Monatsarchiv: Januar 2010

Miura Loop

After James had bailed out of riding on Saturday because of his entire family catching the Noro virus on Friday and MOB because his adult family caught too much alcohol that same evening, and Tom indicated he was keen to join his VLAAMS team sortie rather than doing another Miura loop with me, I was left to explore the peninsula all by myself.
I left home to ride to Machida where I wanted to get onto the cycling path along the Sakaigawa river leading all the way to Fujisawa. After a small unintended detour in Machida which took me through endless social housing areas, I found the river. I quickly understood why Tom had described it as „not that nice and certainly not fast but best alternative“. It starts like one of these small rivers running through western Tokyo (e.g. Sengawa): deep river bed with only a creek flowing inside, small paved path on both sides, houses of various beauty on either side. But the landscape kept varying the further I went, and it never got boring. Eventually, Sakaigawa becomes a bigger river running through fields, and one feels like cycling through the countryside. After crossing route 246, it becomes an official cycling road, and becomes altogether more fast paced. Nonetheless, there are the occasional road crossings, sometimes with quite some traffic. Traffic on the cycling path is rather modest and nothing as bad as along the Tamagawa.
The cycling road ends without much of an indication in Fujisawa, and from there it is another few kilometres until one hits the coast at Enoshima.
I took route 137 towards Misaki, making a small detour through Hayama to avoid the heavier traffic on the main road.
It had become quite warm and I felt I was dressed to warmly for 13 degrees in the sun. Mount Fuji loomed nicely behind Enoshima, though not as clearly visible as otherwise because of the humidity.

In Misaki, I crossed half of the bridge to Jogajima, to enjoy the great views of the harbour below and once again Mount Fuji further afar.

It was still relatively early for lunch (not yet 11am), but I was hoping to drop by Tom’s favourite restaurant just outside Misaki, along the coastal road towards the east. Alas, I missed it and by the time that became apparent, I did not feel like cycling back. Had I actually visited the restaurant, I would have just left it when Tom would have arrived with his VLAAMS team. Too bad we missed each other – but I could not know as Tom had declared he didn’t want to do Miura again…
The views of the radish and cabbage fields as well as the sea and Boso Hanto (Chiba) further afar, distracted me from the head wind I was now facing.
Cycling through every corner of the peninsula, I eventually made it to Kannonzaki, a historical place from where Edo had been protected from potential invaders.
Now I had to head north, on the less interesting side of Miura Hanto. Initially all was well and I was sailing in nice backwind. But then I hit route 45 and things became ugly. The road is double-laned, but rather narrow, and in the frequent short tunnels, the lanes become really narrow. Traffic is heavy and fast, and many drivers took exception to a cyclist blocking their progress at the speed of only 35-40km/h. I was quite angry being honked at frequently, and didn’t feel save being harassed by cars getting excessively close.
Beyond Yokosuka, I turned off towards Kamakura – up a short but steep pass and down into the town. I realised I hadn’t been to Kamakura in ages and never seen many of its nice temples. I stopped briefly at Hachimangu where a guide was very keen to speak to me in English and try to help me with the way. Unfortunately I was better off with my map than him explaining to me that I should ask for the way again a few kilometres down the road…
I made it to Ofuna from where things should have been easy. However, my map was outdated as it missed newer roads and there were never any road signs whatsoever! I got somewhat lost, ending up in a residential area up a hill. It was time to pull out my BlackBerry, connect it to my GPS (via Bluetooth) and find out where I was. Actually close to route 1 and not that much off track.
I found route 1, made a U-turn on this monster road, went down into Totsuka, turned onto Chogo Kaido, then Kamakura Michi, which led me eventually to Nakahara Kaido. From there it was another 30km to Kannana, and another 10km home. I got briefly lost very close to MOB’s home – maybe that was some telepathic attempt of his to lure me to his house, which I was keen to avoid as I would have otherwise hit darkness on the way home.
A relatively easy 207km (maymyride says 800m of climbing, but I think it was more as the many smaller hills in urban areas don’t get captured well), but overall quite stressful with so much traffic around me, for all but the 30km along the Sakaigawa cycling road. My face was rather black when I got home.

