Monatsarchiv: Dezember 2009


I guess, if you would like to get your better half cycling and you (and her) don’t mind to spend some money, this new tandem from Specialized could be a nice idea. Seen at Bike Radar.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob


To my great surprise I found out today that Nagai Sans Positivo Shop has it’s own website or blog :

Also, while visiting the shop, I saw some pamphlets from CATTENI POSITIVO, announcing a longer training camp in April as preparation for the Sadoshima Long Ride (210 km) in spring.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob

Three guys under blue skies

Jerome, Ludwig and me decided on short notice to do another ride before Christmas, O-Shogatsu, family dinners and business trips will take their toll on our bodies and ultimately on our performances.

I left the house almost in the dark on my newly outfitted Cervelo bike. Nagai-San upgraded everything except for the crank set and bottom bracket at the beginning of the week after my forced conversion to single speed on the weekend before. I could convince him that I do not need a new crank set as I do not want this ugly piece called „Hollow-tec“ on my bike which looks like the DuraAce crank set. I could not convince him that I can also live with my old Ultegra brakes so there were replaced as well with the more bulky looking 6700er brakes. When everything is new everything shifts fine, so I guess the good performance is more to the newness of the groupset rather that to the improved design. The front derailleur works perfectly now. The rear works fine when shifting into lower gears, but shifting into higher gears is a little bit tricky and one needs to get accustom to the levers.

Whatever, design-wise the bike is hugely improved and this is much more important then vulgar activities such as „shifting gears“ or „braking“, the later normally resulting in less speed.

Jerome an me met shortly after seven in Shin-yokohama, mounted Shinkansen Kodama 633 to Odawara which was way to short a trip. We met Ludwig at Odawara station and before eight we were on the way to Hakone. I showed Ludwig and Jerome the old Tokaido road which was pleasantly quiet and we made it up through the hair needle curves at a steady pace. It was quite cold and there were some icy patches on the road in the shadows. After waiting for Jerome some minutes on the top, we continued along Ashinoko road 75 when suddenly Jerome got pestered by official telephone calls: A Japanese customer has found a bolt in a package of cheese he bought from Jerome’s company (I cannot tell the real nameof his company, but let’s call it „El Shacho“ here). He opened another package just to check and found another bolt in this package as well. Of course he was furious and demaned an explanation from El Shacho why the nuts were missing.Meanwhile we continued to route 138, but instead of going this boring road down to Gotemba, we continued to climb up to Nagao tunnel where the pinchers of hell were waiting for us as usual. This is a very gradual climb with almost no traffic and a dilapidated restaurant close to the tunnel where I would love to eat some day.We then went down on the other side, slowly as parts of the road seemed to be icy. Then we made our way through this urban mess and sprawl of Gotemba and Oyama until we came to Fuji Speedway and to the starting point of the Mikuni pass climb.

Urban sprawl and chaotic city planning brings up another topic: As we have already December 23rd and I do not plan any bike trips until the rest of the year in the route 20 area, I can now finally write that 2009 is the first year in serious cycling where I didn’t crashed in the (ugly) city of Uenohara. This fine tradition (since 2007) is finally disrupted and perhaps I should stay away from the city for the complete year of 2010.

After taking a short break at the foot of Mikuni we started finally the climb. The break is not required for anything useful in preparation, I guess we just do it because we are afraid to start anyway. Mikuni is pretty hard. It is about two times the distance and more than two times the elevation difference that the Wada challenge (Takao side) has to offer. It doesn’t offer much resting places along its first 4 km and even stretches with 8 or 9% slope are considered nice recovery places. I was also pretty tired after the Hakone climb and felt the beginning of a bonk (as opposed to bonking) so I barely made it up to the top. To be honest, I was zigzaging on some of the steeper parts.

Just looking at the „Hall of Fame“ website of TCC, it amazes me that Clay can ride up there in less than 33 minutes.After that we made a short break at the approved Yamanakako 7-Eleven where we met another older Japanese rider who was much engaged in brevet activities. He told us that one need to attend at least 3.500km of Japan Audax sponsored brevet events before you are even considered to be registered for Paris – Brest – Paris and that Japan has the largest population of brevet riders worldwide. We spoke about the Itoigawa fast run and David’s heroic attempt of the 400 km brevet this year. He said „Oh yes, I was up on Yanagizawa and I saw a colored (黒人) rider coming up during the brevet.“ We said, that was probably not David. But thinking it over now, perhaps one may look colored after 400 km of riding and it was David indeed.
And off we were on Doshimichi in direction home. Ludwig and me were in front and crossed over Yamabushi pass, then went almost to the Michisaka pass road where we waited for Jerome at a Daily Yamazaki combini.

