Archiv der Kategorie: James

Jimmy from Azabu

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

Ekiden in Pictures

Rather than to add further writings about the Ekiden event, I post some of the pictures Ludwig and me took along the ride.Ok, I can not restrain myself and will add some comments nevertheless. This also should serve as a reminder when I plan the event next year again.

It took me about 45 minutes from my house to the meeting point at Route 15 at the Tamagawa. The meeting point is easy to miss if you come from Tokyo as one has to leave the main road and ride down from the flyover.

James and Dominic came shortly thereafter and as the Tokyo group was not in sight we started at 8:25. The first part is not so pleasant, I found. There is still a lot of traffic, many police on the streets and many red traffic lights. One is probably as fast as the runners on this stretch.

We kept our group together, had some talks with the police here and there and then one of the spokes of my rear wheel decided to break. As I was organizing and perhaps a little bit more nervous than usual, one spoke missing made me even more nervous. The wheel was still true but I limited myself to about 40 km/hr on the downhills.

We were late for the meeting point in Fujisawa but Kori has hold out there, so I was happy that this went well, after we have missed the Tokyo group or vice versa.After Fujisawa is there is a fast stretch on the coast road where we gained alot of time and where riding was fun with Fuji-san clearly visible right in front of us. Also Ludwig and David A caught up with us there.

Then we all had together a last break an a Combini in Odawara before the serious portion of the ride started. Now Ludwig was also pushing to start, so I could relax a little bit from my organizing role. It was clear that we wouldn’t stay together as a group on the climb from the beginning.

I don’t know why, but the road between Odawara and Moto-Hakone is not a very pleasant one. There is only a slightly incline, but it feels like 10%. And we almost got stopped by a policeman again, but Ludwig and me could ignore him and continue. We could also see another pair of pinchers from hell on the rights ide of the road, but they refrained from grabing us.

At the beginning of the official Togebaka climb at Asahikawa Bridge, Ludwig, James and me were together with me leading and the others were somewhere behind. We stayed together for about 6 or 7 minutes and then Ludwig and James went ahead. David A also overtook me some minutes later. But that was it, I overtook some more riders on the way up. The traffic was rather bad with a lot of buses and sometimes I had to squeeze my way up between a bus and a line of spectators. One time I even had to stop. And I was slowly running out of power. I particular dislike the slope after the Fujiya hotel which isn’t that steep again, but for some reasons hard.

Then I reached the huge Yunessun Onsen at about 600 m elevation and this is always the point on this climb where I think, OK I have almost made it and now it is only a few more meters. Some minutes later I was overtaking a struggling Japanese rider, I thought and shoute „Gambatte“ as encouragement, only to find out that it was Graham. I wanted to be up fast, so we didn’t talk too much and then I saw James taking a break at the roadside in front of me. Before he saw me, he started again and I could caught up with him. We then stayed together until the ENEOS gas station where he said „Oh, that was hard“, while I said „It is not over yet!“, as we still needed to go down one hill and do one more short climb. 55 minutes an something was not a shabby time for me, better than last year (always important) and much better than the 1:35 hr I needed some years ago. Ludwig was by now already at the goal.So James and me ride together into the finish area, seeing all the cheerleaders, hearing all the bands (Playing „Popeye, the sailorman“) and watching the Supporters of Tokyo Nogyo Daigaku (Agricultural University) swinging big radishes in support for their team.

I opted for the Assos Fugu jacket, which was the right choice for the first 20 minutes in the morning but was afterwards simply much too warm. Too cold was never an issue on this day. Luckily the day was sunny so I laid it upside down in the sun so that the sweat could dry.

Dominic also made it in front of the runners, very well done. And Graham as well.
So after watching some of the runners, we rode up to the Michi no Eki restaurant where we had some Soba and Udon and told each other our stories. Ludwig and me wore our JCRC championship jerseys of 2008 and 2009 and we made some photos.There was nobody elase coming so we made our way down to Atami. The traffic was bad up to Route 20, but from there onwards it was OK. The road was beautiful as usual, but I was very catious with me spokeless rear wheel so I didn’t enjoyed it as much as I do normally.
And in Atami we were greeted by an assortment of Geisha in the 60 – 96 years age bracket who congratulated Ludwig on his JCRC championship while all of us got there „Otoshidama“ from them.
Then back on the Shinkansen, very crowded but only 25 minutes to Shinyokohama for me with a beer in my hand.A very nice start into the 2010 riding season. I felt a little bit sorry about the rider we have left behind or didn’t made it, so as some of the other have checked with Yair, I checked with Kori later. As we started also much more earlier the climb this year, than last year, there was also les stress that the runners would overto\ake our leading group. And of course we were faster but I would assume that the last runner of Toyo is stil faster on the stretch between Odawara and the finish than I was. Amazing.

