Monatsarchiv: April 2009

Fur or no fur?

„Whatever. I mean, I suppose I believe that cyclists should shave their legs, but they don’t have to. It makes massage better, and bandaging road rash is easier, but for most of us even those claims–not to mention the ridiculous claims of better aerodynamics and stuff–are justifications rather than authentic reasons. Leg shaving is closer to taking the sacrament or singing during the seventh-inning stretch. You’re performing an action that helps you belong to something, and at the same time you’re paying homage to whatever that something is. When you shave your legs, you’re admitting something about yourself, and to yourself. But even that isn’t quite accurate.“

Why I Shave –

I shaved in 2006 – my ‚Etape year‘. Liked it. I haven’t done so since, but am contemplating it again this year. For me, I agree with the sentiment in the linked article. It is a statement to myself that I ‚belong‘ and that I am taking my riding seriously.

What say you all?

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Mount Fuji as seen from the road on Western Izu autumn 2008

We are scheduling a club ride down South on Izu Hanto during the Golden Week. Here is the plan:

07.15 Meet at Shinagawa Station, Shinkansen Entrance

07.34 Departure Kodama 635

08.20 Arrival Mishima Station
08.45 Start riding in direction Shimoda along West Izu coast [proposed route]
12.30 Lunch break somewhere, somehow
13.30 Crossing the famous Jaishi Toge

Going up Jaishi Toge can be very hard with a bowl of ramen in your stomach

16.00 Arrival Shimoda
, Visit Kanaya hot spring :
20.37 Last train leaves Rendaiji (station next to Kanaya) for Shinagawa
23.09 Arrival Shinagawa

Alternative 1
: Return the same day home. Perhaps we can squeeze in a dinner at Sunny Side as well.

Alternative 2 : Have dinner at Sunny Side Cafe at Shimoda Beach, stay the night at James’s house (if OK with James, so this is still open, also depending on feedback)

Some more cycling the next day, to be decided on the spot. Return by train to Tokyo then in the afternoon.

What you would need :

– Bicycle bag, repair stuff, tube, pomp, wind breaker, you know, the usual stuff.
– Definitely lots of CO2 cartridges – Izu is a jinxed place


The West Izu Team in 2006

Yes, for sure : michael (1 day), Michael (open)
I think so : David (1 day), James, Ben

If anybody else is interested, please post in the comments section. In case we have the chance to do a two day trip we need to do some preparations :

– Luggage per takyubin to Shimoda
– Grill reservation with Sunny Side
Shinkansen tickets (anyway it is GW)

Hurry up, there is not much time left.

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Reverse Wada

Out with Michael, Graham & David today on the same loop that Bryon and I attempted last week before we were so rudely interrupted.

145kms, 1400m of climbing on a beautiful sunny, if blustery, Spring day.

We made good time out of Tokyo, had a pit-stop around the 60km mark then carried onto Wada toge, our goal for the day.

Highlights included a strong climb up Wada by David, meeting Jerome at the bottom of our descent, a cornering of the banana market and awesome ride back along the river with a HUGE tailwind. We were pushing 40km/h+ for most of the river. Has to be record time from the top of Wada to home. After checking my Garmin, we averaged 24.5km/h on the way out and 30.1km/h on the way back. Sugoi.

We met as usual at 7am at Ebisu station and I was home at exactly 2pm with a mildly sunburnt right calf to show for my travails.

Great day on the Cervelo, which yet again performed fantastically. It’s about time the rider got a bit stronger and LIGHTER. 🙂

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Normally I am a little bit reluctant to publish something on the Positivo Espresso blog which looks like advertising, but this here is an exception. A friend of mine rents out a vacation house in Maine and when I saw the area, I wondered why I am still living and cycling in Japan.

Funny enough, it is in a town called Bremen, which just by chance is also the name of a German city somewhere in the North and a soccer club which is unfortunately doing better these days than my home team.

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Proper Cycling Etiquette

as taught by Theo Bos at the Tour of Turkey:

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Get well soon, Bryon

Still shocked about the crash of Bryon last weekend. Yesterday I read by chance about it on the blog of James.

GET WELL SOON. [Excuse my girlish sentiments]


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6 am on Easter Monday morning is a time for close inspection of the inside of the eyelids for the sane and sensible. We, however, were scoffing porridge to fuel our big showdown with former pro and TdF yellow jersey holder Sean Yates. This was a „two-up“ team time trial over a sporting (ie hilly) 50km course along some of Hampshire’s prettiest dual-carriageways (four lane autobahns for the foreigners).

