Archiv der Kategorie: 2008

Happy New Year Positivistas Espressi

I saw this on James website and I thought, hey I could do the same with the Positivo Team. I hope it will show up properly on the web.

Happy New Year from the German proprietor of this website who is not the proprietor – all Positivistas are.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob

Shortest Trip possible

As suggested by Ludwig, a brief post about the shortest ride today. 24 km from my house to the Tokyo American Club, temporary residing in the area between Gotanda and Shinagawa. I played 45 minutes Squash with Carsten. He won 4 times, I did two. We recognized that we already became old men and we should not engage in this kind of activities. My body still hearts terribly, I can hardly move and life is only bearable with a bottle of red wine in reach.

After squash an hour back to Yokohama. Rode on my Cannondale Bad Boy.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob

Riding out with the Lehmann Brothers

Christmas season is hell for bicycle riders. All the good food on the table, the sweets send from home by well meaning relatives plus the relatively cold weather outside give ample reason to stay at home and do nothing. With Ludwig coming back from a cycling shopping spre in Germany, we decided to test his new stuff and break the vicious cycle yesterday.

We had some discussions where to go when we met at 8.30 AM at Tamagawahara bridge [the new meeting point for me coming from Yokohama] and in the end we settled for a Otarumi – Hinazuru, Suzugane – Matsuhime route, possibly going back by train from Otsuki.

Much to my dismay I found out that I lost my saddle bag filled with goodies (tools, CO2 cartridges, tube, jelly and, most important, the extremely expensive remains of DHC sunscreen from the 2006 Noto 400 ride) riding to the meeting point.

We then went in a fast draftline to Takao, aftertaking some Japanese riders. The road along the Asakawa was crowded and we almost crashed with a dog and some minutes later with an old man on a bike who suddenly steered out of line.

The traditional break at the 7-Eleven was followed by the discovery that I also lost my (non-riding) glasses on the way. This was really not becoming my day and I started to feel like Mr. Lehmann (if there is one) operating the bank and loosing everything. In case you wondered about the heading.

A medium-fast attack on Otarumi which we ended up to scale in 16 minutes, including fixing a lost chain on the way up. Route 20 was followed by route 76 until we took a right turn in direction Hinazuru. The Manju shop was closed, but out of tradition we were forced to do a break anyway. We then went up to the (new) Hinazuru tunnel and on the way down on the other side I proposed to take a look at the old Hinazuru tunnel, or, to boldly go where no other Positivo Espresso rider has gone before. The road was in pretty bad shape, but still better than route 76. Obviously Jerome has driven his car from Chichibu to Hinazuru and parked it close to the entrance of the Hinazuru tunnel. It seems to me that the left brake light is not working and I would recommend to check this.
I do not want to reveal well guarded secrets, but Ludwig also found a nice water heater which he intends to give free of charge to the guy who buys his band new Selle Italia saddle.

The tunnel is in good shape, however closed by a gate which should not cause any problems to be ignored. Of course we missed the entrance to Suzugane pass and we continued to road 139 which then lead us back to route 20 and Sarubashi eventually. After a nice bowl of Tempura soba and the Daikokuya restaurant (a very traditional place), we decided in view of the time to abandon our plans to ride up Matsuhime (another great tradition of us to abandon great plans) and continue instead along the old Koshu Kaido, now called route 30, to Uenohara and then cross over to Itsukaichi.

This was another Lehmann-like management mistake (connection to the heading!) as we first had a hard climb in front of us which took as almost to elevation 600 m again. Once on top, the road was quite nice and we continued smoothly to Uenohara, but again we lost a lot of time. So when we finally arrived at Uenohara we decided to jump on the train and head back home.

Clearly we made a lot of poor riding management judgements and in the course of this I lost everything (glasses, tools, …). This shall serve as a warning to all of you out there.

2008-12-30 Uenohara via Hinozuru Pass
Find more Bike Rides in Setagaya Daita, Japan

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob


I took advantage of the weak Euro while in Germany over Christmas to do some shopping for my cycling. I thought I should try one of those saddles that are meant to be softer on your prostate and still look good, and bought Selle Italia Thoork Gel Flow (see photos above).

