Monatsarchiv: Februar 2010

The Down-Jones Index

Yesterday I made a mid-range, run of the mill ride from my house to Onekan, Tank Road and further on to the North Tsukui lake road. So far nothing special.

But on the map I had discovered, that the road around Tsukui lake is actually continuing from the point where we normally make a left turn and fly downwards towards the suspension bridge over the Tuskui lake. So I continued to stay on the small road and after crossing two barriers I found myself completely alone on the abandoned road which is much the same as the beautiful North road itself. I fail to understand why this road was given up a long time ago, as this seems to be an extremely important trunk road connecting the suburbs of Tsukui with those of the villages in the shadows of Otarumi. Road conditions were very poor, some landslides, a lot of debris on the surface and most of the time I had to walk. But after a while I came to a second barrier and I continued on the normal road up to the point where we are normally, coming from Otarumi, take a right turn and cross the bridge first, followed by the tunnel on the way to Tsukui.

A very nice distraction but perhaps better suited for MTBs or cyclo cross bikes.

It was a beautiful,warm, almost-spring day and on the top of Otarumi I thought it would be nice if we would have had lists for downhills as well as for the uphill time trials we are doing. As Otarumi from the Takao side was the first uphill TT we posted on the blog, the opposite downhill would be the appropriate start for the downhill TT which I called for ease of reference the Down-Jones Index (DJI); an expression commonly known to riders from the PE team.

To achieve a good downhill time can also we a nice consolation if your uphill time isn’t that good.

So, I went down in 7:05 min which is probably not very good, but at least a time to start with. See the list on the right.

This corresponds to about 45 km/hr average speed. Please feel free to beat this. But be careful, Otarumi was not the first time I thought about the DJI. The first time was on Yabitsu two weeks ago and then I crashed pretty badly.

Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2010, Cervelo Soloist, Mob


3 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter Uncategorized

39th Annual Tokyo-Itoigawa Fast Run, 294 km, Saturday May 22

I received a mailing for the Tokyo-Itoigawa event recently with the application materials.  This was one of the events that created the legend that is Positivo Espresso today.  At least it created the legend that is the Positivo Espresso blog.

Tom S., our medal contender in the event, will be riding with the Vlaams team as he did last year, going for the gold.  We need at least a 4-5 person team who are willing to draft/ride together (well, much of the time) to make this a success.  If we can get a team together, I’m planning to aim my training toward this event and then Fuji Hill Climb a few weeks later. 

Entries are due in a few weeks, and are capped at 290 persons, with a lottery in case of over subscription (so no guarantees).  Team entries only, not individuals.  Start is from Takao at an ungodly hour, and then after celebrating the victory overnight at Itoigawa, one returns by train on Sunday morning.  I believe there is a bus back Saturday night as well, if needed.  The materials are all Japanese language, so I’m happy to act as team secretary to organize this if others are interested and willing to commit well in advance of the deadline (March 13).  Let me know.

6 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter Uncategorized

Road Drop Bar Geometry

Everything you ever wanted to know about drop bar bends

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter Uncategorized


from right to left : Deej, Clay, Yair, Jules, two unrelated riders, Setsuko (perhaps)
No Davids in sight. Also no slot machines.

When we planned to organize a classic ride on Sunday, we didn’t know that this would draw the biggest group in team history. And for some reason it comprised of only one David, actually the original one, now with beard. And, of course it became an undisciplined, unorganized „recovery“ ride in the typical fashion of our team.

I woke up early in the morning still with very heavy knees as a result of the 200 km trip the day before with Ludwig where we circumferenced the Hakone mountains. Already on the way to the meeting point at the Tamagawa I noticed that I could barely ride 30 km/hr in the flat, neither force my heart rate to go over 155 BPM. But not to worry, as this was an official Positivo Espresso „recovery ride“. So I expected some fast pace along the Tamagawa until everybody burned out and then a leisurely ride up to Otarumi and Tsukui.
Well I arrived on time at Tamagawahara bridge and already a large crowd has gathered, not only the usual Positivo suspects such as David, Jerome, Dominic (David), Bryon, Yair, James (David) and Michael on his Cervelo with new Shimano Di-3 (this is an upgrade from Di-2 which includes a small electrical assistance motor, invisble to the human eyes), but also Fumiki and his friends „Ko“ and „Sho“ (together they ride under the name 故障) and Deej and Jules from the TCC. I was tempted to collect participation fees and ride home (150 Yen for PE members, 15 million Yen for first timers) as a free and rich man.