As you will see from the pictures taken at the finish we are clearly in much better condition than Sean and his team-mate, top amateur Richard Prebble – who are showing the strain of trying to keep up with us. Any guesses who was faster and by how much??

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Training sessions


Glad to be a poster and a member. I am starting a race specific early morning at TAC training session on;
Monday: 6:30am
Friday: 6:30am
Saturday: 7:30am

and am happy to arrange evening sessions as well should anyone wish. If you are not a member we can work something out I’m sure ( guest of member).

Feel free to contact me at any time.


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Tour of Japan : Tokyo Race

The 13th Tour of Japan, a professional race will take off next month, and also this year it will be linked with a „amateur race“ in Tokyo. It is time to register and seize the opportunity to crash right in front of your house door.

Yes. After a look at the course map (if there is any), you may think „Hey this race is dead flat and looks quite easy – even I could win that.“ That is what we all think. And not even us, but also about 12 Million other Japanese citizens as well who might think that they should try their luck at a first cycle race. And why not? It is hold in Oi-Futo, the port of Tokyo where riders flock on the weekend to show-off their new carbon bikes and race against others on the wide streets normally crowded by container trailers.

Well, everybody can win this race, provided he is of average strength with the field AND he arrives at the finish in one complete piece, bones, organs, flesh and muscles all orderly lined up in the right order as they should be.

Because this particular race has, and I can say this from the experience of attending it the last two years, some major risks :

  • A lot of idiots are attending and serving crazy over the course like there is no tomorrow. Never, ever think about racing in the beginners field.
  • The track does not only have some sharp turns, but also probably more drains, manhole covers, uneven asphalt surfaces, metal sheets and corrugated steel covers per kilometer than there are cobblestones plastered between Paris and Roubaix.
  • And, if in addition the race is hold in pouring rain, like last year, the risk that you slide in a twisted amalgamation of riders right into some guide rails is multiplied by the factor ten.

But after making this rather factual statements, let’s come back and dwell a little bit more on the details: As every year the race is organized by Nikkan Sports, the popular sports newspaper which publish these fantastic articles about baseball, horse racing and groping techniques on the Saikyo line. Nikkan Sports has a huge distribution and attracts a lot of its readers to attend the race. so be no surprise if the guy racing next to you thinks about baseball, horse racing or other things while riding straight and at high speed into the hairpin curve.

The track is 7 km long and has to be passed three times, making the total race distance to 21 km, which is about the common flat type race in Japan. One nasty U-turn, three other technical turns but at least the finishing straight is very wide and almost free of obstacles.The right track is the one in question. The left track is the one used by the pros before they spin some laps at the end of the race on the right track.

One can attend in four classes (plus women and seniors) which are „High grade“, corresponding to S and A grade JCRC riders, „General 1“ (B,C), „General 2“ (D,E) and „Beginners“ (scum). For some reason which remained already last year a mystery to me, the most popular category is „General 2“, which is therefore divided into three groups (2A, 2B, 2C, so far, so clear) and you must submit your registration for one of them (2A, 2B or 2C, but they are anyway all the same). Of course it makes sense, for example if you have problems to get out of the bed early in the morning, to join the 2C group, as this one starts at 9:19 AM, as opposed to the earlier 9:17 AM start time of the 2A field.

In each General 2 field there are 70 places and you might want to register fast with Nikkan Sports. Registration has started on April 11th and tend to be completed very fast. A Japanese post offer transfer from can be downloaded here and after filing some basic information and paying 6.000 Yen the formalities are dealt with. If anyone would like to race against me – please opt for 2A. I am an early bird by the name of Kraehe.

By the way, the race is on Sunday May 24th and it might be a good idea to go there and spin some laps before the actual event to get accustomed to the place. The crowd is one of the biggest in any event (except of course for the famous Positivo Espresso New Year Ekiden Training Session) as they come to see the pros and not you.

If it does not rain one can also be tempted to watch the pro race afterwards.

A more detailed report about last year’s race is published at this blog, however I must warn you that I wrote this post under the influence of a book „English as a second language“ and you may not want to look at it on your office screen.

So I would be happy to meet many at you on the day in the port, if possible still in one piece.

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