Monatsarchiv: Dezember 2008

The dance

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Happy New Year Positivistas Espressi

I saw this on James website and I thought, hey I could do the same with the Positivo Team. I hope it will show up properly on the web.

Happy New Year from the German proprietor of this website who is not the proprietor – all Positivistas are.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob

Shortest Trip possible

As suggested by Ludwig, a brief post about the shortest ride today. 24 km from my house to the Tokyo American Club, temporary residing in the area between Gotanda and Shinagawa. I played 45 minutes Squash with Carsten. He won 4 times, I did two. We recognized that we already became old men and we should not engage in this kind of activities. My body still hearts terribly, I can hardly move and life is only bearable with a bottle of red wine in reach.

After squash an hour back to Yokohama. Rode on my Cannondale Bad Boy.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob

New Year’s Eve Ride – 2008

In a break from my normal practice and to ensure that za German proprietor of this blog keeps talking to me I have posted verbatim my post for today’s ride here as well. Missed you today Michael, but looking forward to seeing you on Friday 🙂

Up and out this morning a little later than usual – no-one to meet at Ebisu so straight to Kaminoge to meet David at 7:40am – a bowl of porridge and 2 slices of toast for first breakfast.
Sporting my new Rapha gear – Christmas presents from za wife, za daughter and even za pups. Some toasty Winter tights, a pair of Merino socks (you have to get socks for Christmas, it’s a rule) and the usual Softshell over a rather nice Merino base-layer from Finisterre.

Why all the product placement you might ask? Well, I was rather impressed with how warm I stayed given the fact that it was a mere 1C at Takao this morning. It warmed up as the day progressed and I never got too uncomfortable – a good sign of great gear. Oh, and it’s my birthday next week and just in case you might be looking for gift ideas, wink wink, nod, nod.

Out on the usual Tama river route and second breakfast at the 7-11. We popped over Takao with no great effort or drama. Watching for ice in the shaded spots all the way up – it was that cold!
Inevitably Fuji(Click picture to enlarge)
Rendezvous-ing at the peak and yet again a great view if Fuji on another beautiful winter’s day in Japan.
David had suggested another twist this week.. adding a second significant climb, followed by a really steep bugger. Although not as steep or as high as where Lance was yesterday.
NYs Eve cycle team(Click picture to enlarge)
Here’s the guys – Tom, David & Hiroshi-san – before setting off up the steep ascent.
Steep bugger(Click picture to enlarge)
That’ll be Hiroshi-san powering his way up. You can tell it’s steep as in Japan they use concrete with circles as you can see. I am not 100% sure what the purpose of the circles are. I assumed they use concrete so it doesn’t melt in the summer and ’slide‘ down. I guess the concrete circles would be to disperse water during storms? Hmm, something to investigate.
Contemplating the last curve(Click picture to enlarge)
Tom contemplating life from the top of the climb. Our descent whilst on the south side of the hill was tentatively taken. The road was covered in salt. Amazing that they had been out to a road this remote to salt it to be fair. A first for me to be cycling with salt pinging up off the wheels.
We made our descent and then handed over path finding duties to Hiroshi-san who not only was going to show me the second half of my road to nowhere but also a different route back to Tokyo. Sugoi! We first had a pit stop for first lunch.
Fixing a flat(Click picture to enlarge)
Unfortunately David got a flat mere seconds into us setting off, but was as quick as ever in making repairs.
Small suspension(Click picture to enlarge)
Over a small, yet very high suspension bridge. We climbed a fair few metres and then made our way back onto our normal return loop. Then Hiroshi-san, as promised, showed a new route home taking in tank road where Mitsubishi Heavy Industries used to test their tanks.
View from Tank Road(Click picture to enlarge)
Quite a nice view from the top of the hill, although not much heavy industry now, much more commuter belt suburban living.
So Hiroshi-san’s route was a fast rolling road which again was a first for me on a Tokyo ride – it’s usually flat or up. The downside was more traffic lights, the upside was that it brought us back to Kawasaki and therefore not much of the Tama river to follow home (the river route can get monotonous to say the least).
A good tailwind saw us back to David’s place in no time. He was feeling the pace/distance by now, but I suspect a couple of good night’s sleep are all that is required. I felt reasonably OK, heavy legs for sure and not too much sustained power available. I got home around 2:15pm after 140kms and 7 hrs riding. Not too scruffy at all and a fantastic way to end the year. My sincere thanks to David, Tom and Hiroshi-san for their company, their pace and their directions today. Happy New Year.,139.453583&spn=0.390745,0.617981&z=10&output=embed
View Larger Map
As usual the Garmin went and did about twice as much climbing as I did.. 1100m for me today.
(Click diagram for Garmin data)

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Riding out with the Lehmann Brothers

Christmas season is hell for bicycle riders. All the good food on the table, the sweets send from home by well meaning relatives plus the relatively cold weather outside give ample reason to stay at home and do nothing. With Ludwig coming back from a cycling shopping spre in Germany, we decided to test his new stuff and break the vicious cycle yesterday.

We had some discussions where to go when we met at 8.30 AM at Tamagawahara bridge [the new meeting point for me coming from Yokohama] and in the end we settled for a Otarumi – Hinazuru, Suzugane – Matsuhime route, possibly going back by train from Otsuki.

Much to my dismay I found out that I lost my saddle bag filled with goodies (tools, CO2 cartridges, tube, jelly and, most important, the extremely expensive remains of DHC sunscreen from the 2006 Noto 400 ride) riding to the meeting point.