And while I was talking with Fumiki as he casually mentioned „Everybody’s riding already“ and I turned my head just to see our group taking the first bend at the horizon. So we had to hurry up and chase behind the peloton. It was impossible to catch up as everybody in the front group pedalled as fast as they could and there was a strong headwind that we had to overcome. Finally at the bridge after Sekidobashi we caught up but at this point we have lost already Bryon and either Ko or Sho, not sure. The tempo was just murderous for me and I was looking forward to the point where everybody would relax; this was supposed to be a „recovery“ ride.

We then rode the usual road along the Asagawa where we encountered a dispatchment of stormtroopers or perhaps baseball kids and where we left a mildly negative impression on the local population. Little girls were graping there teddy bears tightly and small boys looked up to there mothers, saying „Mama, when I am big I want to become a foreign bicycle rider.“ „Rather I will set fire to the house and kill the whole family.“

We somehow made it to the Takao 7-Eleven where we re-grouped and linked up with Tom, Hiroshi, Nishibe and Clay from TCC. To the neutral outside observer we must have looked like a very fast group thanks to the strong additions from other teams.

I spoke with Jules and he asked me „Are you the guy with scars all over your leg?“ How did he know? Where my lovely deadhead-diapers lurking out from the bib trousers? But I agree, scars on the legs are even cooler than shaved legs. And they hurt more. But the part of my body that hurts the most was my behind, as I did more than 400 km of cycle riding the last five days. I will refrain from posting pictures here.

Then we started the Otarumi TT and even before the official starting point Tom, James, Deej, Clay, Hiroshi, Fumiki and Jules went off like rockets while I stayed with Nishibe, Yair and David in a second group, followed by Dominic, Ko, Michael, Jerome.

On the top of Otarumi we took a group shot to document this historic event (more riders then average blogviews per day in 2008).

From there on we continued downhill and then took the classic turn to Tsukui lake. All of this still at very high speeds. Things became a little chaotic. I guess all of us took the left turn at the Circle K that leads to the Tsukui North road, but then not all of us went along the North side and definitely many lost track when we rode into Hashimoto. David proposed to ride his favourite backroad shortcut and I was hanging on for dear life, as I had no idea where I was and in case I got lost, it would have taken me days to find the way back to Onekan.

Somehow we managed to re-group at the Starbucks 7-Eleven at Onekan, but in the process we had lost Tom, Michael and Dominic who rode home on their own.

Deej, Clay and Jules started first on the Onekan, followed by Jerome, me and the rest of the pack. Just a few hundred meters behind the tunnel we saw Deej who was screwed. No, I don’t mean that he was bonking, I mean, to be precise, that his tire got screwed by a app. 20 mm wooden screw, NiCr plated, judging from the look, probably made in China. After making sure that he was OK and had everything he needs for repair we continued along the Onekan and at one point I met David and Fumiki again while finally continuing leisurely with James along the Tsurumigawa home. Fumiki said that he enjoyed the ride-out but that he would now ride into the mountains to do some more serious things.

At least the last 20 km or so I had the feeling of a „recovery“ ride.
So I guess it is time to propose two or three things here to „avoid confusion in the market place“ (the most favourite quote by Japanese business executives when a company/competitor starts to do things differently than before):


Well, the Cervelo Test Team is called so because in addition to racing, it also fulfils the role of testing the Cervelo bikes under severe conditions. We do not belong to a bicycler maker (well, Prolite, perhaps), and therefore we are not testing any bikes. But we constantly test the well being, patience, nerves and physical composure of all team members and therefore we rightfully deserve the name „test team“.


Recovery Ride – As opposed to the common understanding of a recovery ride in standard cycling, a Positivo Espresso recovery ride is defined by the fact that most of the riders attending, will be recovered sooner or later from the roads by firefighters, ambulances or archaeologists eventually („Hm, high BMI index and DuraAce 7800 group set – probably an investment banker from the early 21st century I would guess.“). The average speed will be ridiculous high and climbs can be long and painful. However, regardless of distance and elevation, a recovery ride must include a statement in the official announcement that it will be finished in the early hours of the afternoon.


Again, if it comes to organisation of rides and freedom of individual members to do what they please, Positivo Espresso is second only to Bakunin. I understand that some of us are not happy with this and I can understand their point of view. On the other hand, the quest to get our unorganized, undisciplined team changed, i.e. to ride organized, perhaps even in a paceline (!) and stay together has been undertaken by many brave souls and not led to any success so far. I also feel that I am lacking the divine powers to change this. So perhaps it is more important to change expectations. An organized rides, in Positivo Espresso fashions means, that we meet in a somewhat organized fashion.

Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2010, David, Hiroshi, James, Jerome, Mob, Nishibe, tcc, Tom

Saturride Full Story

Mishima and Atami are two adjacent stops on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. By Shinkansen train, it takes precisely 8 minutes to travel. It took Ludwig and me almost 10 hours on Saturday.Shinkansen lines are almost straight, direct lines, connecting points with each others. Moreover, they rarely cover higher elevations, so a lot of tunneling and bridging works are required to built these railways. As we didn’t dare to run with our bikes on the Shinkansen tracks, the second best option to ride from Mishima to Atami is to take natinal road number 1 which leads through Hakone and includes a nasty and congested climb and a ridiculously steep downhill from Atami Toge. Yes, 32 km of joyless riding over some big hills. Conclusion: The best way to get from A to B is not necessarily the shortest straight line. Ludwig and me wanting to avoid the mountains, chose the road which circumferences the mountain ridge at Hakone. Unfortunately the ridge continues until the tip of Izu peninsular so our trip on Saturday looked like this:I admit that we cheated in the very South and took a shortcut over Jaishi Toge which turned out to be the highest pass of the day at 370 m elevation.

This time we found the way out of Mishima rather fast and arrived at the West coast road in time when suddenly I felt my leg hurting and my bicycle moving somehow strange. A short inspection revealed, that I have broken another spoke on my Zonda rear wheel, the one next to the one which has been exchanged last month. Luckily Ludwig had a spoke wrench tool with him so we could somehow true the wheel and continue to Atami.The West coast was beautiful as always with blue skies but too dizzy to see mount Fuji in the back. Although the road runs along the coast, there are a lot of ups and downs and it is not easy to keep a good pace. So when we arrived at Matsuzaki, we opted to take the Jaishi road, which was also more pleasant to ride than the rather busy main road along the coast.In Shimoda we met David (another one, not one of the Davids mentioned recently on this blog) and took a look at his sailing boat which he is currently outfitting for the trip from Shimoda to Sydney. He told me before about his plans so I expected a huge boast, two masts at least, perhaps 20 meters long, cannons sticking out from every possible opening, the Jolly Rodger hoisted at the top… but no, this was a rather small boat, which looks to be suitable to cross the Tamagawa for example. But again, I am no expert in sailing.We approved the port but not the boast and then continued to have a quick lunch at the Lawson in front of Shimoda station. Is it OK under Japanese regulations to sit in front of convenience stores in urban locations and check mails on the Blackberry?Now we had a nice tailwind when we rode North along the East coast. But there was also a lot of traffic which was due to the fact that many visitors came to see the blooming plum trees in Izu. Or perhaps the blooming cherry trees. Ludwig and me saw a lot of blooms along the way, but he being an economist and me being an engineer, we couldn’t decide whether they were plums of cherries. Or both.For the first time this year I had the feeling that spring is now knocking on the door. Spring, the season where you suddenly fall in love with the girl selling Tofu at the local supermarket and you start to plan ridiculous long cycling tours for the summer.

Traffic became now really terrible. And drivers in Izu are bad. Or perhaps they are from Tokyo and want to return as fast as possible and they are ready with there nerves.And some of them don’t brake for cyclists. This might be, because they drive Toyotas and they don’t brake for anything because they cannot brake at all.

I started to think about what would have happened if the recent quality issues with Toyota would have happened with Shimano group sets and which countermeasures could be enacted:

„Dear Shimano Dura Ace 7800 group set customer. We are sorry to inform you that under certain circumstances the following situation might happen: You are riding on your bike and you want to brake, however instead of braking you feel the urge to pedal full speed ahead as fast as you can go. Even if you brake you cannot come to a stop any longer. If this has happened, please bring your bike to an authorized Shimano dealer who will upgrade your bike so that in case you pedal full speed and you pull both brake levers as hard as you can, the crank will disengage from the front cog and you will come to an immediate, sudden and perhaps painful stop.“

Now, we took another longer road to avoid the traffic shortly before Ito city (the pointless ride tradition )and I could convince Ludwig that we must complete our original goal and reach Atami in daylight. Which we actually did. Just milli-seconds before the last photon of the day was shot in direction Atami station from the sun, we managed to arrive and take a wonderful evidence photo.

All in all, it was for both of us a trip that involved more than 200 km distance and more than 2.300 meters elevation. I still wonder if we wouldn’t have been faster going over Hakone.

Additional impressions added by Ludwig:

Izu is clearly a lot warmer than the mountains to the west of Tokyo. No trace of snow anywhere, and while we never made it above 340m or so, I think even the highest passes of the peninsula (close to 1,000m) would have been completely free of snow and ice. Worth remembering for future excursions in winter.

As with Miura Hanto, national roads on Izu are pretty horrible. Those on the west side of the island are about as busy as on Miura. The road from Shimoda via Ito to Atami is still a lot worse. It was basically one long traffic jam of 80km, complete with aggressive and reckless driving tourist buses (coaches). The views, especially in the south, are really great, but the traffic is rather too dangerous to do this again.

