Today Nov 2019

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
1,483
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So Oct is finished for me, cycling related. Only 31h compared to 50h for Sep, and 670 km VS 1,061 km. Hoping for a much better Nov, now that typhoons are supposed to be over and it's drier and cooler. Maybe even some rindos become passable (fat chance...)
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,693
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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I don't think there will be a big rush to fix a lot of rindos before the winter. Places like Doshi road, where people in the village have to make a big detour to go to places will get priority, but there again, once temperatures in the mountains drop low enough that there will be night frost it will be too late to pour any fresh concrete and they will wait until at least March for the remaining repairs.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
but there again, once temperatures in the mountains drop low enough that there will be night frost it will be too late to pour any fresh concrete and they will wait until at least March for the remaining repairs.
Up here it never gets above freezing for nearly four months but they still pour house foundations and build roads and river banks. They must have advanced concrete making as when I was a child it was a no no to concrete in frosty weather. I think they use an agent to replace a lot of the water with air or AE剤.
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,693
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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Up here it never gets above freezing for nearly four months but they still pour house foundations and build roads and river banks. They must have advanced concrete making as when I was a child it was a no no to concrete in frosty weather. I think they use an agent to replace a lot of the water with air or AE剤.
It helps that the curing of concrete itself produces some heat. In fact, when pouring concrete for large hydroelectric dams, the heat output of the curing concrete can become a limiting factor for how quickly they can add fresh concrete to build the structure. They can also pre-heat the mix, i.e. use hot water or heat the drum of the cement mixer truck. They can cover the poured concrete with insulation materials to reduce heat loss. Raising the cement contents of the mix (more cement, less sand / rock) also speeds up the curing process, at the expense of extra cost.

I've found that estate agents and recruitment agents are quite exothermic... for a while. Also a cheap filler for concrete foundations.
Not to mention Jimmy Hoffa!
 
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kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
Just bought some new winter tires for the snow and ice covered roads. I used to use spiked tires but they are noisy on unfrozen roads and don't roll well. These are basically the same as "studless" snow tires we have on the cars. Hopefully they have some grip on ice.
top-contact-winter2-premium-ct-s1-01.png
 

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
1,483
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@microcord you do indeed, and I'm very grateful for that. But it does take me almost 4h train time there and back so was hoping for something a bit closer

@kiwisimon I'd love to try those out. Grip on ice, can that be a thing...
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
949
331
83
Tokyo
Luka, yes, I know what you mean: The station's rather far from my place too.

There's something to be said for living in Hachijōji or thereabouts.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
2,027
2,215
433
Miura, Japan
November Optimism!!!

Yesterday's Stats:
3 riders
4 saws
3L of Coffee

Yesterday's Results
10km of rideable trail with exception of 2 spots that will require a dismount for a total of maybe 10m.

While sections of trail have been altered - it is becoming way more rider friendly than it has been for the recent past.

One impassable section that requires an alternate route (that has plenty of make=shift steps)...
This tree went down from the first typhoon. This isn't new... but it is one of the two sections you have to dismount for a second. I am standing on the alternate trail (where the tree use to stand) and you can see one of my buddies next to the tree in the lower left (blue and orange). This is something the city will have to take care of - the mess is just a bit too big for hand saws. But this is the worst spot of the route we took yesterday.


futago1.jpg

The progress of everyone chipping in is finally paying off as all of our work is converging. I had another friend send me picture from the other end of this trail where two of them were out cleaning things up as well. Hopefully by the end of this month we will have at least 20km of fun.
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,693
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133
Setagaya, Tokyo
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Yesterday I visited GS Astuto for some maintenance for my National Forest Explorer. It got a new bottom bracket, new shift cable and a new bar tape.

For more than a year I had been hearing a clicking sound on every turn of the pedal, whenever the right pedal was near its highest point. At various points I suspected the pedals, the chain ring bolts, the bottom bracket, even the seat post and saddle. Once I temporarily swapped pedals with my Bike Friday which didn't seem to fix it. Last year we swapped the BB to a new Ultegra BB and the noise went away, but then came back. Yesterday, after trying everything else, we tried different pedals and the clicking was gone. Even the original pedals stopped making the sound after some greasing. So I've ordered new pedals. I am not sure why it previously looked like a pedal swap didn't cure it, but perhaps my other pedals I used for comparison were also no good any more! They certainly weren't new.

In the process of diagnosing the clicks we found that the 14 month old Ultegra BB (SM-BBR60) was running rough. The cartridge bearings on one side were not in good shape. Since the patient was already on the operating table, we decided to do BB replacement surgery. Tim didn't have a BBR60 in stock but he had an XTR SM-BB93. On the box it said 68/73 mm, so it should work in a road 68 mm BB shell. The ends of the BB with the bearings inside screw into the threaded ends of the shell. They are connected via a central pipe through which the axle of the crank passes. It looked like this pipe was 5 mm longer for the 73 mm XTR part than for the 68 mm Ultegra part. There were two 2.5 mm spacers that would somehow make up for this in a road bike installation. Instead we just recycled the corresponding shorter BBR60 pipe. It all fit.