We waited quite a while but then Jerome rode past and we went in pursuit of him. There was a nice tailwind, Ludwig and me worked together and in addition the weather was still sunny and the road was in good and fast shape. But nevertheless we were not able to catch Jerome. Ludwig finally caught up with him after 18 km, close to Aone, but it took me another 7 km or so before finally the three of us were together again.

The rest was more or less boring riding on the South side or Tsukui lake and through Hashimoto. But we were incredibly fast: We did the 52 km between Yamanakako and Hashimoto station in 2 hours and this included some climbing plus riding through urban congestion.

There we split. Jerome and Ludwig took the Onekan to the Tamagawa, while I took the train home form Hashimoto. For me 130 km or riding, about 2.300 meters up under blue skies in fabulous Japanese winter weather. It is hard to get out of the bed in the morning, but once on the bike there are no regrets.
Tomorrow is Christmas (I promised my family not to do any bicycle riding) and after that I Will be in Okinawa between 25th and 28th (with son and bike). Perhaps I will do another trip before the end of the year, but that’s it before the new season starts traditionally with the Ekiden ride on January 2nd.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Cervelo Soloist, Jerome, Mob

HIGH5 – Streamline Sports Official Sponsor 2010

Positivo Espresso is proud to announce HIGH5 as it’s first official sponsor for 2010. Streamlinesports, the official distributor for HIGH5 in Asia is working with Positivo Espresso to help achieve another successful season in 2010.

High5 helps fuel the success of athletes from novice through to Olympic medalists and top professionals. High5 is the UK’s leading nutrition company and is now focusing on enabling athletes from around the world train and race faster. Streamline Sports is the exclusive distributor of High5 products in Asia and is dedicated in helping Positivo Espresso reach our goals in training and competition.

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Positivo Espresso Gobal Domination

O.S. at Encino Velodrome, California, December 2009


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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob

Lost among mikans

Today was the day of the monster ride MOB had proposed a few days ago, and which I had endorsed. Maybe it is not a good idea to be overly ambitious – fate might just punish you for that.
MOB, James and I arrived literally simultaneously at the appointed meeting point on Kan One at 7:30am. No sight of Jerome, and as it was very cold (zero degrees to be precise), MOB didn’t wait long before calling him. He had just woken up… Oh well, off we went without him.
It was a beautiful day – crispy clear air and sky. We had splendid view of Tsuiko as we took the back road on the northern side of the lake. But suddenly – a big bang, a shout. What had happened? MOB’s chain had landed between hub and spokes, and this had torn the rear dérailleur apart. The second time this has happened to him this year – how annoying! This time it seemed to have been caused by a small wooden stick that had entered the dérailleur rather than bad adjustment. Worse – so this could happen to any of us!
James was quick to convert the bike into a fixie, so MOB was hopefully (awaiting confirmation!) able to make it easily back to Hashimoto station – mostly downhill from where we were.
James and I went on. Somehow I didn’t feel in top form. My heart rate shot up above 160 at almost every hill, no matter how minor or short. Did I leave so much heart yesterday at the health check? Was it the skipped breakfast yesterday morning? Or just the very cold weather? Or maybe simply James’s speed? He was zipping up hills as if they were down hills. No doubt he should go for C or even higher class in the next JCRC season.
The view from Yabitsu was stunning. Thanks to the extremely clear air, even Oshima was clearly visible, and of course the full coast line.

Needless to say, we were also spoiled all day by perfect views of Mount Fuji.

Down in Hadano, the plan was to head to Odawara and then start the ascent to Hakone, on the same road MOB took the other day. I wanted to avoid taking the easy option of heading straight down to the sea and taking busy route 1 to Odawara. Much better doing that on 2 January, with the roads cleared for the ekiden relay marathon. So I had found a series of roads that led from Hadano through the hills to Odawara, hopefully with relatively little traffic. That turned out to be true, in fact very true the further we got. I had missed a turn down the small mountain into the valley lying before Odawara. We kept climbing up and up instead, eventually ending on a mountain (Fudosan) that turned out to be one big plantation of mikans. The only traffic there were farmers heading into the hills for harvest, and actually truck (mini-van) loads of them.

We could not resist tasting some – very fresh and nice indeed!
By the time we had finished this picnic detour and finally arrived in Odawara, it was past 14:00, so we gave up on the idea of climbing up to Hakone and descending in the half dark and with likely very strong headwind to Atami, and called it a day.
A modest 121km with 1,300m of climbing.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, James, Mob

Wanted to Buy – 59 60 or 61cm Road Frame

 Please forgive this „Wanted“ classified ad.

I’m looking for a road bike frame I can build up and use on my trainer this winter and as a second bike for training rides thereafter.  I don’t usually see anything in my size on sale in Japan, so I’ll buy from abroad (a store or via ebay) unless I can find someone who has one they want to sell here locally.