The kendo stretch on the west side is much more pleasant to ride though not free of traffic either. A few rather long climbs which add to the grand total we did on the day.

This is also where I met a friendly Japanese rider who turned out to be a half pro: racing among the top riders in the top class of Jitsugyodan, the top amateur cycling league in Japan. Also one of the top riders in last year’s Fuji Hill Climb. We rode together for maybe 10km until I decided to let him go and wait for MOB. I was pleased I was able to match his pace up the hills, even getting him (and of course also me) breathless. It was probably the first time I chatted while riding at a heart rate of over 170…

My ride was somewhat marred by problems with my dérailleur – gears were slipping frequently. No matter how I adjusted the tension, the problem would not go away. And unlike before, the dérailleur did not seem to be bend.

The next day I cleaned the bike and found that the dérailleur hanger was somewhat lose. But then I found that fixing it didn’t really solve the problem… I took the bike to Nagai-san’s and had it checked out. It took us a while to figure out that the cable had almost completely disintegrated inside the gear shifter and this was causing the problem. It was good I insisted on this before proceeding to having the cassette and dérailleur exchanged against a new set which I had order the other day.

I’m now riding with a SRAM Red OG-1090 11-28 cassette, which necessitated replacing the 7800 dérailleur against a 7900 one, because of the difference in capacity. 7800 gear shifter, 7900 derailleur, 7800 chain and SRAM Red cassette are working well together. The SRAM cassette is noisier than Shimano’s, because it is made out of one block and hollow inside. In some way that’s slightly irritating, in another it helps to hear immediately when a gear is not shifting properly. I’ll be curious to see what difference the 28 vs 27 will make in the mountains, and the 11 vs 12 on fast runs downhill or with the wind.

9 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2010, Cervelo Soloist, Mob

PE Half-day Otarumi Classic a.k.a. BARABARA JITENSHA JIKEN !!

Thanks everyone for joining this morning’s ride & thanks MOB for having organized/coordinated this !

Screwed up the self-timer…apologies!! MOB, hope yours turned out OK….
(„Framed version“ of this pic here)

Ein Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter David, Hiroshi, James, Jerome, Mob, Nishibe, tcc, Tom

Saturday Ride


Shin-Yokohama, 06:30 AM
White frost and vapor from the river

END Atami Station, 05:30 AM
Mission accomplished

Will blog more tomorrow, but my body starts to fail me.

Hinterlasse einen Kommentar

Eingeordnet unter 2010, Mob

Officially Approved Italian Reststop

Dr. Florian and me, elected members of the Positivo Espresso – Nutrition Inspection Service (PE – NIS) paid a visit yesterday night to Amoroso, an Italian joint close to Ichigaya which was recommended by a team mate who had there „probably the best dinner of all year (2009)„.

It took a while until I finally could found a person and an occassion worthy enough the spend big Yen at this restaurant.

The inspection went without problems. Apart from the food (we opted for wild boar, among others) which was excellent, the highlight of the evening was when diretorre Maeda went deep into his refrigerating hall and came back with a vintage bottle of Bitburger Pils (2009) beer from Germany. I nice change after approximately 20 different red and white wines.

And we are glad to announce that we have now a viable alternative to 7-Elevens at least in the area around Ichigaya, on almost every day of the week after 18.30hr. Provided you make a reservation at least one week in advance.

Finally a post in the tradition of Japanese cycling blog sites where more photos of food than of cycles can be seen.

3 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2010, Mob

Sunday Feb 21st Classic Ride

I am thinking about doing the classic Ebisu – Tamagawa – Otarumi (Takao) – Tsukui North Lake – Tank Road -Onekan – Tamagawa – Ebisu ride this Sunday.

07:00 000 km Start Ebisu
07:30 010 km Meeting Point 1 : David House
08:00 020 km Meeting Point 2 : Tamagawaharabridge [Fumiki, James and me will join here]
09:15 048 km Rest Stop : Takao 7-Eleven
10:00 056 km Finish Climb HC Otarumi Time Trial
11:00 083 km Rest Stop 7-Eleven
12:00 103 km Split at Tamagawaharabashi
12:30 113 km Split at David House
13:00 123 km End at Ebisu

So 123 km loop from Ebisu, 103 km loop from Davids house and about 119 km loop from Yokohama roughly. 650m elevation up. Not sure about times before Tamagawaharabashi, I guess James, Michael and Dominic know much better how much time is required.

As this is the classic Sunday ride, I entered it at Mapmyride here.
Please let me know who is it interested to join.

15 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2010, James, Mob