Berichten weergeven met het label Colnago. Alle berichten weergeven
Berichten weergeven met het label Colnago. Alle berichten weergeven

zaterdag 9 mei 2009

Shaved ice by the Nagatoro gorge


























Rode with the VLAAMS people today direction Saitama. Beautiful weather a bit on the hot side though. On the flat stretches leading to the foot of Yamabushi-toge, I was able to practice riding with the aerobars clipped onto my CLX. I was pacemaker all the way to the spring where we all re-filled our bottles.

Once we all crested Yamabushi-toge, Ichiro-san and I continued along the Green Line to the Kinshoji bakery. As we were gobbling down various delicious pastries, Ichiro-san remembered a kakigoori shaved ice establishment not too far from Nagatoro, north of Chichibu. A good excuse for not having to make the Karisaka tunnel our destination!

The entire town of Nagatoro is designated a prefectural nature park with the mighty Arakawa river running through it. After we devoured our shaved ice (mine with adzuki beans and kinako soybean flour), we decided to check out the famous rock beds and cliffs of the Nagatoro gorge. The geology of Nagatoro is typified by exposed terraces of crystalline schist dating back to one of the earliest periods of Earth’s history. The flow of Arakawa was extremely fast probably due to all the rainfall we had all week. Once I’d like to try out a trip on one of those "yakata-bune" boats that run downstream through the rapids of the gorge.

On our way home, Ichiro-san guided me through the tea plantations of Sayama. Ichiro-san reviewed his riding position lately and is now much faster and stronger than me! Tomorrow, I plan to join another V練 training…hoping to be in peak form by Itoigawa!
Distance: 203.56km / Average speed: 26.4 km/h / Elevation gain +5,780m

zondag 29 maart 2009

Where did all the cars go on my Dozaka loop?





















Left home at 9:30 after a cosy breakfast with the entire family around the table...eldest daughter is back home on spring vacation!

Today's weather was much nicer than yesterday and although a chilly and rather strong northern wind was blowing, the sun felt warm. I decided to do the tail that was cut off yesterday...a nice 160km loop making the total distance in the saddle this weekend 340km.

With the new discount system for cars and motorcycles having gone into effect on expressways Saturday, there was a lot less traffic on the road than usual. Especially the road going through Dozaka tunnel was almost completely empty except for a group of about 20 or so miniature bikes sounding like Harley Davidsons! It was thrilling to have the downhill all for myself. On Doshimichi there was only half the usual volume of traffic...let's hope automobile traffic keeps flowing away to the expressways!

I chose my aerobar-fitted CLX today to get some practice for the Tokyo-Itoigawa fast run. Soon I will be parting from my Colnago...I put her up for sale together with my Orbea Onix...getting rid of carbon and creating space for my new Bridgestone Anchor Neo-Cot! According to O-Vest Nishitani-san, arrival of my first steel bike is expected around mid-June...

vrijdag 20 maart 2009

With aerobars to Hinata Yakushi Temple

A fierce spring storm was raging most of this morning until 11:30. I decided to get the right fit of the aero clip-on bars by trying out various positions. I finally settled on a comfortable position with the bars in the same angle as the stem and the arm rests in medium position.

Left home one hour later, the road surface still wet here and there from all the rainfall. With no destination in mind I followed the usual V練 winter route direction Odawara. At Isehara I took a turn for Oyama and soon found myself on a nice mountain road running parallel to Yabitsu pass. I passed a very old Shingon Sect Buddhist temple called Hinata Yakushi founded in the year 716 during the reign of Empress Gensho by the famous buddhist priest Gyoki. Three statues of Yakushi Nyorai and an Amida-nyorai statue are the main object of worship and next time I pass by I will make it a point to view these sculptures. Not far from this temple I came across some impressive rock formations covered in pistache-green moss right at the foot of the Tanzawa mountain range.

I was very impressed by the aerobars…the difference is huge and made me wonder why road bikes are not equipped with them from the beginning. Granted, they are dangerous when riding in heavy traffic as you cannot brake and it is easy to lose control over the handlebar. On straight stretches, even against the wind or going up a slope, these bars make you go so much faster! As they say, they make the scales drop from your eyes!