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, Cervelo Soloist, James, Mob

Ekiden – The big bad ride that proved to be more stressful than strenuous

[Copy of what I posted earlier on the TCC site]

Sorry I bungled the organization of the ride for the group starting from Otemachi.

I should have foreseen that we had some slower riders which meant that especially in the red-light jungle of Tokyo we would not be making up time against the runners.

Less foreseeable was that the police was much more aggressive this year than last (while still being arbitrary and random) in enforcing traffic restrictions ahead of time. Last year, we were at times about as close to the runners as this year, but never got pulled over. This was particularly strange on the climb to Moto-Hakone where I was much further ahead of the runners this year than last (last year I heard the support vehicles all the time, this year not at all; and I arrived just minutes ahead of the runners while this year I had to wait for half an hour to finally see them arriving at the finish): police asked us to stop several times, but as this was really not practical stopping right in front of roaring crowds with no space between them and the road, I always went on irrespectively.

So I’m sorry that the conbini stop ended up taking Trad, Yair, Miyuki and Aki out of the race, while I was zooming by the police woman shouting „stop“ (so did David I guess).

Well aware that I was in danger of being pulled too, I went relatively fast through long empty roads with lots of cheering people (who had only me to look at) and caught MOB’s group soon after Fujisawa. I was hoping we would somehow see at least some of my group later, though gave up the hope as we were going at a more leisurely pace and nobody coming in sight from behind. What a pleasant surprise when David caught up with us in Ninomiya.

We then bumped into Guzz on his impressive wooden fixie and he gave us company into Odawara.

We left from another conbini stop in Odawara exactly half an hour before the runners were to arrive. Despite all that was still to come, I managed to keep up this gap exactly on the 900m climb and beyond.

But before getting to the climb, James almost crashed into me as I was breaking for a stupid policeman who had been waiving a car out from a side street and right into our way. Thanks to his soft Dura Ace 7900 gear shifter, I didn’t feel his bump into my bottom for long. Probably aggravated by this experience, the stupid policeman then stopped David, Dominic and Kori, which cost them some time to get back onto the road (all unknown to us). This was also the last time any of us saw Kori.

The time-trial climb was a nightmare of navigating through an endless traffic jam. After more than half way to the top, it cleared and the remaining climb was nicer, albeit still marred by crazy bus drivers who liked to show they didn’t care about bicycles and would see them rather dead than alive. The crowds lining the climb (many more than last year!) clearly thought otherwise, which was nice.

I had lost James somewhere half way up after telling him it was still half way up (he wanted to know) which seemed to have demotivated him a great deal. I was expecting him to emerge soon again, but in fact, after I took a break after the time-trial end at the peak of 874m to get into warmer clothing for the descent into Moto-Hakone it was David who appeared once again out of nowhere. Stopping occasionally for photo shots, we made it to the finish, where we waited for James and MOB, and to our delight later saw Dominic coming in too.

The final surprise of the day was Graham who I passed on the long climb. We had thought he hadn’t turned up at all, but as he later explained, he had just missed the exit from the Dai-ichi Keihin for the meeting point and ended up going on his own all the way to Hakone. He joined us later in the restaurant, having watched all the runners pass, and clearly more knowledgeable about the results than any of us.

The descent into Atami was pleasantly free of much traffic, and the first-time use of route 20 for the final descent into Atami a nice discovery over the much steeper and shorter we approach we usually take.

My own statistics:

141km incl. 10km from home to Otemachi
1,300m of climbing (according to mapmyride; my less reliable Ciclo shows 1,550m)

People who started:

From Otemachi: Yair, David, Trad, Bryon, Ishihara-san, Miyuki, Aki, Ludwig
From elsewhere: Graham, Guzz (separately)
From Kawasaki: James, Dominic, MOB
From Fujisawa: Kori

People who finished:

Moto-Hakone, then Atami: James, Dominic, David, Graham, MOB, Ludwig (funny – four Brits, two Germans, one whom even UK-educated – does this say something about the future of road-race cycling?)
Hakone Yumoto: Yair, Miyuki, Aki, Trad
Not yet accounted for: Kori, Bryon, Ishihara-san

For me this was not a very strenuous ride, but certainly a very stressful one – it does not feel nice losing half of your riding mates and not being able to stop for them.

Cheers, Ludwig

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Eingeordnet unter 2010, James, Mob

Tokyo Enduro Results II

When I came home form Okinawa yesterday, I found an envelope in the mail from Funride, the organizers of the Tokyo Enduro event on December 13th. We got four certificates with the results, 5th in the mixed category and 25th (to my surprise) in the overall category. Ulrike Jan is the racing name of Kaori Machin, in case you wondered.
Also we got a lapchart. I must say we were a pretty fast bunch, James in particular (44.6 km/hr average on his fastest lap). I marked the best lap times of each rider. One can see two things clearly, first that we always lost at least a minute of lap time when we changed riders (7 times = seven minutes at least, so we could have probably done one more lap if we have changed only three times plus we had 2.5 minutes left at the end of our last lap) and that staying with a fast group pays off (compare James times in his first run when he was out with the leading group to his second and third time). So, now we know and next time we have to be even faster.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, James, Mob, Tom

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.

