zondag 30 januari 2011

Gandou-toge in the snow

Gandou in the snow! Minivans forced to double-back in reverse mode...no way to reach to top over the many icebahns lurking in the perma-shadowy curves! Had to walk long distances on ice and snow and when finally reaching snow-free patches, my cleats would be clogged up with stone-hard ice...no way to click-in! On the return trip, the GPS got really stubborn and confused forcing me more than once to "take a U-turn" which I naturally ignored! Approaching Tsukui, my back wheel's inner tube exploded...like a gun shot: instant flat ! Changing the tube no prob, but my minipump (hardly used) was falling almost apart...somehow managed to get it inflated...(lesson learned: check that pump more often!)

This is where the Y-fork descent down to Doshimichi begins...today, I took the one one the left, hoping there would be less ice...but there still was and there were even more rocks scattered all over.

zaterdag 29 januari 2011

Kawasaki PISTA !!

Thanks to Hiroshi-san's many years of experience with his club and his far-reaching connnections, Ludwig & I were able to enjoy a brand-new experience...cycling in circles on a real KEIRIN velodrome! Notice the red spot on the map...I circled for a good two hours without stopping once.

Due to some mix-up on my part (sorry Ludwig!), we got to the "Kawasaki Keirinjou" one hour too early!

Pros-in-the-making were doing their rounds....

Final spurt....

Look at them futomomos! Hiroshi told me these guys cannot buy a decent pair of jeans...no wonder!

Ludwig doing his little time trial with a huge crowd cheering him on!

Ludwig shooting out of the curve at max speed !

Ludwig taking off....
Keirin indoor tune-up room
cycling in circles for two hours in a row.....

zondag 23 januari 2011

New V練・連 winter-version jersey

Musume showing her usual good form...
Musume dictating the pace....

the new V-RenRen jersey designed by Saruto-san; excellent quality from Pearl Izumi!

Striking another "Famous Assos Man" pose...

zaterdag 22 januari 2011

Manazuru-Yabitsu Loop

Left Koremasa @6:30 with Saruto-san and we both headed direction Odawara along the patented VLAAMS route. Saruto-san turned back at the end of the "Atsugi Fast Lane" while I continued "auto-pilot" courtesy of Ludwig who produced real "routable" maps for me! Cape Manazuru was nice and picturesque in places. "Uotsuki Bayashi" was most impressive. Return trip started along a beautiful road 740 recommended by Ludwig...plenty of mikan vendors. Halfway, I decided to attack Yabitsu as it felt pleasantly warm and I hadn't been there for a year. On top it was very cold though and the descent even colder! Most of the rest of my ride was again in "auto-pilot"...I love it!

Izu Peninsula

Manazuru Minato
Manazuru andesite stone cutting... Isamu Noguchi liked this reddish volcanic stone.

Uotsuki Bayashi - primeval forest of evergreens and old pine trees (some over 300 years old) ...chosen as one of Japan's 100 most beautiful forests. All kinds of fish in Sagami Bay are attracted to the shadows thrown by these trees onto the sea surface, hence uotsuki 魚付....fish magnet or shady fishing if you want!
Temperature rose to 15 degrees....almost felt like spring or summer in Belgium!

Sagami Bay seen from Cape Manazuru

Himono...salted dried fish

Had my free lunch here sampling all kinds of "himono" self-service style!

Today's route here
Today's BGM: Astor Piazolla Libertango
Today's inspiration: Canadian Club 6 years old

zondag 16 januari 2011

Asakawa Dondo-yaki

Went "grocery shopping" to Itsukaichi Farmers' Center this morning with Musume taking a rather unusual approach through Hachioji. Along the Asakawa, dondo-yaki events here and there were in full swing.

zaterdag 15 januari 2011

Winter ride with Ludwig

Acted as Ludwig's guide showing the VLAAMS route to Odawara. We then continued to Miura-hanto. Checked-in at Arasaki House but boss unfortunately not in. Then took Ludwig to my sanctuary Maruyoshi-shokudo. Not sure if Ludwig liked the zukedon but he ate everything on his plate. Rode back along the Sakaigawa CR and found a nice bakery that serves free & excellent coffee (who needs Starbucks?!)

Boss not in today....missed the La France Pear Cheesecake in the English garden; a next time perhaps...

Maruyoshi Shokudo...my sanctuary!

On the way back, Ludwig stopped not too far away from the notorious "Sea Castle" to take a souvenir picture and - more importantly - (another) leak in the open. "Watch out the tombi don't catch your meat!" I warned Ludwig, but my dear friend did not catch my joke....

Route: here
Inspiration: Junmai Nigorizake Shinshu Nouveau
BGM: Everything Must Change Manhattan Trinity+1

maandag 10 januari 2011

Saito-yaki preparations at Kamo'i-harbour

Another 200km "fitness" ride this long weekend. Today I went SOLO leaving home a little bit before 7:00 a.m. precisely at sunrise. Not much traffic along the route to Machida...the first day of this sanrenkyu was a different story though. New Dura-Ace chain felt oh-so silky (note-to-self : you should change chains "hayame-ni" more often!)

Posing with Sirius Ti-1 in front of the sacred Kamoi Harbour 鴨居港 Saito-yaki edifice. An elderly gentleman who offered to take my picture, explained that the "dondo(n)-yaki" ritual (called "Saito-yaki" 齋燈焼きin this region) will take place at 8:00 a.m. on Jan. 15...an "oni" demon carrying fire will leave Hachiman-jinja across the street and put fire to all those "kadomatsu" and other New Year decorations including "unwanted" nengajos!!! (=New Year's Greetings from people one does not care about)...attending this event is supposed to guarantee another year free of disease and other misfortunes) another lovely little ritual kept alive in this country.

Death at the stake?
No, I'm not burning my Sirius Ti-1 (not yet)

Mabori-kaigan...on s'imagine (presqu') a Nice!

Really don't know what gave me the Sean Connery eyebrow...

Katsusando...marvelous !! Nakai, will drop by again!
Today's BGM: Duke Ellington - Three Suites (Arabesque, etc.)
Today's inspiration: Four Roses & hoshi-imo (again!)
Today's ride: here