zondag 27 maart 2011

240k Gunma Loop and a leaky faucet

Took my Super Six completely decked out in Dura Ace - wheels and all - on a approx. 240km loop with more than 3000m of climbing and some distance covered in Gunma prefecture; first time to cycle into Gunma this year. It felt rather cold and windy again today and the presence of pollen (what else?) in the air was acutely felt...my nose kept running like a leaky faucet for more than 9 hours!
Hinohara / Hinode / Akirono sakura-matsuri poster....

I noticed new signage put up here and there...in response to increasing cyclo-tourism? Unfortunately, the Positivo Espresso sticker at the entrance of Tsuchisaka Toge is gone forever (a new sign was put up there too)

Bridge on Rd. 209 leading to Chichibu Muse Park

Along Rd. 71 (leading to Tsuchisaka Toge)

Diving into Gunma Prefecture!

Plenty of anti-slip little stones produce a reverse effect when there is no ice...dangerous cornering!

Michelin Krylion carbon...a very nicely balanced pair of clinchers! (good control, not too noisy, superior puncture resistance, good comfort)

Near the dinosaur footprint location (nobody there!)

zaterdag 26 maart 2011

a million errands to run

Too many things going on at the same time lately...only did a short ride this morning. Very windy conditions and lots of pollen in the air. Along the Asakawa I ran into Nishibe-san and his mate. In the afternoon, I visited O-Vest for the second time in two weeks, this time to change the straight Easton 90 fork on my Sirius to a more bended one produced by Graphite Design, a maker that is more famous for carbon golf shafts. I decided to make the change for more comfort on longer rides. The Graphite Design Accelerate BD fork is supposed to be softer, more springy and more shock-absorbing...we will see. Last week, I started to use my Sirius to commute to work. Back and forth is good for 50km a day and I especially enjoy the morning part when there is considerably less traffic. By 7:00 a.m., I'm already in my Akasaka office, 30 minutes earlier than when commuting by train. I've started to like the tsukinisto ritual so much, I'm afraid I can no longer switch back to commuting by train. Tomorrow I have some more free time at hand and I'm thinking of going on a longer ride if it won't be as stormy out as today!

zondag 20 maart 2011

Brief Makime Loop

Toads happily copulating (one female and two males taking turns) in my garden's pond, people of all ages walking their dogs along the Asakawa, jinchoge daphne perfume in the air and the O-Vest "A-train" overtaking me on my way up Otarumi-toge...except for the incredibly long queus of cars and motorbikes lining up at gasoline stations, an early Spring day just like every year.

This morning, I tried the new Dura-Ace compact groupset on Super Six for the first time. Always wanting to experiment, I got the 167.5 cranks instead of the standard 170. I'm used to push heavy gears and according to leverage theory, the logic would be to go for longer (like 172.5) instead of shorter crankarms. I wanted to reverse that logic and I'm so happy I took the risk. Before, I had difficulty with "dead spots"on long climbs, tired legs no longer capable of spinning. Today, I was able to climb with the O-Vest A-train and even reeled in three members to the top of Otarumi without punishing myself - just comfortably spinning and dancing in outer chainwheel. The difference is not imagined - my legs really felt it - I'm sure I shattered my Otarumi Togebaka record...

In the afternoon, I visited O-Vest and asked Tencho to get rid of some mysterious squaking noise made by the brand-new pulley. It took longer than expected to find the cause (insufficient lubrication) and I rushed home for my next appointment with the new owner of my X-Fire introduced by Goro! It turned out I had met the guy not so long ago when eating Unagi in Mishima...small world!

donderdag 17 maart 2011

Still glowing...

why was I glowing all over after today's 1-hour commute back to home? Kafun ??

dinsdag 15 maart 2011

TSÛKINISUTO für dich und mich

No longer capable of stomaching overcrowded trains running at 50% or 80% capacity (almost got my ribs crushed on the Keio Line yesterday even though I was seated ), I decided last evening to ready my Ridley X-Fire size 50 (商談中!)for a commute to work – a first for me!

Pollen or no pollen, radioactivity or no radioactivity, invented by Madam Curie or not...it's all in the air anyway for you and me so let's tune in to the melody "♬ Radio Aktivität - Wenn's um unsere Zukunft geht ♬".

With this rather solemn tune playing in my head and guided by my Edge 800, I found myself zooming along Tôhachi-dôro to Kamikitazawa, crossing R20 and cruising along Inokashira-dori through Yoyogi Park and past Omotesando Hills followed by a final R246 sprint before reaching my Akasaka Office…the entire ride was very pleasant and took less than 1 hour (compared to 1 hour and 25 minutes door-to-door per train)!

Due to a growing shortage of gasoline, there was remarkably little automobile traffic and surprisingly lots of tsûkinisutos (word coined several years ago to denote commuting “tsûkin” 通勤 cyclists) on the road. I was carrying a small rucksack holding today’s lunch and got to the office before everybody else so that I could freely change into my business attire without having to offend (or should I say excite?) the Office Ladies

I am seriously thinking about commuting to and from work on a daily basis from today on!

Tune in to the melody
Is in the air for you and me
and here's another melody

zondag 13 maart 2011

Alive and cycling

Left the office at 16:00 on Friday after a magnitude 9.0 massive quake - the largest ever recorded in this country - hit northern Japan. With disrupted train services, I decided to walk all the way home. Fortunately I had my Edge 800 GPS with me but it still took me almost 5 hours to reach my place.

A real exodus along both sides on Koshu Kaido; quite a few people decided to walk home rather than passing the night inside overcrowed and cold school gymnasiums and other public facilities...very unreal. Most commuters took shelter in Tokyo, unable to find a way home. On my way back, I saw very little or no damage. At home, one frame fell down a bookshelf with glass shattered; otherwise everything intact. Musume spent an extra night in Okinawa and returned home late yesterday.

Cancelled all cycling events (major Super Six overhaul at O-Vest and meeting the potential next owner of my cyclocross Ridley) for this weekend.

This morning, however, I hesitated for a while and my family tried in vain to plead with me not to leave even on a short ride (they were obviously worried about radiactivity in the air...150 micro-Sievert per hour is supposed to be 1,000 times the normal level but that was INSIDE the control room of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant. Still, higher-than-usual radiation levels have also been detected in the Kanto region, including in Ibaraki, Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, but not in amounts deemed harmful - yet). Many cyclists must have either feared exposure or else they simply preferred to watch the ongoing after-quake debacle on TV because I only saw very few of them on the road in spite of such perfect cycling conditions...weatherwise.

Super Six...last time dressed in Campagnolo (Super Record 10)... on her next ride, she will be wearing a brand-new Dura-Ace outfit, maybe not as sexy & feathery but more trusty & responsive....

zondag 6 maart 2011

Lazy weekend

Spent a lazy weekend meaning not much time in the saddle... Yesterday I cycled to c speed to catch up on recent developments at Hiroshi's shop. Hiroshi sounded very enthusiastic about a batch of hi-tech DUELL steel bikes arriving soon from the Netherlands. Through the mediation of MOB, c speed acquired the exclusive dealership rights for this part of Japan. These DUELL bikes look extremely sharp! Hiroshi kindly fine-tuned the Fulcrum wheels on my Super Six. This morning, I slept till late again and fixed myself a huge bowl of oatmeal (tried for the first time after reading David L's recommendation on the PE blog)...boiling the grains with water first and then with milk adding raisins, cinnamon, nuts. I took the porridge off the fire and then mixed in half a banana, muesli and a little yoghurt...great taste and very filling!! Following breakfast, I went for my standard Nenogongen Loop and got back home by 13:30....not feeling like eating at all!