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A fateful day out

Last Sunday was quite a fateful day, for many, as it would turn out. And not only because we sighted an UFO in front of a shop after descending from Wada Toge…
James, MOB and I met at Tamagawahara bridge for a late start at 8:00am to help MOB overcome his jet lag. As we were chatting, a group of Positivo Catteni riders passed, so we hurried to catch them and show them who the A team – excuse me, the B team (according to our new rules) – was. I had them in no time, James soon after, and MOB eventually after he had recovered from his jet lag. I don’t know how Catteni recovered from this fateful shock – we never saw them again.
From Kunitachi we were sure we were invincible and slowed down to a leisurely pace to make sure the social side of our ride wouldn’t get a short thrift. Once off the Tamagawa and on the way up to Itsukaichi, I pulled up the pace – I just find it hard to take hills or mountains slowly.

We took our first pit stop at the convenience store (see PE rules for definition in case this is not yet clear to everyone) just beyond Itsukaichi. Steve from TCC was doing the same thing, and after some chatting which James found hard to end, we invited him to join us for a slightly more demanding ride than he had had in mind for himself. This had the added advantage of having a guide to the entry to Daigo Rindo – though it was really not hard to find.
Daigo Rindo was a first for the three of us. Hard to understand why we had not „discovered“ it before. I only learnt about it recently from Tom’s blog. It is a very nice rindo following a low river valley. No traffic except for the occasional hunter car. There is a stretch where the road is unpaved, but quite manageable to cross with normal racing tyres.
Unable to go slowly as usual, James and I put quite some distance between MOB and us, Steve being closer to us than MOB. As we waited somewhere for MOB, he arrived showing us proudly the below photo of a forlorn toilet in the middle of the forest, which we had missed noticing, but which served as a decent excuse for falling behind.

The rindo becomes increasingly steep, and James and I raced up the last few kilometers to the top, keen to get in some exercise.

The descent was very nice, and soon we found ourselves on the rindo approaching Wada Toge from the north. No hints of snow or ice, and all the autumn leaves gone. James and I went for our second training race. I didn’t have to wait long for him at Wada Toge, but this time Steve and MOB took quite a bit longer than the first time. The witch and her husband gave us some distraction as we were waiting.