I tested it on the ride with Michael today. It is indeed somewhat softer on the front part of one’s bottom and may thus avoid irritating the prostate, but I found the back part too hard for my taste. My old Selle Italia SLR has extra padding at the back, and I missed that. Mind you – it is just as hard or as soft as most saddles, e.g. Michael’s older Selle Italia, which I guess is fine for most people, but not me who I have hardly any fat that would allow me to sit soft (my body fat ratio is 3 percent!).
I will return it to the internet shop (they pay back the full price if returned within a month), but if anyone is interested in it, I’m willing to sell it. It cost me JPY 16,500. The Japanese list price is JPY 23,000, though there are offers for JPY 18,900 on some internet sites. Let me know soonest before I send back to the shop.
Does anyone have experience with softer and yet prostate-friendly saddles?

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Mars Petcare, Haba Toys, Wegmans Bagels and ….

Some month ago I wrote an unacceptable and disgusting post about a Positivo Espresso Rider Voluntary Recall. Actually, since then I have long forgotten about, but when I scanned the web for Positivo Espresso entries recently I found this after Mars Petcare, Haba Toys, Wegmans Bagels:

Perhaps we would like to inform them that the recall has been recalled.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, David

Positivo Espresso Power Check

Since some month I have the idea of doing a check-up at the National Gymnasium in Yoyogi, perhaps I have spoken with one or the other about this one. It would be nice to do this check as a Positivo Espresso team at the start and at the end of the 2009 season to see how much we have improved. Or maybe not. This post is about the start check. Or maybe not.

There are three tests one can choose from. The most interesting one for us is testing the endurance capabilities, which is then done by either direct or indirect method. According to the website, as athletes we should take the direct testing method. It basically consists on riding on an ergometer and heart rates, power output, maximum oxygen capacity and anaerob max level are measured. I am not sure if I understood everything correctly from the website, so please also check yourself as well.

The cost is 1.650 Yen per person, but we must apply as a group one to two months in advance. So I thought about making a reservation for us on Thursday February 12th at 6 PM, after the end of the holiday season. The tests are only conducted on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 5 an 9 PM, please have a look at the website for the schedule.

It would be good if you could let me know if you are interested, so I could handle the reservation. Immediate response is not required, but I would like to know by January 4th if possible.

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Old Year and New Year Rides


Just to help clarify, there are three upcoming Positivo Espresso rides proposed.

Tuesday 30th Dec 2008, Ludwig and mob are going to do a full day ride, starting time between 8 and 9 AM at Fuchu bridge on the Tamagawa. The destination is not decided yet, details will follow today.

Wednesday 31st Dec 2008, proposed by David with Tom and James keen to join. Details to follow in comments or as an update in this post.

Friday 2nd January 2009, Ekiden Ride, David, Michael, Ludwig and James so far. Details can be found below.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, David, James, Mob, Tom

Kawasaki Keirin Track

After staying in Shibuya late yesterday night with my son and doing the things young people usually do in Shibuya [to be precise: playing table tennis and eating cheese fries at Outback], I decided that I should not go through all the hassle of riding out to Chichibu or some other mountainous place just to end up in piles of knee-deep snow. Instead I had an invitation from Hiroshi to join him and his clubmates for a training session at the Kawasaki Keirin.

I got ready at home after checking the way to the track and packed the usually things plus, as this was the first time and Japanese customs requires to be polite and bring some presents, I took a handful of Haribo Lakritz Schnecken with me. These are tycpical German sweets which look like rolls of low grade Pakistan made industrial cables and taste alike.It takes only 30 minutes from my house on route 140 to Kawasaki station, I arrived on time. The road is not too bad and there is even a river, Tsurumikawa where one can ride stretches of the ride on a cycling/pedestrian way just as in case of the Tamagawa. I was surprised how big and well developed the area around Kawasaki station is, completely different from my image where I put Kawasaki in the file lettered „insignificant“.

Actually for a very long time I have not been in Kawasaki at all. I mean, yes I have been in Kawasaki but the purpose was not to go to Kawasaki but to pass through, either on the way to Yokohama or to Tokyo. I have exactly three roads through Kawasaki, Dai-Ichi Keihin or Dai-San Keihin, if I am riding a car, the other one Nakahara Kaido if I am on my bike. This is my whole experience of the town which is insignificant indeed.
Apart from that I have been in Kawasaki one time and that was in 1991 or 1992, going to Club Quattro to watch STAR CLUB, a Japanese Punk Band which a friend from Switzerland called Urs (all male Swiss are called Urs, that is similar to Kims and Parks in Korea) recommended to me as the Toten Hosen of Japan. After watching them, I believe there were more the Plastic Bertrands of Japan [Thanks Tom for reminding me of this guy when you wrote your blog recently].

