Monatsarchiv: Juli 2008

Critical Mass

The cyclist violently knocked off his bike by a rookie cop was back at work on Wednesday – and friends said he’s not the type to „hold a grudge.“

„I’m really sorry, but I’m not talking to the press,“ Christopher Long, 29, said as he manned an organic fruits-and-vegetables stand at the Union Square farmers market.

„There are charges against me, and I don’t want anything to affect my case,“ said Long, who had two large scabs on his knees from the body block.

Long, of New Jersey, was charged with assault and resisting arrest after the cop insisted the cyclist had tried to run him over in a Critical Mass rally Friday in Times Square.

A dramatic video starkly contradicted rookie Officer Patrick Pogan’s statements. It shows the 22-year-old cop running toward Long and slamming him to the sidewalk.

Pogan, a former high school football lineman, has been stripped of his gun and badge while the incident is investigated.

Police sources have said the charges against Long would likely be dropped.

Long will „get over it and he’s not the type of guy to hold a grudge,“ said Justin Ford, 25, a bike courier and a friend of Long’s, but Long’s lawyer said he may sue.

Ford said he was glad for the videotape record.

„It’s really good and important that people are there to film stuff like this and show what really happens,“ said Ford, echoing statements made by Critical Mass riders alleging police brutality.

„Unfortunately, the . . . incident is part of a pattern of targeting Critical Mass bike riders,“ said civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, citing three prior occasions when cops were taped manhandling cyclists.


Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter Uncategorized


Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008

Last place in the Tour de France

[from Wall Streel Journal, July 25th, 2008]

SAINT ETIENNE, France — As usual in a day following the last big mountain challenges, Stage 18 of the Tour de France finished without incident for its top contenders. Marcus Burghardt, a German riding for Columbia, won Thursday’s 122-mile stage from Bourg-d’Oisans to Saint Etienne.

The top five in the general classification crossed the finish line together in the main pack that finished 6 minutes and 50 seconds behind Mr. Burghardt. Spaniard Carlos Sastre, remains in first with the yellow jersey; Luxembourger Frank Schleck is second; Austrian Bernhard Kohl, the presumptive winner of the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey, is third; Cadel Evans, an Australian who is the best time-trialist of the group and the racer many think will claim the yellow jersey after Stage 20’s time trial, is fourth; and Russian Dennis Menchov, who might also jump ahead of climbing specialists Mr. Schleck and Mr., Kohl in the time trial, is fifth.

But no matter how those five sort themselves out in the next few days, not one of these champions has a chance at achieving the historic record that’s in reach of one of Mr. Evans’s unassuming teammates.

Wim Vansevenant, a Belgian riding for Silence Lotto (ninth on the nine-man squad) is the favorite to win his third Lanterne Rouge, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the first official race in 1903. The French phrase, which translates to „red lantern,“ is used to describe the racer who finishes dead last in the overall standings when the peloton reaches Paris. (The terminology is borrowed from railway jargon for the archaic practice of hanging a red light on the caboose of trains, which assured station operators that no cars had come uncoupled.)

The designation falls somewhere between insult and accolade. Mr. Vansevenant, who after Stage 18 sits in 150th place, some 3 hours and 45 minutes behind Mr. Sastre, is indeed the worst-placed rider in the Tour de France. But, in turn, he has outlasted those who abandoned the Tour through illness, injury or simple exhaustion; those who were eliminated for failing to finish within each day’s time limit and are forced to withdraw; and those who were banned or withdrew for doping-related causes. From year to year, about 20% of the riders drop out. In other words, you can’t simply coast to last place; you have to work for it.

The curious combination of a stubborn refusal to fail mixed with an inability to rise to victory traditionally transforms a Lanterne Rouge rider into a cult favorite, even though the accomplishment is neither recognized nor encouraged by Tour officials. The race organization, in fact, has at times had a contentious relationship with the Lanterne Rouge. In 1980, Austrian racer Gerhard Schoenbacher was on his way to a second consecutive last-place when, he says, race officials thought he was getting too much attention. „I got daily interviews,“ Mr. Schoenbacher told journalist Rupert Guinness in an interview that year. „I was very popular with the crowd and I continued to tell everyone that I liked being last. [The organizers] said I made a mockery of the Tour.“

Mid-race, officials instituted a temporary rule: After each stage, the last-place racer would be eliminated. Mr. Schoenbacher defied the rule by finishing in second-to-last place until the final stage, when he plummeted down to collect his Lanterne Rouge.