We descended Wada and stopped at a store where we saw this UFO. Actually, many of them. So many that Steve couldn’t finish them all by himself and we had to all help. How much we were longing for a convenience store!
We continued climbing through the golf courses and then up to Kobo Tunnel. Down the other side, we waived goodbye to MOB who was clearly not yet back in form and decided to head for Itsukaichi, and after fixing a flat tyre by replacing it with another leaking tyre, for Hachioji.
The three of us attacked Kazahari Toge. I had promised Steve we would ride together on such a long climb, but found myself unable to keep my promise, longing for a heart rate of at least 155. The faster pace afforded me with a nice view on top.
The descent to Okutamako was incredibly cold. It was barely above zero and the 600m descent felt incredibly long. James claims he clocked 79.9km/h somewhere, but I find this hard to believe since no stretch is steep and long enough to reach such a speed without pedalling, on a standard crank (which he does not have).
More likely that this guy was speeding at that speed when he hit the railings of a bridge.
This was the sight that presented itself to us as we were only a kilometre away from the end of the road. The driver was sitting on the bridge a few meters away from the car, wiping off blood from his head. He was surrounded by lots of friends who had parked their cars not far from the site. Being a trained paramedic, I examined him briefly, and he seemed quite OK. An ambulance had already been called. Later we saw him walking around, examining his wrecked car while smoking a cigarette. It seemed no other vehicle was involved, and he must have lost control over his car on one of these crazy racing excursions up Kazahari.
They’ve banned motorcycles from the road (and indeed it was a lot more peaceful than before). Now it is time to ban cars too!
After the first police car arrived, we left the accident. It was 3:30pm, and the natural choice would have been to cycle to Okutama, maybe Ome, and return home by train from either place.
However, I thought I knew a faster route home. Only the other day, two women in a hamlet approaching Kosuge had confirmed the newly built tunnel below Matsuhime was open. Earlier signs near the entrance of the road had said the construction works would finish in November. So rather than climbing up all the way to Matsuhime Toge at 1,250m, we could just cycle to the tunnel entrance – just about 150m higher than Okutamako – sail through it and then descend to Otsuki, from where we could catch a fast train back. I convinced Steve this was the easiest way for him to get home. James was up for anything.
When we got to the entrance of the tunnel road, however, the road was still closed. We still went onto it, but after the first small tunnel, the road simply ended, with no signs of any construction to connect it to the longer tunnel (which we know exists because it can be seen from the other side).
It was 16:20 by now – making it impossible to get to any train station in day-light. Steve opted for Okutama – more or less all the way downhill, but also with many flat stretches and at least 30km to go. He was prepared with lights for the last bit in the dark.
I opted to climb up Matsuhime Toge with James. A rare chance to do Matsuhime in winter, and knowing we would not arrive at Otsuki much later than Steve at Okutama.
The ascent was very quiet. It was zero degrees and the air was very crisp, affording great views of the surrounding mountains in the sunset. We both still had sufficient energy for the climb, but were nonetheless nervous to make it up, knowing that any minute would count against the impending arrival of darkness.
It was 17:05 when we reached the top. The view was stunning – much nicer than usual when humidity or even clouds obscure the view. Even Mount Fuji was peaking out nicely behind a mountain range.
We put on everything we had and took the plunge of 950 vertical metres down to Sarubashi. The initial part was again freezing cold. I soon caught up with a noisy sports car making its way down. All my tailgating with flashing lights was to no avail – he would not let me pass. Beyond the tunnels where the road loses its steepness, I could no longer follow and waited for James instead.
Now already deep into the valley, it was getting really dark. I was equipped with a small flash light for the front – strong enough to be seen, but not strong enough to see anything. James didn’t even have a front light. The stretches between hamlets became guess work. Fortunately, having descended the road a couple of times, I knew quite well what to expect – even remembered where the bigger bumps were in the road. James appeared to be less confident and didn’t want to stay close to my rear light for too long, so I had to wait for him every now and then.
Eventually we made it to Sarubashi where we took a rest at the convenience store (since Otsuki has only a shop on the way to the station, no convenience store). When we got back onto our bikes, we were both shivering like mad – even the pedalling in the lower parts had not warmed us up that much and downing lots of cold drinks did not help to warm us from the inside.
We felt much better after the short climb to Otsuki, and were lucky to be able to jump onto a well warmed train quickly.
170km with almost 3,000m of climbing – not bad for a cold winter day. Fate had served James and me well. I just feel sorry for everyone else we encountered that day.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, James, Mob, tcc