Tomorrow, the weather should by sunny, a bit colder and less windy. I plan to join the weekly V練!

zaterdag 14 maart 2009

Polishing












Terrible gusty weather today...the weekly V練 got cancelled but it was nice to enjoy breakfast with the family for a change. I spent most of the day cleaning my CLX and Sirius Ti-1, taking off the sprockets and degreasing all the gear wheels. I never use those expensive degreasers for sale at bike shops usually costing around 1,200 yen. Instead I have been using the inexpensive kind one can find at home centers costing four times less! I finally got the clip-on aerobars attached on my CLX, the bike I will use for the Tokyo-Itoigawa Fast Run. The FSA Team Edition handlebar said pokki!...pokki!.. twice as I was carefully applying more torque....rather unnerving but everything looks intact, I think. Looking forward to tomorrow's Kusatsu Training ride with the folks from TCC.

zaterdag 22 november 2008

OHSMK-loop with TCC

Left home at 6:40 for a 7:00 rendezvous with some of the TCC faster guys. I decided to postpone the Chichibu Lake plan until a bit later in the season when most of the red leaves and koyo gazers are gone. Since traffic along the OHSMK-loop is relatively light any time of the year, the choice was easy.

Weather was splendid, views of Fujisan were breathtaking (wish I could’ve stopped to take more pictures)…and the company was most enjoyable too. At the Hinazuru manju shop, I met a guy from the VLAAMS team who told me that the team has sorties every Saturday leaving Koremasa bridge at 6:30…sounds perfect to me! Maybe I should join the VLAAMS team; after all, I am the proud owner of a VLAAMS bike…and I AM VLAAMS (Flemish that is)!

On the hillclimbs the pace of Mike, Clay and Sergey was simply too fast for me and I tried to stick to my own rhythm as much as I could in an effort to prevent cramps from re-occurring. They were back though on today’s last climb of the Kazahari…this time in the right upper thigh. Cramps have been pestering me for the past six months but I just cannot find the cause or a remedy for them. I find this predicament most frustrating as it doesn’t seem to be related to fatigue. Perhaps it is age…but I simply don’t want to admit that. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with Deej on the long Kazahari downhill and stay in his wheel…the drafting really rescued me. When I tried to take over and do some pulling…I could feel the calf muscle cramps slowly gaining control again. Still Deej and I managed to keep a steady pace and we had almost caught up with Clay and Sergey as we arrived at the Itsukaichi 7/11.

Honoring promises and appointed times went extremely smooth and precise thanks to Philip’s superb organizing skills…such a pleasure. Too bad we had to miss Philip’s presence for the second half of today’s loop. The days are getting extremely short…it will be difficult to do another ride of this scale before the year is out. Coping with cold on longer rides is also quite an issue...it is easy to overdress (like I did today) or underdress and in both cases one ends up shivery. In spite of the cramps and coldness, today was another superb cycling day I will remember for a long time!

zaterdag 18 oktober 2008

Shinpukuji on Ootana-yama

With tomorrow's Gunma race on the schedule, I cycled for only half a day leaving home at 6:15 and back before 14:00. Beautiful autumn weather again. For my weekly pilgrimage, I visited Fudasho No. 2, 真福寺 on a mountain called 大棚山...about 1.8km south of Rd. 11 leading to Sadamine-toge. To my surprise the second half of this road was incredibly steep...you would almost think you're climbing the Wada! Following Ootana, I scaled Sadamine and Shiraishi and rode back to Ome via Shomaru-toge. Covered 165 km in all at a slow pace to save my legs for Gunma. Will slowly get my stuff ready for tomorrow's race now. I'll be in German company this evening as Michael and Ludwig are participating in the race as well. I will have a pace-setting role tomorrow and hopefully I can help Michael solidify his lead in the JCRC rankings!

zondag 21 september 2008

Karibazaka-touge Quickie

Met Philip of TCC at 7:20 this morning...we had both arrived at Sekidobashi 10 minutes before appointed time. I immediately knew I was in for a non-nonsense ride when Philip greeted me and proceeded to ride down under the bridge...no stop, no chitchat...how nice for a change!

Philip took the lead from the very start and that's the position he would be in for almost the entire ride including all the hills...what an athlete (Philip regularly takes part in triathlons in Japan and overseas - I understand he's a fast swimmer and runner too...really puts people like me who can only do a bit of cycling to shame) !

Our first break came at the Higashi-Ome 7/11...I looked for my favorite "mini daifuku" but there was only 1 left...one with mango puree inside (ideal for cycling I think). While I kept drinking sweet stuff (grape juice, coffee, etc.), Philip wisely stuck to sports drinks and on the harder climbs I saw him drink profusely and then he would suddenly increase speed with 3 to 4 km/h...wow....the power of salt...the solution to my cramp problem!!