Along with Belgian Daniel Masson (1922 and 1923), the Dutchman Mathieu Heermans (1987 and 1989), Frenchman Jimmy Casper (2001 and 2004) and Mr. Vansevenant (2006 and 2007), Mr. Schoenbacher is one of five racers in history who was twice Lanterne Rouge in their careers.

With 49 in all, the French have more Lanterne Rouge titles than anyone. Mr. Vansevenant’s home country of Belgium is second with 12. Italy has eight, the Netherlands seven, Spain five, Czechoslovakia three, Germany, England, Luxembourg and Austria two, and Switzerland and Algeria each have one. The U.S. has never won a Lanterne Rouge. The closest in terms of general classification was Frankie Andreu in 1996, who finished 111th out of 129; the closest in time was Guido Trenti, who in 2005 finished 34 minutes, 48 seconds ahead of Iker Flores (whose brother, Igor, won the title in 2002, making them the only family members, let alone siblings, to claim the bottom spot).

Mr. Vansevenant, who is considering retirement at the end of this season, hasn’t won a race in more than 10 years and has dedicated his career to the role of domestique. He’s the rider who carries bottles and food for the team leader, shelters him from the wind, moves him up through the pack when needed for strategy, chases down breakaways that contain the leader’s rivals and, if necessary, stops to hand over one of his own wheels or even his bike if the leader needs a replacement. He seems, characteristically, blithely unimpressed by his shot at history. „I do my job for Cadel,“ he said before the start of Thursday’s stage, „and afterwards what happens doesn’t matter anymore. Actually, I haven’t looked at the General Classification for a couple of days. I’ve been having a hard enough time I haven’t been paying attention.“

Mr. Vansevenant’s team director, Marc Sergeant, credited his rider’s low placing to a combination of physical prowess and race savvy. „He can ride at the front all day when we need him to,“ said Mr. Sergeant as he stood beside Mr. Vansevenant near their team bus. „But when his part is done, he has the intelligence to know he should relax so he can come back strong the next day.“

In winning three in a row, Mr. Vansevenant will not only set a record but also, within the decidedly ambiguous context of the Lanterne Rouge, assume the status of greatest last-place rider ever. Previously, that honorific probably belonged not to one of the two-time winners, but to Jacky Durand, a Frenchman who, in 1999, achieved the supremely counterintuitive feat of simultaneously winning the Lanterne Rouge and the official award for Most Aggressive Rider (which paid €100,000). „I don’t mind being beaten,“ Mr. Durand said in a press conference that year. „What I hate is being beaten when I haven’t tried.“

Mr. Durand’s Lanterne Rouge was the fifth in a seven-year run of last-place finishes by the French, who hold the record of 15 in a row (from 1903-1921, with a three-year gap in the from 1915 – 1917 when the Tour was interrupted by World War I). The antihero nature of the Lanterne Rouge feels modern, but its mystique may have been established with that very first title. Arsene Millocheau finished nearly 65 hours behind the winner in 1903, then vanished into history, never to race the Tour de France again.

Some cycling fans discover the lore of the Lanterne Rouge and become captivated by how it rewards fruitless struggle and alchemizes failure into a kind of success. You’ll know you’ve become one of them if, Friday, you look first at the bottom of the standings instead of the top.

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008

MOB’s Open House

Never even in my wildest dreams, I would have thought that one of my friends would wait in line for hours in front of the Shinjuku Krispy Kreme Donuts Outlet, just to have a suitable present to bring to the open house party. Thank you so much, Natascha, we really felt loved by you.

Also the Shumai from Ryoko tasted wonderful the next day with German grill ketch-up (red bottle – light green cap).
We lightened up more than 300 tea lights which I bought especially for the event at IKEA in support of the more than 300.000 potential victims of a potential earthquake to occur one day in Tokyo – another brilliant idea copied from the Onion Network.

Yes, IKEA, the cradle of modern civilization. Various discussions in the evening centered around the question what IKEA really is. The biggest restaurant in the world? A convenient way for parents to meet and to get rid of their kids for two hours? For me, I check the catalog for new furniture and drive to IKEA to buy it. But once there, I don’t like the design or the quality or it is so much different than I have imagined. So I never buy. But I always drive home with a trunk load full of tealights.