Positivo Espresso Team Rules, Draft #1

1. Orange (or other brightly colored) kit is strongly encouraged, but under no circumstances should a member feel obliged to wear the Dutch national kit.
2. Training = Ride lots.
3. Gym (or any indoor) training should be done „on the quiet.“
4. White bibshorts not encouraged.  Too homoerotic.
5. No beards, except during December through February, or while recovering from (1) an accident, (2) loss of a U.S. Presidential election (must have been candidate of a major party in the general election — primaries do not count), or (3) white collar criminal indictment.
6. If male teammate insists on wearing a necklace or chain of any type, must be kept hidden.
7. Official recovery drink is beer, especially for returns to Tokyo via train.
8. No sleeveless jerseys (a.k.a. „wife beaters“).  Exception for Jerome only in July/August.
9. No „short shorts.“  Exception for Jerome only, March to October.
10.  No discussion of mountain bikes except to compare unfavorably to road bikes.  (The „keep James quiet“ rule).
11. Tradition requires at least one futile diversion per ride with Michael K.  Permitted examples:  (1) Mitake-san cable car entrance, (2) Nenogongen hilltop temple, (3) Shiroyama Dam, (4) Rte 76 spur South of Doshimichi, or (5) Matsuhime bypass tunnel (only prior to road completion).
12. No copying the „Eurocyclist“ rules.
13. At least one JCRC Champion each year — D Class or better.
14. Aurore Bakery, Oume.
15. Members are encouraged to take team kit — at least jersey — on overseas trips for photo opportunities in exotic locations.
16. Shin-nen-kai — Restaurant Davis, Takanawa.
17. Recruit women riders, please!
18. No mention of rides less than 100 km, unless (1) race warm-up, (2) post-race warm-down, (3) time trial, or (3) involves climbing more than 2000 meters elevation.
19. For morning departures as a „train“ of riders heads out of Tokyo – Ebisu, Futako, Sekidobashi, etc., no more than 5 minute wait.
20. Convenience store policy — Seven Eleven only.  (Exceptions to come).
21. Never buy anything from the witch of Wada Pass.
22. Please eat at kind Mrs. Watanabe’s countryside establishment.  Examples — the cafeteria at Okutama-ko (add link), the ramen shop just over the west side of Otarumi, past Takao, the Manjyu-shop on Rte. 35 SW from Uenohara, (others).
23.  Assos, Rapha and F2P?
24.  When discussing Positivo Espresso, always refer to the „B“ team.  There is no „A“ team.  We also have a „C“ team.

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Tour de France 2009 – Résumé / Highlights

„The final stage is all about enjoying the arrival in Paris and then contesting the bout for stage honors but by the time the peloton reaches the French capital the fight for the yellow jersey had already concluded. Alberto Contador would end the 21st stage in 97th place but first overall. He is the second Spanish rider to claim more than one titles in the Tour de France, successfully backing up after his previous appearance and victory in 2007. The final stage, however, provided Mark Cavendish with another chance to show that he is indeed the fastest man in the world when it comes to sprinter. If you ever doubted it, watch the finale of stage 21 and again and count the time it takes for the rest of the riders to cross the line his nearest rival was the Australian lead-out master Mark Renshaw who celebrated an emphatic victory, the sixth for the Columbia team all of them claimed by Cavendish.“

Dominic sent me this link and I thought it was too good to not post. It was pretty good last year. A resurgence. This year will be better. Can’t wait.

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Genius And Informative?

A Periodic Table of all of the main cycling events for 2010! Perfect for those of us that dream of riding while at work or just want to look super intelligent while also trying to remember when the „Tour of Flanders“ is.

Print it out, laminate it and bring it to class boys and girls~!

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The Powercranks are here and on the bike!  Initial impressions … will be added in comments.  David L.


What say you Mr. Litt?

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Positivo Espresso Rulebook

Good point by Ludwig. And further elaborated during our club ride yesterday in the mountains of …somewhere. We definitely are in need of a Positivo Espresso Rulebook so that we know what we are talking about when we say „Convinience Store “ [defined as approved 7-Elevens, Lawsons and Family Mart] as opposed to shops [Daily Yamazaki et al.]. I suggest that we all come prepared with some good proposals to the club meeting on Thursday and combine them into a thick volume.

9 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2010, Mob

Tsukino Ride Report

Just thought I would let you know Tsukino has posted a ride report on the blog here.

Normally on the weekend we ride about 20km along the river that runs through Tsurugamine but recently I have discovered a closed road that is less than a year old and totally devoid of traffic, also at the end of it is a huge car park again totally abandoned and perfect for Tsukino to train without the worry of traffic.

Anyway head over to the blog to get the full ride report and more photos.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, James

Who’s in for a little Miura Loop tomorrow?

Miura Loop tomorrow?

Since our group is so dispersed, I propose to meet at 10:00 (or I would be comfortable with 9:00 like on the picture too…) in front of Enoshima Bridge…

The idea is to do a slow ride circumnavigating the peninsula.  Therefore even members out of shape (MOB, etc.) or still far removed from peak form (James, etc.) are welcome to join this one.

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Eingeordnet unter Tom

"Can I help you sir?"
Who are you honking at? from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.

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