6 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2009, James, Mob

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.

5 Kommentare

Eingeordnet unter 2009, James, Jerome, Mob

Cycle Mode 2009 Impressions

International press at the Cycle Mode 2009. F.l.t.r : James M., Woshington Past, Dominic H., Bloody White Press, David M., Michael K., Bradford Hill Climb Observer

A dummy display raped by a group of local distributors.

Ceeco time trial bike, customized for a rightwing emeror worshipping pro team.A possible alternative to the Selle SMP saddle, seen at the Cherubim booth.The cross bike of Pina Bausch.
The proper usage of orange color schemes on bikes.Cycling wear : The famous cycling jacket by Rapha. Of course they didn’t got the orange color right at the collar and the sleeves.Cycling underwear : As shown by James breaking all records on the SKINS trainer.

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Eingeordnet unter David, James, Mob

Tokyo Enduro Race Report

A team I may consider to join.

I woke up at 6.30 hr in the morning after having dreamt that my connection flight from the island of Huahua to Seoul has been canceled forever. These are the times of dreams I normally have before a day at the races.

However, for the credit of this trace I have to say that the weather was much better than for the same race one year earlier. One year earlier I decided to stay in bed after looking out of the window. This year there was no excuse. As this is one of the only four races I can actually ride to from my home (the other ones being Yokohama Stadium Endurance, Tour du Japan Tokyo Stage in Oifuto and Fuji Hill Climb), I couldn’t possibly miss it.

For some reason, the Tokyo Enduro is a jinxed race for me. The first bicycle race I ever attended, not as a racer but as a spectator, was hold in October 1990 on precisely that track in Tachikawa. I came to watch my former youth idol Joern Kinzel, inventor of the famous Kinzel K1. Since that it has always been my dream to race there, I applied in 2005 to attend the possibly first Tokyo Enduro, only to find myself unable to attend because of a very bad ear infection. In 2006 I missed the deadline for application. In 2007 I don’t recall what has hindered me to attend, but something did. And last year I registered but decided not to ride because of the weather.

So all propped up and riding against a strong headwind I made my way up to Tachikawa. There were many riders out at the Tamagawa, most of the probably heading in the same direction and it was hard to restrict myself not become to competitive as I wanted to keep some power for the race. I arrived and met Tom just by chance at the gate. James and his family got already in and set up a place and a tent at a very convenient place to the pit stop. The TCC riders were also coming in and we had a few chats but just as we, everybody was nervous and in a hurry to get ready for the race. The Catteni Positivo guys also came and set up their tent just next to our one. The first part of our strategy went very well.

That is, that James, our first rider went to the startline early and got into the top 50 or 100 rider group so that he could hang out with the fast guys as long as possible. He did just that for the first seven laps and when he made the last of his laps he sprinted ahead of the group, entered the pit and changed to Tom so that he could also enjoy being part of the fast group. After four more laps Tom changed to me and when I came out of the pit there was no fast group to hang on to. This is really the key to win the race, if you are alone on the track, there is no way that you can go fast for a longer period of time. So I did my four laps all on my own, killed some wheelsuckers and passed to Kaori who did her part and passed to James again. The president of Corratec, shooting at random riders who don’t use his bikes.

After a while I went to check the results at the monitors and saw that all of the TCC teams were doing very well and that we were in 9th position in the mixed class. We were way faster than our original plan which was based on the idea that we should be faster than the winner last year.

Well, as I mentioned already for the Motegi race: Racing has not become easier and the competition is becoming stronger year by year. We are not racing against an ever faster competition but also against age and our chances to win are very slim indeed now. For example the mixed team from Catteni Positivo, that made 2nd place last year came in 11th this year, full two laps behind us.

James made a very good run that and put us back into podium reach, by the end of his tour we were in fifth place and 2 minutes away from the third placed team. Tom made further time good and passed the baton to me with about 40 minutes to go. As the pit closes 15 minutes before the end of the race we decided that I would do three laps and then pass to James for the last two ones. Again I was alone on the track but after a while I found one guy one could keep up me and we were pulling each other until we were overtaken by a fast group of five riders to which I could hang on.

Later after moving into the pit and checking the results I realized that one rider in this group was the 4th placed mixed team. I should have stayed out with the fast group and ride to the end as I was also feeling good enough to stay with them, but I decided to stick to the plan and handed over to James. This cost as not only one minute time because of the pit stop but James was now alone on the track again which cost further time. I moved out as well, waited until James finished his first lap and then drafted him 2 km or so before I ran out of gas again.