Another topic in which particular Joerg was very much interested was Fuko. I checked also some of her youtube videos but decided that I cannot possible post the links here. So please find out for yourself if really necessary. But don’t do this in the office or if you are catholic.
So the open house party is over by now and I am left with huge amounts of beer, chips and other stuff. So please feel free to give me a quick call and come over to my house, I am there most of the evenings now.

Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob


To bring you in the mood…
fierce heat 猛暑 predicted for this sunday!

+ here’s a movie:

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter Uncategorized

Cyclist clings to hood in car attack

Watch out during your home leave, David.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A road rage incident between a bicyclist and a driver ended with the cyclist on the hood of the car and a witness got it on video, according to investigators.

The video, taken on a cell phone, was seized as evidence in the criminal case and Sgt. Brian Schmautz with the Portland Police Bureau confirmed that it was authentic.

“With the victim hanging on to the suspect’s windshield wipers, the suspect drove northbound on 58th at a high rate of speed. When the suspect reached Southeast 60th Avenue, he slowed down enough for the victim to get off the car,” Schmautz explained.

It all started a little while earlier near the intersection of SE 58th Avenue and SE Washington Street in Portland, when cyclist Jason Rehnberg, 37, yelled profanities at driver James Millican, 21, and told him to slow down.

Schmautz said at that point, Millican stopped his car and began to chase the victim. Initially, Rehnberg got away, but then a short time later, Millican spotted the cyclist behind him.

“The victim stated that the suspect then backed up in an attempt to hit him with the car. The victim jumped off the bike just before the suspect hit the bike, damaging it,” Schmautz said.

Two witnesses told investigators that they stood in front of Millican’s car, along with Rehnberg, and tried to get his license number.

“As they did so, the suspect drove his car toward the three people. The two witnesses were able to get out of the way, but Rehnberg ended up on the hood of the suspect’s car.”

That’s when Schmautz said Millican sped off with Rehnberg on his hood, clutching his windshield wipers to keep from sliding off.

“When the suspect reached Southeast 60th Avenue, he slowed down enough for the victim to get off the car,” Schmautz said.

One witness got video of the cyclist on the hood of the car and gave it to investigators.

Millican was eventually arrested on several charges including attempted assault, DUII, criminal mischief and reckless driving.

Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008, David

In the clouds

With my family in Germany, I was planing a suicidal tour with Tom last Saturday in preparations of the races in Nariki, Shuzenji and Shiobara. However, all proposals coming from him were not suicidal, but a combination of different kind of tortures followed by suicide: Akiyama, Hinazuru, Suzugane … if these three words come up in an IQ test and you are asked to name the logically following words, my idea would be Waterloo, Iwojima, and Stalingrad. All this followed by another ascent up to Matsuhime from Sarubashi. So after exchange of some e-mails we decided to go our own ways. The climbing performance level between us is just too big. Two weeks ago climbing up Dozaka, Tom was almost falling off his bike because of boredom, while I was in the process of melting away. Small lumps of myself were already scattered along the road and what was left was ghastly white and looked unhealthy.
The only hill I would ever climb again would be Dogenzaka, I thought then.
So, the logical conclusion was, that we do things independent from each other where we are clearly at different levels, and that we do things together, where we perform about the same. Concerning the later both of us came spontaneously to the conclusion that drinking beer at Ishikawa brewery should not reveal significant gaps in performance. So we opted for different ways to the same goal.

I left the house rather late and started to ride along the Tamagawa. It has been a long time since I rode on the right side (Kawasaki side) so I took the road to Noborito, then crossed again at Fuchu. I met another fast guy and pulled him at 37 km/hr along until the bridge after Y-Park. Then I took it easier until I reached the 7-Eleven at Itsukaichi. It was hot. Very hot. So I just bought some supplies and started the approach to Kazahari. I know that I would be slow and that I could not go for another Togebaka record, but it least I wanted to go in one stretch up to Kazahari Toge.

I was already slow from Honjuku to the Y-cross, surprisingly the road to Uenohara was closed for repairs. I was also slow from the Y to the deserted toll station. And even slower up on the road to Tomin no Mori. On the other hand, I never had the feeling that I wouldn’t make it. My legs were feeling strong and steady, I just didn’t hat the capacity to go faster because of the heat. I passed Tomin no Mori and went higher towards Kazahari. Later when I checked the records, I found out that only one time before I made the complete climb up to Kazahari in one go. The road was still dry, but I could hear already the sound of thunder from the mountains and I was wondering how the weather would be on the other side. Above Tomin no Mori everything was already hidden in the mist. Soon I was enveloped in the mist and the road became slightly wet. There were the usual amateur car and bike racers and at one time after taking a sharp corner at perhaps 10 km/hr, I heard a sports car approaching from behind and then the sound of screaming brakes.