In summary, my image of Kawasaki developed through the years like this:

  • 1977 : „Hey, these are the cool green motorbikes that my hero Yvon du Hamel is riding
  • 1991 : „Star Club is playing there too!
  • 1992 : „The environmental problem between Tokyo and Yokohama [Tokyo Journal]“

followed by a long time of nothing and which has now completely changed again.

Hiroshi waited for my at the parking place. I gave him some Lakritz for welcome, he managed to eat them well. The parking space was packed with cars of the spectators, did they come to watch us? Was I am going to race immediately? Of course not, a lot of people come to the Keirin stadium, owned by the city of Kawasaki, to watch the Keirin races at other places on the big screen and place some bets.

Why would anybody wanted to do that, if one can sit at home, have a glass of beer, a bowl of octopus on sticks in front of you and a nice warm blanket over your feet and one can place his bets over the Internet? Well, I guess the answer is that one also have a wife, kids in the midst of puberty, things to do and and and and at home so it might be better to escape and spend the day in freezing cold on the stands of the Kawasaki Keirin and watch TV. I guess this is called „public viewing“ today, a phenomena almost exclusively experienced by males in their forties and fifties.
Hiroshi was so kind to show me around, so I could take a look at a hall with rollers, where the Keirin pro warm up before the races, including ventilators in front and ashtrays on the bench. I also took a look at the parking place where the pro bikes were standing; I saw a Kalavinka bike, so nicely described in this wonderful book : „The accidental office lady.“ He also explained to me the basic differences compared to road bikes. Not the obvious things, but the finer details, such as there is almost no distance between the lower tube and the front wheel.

We then went inside and met some of the other guys. About 20 or 30 riders were presented from various teams, the atmosphere was relaxed and there was not much club mood. No exercising, no long pep speeches, no long explanation of the rules. Very nice indeed for a change. Juliane and me have some experience with Japanese club riding and we didn’t like the set of rules prevailing there.

We then started to ride on the track. Tracks in Japan are either 333.33 m or 400 m long, this one being the later type. The direction is always counter clockwise, which fits me well as I am much better in left corners than in rights. From the inside to the inside, there is a green marked part and a red marked one which is for warming up and almost flat. This is followed by a small part in green which is enclosed by two white lines. The inner one of these two white lines is precisely 400 meters long. This is the normal racing part where one rides during the race, mostly in a draft line. There is a slight inclination on the curved banks but not too much. Then further up is another yellow line, about halfway of the width of the track.
First we went in a group of seven riders, starting slowly at 20 km/hr but accelerated equally slowly until 40 km/hr. We took turns in the lead after each lap. The pace was fast, but I could follow almost until the end. The last laps were at 46 km/hr and there it became increasingly difficult for me to hang on. It takes some power to concentrate on going at the same speed all the time, not faster, not slower, not to leave any gaps to the rider in front and keeping the same distance. It is not allowed to shift gears or to brake, so everything has to be managed with pedal power.

As I had no fixed gear bike, I could brake while continue to pedal but I rarely did. When I was in danger to overtake somebody, I climbed up on the bank in the curves only a little and that decreased the speed sufficiently.

The level of concentration is similar to riding in a a group during a race. I tried my best to keep pedaling all the time, not to use the brakes or shift the gears.The general feeling is a litle bit like on a home trainer, there is no change in position on the bike which I generally dislike because my butt starts hurting after some time. As long as one goes at the same speed I managed well, but sometimes there was some confusion when we overtook other groups and I started to brake or to shift out of habit.

After 40 minutes or so we made a break and after that we tried it again. This time we moved up to the highest point of the bank. When looking to the right, everything is normal, just riding along a fence. But when I looked down to the left and I saw the inclination and the height I didn’t felt too good. But I got used to that. Hiroshi showed me how to get down from the high line in the curves to the two white lines and accelerate, taking all the momentum. One can easily go up to 50 km/hr.

I then felt strong and stayed with another group making more laps. Then another break. I talked to some of the other guys and everybody was very friendly. I spotted also Ms. Takamatsu, JCRC women champion of 2007 from Maglia Rosa, who I have seen at some JCRC races here at there this year.