14 months is not a long service life for a BB. My previous 105 BB on the Bike Friday had lasted me 5 years, with basically the same kind of riding. Has Shimano downgraded the seals on its BBs to sell more replacement parts?

I also knew the rear shift cable was on its way out again, as upshifts in some gears had become laggy: click once and it takes a few crank turns for it to shift, or click again and it will then upshift twice in quick succession. So I would just work around it by doing two upshifts and one down shift. From experience, I can watch this get worse and worse until either the tallest gears stop working (happened on the NFE two years ago) or the shifter becomes unusable altogether (happened twice on the Bike Friday). On the Bike Friday with its 10 speed Tiagra 4600 shifters where the cable didn't run under the bar tape but exited sideways, I would be OK if I replaced the cable annually, but I never made it two years without a total failure. With my riding the 11 speed Ultegra level ST-RS685 shifters of the NFE will not last for 12 months (7000+ km) without cable strands starting to break up inside the shifter. That is precisely what had happened again (I think we last replaced it 11 months ago). For good measure I also asked Tim to replace the cable housing and the bar tape.

Next I'll have to deal with some rust issues on the top tube and cable guides and then, some time in the spring, the next set of brake pads.
 

stu_kawagoe

Maximum Pace
Jun 23, 2018
655
648
123
Raised my seat post a centimetre last night and went for a quick spin. Like a whole new bike! (I used the 109 method to get the height.)

Btw, on the Green Line, the road to Gojo Falls is open. You can’t continue further up when you get to the top but the way to Kamikitako, etc, is fine.
 
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bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
2,027
2,215
433
Miura, Japan
Last Park Day of the year is in the books.
Luka was exposed to the "other side" of riding.
All in All - Luka did quite well for having absolutely No MTB experience. I loaned him my Tracer and we did a couple runs together. Overall it was good for him, but I will let him fill in those details.

Friday afternoon - Pick up Luka from the Train Station and take off for Hakuba... all was going fine until Luka had to pee for 10 minutes!
p1.jpg
When we rejoined traffic - we made good time the rest of the way.
We made it to Hakuba around 630pm and unloaded our bags and the cooler of beer.
Beer was consumed, roughly 11pm off to sleep.

We woke up and due to a frost on the ground, we went out for a sit down breakfast at Gusto vs rushing to the trails.
Some weak coffee, eggs, and bacon later, we head back to get dressed and ride.
h1.jpg

We hit the Gondola up and make 2 runs. Steep learning curve for Luka, but overall he did fantastic. But with our late start - it was lunch time after 2 runs. And a good time for some of us to assess our wounds.

After lunch, I took off and rode with a couple my regular riding buddies. Shayne and his 11 year old daughter Ellie for 2 runs.
We took on the newly modified Kamikaze trail.... they seemed to have not mentioned the 2 new jumps and HUGE but perfectly crafted berms for a wickedly fun high speed section.
h2.jpg

After two runs with me and her dad, Ellie decided she wanted a break - so Shayne and I did one last run.
I originally had the ears pinned back to go all out, but a mistake on my part and a near-catastrophic result calmed me down just a smidge and I went down the mountain at 9/10 vs 10/10 - until we caught traffic. As soon as we were able to pass, we made quick work of them and then got back into full rhythm. I was exhausted by the end of that run. My legs were wasted from pumping, not pedaling.

We packed up after the run and headed back to the lodge. Luka and another rider hit an onsen to relax and clean up. Shayne took his girls to get cleaned up for dinner as well and I sat in front of a fire and just relaxed in the silence.
h3.jpg

Once everyone got back to the lodge, we walked over to the Hakuba Taproom and had some Chicken Parm with some beers. We walked back and Luka and I more or less called it a day.

This morning we were up early and headed back early to beat the Tokyo Traffic.
Still today I am a bit sore from working the bike down the Mountain.
 
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joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
2,693
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133
Setagaya, Tokyo
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Yesterday I did my second Century ride for November, matching my total of 29 rides of 100 miles or more for Jan-Dec 2018 one month early. With a few detours once I got within 10 km of home I brought it to 202 km with 1900 m of elevation gain.

Today I just sat at home and relaxed. Washing up dishes, cooking, eating, opening a nice bottle of wine... After most century rides I feel pretty wasted for a day. It takes time to recover and I'm not getting any younger. But at least I'm a little more genki than this poor little fella:



I come across road kill on many rides. A lot of dead snakes. The biggest was a young inoshishi (wild boar) that I came across once. I usually just ride on and don't take pictures but something made me stop this time. On the road death is ever present, just one mistake or case of bad luck away.
 
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luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
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thanks for the write-up @bloaker but more than anything for organizing this and taking me aboard.

