountain should have been higher than Jerome’s hill in Itsukaichi and the race harder than the ascent on Byoinzaka.

But first we registered in the rain and then drove back to our luxury accommodation at the Fuji Q . highlands. With us was the creme de la creme of the Western pro rider elite [only derivative time trials and M&A ultra endurance although]. In order to stay anonymous, James had the very clever idea to register us under completely made-up larger-than-life characters. I, for example, was supposed to be a guy called Andy Veale, aka „Chop“, married to Siti Selamat, a Singaporean Lady played by Juliane. I am sure pretty sure that such crazy characters do not exist in real life, but then again, we are taking about finance here and who knows. David J played a crazy character called „David J“, and James Knott a funny guy called „James Knott“, whereas Walter played another ridiculous role as the infamous „Walter“.

We had a nice dinner at the famous Italian restaurant ANGELO MIO [or was it ANJERO MIO?] at the Fuji Q hotel, the dished obviously selected by competitive teams in order to make us heavy and complacent. After a few beers David and me retired to our room, which was slightly more spacious than the R&B Hotel in Hachioji where I got lost in the smoking saloon of my apartment some weeks before. Yes, as we have been racing together for quite a while, David and me are now confident enough to share a room, although he immediately moved one half of the double bed 15 cm away from the other half. It would be anyway hard for anyone to seduce a man who is sleeping with his Blackberry in his hands.

David woke up early as he needed to take the shuttle bus to the start. Bin, Juliane, david and me decided to ride on the bikes from the hotel the next morning. We had no idea where the race would be but everything was perfectly organized and we easily found the way to the start. It was still cold and misty when we left the hotel, but the sky was clearing up. This was no surprise, as we constantly have pointed out the improving weather conditions on the day before during the bus ride:

„It looks less cloudy in the direction we are going!“
„It seems that the rain is getting less.“
„Tomorrow the weather should be perfect“

We have developed an eye for such things and we are now experts in finding also the closest family restaurant in case our eyeswere wrong. Of course it helped also that the weather forecast on TV said basically the same thing. Not only less rain, but also 11 degrees C increased maximum temperature the next day. This is what I call local warming.

Anyway, so we took one of the last curves before the start area and then we could see mount Fuji. Yes, it really existed. I forgot to take my camera with me, but I am able to draw a pretty precise picture out of memory with the help of advanced CAD software [MS Paint]:
You have to understand that it is a very big mountain indeed and I was standing right in front of it. After we realized what we were up to, a 24 km distance 1.200 meter upwards struggle against this thing we realized that this got serious. James very precisely summarized it when he noted that it was always nice to brag in the office about it, but now it was really getting serious. But on the other hand, now that I am back safe in the office, I can again brag about it.

Ok, here is my race strategy :
It consists of two mayor elements:

1. Don’t let yourself be pushed by the other riders: they are younger, they are lighter and they have more time to train. And there are about 4.000 of them.

2. But whatever happens, finish in front of David.

Juliane was a little bit earlier to start at 7:03, but all of us others started between 7:20 and 7:30. David, david, James, Bryon and me were all in the same age group. We couldn’t find Tom at the start. I warned David not to overtake the pace making motorbike at the start and gain an unfair competitive advantage, but there was no such cycle anyway. After riding up at a leisurely speed for 1.3 km, the race started close to the Subaru Line tool booth.

I accelerated a little bit at the start. I wanted to go up at 18 km/hr in average in order to cut the 1:30hr time line, but very soon I realized that this would be a little bit too ambitious. James, David and Bryon overtook me early in the race and as usual I felt super-bad during the first 5km. I was ready to give up. Really, I was almost throwing up. But on the other hand I know that every race this is the same feeling. Not only every race, but every time I am stepping out of the house and do the first km on my bike or starting to climb in the mountains: it is just no fun. And it goes away. Always. So after reaching the 5 km mark I felt better, but my time didn’t look too good. But I overtook David again and also the first riders from the earlier start groups.

In this kind of races it is important to have a nice and steady wheel in the front which goes up at about the same pace. It is difficult to find though. Riders steering wild from the left to the right costing a lot of energy and if the frontman is too slow one is loosing time. If he is too fast it leaves one exhausted. I found a nice wheel (something blue in a Skoda jersey) and I continued to ride with this guy for the next 5 kms or so, before I moved away. When I reached the 10 km mark I was already at almost 42 minutes, so no way that I would make it below 1:30hr.But I started to feel ok and I still had power to accelerate on the flatter slopes a little bit. The ascent is really very gradual, but the feeling was that 2/3 of the ascent were over after the first 15 km or so, after that it became less steep.

In the meanwhile the better riders of the later starting groups started to overtook me. When I arrived at the 19 km mark I had no power left to indulge in useless speeding to get a good result for the mountain prize. I overtook James and gave a little push so that he could make it to the finish line as he was running low on ammunition.