We both summited Shomaru-toge at the same time, however, no pause was taken here! I happily realized I was doing a most effective Hotaka rehearsal. I did the descent ultra carefully....it had by then started to drizzle and the road was wet and slippery with fallen leaves and moss.

At the bottom, we straightaway began the climb towards the top of Karibazaka-touge instead of turning right onto R299. Again it was Philip who was pulling up front and widening the gap between us. Once in a while I was able to catch my breath and go en danseuse shortening the distance separating us up to 10 meters but each time Philip managed to pull away. He was really gone and out of sight (and that's not only because the road had almost completely misted over) for the final 700 meters...a powerful sprint leaving me completely debilitated!
















For the return trip we took exactly the same route this time with stop at the Shomaru-toge teahouse for drinks. As we approached Ome, the fine misty rain changed into a rather heavy slanting rain. Philip's back wheel was a real squirt gun preventing me from drafting!

The police who had been lurking near every traffic light on the (Shin) Okutama-kaido in the morning were either on a lunch break or gone back to their office afraid to get wet feet. It seems the Autumn Road Safety Campaign has started again...go after those motorcycle gangs and leave us innocent cyclist alone! Anyways, Philip & I would obey every single traffic light. As by magic, every single one turned red whenever we were 30 meters or so close - I bet those policemen had a remote control hidden behind their back!

Back on the Tamagawa CR, I finally got the guts to do some riding up front after more than 120km riding like a miserable parasite! I think Travis of TCC uses the word - I don't know if it is Australian slang - "flat-arsing" for the kind of riding we did...on the flat, we were both going neck-and-neck at 38~40km/h !

I checked my cycle computer once home: exactly 140k and an average of 25.5km/h (with all those traffic lights and hills)!

Thanks a lot Philip for this superduper no-nonsense ride! See you again in a few days!

zaterdag 20 september 2008

Migotoni damasareta!

Crazy weather forecasters in this country...it seems that everytime a typhoon approaches, they have a viable excuse to scamp their work and then blame their mistake on the supercomputers...how irresponsible! Probability for rain was supposedly 100% and we had no choice therefore but to call off a long ride including Mikuni-toge (postponed to this coming Tuesday!).

I slept long this morning and when I peaked out of the window...guess what! Blue skies!! I hastily got my bike ready and left a little after 9:00. I did a repeat of the ride I enjoyed with the TCC people earlier this month...Karibazaka-toge 刈場坂峠 but missed the entrance point somewhere and instead summited Kaaburi-toge 顔振峠, Kasasugi-toge 傘杉峠 and a couple more mini-toges within short range of each other before I reached Karibazaka-toge. Today's route was a not so steep. The Fulcrum Racing 3 front wheel acted strangely...it was moving sideways about 1mm across the axle. Going down Shomaru-toge last time, I hit a pothole and ever since the wheel has not been normal. Might send it back to the manufacturer...

As usual when I'm cycling solo, I took quite a number of pictures...following is today's best selection. This week-long "Higan" Buddhist observance of the autumn equinox has started. On my way to the summit of Kaoburi-toge, I saw some handsome "Higanbana," a kind of amaryllis growing in clusters. The fragrance of kinmokusei was also in the air...sublime!

























zondag 14 september 2008

BIJOTANI-TOGE

Could only ride 100km today...hectic things going on around the house...

For a change, I decided to try out one of Hiroshi's standard half-day routes going up the suggestive-sounding hill of Bijotani-toge 美女谷峠 tucked away somewhere between Sagamiko and Wada-toge. I now understand why the route is not a very popular one...the first half has some crazy steep sections and a rather poor road surface but still bearable. The worst part comes after the gate. The second half is now permanently closed to all traffic...lots of 危険 and 立ち入り禁止 sign boards...


Landslides, caved-in and slimy stretches of road, rocks all over...even on a MTB this pathway must be quite a challenge. Once in while though there were some very pleasant and flat parts commanding impressive mountain views...such a pity this forestry road is now completely abandoned and not getting any repair work.
Today I rode my Colnago for the first time in more than half a year and the comfort of the compact crankset produced quite a "emollient" effect on my legs still aching from yesterday's brisk ride with Deej (his cycle computer had recorded an average speed of 25km/h+...with all those hills!) I also re-discovered the bottom bracket on the CLX has an acceptable whip and is stiff enough for some serious danseuse.
Now I'm not sure with which bike to enter Giro de Hotaka...for the day 1 hillclimb TT, I could certainly profit from the compact drive but on day 2, I' like to have the Sirius Ti-1 52X12 power for the downhills and flying over those long undulating sections....ouch! I can already feel my thighs cramping up again!