This can make me quite nervous. Because you hear the sound of brakes and then you are from behind. Or not. I was not this time, but I had the strong desire to hit the driver. Preferably from behind, with a long piece of strong wood. Anyway, soon I was on the top and as the weather as getting worse, I started the descent to Okutama immediately and without a break on the top. But as soon as I had started, it started to rain heavily. No way that I would make it in this conditions down.

So that’s why after loosing about 100 m in elevation, I turned back and climbed Kazahari again from the other side. Once I was on top the road was still dry. „Lucky“, I thought the rain is moving in from Okutama and the high mountain is preventing the rainclouds to move on to Itsukaichi. So I started again the deccent to Tomin no Mori with the intention to take a break there.

I was soooo wrong. In fact, I was in the clouds when I was on top of Kazahari. And there is no rain in the clouds. And I was below the clouds on both sides of Kazahari – and there was a lot of raindrops coming out from the clouds. So I should have stayed in the clouds? Good idea, if to stay dry would have been my only goal. But it was already pretty cold. And there was a more urgent and pressing goal: To stay alive. A big thunderstorm going on and very close to me I could hear:


Which is Japanese, in English the thunderstorm sound would have been :


So I ignored the Tomin no Mori area and went on with the descent. The rain was getting harder. Just when I turned a corner, I could see a garage belonging to a farmhouse and I brought the bike to a stop and entered. It was a nice and cozy place – compared to what was going on outside.
Outside the raindrops came down in big splashes and the drain was not able to keep up with the downpoor of water. Inside I found some old newspaper, laid them down on the ground, unfolded my bike bag and took a short nap. I have no idea how long I slept. Gradually the weather was getting better and after a while I continued to Itsukaichi and then along Mutsumi Kaido to the Ishikawa Brewery. Speed was good and I felt well.

Tom and Nishibe-san, who decided to ride with Tom today where not there when I arrived. I asked the waitress if we could sit outside, as insider the temperature was close to 0 degress and anyway we were pretty sweaty and so we would scare away the other guests.

After 10 minutes Tom and Nishibe arrived and we had some nice beers. Ishikawa is a micro brewery and they offer quite some nice types of beer. We also had some good food to eat. Tom asked what the „pasta dish of today“ is and the waitress answered „something with octopus“. So I asked if we could have the „pasta dish of yesterday“. Or tomorrow, whatever. Also we asked if the beer of today has something to do with octopus. So we had a great time and lots of great stories were told.

When we had soaked up enough beer we started the 50 km trip home. Tom turned a fast wheel on the Tamagawa and Nishibe and me were following in his draft. At one of the S-slopes to ascent to higher levels I crossed between some pillars and I didn’t notice that between two gutters on the ground a gap has opened. My front wheel got stucked and I fell down. The bicycle was OK, my ellbow was bloody and a flat front tire was quickly exchanged with the help of Nishibe-San and Tom.

We then continued and at one point we have lost Nishibe and I was alone drafting behind Tom. I said goodbye when Tom was moving away from the Tamagawa towards home and when I was app. on the other side of Noborito on the dirt road I had another flat tire. And no exchange tube left. I had no choice but to pack up my bike, walk to Noborito station and take the train home.

I was pretty exhausted when I was home. But it had been a good day with some interesting things happening. Nothing special, just a good day.

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob, Nishibe, Tom

UCI denies Japanese payments were payback for Olympics favors

[from The Japan Times, 29.07.2008]
more on BBC news

AIGLE, Switzerland — Cycling’s world governing body on Monday denied claims it was involved in an Olympics corruption scandal.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said money received from Japanese cycling organizations in the 1990s was not payback for promoting the keirin track discipline as an Olympic event.

An investigation by the British Broadcasting Corp alleged that $3 million was paid to the UCI, including to cover marketing costs and some travel expenses of then-president and International Olympic Committee member Hein Verbruggen.

“A thorough examination of our records and interviews with those involved has turned up no evidence that this was anything other than a straightforward, completely proper arrangement to promote track cycling,” the UCI said in a statement. “The agreement did not include any provision regarding keirin’s acceptance as an Olympic sport or even a commitment by UCI to seek its inclusion in the Olympic program.