We then went in a fast draftline to Takao, aftertaking some Japanese riders. The road along the Asakawa was crowded and we almost crashed with a dog and some minutes later with an old man on a bike who suddenly steered out of line.

The traditional break at the 7-Eleven was followed by the discovery that I also lost my (non-riding) glasses on the way. This was really not becoming my day and I started to feel like Mr. Lehmann (if there is one) operating the bank and loosing everything. In case you wondered about the heading.

A medium-fast attack on Otarumi which we ended up to scale in 16 minutes, including fixing a lost chain on the way up. Route 20 was followed by route 76 until we took a right turn in direction Hinazuru. The Manju shop was closed, but out of tradition we were forced to do a break anyway. We then went up to the (new) Hinazuru tunnel and on the way down on the other side I proposed to take a look at the old Hinazuru tunnel, or, to boldly go where no other Positivo Espresso rider has gone before. The road was in pretty bad shape, but still better than route 76. Obviously Jerome has driven his car from Chichibu to Hinazuru and parked it close to the entrance of the Hinazuru tunnel. It seems to me that the left brake light is not working and I would recommend to check this.
I do not want to reveal well guarded secrets, but Ludwig also found a nice water heater which he intends to give free of charge to the guy who buys his band new Selle Italia saddle.

The tunnel is in good shape, however closed by a gate which should not cause any problems to be ignored. Of course we missed the entrance to Suzugane pass and we continued to road 139 which then lead us back to route 20 and Sarubashi eventually. After a nice bowl of Tempura soba and the Daikokuya restaurant (a very traditional place), we decided in view of the time to abandon our plans to ride up Matsuhime (another great tradition of us to abandon great plans) and continue instead along the old Koshu Kaido, now called route 30, to Uenohara and then cross over to Itsukaichi.

This was another Lehmann-like management mistake (connection to the heading!) as we first had a hard climb in front of us which took as almost to elevation 600 m again. Once on top, the road was quite nice and we continued smoothly to Uenohara, but again we lost a lot of time. So when we finally arrived at Uenohara we decided to jump on the train and head back home.

Clearly we made a lot of poor riding management judgements and in the course of this I lost everything (glasses, tools, …). This shall serve as a warning to all of you out there.

2008-12-30 Uenohara via Hinozuru Pass
Find more Bike Rides in Setagaya Daita, Japan

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I took advantage of the weak Euro while in Germany over Christmas to do some shopping for my cycling. I thought I should try one of those saddles that are meant to be softer on your prostate and still look good, and bought Selle Italia Thoork Gel Flow (see photos above).

I tested it on the ride with Michael today. It is indeed somewhat softer on the front part of one’s bottom and may thus avoid irritating the prostate, but I found the back part too hard for my taste. My old Selle Italia SLR has extra padding at the back, and I missed that. Mind you – it is just as hard or as soft as most saddles, e.g. Michael’s older Selle Italia, which I guess is fine for most people, but not me who I have hardly any fat that would allow me to sit soft (my body fat ratio is 3 percent!).
I will return it to the internet shop (they pay back the full price if returned within a month), but if anyone is interested in it, I’m willing to sell it. It cost me JPY 16,500. The Japanese list price is JPY 23,000, though there are offers for JPY 18,900 on some internet sites. Let me know soonest before I send back to the shop.
Does anyone have experience with softer and yet prostate-friendly saddles?

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Mars Petcare, Haba Toys, Wegmans Bagels and ….

Some month ago I wrote an unacceptable and disgusting post about a Positivo Espresso Rider Voluntary Recall. Actually, since then I have long forgotten about, but when I scanned the web for Positivo Espresso entries recently I found this after Mars Petcare, Haba Toys, Wegmans Bagels:

Perhaps we would like to inform them that the recall has been recalled.

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Doshimichi ride to Lake Yamanaka today…splendid !

Very little traffic, lots of sun, warm, dry road conditions everywhere … simply a perfect day on the bike it was. Too bad there was nobody I could share this with !

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Positivo Espresso Power Check

Since some month I have the idea of doing a check-up at the National Gymnasium in Yoyogi, perhaps I have spoken with one or the other about this one. It would be nice to do this check as a Positivo Espresso team at the start and at the end of the 2009 season to see how much we have improved. Or maybe not. This post is about the start check. Or maybe not.

There are three tests one can choose from. The most interesting one for us is testing the endurance capabilities, which is then done by either direct or indirect method. According to the website, as athletes we should take the direct testing method. It basically consists on riding on an ergometer and heart rates, power output, maximum oxygen capacity and anaerob max level are measured. I am not sure if I understood everything correctly from the website, so please also check yourself as well.

The cost is 1.650 Yen per person, but we must apply as a group one to two months in advance. So I thought about making a reservation for us on Thursday February 12th at 6 PM, after the end of the holiday season. The tests are only conducted on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 5 an 9 PM, please have a look at the website for the schedule.

It would be good if you could let me know if you are interested, so I could handle the reservation. Immediate response is not required, but I would like to know by January 4th if possible.

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Old Year and New Year Rides


Just to help clarify, there are three upcoming Positivo Espresso rides proposed.

Tuesday 30th Dec 2008, Ludwig and mob are going to do a full day ride, starting time between 8 and 9 AM at Fuchu bridge on the Tamagawa. The destination is not decided yet, details will follow today.

Wednesday 31st Dec 2008, proposed by David with Tom and James keen to join. Details to follow in comments or as an update in this post.

Friday 2nd January 2009, Ekiden Ride, David, Michael, Ludwig and James so far. Details can be found below.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, David, James, Mob, Tom