But after that the envisaged flat part came and I could start to go really fast. Nobody overtook me there. But this might also been because all the fast riders had finished the race already. I wanted to keep a high pace, but the last stretch was too long to do so and I fell back in my usual rythm. Also I could feel the impact of the high altitude.

I was feeling a little bit funny in the head. So I didn’t want to stretch it. The good thing about high altitude is, that everything is emotionally emphasised over there. I laugh more, I cry more. When watching movies in airplanes I normally start to cry, even when watching say „Ghostbusters“ or „Alien III“. And also on the top of Kazahari everything is funny whatever Juliane, David, david, jerome or Tom are saying. I guess that must be the reason why pro athletes are training in these altitude chambers: It is that much more fun.

Also I felt funny because David gave me that NY Times article about this Slowenian ultra endurance athlete : „That which does not kill me makes me stranger“. The gist of this article is that this guy gets nuts when riding very, very long. He is seeing for example Mujahedeen, shooting at him so he goes even faster. So I was ready too to see the Mujahedeen coming up any time from behind.

Overall as a team we had some very good results. Juliane, ahem sorry Siti, would have reached 4th place if she had been registered in the proper age group. Bin was close to the athletes class result and the rest of us stayed mainly in the 1:30 to 1:40 hr bracket. This is not bad, as for many of us it was the first time. I for myself was satisfied. It was the first time to climb mount Fuji, including any try to do this without a bike, and I never climbed 1.200 meters elevation in one stretch without a break. Normally I can do 10 m/min climbing for longer stretches, but here I did an average of 13 m/min. I am not in climber, the mass I have to move up a mountain is more than 100 kg – obviously mainly because of my very heavy Cervelo bike which is made out of solid granite. And it was a good training for the more serious JCRC races to come in the near future. And my cadence is now very much higher than last year – this is good for training and races.

I did some more analysis on my Ciclo and using the data provided by Runnet, I will post that on the weekend.

We were quite exhausted and after a rest on the top where we met David Marx, we joined one of the groups going down. As usual David was the fastest guy down and he was awarded the reverse Polka dot jersey.

We were all very exhausted, so some of us decided to take a leisurely ride home from Yamanakako by Doshi Michi. James, david, David and Juliane, sorry Siti, joined the trip while the rest was sleeping on the bus home according to rumours I have heard.

We were immediately penalized by congested roads and a longer climb up to the Yamanakako. And of course in this formation, there is no leisurely riding, only pure competition and fight to death for the pole position. So we made a stop at a nice restaurant on the shores of lake Yamanakako, unfortunately not at the British Cafe there. Then there was a last climb up before we had the long descent basically down to the Tamagawa with only one more climb.

The weather was good and our five rider team worked brilliantly together. We overtook some Jelly bean riders and before we could make another stop we were back at the banks of the familiar river of Tamagawa. Then, after more than 90 km of constant riding, we took a last break at the Segafredo at Futagotamagawa station. All of us looked very tired, it is a pity that no photo exists of us then. david looked exactly liked he has looked at the Lawson in Omachi on the Itoigawa fast run. I don’t know how I looked like but I remember how I felt.

So we split and rode the last km home after a remarkable weekend. We were all proud of ourselves and have a new story to tell to our grandsons one day. But these stories will be told another time as I have to stop blogging. Siti is calling from the kitchen for dinner.


[Analysis to follow]

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Cervelo Soloist, David, Juliane, Mob, Stephen, Tom

stiff bikes…

„What makes it unique is that it’s overdesigned on stiffness. A
normal human being could not ride this bicycle. You would immediately fall off
and feel like riding on a concrete block, for example. It’s so stiff that it
doesn’t behave like a normal bicycle, and obviously the strange element is
this bicycle doesn’t have a brake, doesn’t have a gear, it’s a single speed,
no lights or whatever, but still it is the most difficult bike to ride,
because obviously you’re riding at the speed of over 70 km per hour without
brakes, so it is very special.“

mob: There is another video on Spiegel Online, unfortunately in German

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team bgc

And the ride home:,139.1586&spn=0.288884,0.93712&output=embed&s=AARTsJqLtanIVAVVpP6VaUsTGe0rvZ3XIA
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5th Mt.Fuji Hillclimb…

Excerpt from Tom’s blog:

…with about one-fourth of the race left, I passed a familiar-looking yellow Assos outfit…sure enough, there was Juliane! So late in the race, there were only few female competitors that had already reached this point so I tried to cheer Juliane up ….“you’re the very first lady!“ Afterwards I did pass 3 or 4 more but I pretty sure Juliane captured herself a podium place….

Juliane, did you get the medal??


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