“As UCI exists to promote cycling, it is perfectly logical that UCI would cooperate with Japanese national cycling groups to encourage international interest in track cycling.”

The keirin discipline involves riders being paced around the track by a motorcycle before sprinting to the finish. It is popular in Japan as a betting event.

Keirin was included on the UCI world championships program in the 1980s after strong lobbying from Japan but was expected to be dropped in 1992.

However, it was granted Olympic status in 1996 following a promotion campaign led by the UCI, and debuted as a medal sport at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The BBC produced documents it said showed that Japanese cycling interests began paying some UCI expenses in 1997.

It reported that Verbruggen said the payments were received in “total transparency.”

The 67-year-old Dutchman was a member of the IOC from 1996-2005 in his role as head of an international federation.

Verbruggen was re-elected to the IOC after stepping down as UCI president and is chairman of the coordination commission for the Beijing Games. He retains an active role with cycling’s governing body as a vice president and member of its management committee.

The UCI said Monday there was nothing incorrect in the payments.

“The agreement produced clear benefits for all track cycling disciplines as evidenced by the superb progression of track cycling over the past 10 years. In addition, all expenses related to the agreement were reviewed by an independent auditor and deemed proper.”

The governing body said that Japanese money helped fund the hiring of a full-time cycling coordinator and contributed to building a world cycling center at UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, which includes an indoor velodrome.

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2008

August 2~3 all-weekend cycling to Enzan with attack of “Japan’s Galibier”: Ōdarumi-tōge


To all our cycling buddies :

Yesterday, while enjoying a couple great seasonal beers at the Ishikawa Brewery, Michael and I decided to organize the second edition of the “Enzan-Odarumi Classic” next weekend. Michael and I are inviting all our cycling buddies from Positivo Espresso, Team NFCC and friends to join us on yet another epic ride!

Important note: this cycling weekend is not conceived as a race or an event for demonstrating one’s hill climbing or downhill skills…nobody to be left behind + leisurely pace promised!

Barring typhoons, we will be attacking one of Japan’s most beautiful “hors-catégorie” mountain passes…the Ōdarumi-tōge 大弛峠 in Yamanashi Prefecture (no, again this is not the lowish Ōtarumi-tōge大垂水峠 near Takao!) on Sunday, Aug. 3. The previous day, on Saturday, Aug. 2, we will ride down into Enzan (塩山)after crossing a few short and some longer hills and stay overnight at our “base camp,” Sasamotoya-ryokan(笹本屋旅館)with onsen. For the return trip to Tokyo, we will take the train from Enzan Station.

Sat. (8/2)

8:30: Get-together at Sekidobashi

16:00: Arrival in Enzan – Check in at Sasamotoya-ryokan followed by onsen, tempura dinner with isshōbin (1.8 liter bottle) fruity Katsunuma wine for those who desire one… Following dinner, for those still feeling a little dry, the local Enzan bar where Snow-white serves cocktails of ditto name, is just around the corner (don’t worry, Guinness is served as well).

Sun. (8/3)

7:00 Breakfast

8:00: Start of our climb all the way to the top of Ōdarumi-tōge (66km)
This mountain pass/ridge boasts Japan’s paved road at the highest elevation (2,360m). The length of the climb itself is 29.7km at an average (and rather mild) inclination of 6.3%. We will start at about 500m and climb up to 2,360m…once above the 2,000m line, one feels the air becoming thinner! Views are simply breathtaking. Going down you see the entire Kofu Basin opening up in front of you.

16:00: return to Sasamotoya, pick up ruck-sacks with rinko bag, ride to Enzan Station (5 minutes from Sasamotoya).

17:00: train back to Tokyo

* For our Japanese friends joining:


* Here is the route:

* Sasamotoya-ryokan:
Excellent food / great hospitality…10,650 yen/person (inc. dinner & breakfast)

* “Must-bring-along” items:
rinko-bag for return trip
full-finger gloves (or inner gloves)

For those wishing to join, please drop a line either to MOB or TOM preferably before Thursday (7/31) ! The more souls, the more fun…

5 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter Mob, Tom

Ishikawa Brewery

Mob, Tom & Ishibe assembled at Ishikawa Brewery after separate rides through the thundermountains in and around Okutama….
Discussed over a couple great-tasting beers the ENZAN-ODARUMI cycling trip planned for next weekend…more details to follow soon!

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter Mob, Nishibe, Tom