In the end we made respectable 5th place in the mixed cat, but I am sure that we could have made podium if we would have had better race infos and reduced our number of pit stops.

I guess this is the lesson from the race:

1. We need to get wired.
2. Four riders = three pit stops

Anyway, we had a very good time. Tom’s wife also provided us with some nice Belgium waffles which fueled us up through the race. Nichibe-san also showed up to support us. TCC had a very strong showing. I helped James to pack the tent and transport all the stuff to his car, then I went on to the next race which consisted of a 35 km ride back home which I had to make by 5 PM as my wife wanted to go out and I had to take care of the kids. I finished 5 minutes behind the deadline.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Cervelo Soloist, James, Mob, Nishibe, tcc, Tom



Winner 33 laps 3.56.38 hr
4. TCC A (Thomas, Sergey, DeeJ, AlanW) 33laps 3.58.03
22 NFCC 30 laps
36 Catteni Positivo Torino 29 laps
41 TCC C 29 laps (David, YellowGiant,…)
45 Catteni Positivo Trevis 29 laps
70 Catteni Positivo Napoli 28 laps


Winner 28 laps 3.55.02 hr
2. TCC G 28 laps 3.59.38 hr


Winner 32 laps 3.53.41 hr
5 TCC A PE (Tom, James, Kaori, mob) 31 laps 3.57.39 (=15th place in men cat)
11 Catteni Positivo Milano 29 laps

More to come. First a bath and some food.

All results are here:



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Eingeordnet unter 2009, Cervelo Soloist, James, Mob, tcc, Tom

Almost Coastal

Having ridden a couple of times to Kamakura on the coast via Route 1 from Gotanda and not particularly enjoyed the route, I was excited to see Tom’s ride from last week – Kitakamakura Enoshima Loop.

Enoshima, always wanted to try that and Tom‚ll know a good out of the traffic route.

With Garmin Connect far easier to use these days and the ride sitting there staring me in the face, I thought, ‚I’ll download that, ride out to where we it crosses the river and start the navigation function on my Garmin 705 and simply follow it“ Easy-peasy.

Dominic in a less than sensible moment had agreed to come along too. Off we went, leaving TAC at 7am, arrived in good time at the ‚route crossing‘ point at which time I dived into the Garmin menu and started the navigation.

This worked very well for about 3 minutes until the incensed beeping started. „U-turn as soon as you can“. We did. Much to the excitement of a tuned-up Subaru driver. Found our left turn, now a right turn facing the opposite way, but all good as it counted down the metres and indicated where to go.

A short, sharp climb. Of course, it’s Tom’s route, remember. Then it dawned on me. I knew where I was. This was where Adam had introduced me to some mountain bike trails behind the golf course, near the top of the climb, back when I wouldn’t be seen dead in lycra shorts. Those were the days.

Anyway, I digress. We progressed at this point rather well indeed, many lefts and rights, and all very straightforward to follow. Of course, absolutely no idea whatsoever where we were, but we had GPS so who cared. If I’m honest, a couple of wrong turns, soon corrected, but all in all, pretty good.

Or so I thought.

We cycled past Tokaichiba station and then it went kind of awry. The Garmin wanted a left turn and common sense said straight on. Dominic suggested topping the water bottles off and then decide.

That done, we, well me really, decided to follow the Garmin. It had done an excellent job to this point so give it the benefit of the doubt.

This is Tom’s route..

This is NOT Tom’s route..

With the Garmin spending more time re-calculating (note to the manufacturer, this should be replaced with „thinking“) and then getting stuck and in need of a re-boot, then telling us to turn right, and me ignoring that every time, well we ended down on Route 16 with a dilemma.

We both needed to be back in central Tokyo by 1pm, which meant we had an hour to play with. Continue for 30 mins then U-turn and head home? Na. Go now. We headed along Route 16 until Route 1, then hammered it.

Quick tea break at Starbucks in Gotanda (Positivo approved), then home.

I didn’t achieve my goal.

I didn’t see the sea.

I did get out on the bike and had a great ride in broody, overcast conditions.


  • What looks like a turn to the Garmin, can in fact, be a slight bearing only off to the left or right.
  • The unit needs more RAM.
  • The unit needs a faster processor.
  • Wouldn’t hurt to look at a map once in a while.
  • Better still a map printed off with Tom’s route on it.
  • Choosing to field test this functionality in the suburbia that is Greater Tokyo wasn’t the brightest idea.

Garmin Connect – Almost coastal

I trust Tom, Michael and James are proving to be speedier up at the Xmas Enduro

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Eingeordnet unter James