I’ll probably be confined to the trainer (with a somewhat upright riding position) until my shoulder is well recovered, so the trainer will see its first sustained use in several years.  But I dare not put my Cervelo frame on the trainer, since I cracked another frame on a trainer a few years back.

I need something less expensive than, but as strong as the Cervelo.  I’ll use the bulletproof set of wheels that Nagai-san built me recently, and try the „Powercranks“ that I’m going to order.  I’ve fit frames in the 59cm to 61cm (center-to-center, actual or virtual) sizes, with a 58-59cm (actual or virtual) top tube.  58 cm would be too small in most manufacturers (especially Trek).  The geometry of my size 61 Cervelo R3-SL is shown at the bottom of this linked page.

Any ideas are welcome — if you have a frame or more you want to sell, or if you have a strong recommendation.  If I don’t get any leads quickly, I’ll go ahead and pull the trigger and order something from the US or UK so I can build it up in early January.

(P.S. As for other parts:  I also could use a spare Ultegra or 105 gruppo (without crankset or cassette) if someone has that  together with the frame, and also some 44cm handlebars (harder to find in Japan than smaller sizes).  I have a bunch of parts already — crankset, cassette, a nice new carbon seat post (27.2mm) that would be fine with a traditional geometry frame but is too short for me to use with the sloping/compact Cervelo), a very solid used Reynolds Ouzo Pro 1 1/8″ carbon fork, FSA integrated headset, FSA 110mm (or 120mm?) stem for oversized (31.8?) handlebars, all waiting to be put on a bike, and I’ve ordered a spare saddle.)

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Call to ride : Saturday, December 19th

Start :
FUTAGOTAMAGAWA STATION 06:25hr (Jerome and Eric)
later meeting points possible

Route :
from Futago along the Tamagawa to Tamagawahara and then along One-Kan and Tank Road to Hashimoto Station (Second meeting point at 8 AM)

Tsukui North road to Doshi Michi at the Yabitsu entry and up to Yabitsu Pass.

Down on the other side to Hadano, on a Rindo branching off from the main road at the observation parking space (not ridden yet).

First escape point :
Hadano station, return with bike bag by Odakyu Line

Through Hadano and the like to road #1 in direction Odawawa and Hakone. Up to Hakone on the old Tokkaido.

Second escape point :
From Hakone over Jukoku pass to Atami, back with bike bag and Shinkansen

Along Ashinoko lake to Gotemba and up on Mikuni pass to Yamanako.

Goal :
Kawaguchi or Fuji-Yoshino Station
[for those who will make it]

So far in :
Jerome, Eric, James, mob

Type :
long stretches of ups and downs followed by a 400m climb up to Yabitsu (moderately steep), nice and fast downhill follows

Flat thru the wastelands

Followed by a 700m climb up to Hakone

To Atami: the most beautiful downhill road in Japan
To Yamanakako : most gruesome climb up to Mikuni pass, extremely steep & demanding

Speed :
As most of us are out of shape : competitive.

Weather :
Should be dry, but cold, in the 0 – 5 degree region.

Everybody is welcomed to join us (Positivieure, Cattenis, TCCler, NFCCeuse, anybody.
Drop a comment.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, James, Jerome, Mob


Thanks to Snoogly for this one.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Mob

Cyclocross Nationals Gear. Everything must go!

„I am looking for a good home for all of my cyclocross gear. You will need a large garage or basement to house my collection. With the 2010 cyclocross season 9 months away just think of all the time you will save if you buy all of my stuff.

My loss is your gain. I am selling everything I own that involves cyclocross. I had the car packed and was headed to Bend for cyclocross nationals. The weather report and course conditions sounded brutal. I searched deep into my soul, and I have become too soft to finish my 2009 CX season. This sport has broken my heart and crushed my dreams for possibly the last time. Everything must go. Everything is included. If you win this auction you will have everything you will ever need to race cyclocross, and look like a complete pro. I have decided that I enjoy buying cyclocross stuff more than racing it. So do me a favor and buy it all. Unfortunately for me I will probably buy most of it back piece by piece on Ebay later this summer when my mental stability and optimism return. Maybe I will return in 2010 rocking the one cog? Just think how much simpler and cheaper that would be. My motivation is high…. my spirits are low. Everthing listed below is real and is yours if you BID.“

 As seen on eBay

He adds the following in his write-up..

„99% of cycling is looking cool, and you are going to look like a damn rock star. I am including what is left of my ENDUROX CHOCOLATE recovery drink. About 1/3 of the can is left. This stuff will make you fart like mad, but if you mix it with some milk and coffee it tastes like Starbucks.“

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