I will let him fill in those details.
after getting my 47mm tires gravel bike in August, hitting some stuff I thought needed more grip and bigger tires and ending with putting 2.2'' MTB tires there, I was getting MTB curious a lot. no experience apart from some youtube videos, and I never though an actual MTB ride would come my way anytime soon. but when @bloaker proposed the short MTB weekend (with the best weather forecast in a long while) in Hakuba, it was just enough to tip me to jump in the deep end.

it takes some getting used to, I'll just say that. the bar width is about twice the road bars, and feels like a harley davidson or smt at first. was able to manage not to hit anything with those bars, and stayed clear of any pedals/cranks/chainring/BB hits too (it was a bit tame for that anyway). dropper seat post is the best thing since sliced hands on disk rotors.

my biggest issue was cornering. they have these things they call berms, but I call them wall of death. think of bobsledding and you might get a general idea. I know in my head I'm supposed to enter high and exit low, but from a road background they are so 3D and scary and narrow. I managed to somehow clear the most, but on some the sharpest, which also happened to be slippery with mud, I lost it on the left side. first run, just one crash, as I brushed the front brake at an importune moment. nothing much, shake the mud off and continue.

second run, around the same section, similar or the same turn, I go down again. this time the slam is a bit harder. no braking, but might have turned the bar a bit or smt. the line wasn't the best and I was struggling not to exit too high, so I got it low instead. shaken up a bit, I go on. before long another sharp switchback, high sidewall, clay/mud, the whole deal. hate these by now. try to negotiate my way, but all of a sudden go down yet again. the hardest slam to the ground yet. to make it worse, the girl behind me crashes too, as she couldn't avoid me. barely managing to get ourselves and the bikes off the track before the next riders. it was all downhill from there (hehe) but I was just taking it slow and letting everyone pass me just to descend in one piece. I realize my helmet is cracked - ok it was a spare old one anyway. but cracked is a rib or three too, and they are not getting any younger or a replacement anytime soon.

I went up the gondola once more, just to have lunch and snap some pics over there, but that was the riding part for me. amazing experience. at the beginning I said I'd be happy if nothing is broken. but if anything is I guess, the ribs are the way to go. I'll take 2-3 weeks of slight side pierces when laying down or sneezing etc over a broken anything else really (@bloaker 's 3K usd bike incl). I'm not sure if I still have it in me to invest the time etc into a new skillset at this age, but if I do it might as be MTB. have to cool down over the winter and think it all over. but it's mighty fun and makes me realize just how spoiled we can get if we ride tarmac only. for me, the best way to describe it is: road is so 2D and MTB is sooo 3D. it's not one over the other at all, but very different indeed. it does make me think that a proficient MTB rider could much more easily adjust to road than the other way around. all they need is more basic endurance. but good luck going the other way ;)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,693
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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You are a far braver man than I am, @luka!

Not getting injured is near the top of my list of priorities. That's the only way to get to 87 months of "century a month" without being interrupted by a hospital stay or an arm in a sling from a broken collar bone. The older I get, the more risk-averse I become. I select my rides so that the worst case is keeping others waiting for a couple of minutes on a climb, or me needing a 30 minute conbini recovery break before I can ride another 50 km.

This is not meant as criticism of anyone. Some people are amazingly skillful on a bike, far more than I am. It's for everyone to make their own choices what challenges they seek.
 
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luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
1,483
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I guess it's a fair generalization to say we all get more risk averse as we get older. I wouldn't dream of ever doing some shite I did in my teens or 20s etc. but going down a beginner's course of a well maintained MTB park on a great specked enduro bike is not exactly what I'd call brave. another fellow offered to do it on a full road bike with slick tires. that's brave eh and he's in his 50s haha

of course, not getting injured is perhaps only topped by not injuring or causing others to get injured, on my priority list. no one goes out wanting a injury, but they happen. the further you go out of your comfort zone, the bigger the risk I guess. so yeah, to each their own risk assessment for sure
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
3,976
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Kawasaki
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invest the time etc into a new skillset [...] road is so 2D and MTB is sooo 3D.
I think that's an excellent description.

Not many (sane) people descend faster than me on sketchy terrain. Several years ago, though, I was amazed and overawed how @trad trounced me down the Bijodani. Whyhowwhyhow? Years and years of mountain-biking. Now I do it, and I'm faster than former-me, as @Karl has attested. (But I've also broken both shoulders, several ribs multiple times, blablabla...)
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
708
657
113
Yokohama
Watching @Half-Fast Mike attack the descent, seemingly undisturbed by what lay underneath the leaf bed, or the loose gravel on a tight turn, made me think I ought to try some MTB stuff (but in maybe a more controlled way than @luka ) . Looks like being able to handle a bike on the mountain trail would have a lot of carryover for road bike handling, especially on slick roads. OTOH, my guess is that I'd have a lot of injuries learning how to avoid injuries.:(