Then I did a last try and went as fast as I could, followed by some laps to regain power, so some kind of interval training. Just for the fun of it I did 1.000 meter time trial and with flying start and I could do below 1.30 min which would be more than 40 km/hr average, but there is still a long way to go to achieve a good time with standing start, which should be around 1:15 min a guess.

I must say that everybody was very friendly and helpful and the atmosphere was nice, just the right balance of being taken care of but also left in peace. I personally felt much more powerful when I left the venue and I thought that this would be a good training to gain more stamina and absolute speed, something which comes in handy when thinking of the races I would like to do in 2009: endurance and flat course short races.

I distributed the remaining Lakritz to everybody as a token of gratitude. Not sure if this was appreciated. Then I rode home. which felt strange. I mean it felt good to change position from time to time and to get out of the saddle. But I tried not to brake and not to shift gears and to keep pedaling, I just couldn’t get used fast to my usual style.

My thanks go to Hiroshi who as so kind to introduce me to track racing and to Tom who introduced me to Hiroshi. I would like to do it again in the near future. It is good to know that there are still so many things left in cycling which can be explored. Not only track racing but maybe I need also a mountain bike to do the remaining stretch of route 76 next year.

When I came home I found out that Hiroshi has already updated his blog about todays training. I got a very positive review and the Lakritz I have given him found their way into the glass heart of the family.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Hiroshi, Mob

Miura Hanto Ride Friday,158.9085702567545,,0,-0.9218214130101792&cbll=35.185054,139.655172&panoid=&v=1&hl=ja&gl=jp

I went out riding to Miura Hanto last Friday. The idea came when I wanted to go out cycling but it was already very late. My wife asked: „Where are you riding today?“ I said „Well, just around in the neighborhood.“ and she answered: „Neighborhood, that goes at least as far as Miura, am I right?“ So I thought, that is a very good idea, I have not been out there in the South for quite a while.

This is probably one of the rides nobody would like me to join. Only one time I could convince David to come with me. One has to go through the congested traffic of Yokohama, followed by the congestion in Kanzawa followed by more congestion in Yokosuka, so 50 km at least of suffering on big roads and being passed by trucks. After Yokusuka it is basically the same until one comes to Kurihama. I always thought that it would be nice to take the ferry from there to Chiba and continue to ride on the other side.

After Kurihama there is one road [215] which leads along the coast. Yes, the coast. After focusing so much on riding in the mountains this year, one has almost forgotten that we are living on an island and riding there gave me the feeling back. The view was splendid on the Chiba coastline [One has to be a least 30 km away from Chiba to appreciate the beauty of the prefecture] and I passed some small fishing ports with boats neatly lined up in the harbour.

I then took the road back to Kamakura on the West side of Miura Hanto. I stopped at some shrines and bought 絵馬 for my collection, something I have not done for quite a while as I was always driven by speed. Mitsumine was an exception though. Mount Fuji was huge on the horizon, bot only the top as one can see from the Tamagawa, but one could see the full shape from the coast.

There were strong winds but I made only small breaks and managed to arrive at the coastline at 4 PM. I wanted to drink a coffee either at the Seascastle, the famous restaurant where fear and terror reign and which is operated nevertheless since 50 years by two German brothers and her sister, or at the Amalfi, a nice Italian restaurant further West on the coast in direction Enoshima. Both places were closed so I rode home through Kamakura and hopped the train in Ofuna.

From there it is only 45 minutes back to my house.

A nice ride, 5 hours long and about 110 km in distance. Could have gone faster but made a lot of short breaks. Not many climbs, but a lot of hills to oversprint.

Very pleasant short ride, just a good thing to do when one gets up late because of an overdosis or red wine and German movies the night before. I guess watching Rainer Werner Fassbinder movies on TV (Angst essen Seelen auf) and drinking too much alone is a German idea of having a good time.

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Mob

Track Racing

This is somewhat on a short notice, but I am going to train today with Hiroshi and his Kawasaki Pista Club on the Kawasaki track race which is located here:

If you like to join, please give me a call. We meet at 12.30 hr today. It is OK to race on your normal racing bike, no track bike is required. You just need the usual stuff (helmet, gloves).

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Eingeordnet unter 2008, Hiroshi