Tagesarchiv: 23. November 2009

Saiko Race TV Review

Just watched the Asahi TV program about the Saiko race this afternoon. As expected the program focuses on the adventures of the two attending „talentos“, Yoshizawa/Morning Musume in the W class and „forgot his name“ in C1. The performance of both is also something to be forgotten soon; both of them were dropped within the first lap, both of them finished in the forties out of less than 50 riders.

Basically I disliked the program as it was promoting bicycle riding in a strange way. Sure, it is nice to have a lot more people riding bikes than to see them in cars and trains, but I am not sure if I want to meet them in races when, among other things, my health is at stake.

I also found it somehow unfair that both of them had a (non-competing) helper at their side to support them throughout their races.

OK, perhaps I am to strict with them.

No shots from our races. But we could see James in full profile with Tiger and a little bit in the back Tsukino and Henri at one point. I recorded the program on our HDD and I hope I can manage some DVD copies if somebody is interested.

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Year in Review – 2009 Passes and Hills

Three or four weeks ago, I went into the Starbucks in the basement of my building for coffee. They were serving „Christmas blend“, and the music playing was definitely Christmas carols. It gets earlier every year. … so I guess November 23 is really not too early for a „year in review“ post.

I thought this morning that I would try to list up the passes (峠) I have ridden in 2009 so far. I’m sure that some others (Tom, Ludwig and Michael, at least) have ridden more and further, and could come up with a better list — leaving aside Transalp! — and Jerome might match me, including Transalp, but my list is not too shabby. The great thing is that has been my 5th full riding season in Japan, and I still managed to ride lots and lots of places I had never gone before. … and there are already plenty of new potential rides on the list for next year, not to mention a few that I might get in by year-end. Here is the list.

Passes/Hills of 2009
[blue text means ridden by me for the first time in 2009]
1. Otarumi (Kanagawa border)
2. Wada (Yamanashi border)
3. Kobu tunnel (Yamanashi border)
4. Kazahari
5. Umegaya (Jerome Hill)
6. Nikka-zuka (next route to the East of Jerome Hill – not sure pronounciation and thus the romanization)
7. Fue-Kami (heading into Chichibu — just past Higashi Oume toward Nariki)
8. Ozawa (tunnel into Naguri — Tokyo/Saitama-Chichibu border )

9. Yabitsu
10. Shiroyama-ko (Hon/Moto-zawa Dam – the short climb NE of Tsukui- ko)
11. 三増峠 Sanzou Pass (S. of Tsukui-ko on Rte 65 – first leg of Kanagawa Brevet)
12. Hakone Pass (Shizuoka border)
13. Ashi-no-yu Onsen Iriguchi (Pass on Rte 1 at top of climb – Odawara to Ashinoko – name??)

14. Tsuru
15. Tawa
16. Matsuhime
17. Oo-toge
18. Kamihikawa
19. Yanagisawa
20. Odarumi (Nagano border)
21. Yakiyama
22. Hinazuru (not Suzugane!)
23. Mt. Fuji 5th stage
24. Yamabushi Touge (the same name as the pass in Chichibu – but also the name of the pass/tunnel at top of Doshi Michi)
25. Dosaka (Pass between Doshi Michi and Tsuru)

26. Yamabushi (the “real” Yamabushi)
27. Shomaru
28. Nenogongen
29. Karibazaka (on the Green Line)
30. [Hannari] (not sure pronounciation/romanization — on the Green Line)
31. Buna (on the Green Line)
32. Arima
33. [Nitazan] touge (pass on the Naguriharaichiba Rindo)
34. Shigasaka (on border w/ Gunma)

35. Mugikusa Touge(麦草峠)
36. Suzuran Touge
37. Yagawa Touge (矢川 – on the Gunma Nagano border,
approaching Karuizawa from the South via “rindo”).
38. Jukkoku (十石峠on Gunma-Nagano border Rte 299)
39. Tsuetsuki Touge/杖突峠
40. Bunkui Touge/分杭峠
41. Jizo Touge/地蔵峠
42. Hyoko Touge/兵越峠

Shizuoka [no Izu rides this year beyond Atami!]
43. Jukkoku Pass (十国— on rte 20 Hakone to Atami)
44. Atami Pass (Rte 20)
45. Naka-no-Kura tunnel (中之倉) [at top of climb up Motosu-michi to Motosu-ko — WNW side of Mt. Fuji on Rte. 300 during Brevet]
46. Fuji Safari Entrance – high point on Rte 469 on S. side of Fuji (pass between small Mt. Kurodake and big Mt. Fuji)

Europe (German, Austrian, Italian Alps)
47. Oberjoch
48. Alter Gaittpass
49. Hahntennjoch
50. Arlbergpass
51. Bielerhohe
52. Tobadill
53. Pillerhohe
54. Timmelsjoch
55. Stelvio
56. Passo Foscagno
57. Passo D’Eira
58. Passo Gavia
59. Passo del Tonale
60. Mendelpass
61. Fai del Paganella/Andalo
62. Passo del Ballino
Forgotten , added later:
63.  Nokogiri
64.  Kazahari Rindo 

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Guys, please mark already January 2nd, 2010 (2011, 2012 and 2013) for the traditional


As usual we can expect thousands of spectators lined up along the streets that will cheer us up all the way from Tokyo [or later] through Odawara to Moto-Hakone. An additional highlight will be the a suicidal fast downhill from Hakone to Atami on spectacular route 20 plus (hopefully) the Shinenkai afterwards. An event not to be missed.

More infos will follow.

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Cycle Sports Decemeber Issue

I normally do not promote the purchase of Cycle Sports or any other publication except fencing (pardon – fanzines), but the new issue of Cycle Sports is simply too good and too thick to be ignored. For about 600 Yen you will get the magazine, the new Shimano catalog for 2010 plus the guide to the Cycle Mode exhibition in December.

The Shimano catalog is a good reference for prices. Shimano for cycling is, I believe, a little bit like Toyota for cars. One wouldn’t buy their road bike parts for good design necessarily, but the pricing is (relatively) reasonable, the reliability and quality is excellent and spare parts are readily available almost everywhere in Japan. And they have the innovative products as well. If I would like to have something good looking on my bike I would prefer Italian, French or American parts perhaps. The DuraAce (hollowtec) crank set is of such pronounced ugliness that it hurts my eyes.

In the main magazine there are also some good articles about a Japanese „Toge“ (Mountain passes) today and 30 years ago, conquered by the same guy. Why we can see that roads and infrastructure has improved and cycling technology has come a long way as well, cycling clothing is much more functional today but still designed in a way that we can be sure to laugh about in less than 10 years to come.

In the main magazine there are also stories about Bryon’s Computrainer, Tom’s new obsession Cyclocross and some infos about long fingered gloves and shoecovers.

This is the right stuff for the (occasional) train rides.

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