Archiv der Kategorie: Nishibe

Positivo Tourmalet

Während ich hier in Bremen rumhänge und der Sommer langsam auf den Bremer Saisonhöhepunkt zusteuert (Bremen Challenge: 120 km durch die Stadt fahren) sind meine alten Radbuddies in den Pyrenäen unterwegs gewesen und machen mich mit Ihren Fotos neidisch. Na wartet – bald bin ich im Harz oder sogar auf Malle!

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Eingeordnet unter 2012, David, Freunde, Jerome, Juliane, Nishibe, Stephen, Touren

Sunday run-out

Back from a business trip on Friday evening, I was recovered enough from jet-lag and found a brief window before the work left behind in my office fell back upon my shoulders, so decided to try a half-day ride on Sunday, taking advantage of perfect cycling weather.

Leaving home at 8:15, I made good time to Itsukaichi, where I stopped at the traditional 7-11 in Tokura, just before the climb up the Akigawa. There I met Nishibe-san, just emerging from one of the aisles in the store. I should have known he was there — if I had just taken a look at the beautiful Colnago out front. In any event, we both planned to head up to Tomin-no-Mori. Tom S. stopped by, returning from a trip over the back of the hill. He had ridden on Saturday with Ludwig and his VLAAMs teammates, well into Gunma, and had been thinking about a trip to Enzan on Sunday, but after a very early start had been feeling fatigue and wisely cut the trip a bit short and was settling for a warm-down ride of 145 km.

Nishibe-san and I each pose with the champion:

Nishibe-san and I headed up the hill. I almost stayed with him to Motojuku, but quickly lost him after the timed „toge-baka“ section started. It was my first trip to Tomin no Mori up the Akigawa this year, remarkably. There were lots of Japanesse cyclists already descending, many of whom looked as if they must do this ride every Sunday. The motorcycle moratorium of this Spring is definitely over, and they were out in force.

I climbed it in 74 minutes, 3 slower than my „toge-baka“ best, but I was happy nonetheless since I had gone too close to full-throttle from home to the base of the hill, I was using the HED deep-rimmed, slightly heavier wheels, and I was not even tempted to pull off and rest on the way up. Two well-timed gels did not hurt. Nishibe-san made it in 65 minutes and was finishing his bowl of o-den when I arrived.

After some food (beef curry out of a package), we headed back down. I decided to push it a bit and see if I could make back some of the 9 minutes lost to Nishibe-san on the climb. Despite stopping twice for road construction, waiting patiently with the motorcycles and a few cars, I made good time on the descent. Reaching the Tokura 7-11, I hopped off, bought a chocolate monaka bar, and waited for Nishibe-san … who came rolling in 11 minutes later.

It is hard to recall that only 4-5 years ago this kind of run-out would have been considered a major ride for us. Now it is barely worth a blog entry. Then again, my legs this morning are telling me that it was real, hard work on the climb!
P.S. Jerome was in Kobe this weekend … rode with Moriwaki-san on Saturday. Nishibe-san and Jerome remind me that they want to plan a ride and post-ride meal for Oct 30, when their friend from Kobe — moving to Tokyo — will join.

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Eingeordnet unter David, Nishibe, Tom

Three Tetsu Chunen Positivistos on the Road

Nishibe-san, Hiroshi and I – the Positivo Espresso „Steel is Real“ Chapter, left on a half-day ride into Saitama this morning…story and map on Hiroshi’s and my blog. A few pictures here.

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Eingeordnet unter Hiroshi, Nishibe, Tom


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.

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

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)

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

Sunday AM ride Report — P.E. Approved Mid-Winter Gear

A beard really takes the chill off on my morning commute [but I just needed to remove that offensive close-up photo if I was going to recirculate this as a brief ride report, with Tom’s input as well].

As planned, I made a 7:35AM start, aiming for 8:15AM from Sekidobashi. I did meet Tom and Nishibe-san at Sekidobashi … but was nearly 10 minutes late because of the headwinds. We struggled toward Takao, finally making decent time once the path turned far enough toward the West so we were not going upwind. My legs held up okay, with Tom having taken a long ride and Nishibe-san having run a 1/2 marathon on Saturday. During the rest at the PE recommended Takao convenience store, Tom gave me a pack of his chemical footwarmers — tiny, and they easily slipped inside my toe covers and outside my shoes. Toasty. I will need some supply for the rest of the winter.

We headed back in via the „Hino Bypass“, coming back to the Tamagawa about 2 km North of Y’s, near the temporary end of the Tamagawa cycling path. We lost Nishibe-san at some lights along Hino Bypass, but he called Tom’s phone and we headed home.

It was great riding home downwind, zooming along at 38-40 kph despite being fat and weak. I’ve started the road back!

Tom’s supplement:

Thought the beard looked really sharp on you! Yeah…Kafun-season and Haru-ichiban sandstorm may soon want you to start shaving again! Thanks again for the quick ride this morning. It didn’t look like your shoulder was giving you much trouble….powerful riding style sure intact!
(Fujisan in the back….I know….I tried to photoshop but to no avail)

And my photo of Tom:

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Eingeordnet unter David, Nishibe, Tom

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

Photos from PE team dinner

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, David, James, Mob, Nishibe, Tom

The North Approach – Twice

Perfect weather today: no clouds, very clear air. Fuji-san was dominating the scenery wherever I went. And koyo added for more spectacular scenery, at least below 1,000 meters.

Today was the day to go high, and to try out two north approaches which were new to me: Wada (completely new – Tom has blogged about it, so have TCC folks), and Otoge (have done it only from the other side).

The newly discovered north approach of Wada Toge is nice. Especially the lower part with the farm houses is very picturesque. Quite wet though after all the rain and on the fallen leaves, this can be treacherous. It meant I had to stay in the saddle whenever going over wet leaves, to avoid slipping.

I then headed via the old Koshukaido to Sarubashi, and from there climbed up to Otoge, which was in places in similar conditions as the north approach to Wada, though much, much longer… Very nice views of the distant mountains, including Matsuhime Toge. But no more koyo above 1,000 meters.

I then took Akiyama Kaido and various backroads to Hashimoto where it became too dark to ride on. 200km and 3,000 meters of climbing. Mapmyride will no longer show my newly imported routes (old ones still work), so no GPS trail for now.

Nice coincidence to meet Tom, Nishibe-san and David at Sekidobashi (see also Tom’s blog) – if only David had worn our uniform!
I also wore a long jersey on top of the short one, which proved just right for today’s weather: starting at 14 degrees from home, 9 degrees on the ascent to Wada, 20 degrees in Sarubashi, 12 degrees on top of Otoge – you get the picture…

Can anyone remember such a stunning view from just below Wada Toge?

Koyo on the descent from Otoge, somewhere below 1,000 meters.
Firemen everywhere in the villages, hunters everywhere in the mountains. Fortunately nobody threatened me unlike David – see Tom’s blog.

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Eingeordnet unter 2009, David, Nishibe, Tom

This Saturday (Agu 23): OHSMK Loop

Start: 7:30 from Sekidobashi….
More details:

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Eingeordnet unter David, Mob, Nishibe, Tom