Hi from Ota-ku Tokyo

#1
Hi everyone,
My name is jessica, I am 47, originally from Milwaukee WI USA, and have been living in Tokyo for 7 years. I have been getting back into cycling over the last year. Of course now that it is cold outside I am back on the forums (and on the turbo-trainer). I am hoping to get myself back into "athletic" shape this year and maybe work my way up to doing a sportive, road-race or a criterium. I have always wanted to do a crit but never got up the courage to try. Oh my Japanese is still at a very basic level.

I ride a 1992 Cannondale 2.8 frame which I built up myself. I do most of the work on the bike myself (I leave wheel-building to the shops). Last year I did a major overhaul on the bike to bring it back into top condition.

I hope to join in some group rides, sportives, and some discussions here. Looking forward to meet everyone.

jessica
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,442
910
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#6
Welcome, @jessica!

Luckily winters around Tokyo are nothing like winters in Wisconsin. Here, with some decent winter gear one can keep riding twelve months a year (my January 2014 total distance was only 26 km under my average monthly distance for 2014 while my December one was actually 67 km above it). That's one of the things that makes this such a great place for cycling :) In winter I just avoid the higher elevations and do more rides along the coast or near the rivers, but still including hills.

The road racing season runs from March to December, but there are also some CX races in the winter. I'm not a racer, I ride more to enjoy views and the clear skies and dry air in the winter are good for those.
 
Likes: jessica
#7
hi @joewein, yeah the winters here are very mild compared to Wisconsin. Maybe I should invest in some winter gear. I have some basic cool-weather spring/fall gear. Might need to ask around for some recommendations for: gloves, jackets, tights....

In Wisconsin, I enjoyed riding in the country-side for the views. Tokyo is so big, how do you get out of the city to get views? I really need to learn the routes around here. So far I have mostly been riding on the faster roads (Nakahara highway..) or along the Tamagawa river, but even that river trail feels a bit like a dirt track at times.
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#8
Tamagawa river, but even that river trail feels a bit like a dirt track at times.
At certain points, you'll want to to switch between the east side and west side.

Going upriver from Haneda, start off on the east (Tokyo) side.
At Gasu Bashi, switch to the west (Kawasaki) side.
At Noborito, switch back to the east side.

On both sides, there are usually two to three paths. Some paths will end into a gravel road and takes a bit of trial and error to figure one to take. It's especially confusing at night where I've found myself suddenly on rock strewn paths at speed.

You might want to look at joining some of the Half Fast rides. They go all over the place. Also this is a good resource: http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.jp/p/twenty-rides-to-come.html
 
Likes: jessica
#9
@JackTheCommuter wow thanks!! I will definitely be reading that guide and trying your recommendation for the Tamagawa.

Half Fast Rides sound fun. I think these might be the type of ride I would really enjoy. I will definitely be looking forward to join in some at spring/summer time.
I will start to look into some more cold weather gear. Even March can be a bit cold for open-finger gloves.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#10
If you are aiming to race, you need a training program. At this point in the year most of the riding takes place on the rivers. Arakawa , Edogawa etc. we head back to the mountains by about March when things thaw out, then ride them until about November

If you want to race but are not doing any training yet, it would be best to try a single day thing like an enduro or a hill climb, depending on your fitness

Get on Strava too, that is the best way to figure out where all the riding is and to see how others train and ride.
 
Likes: jessica

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,620
1,199
143
Setagaya
#11
A lot of my training/riding starts by riding up the Tamagawa and Asagawa river paths to reach mountains to the West of Tokyo (route), or for shorter distances by crossing over the Tamagawa into Kanagawa-ken where there are loads of smaller hills. Lots going on round there (link). Like TCC says, Strava is a great way to find where others are riding. I'm always finding new places to ride.
 
Likes: jessica
#12
thanks guys. I just got a GPS watch this Christmas (suunto ambit2) so I will be logging exercise on strava.
Right now I am training in the gym (weights, cardio) and on the turbo trainer at home.
I have no idea if I am even close to being able to join a race this season or not. My average pace is around 29km/hr right now (which I can hold for 15+km). I am not really interested in time-trial or triathalons.

Are the TCC rides more touring style (medium pace, long touring distances)? I am happy with doing that too.
The criterium is mainly a goal I am setting for myself (this year, next year...)
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#13
In Wisconsin, I enjoyed riding in the country-side for the views. Tokyo is so big, how do you get out of the city to get views? I really need to learn the routes around here. So far I have mostly been riding on the faster roads (Nakahara highway..) or along the Tamagawa river, but even that river trail feels a bit like a dirt track at times.
For some information on (and links to RidewithGPS tracks for) tried and true routes between the Tamagawa and the hills/views and forest roads, see:

http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.jp/p/20-rides-near-tokyo.html
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#14
thanks guys. I just got a GPS watch this Christmas (suunto ambit2) so I will be logging exercise on strava.
Right now I am training in the gym (weights, cardio) and on the turbo trainer at home.
I have no idea if I am even close to being able to join a race this season or not. My average pace is around 29km/hr right now (which I can hold for 15+km). I am not really interested in time-trial or triathalons.

Are the TCC rides more touring style (medium pace, long touring distances)? I am happy with doing that too.
The criterium is mainly a goal I am setting for myself (this year, next year...)
There are always loads of rides every weekend starting from around March. The pace varies between each ride depending on the participants, but there will definitely be something for you to join on a regular basis. You obviously know this, but if you are looking to get stronger and faster there is no better way than riding with people who are stronger and faster than you.

Your current level of 29kmph for about 15km... I assume that is on the flat, without a massive headwind. For most of the longer rides into the mountains, you are looking at about 30kmph on the flat on the way out, climbing at whatever you can climb at, then the same speed on the way back, doing between 100 and 150km each time, usually. The faster rides are just that; faster, with the really quick ones hammering along at 37kmph+ on the flats, climbing at the very edge of ability then blitzing back to the city as fast as possible.
 
#15
my 29kph for 15+km is my commute into work but yeah it is fairly flat, but also includes stop lights, traffic....

I can do about 35kph sprints right now for about 1km, but then need to slow down to recover. When I do HIIT training. So basically a pretty average cyclist, nothing spectacular but not bad.

sounds great! yeah I will definitely be joining your spring and summer rides. I should be able to keep up on everything but the blitzes. The mountain rides sound fun!