Today Today - November 2013

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#1
A good walk with the dog, 90 minutes on a bike, 40 laps in the pool, and two "sits" in the sauna.

Oh, and dinner: (buri-kama, one of my favs)
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,440
901
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#2
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195 km today: 86 to Chichibu starting around 04:30, then 94 km for the Nichitsu loop with a larger than expected group of Half-Fast riders and finally 15 km back from Ikebukuro, after the return train ride from Seibuchichibu station. All this with 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night due to the early start. Despite one crash and one cut tyre/puncture of fellow riders and some members falling behind and either never managing to rejoin or getting lost, it nevertheless was a great day for me. I'll probably write a report tomorrow.

More pictures:

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wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,040
632
133
Tokyo
#3
I'm going to do the three sisters tomorrow. I believe it's about a 50k or 60k ride or so. It was the first mountain ride I did in Japan and in May and it nearly killed me. Time to challenge it again. I don't have a route but I've half an idea where I'm going. I'll be at Takao station (JR side) around 8am if anyone wants to join in. Just PM me your mobile number and I'll text you on the train. Even though its a short ride, it will be a little tough due to at least 3 climbs - although I really want to do the back of wada also so I may turn around and cycle back up it for good measure to make it 4.
 
Aug 30, 2013
24
5
23
#4
195 km today: 86 to Chichibu starting around 04:30, then 94 km for the Nichitsu loop with a larger than expected group of Half-Fast riders and finally 15 km back from Ikebukuro, after the return train ride from Seibuchichibu station. All this with 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night due to the early start. Despite one crash and one cut tyre/puncture of fellow riders and some members falling behind and either never managing to rejoin or getting lost, it nevertheless was a great day for me. I'll probably write a report tomorrow.
Awesome day Joe. I had a ton of fun, despite my close encounter with Japanese mountain road ditches, and appreciate you making it happen and the help on the course. Such a great route - it's like a little of everything. A nice moderate/gradual climb, good descents, good windy clear roads, great site seeing. If you rode out you also got nice flat riverside riding so really was a potpourri of sorts. Glad for all the warnings which made me bring all the winter gear for the second half. Obviously could have even brought more.

Best,

-Jason
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,040
632
133
Tokyo
#6
I guess I need to start organizing my rides earlier... Was in Takao by about 8:07. Weather was very agreeable. I'd a long sleeve jersey on and the TCC short sleeve over it for the first time. Pressure was on as you are not supposed to walk up a hill if you wear the TCC jersey. I'd looked up the previous route on Strava from before so I knew where I had to go on a map at least. Of course, that didn't stop me stopping off a few times to pull the phone out and check my location. It was further than I remembered to Wada from Takao but I found it finally.

To my dismay so had several other busloads of hikers who completely took over the road. I was hoping no poor soul would be barreling down as he'd surely hit several before he could stop. Didn't meet a sinner coming down though. Up. I was threading the needle and repeating "Jitensha!" more times than I care to remember to try clear a path and up I went. That is a long harsh climb and I was super glad to see the top where sweat was dripping down my hair onto my clothes, heart and breath racing as I disconnected myself from the bike. I felt crap and I'd 2 more hills to go. Hmmm but what about the back of wada? I was thinking that could wait until the next time. The rest did me well though and as I was descending I decided to man up and turn around and climb back up again. The back definitely hurts less and I just needed a small break before heading down again for the next climb.

I remember the closed road of the next climb all too well but not getting there. I had to pull the phone out again many times before I got the correct turn. This was the climb where I got two flats the last time and I don't remember much about it except that the road surface was covered in small sharp rocks. Turns out there is some steep stuff before you even get to the gate which had me swearing. Passed the gate though is pretty easy except for a crazy amount of crap on the road which I happily ignored the best I could. It felt good to reach the summit here as I knew I'd only one climb left and it was pretty easy in comparison. The descent was pretty bad with a small stream across the road for several bends and again lots of crap. I took it very easy.

Route 20 towards Takao was the first place I saw riders all day. Two groups just flew passed me (not sure this is allowed when wearing TCC) but I did also pass a few others on the way up also. I wasn't strong enough to push hard going up though and just resigned myself to a survivable pace. It felt nice and short after the other labors of the day but I was glad to be heading home downhill after that.

Excellent ride but my legs are in pieces.
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,040
632
133
Tokyo
#7
I forgot to mention it in my earlier post, but I noticed one of the "grates" that cross the road was parted and could be the cause of an similar accident that happened to Alan earlier this year. It was at the very beginning of the second climb after turning to follow the tochiya river up to the onsen and the closed gate. Careful out there.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,440
901
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#10
On corners I guess it could gradually happen through centrifugal forces. Or if a truck loses a stone which lands in the narrow gap, another vehicle could then push it down and it acts like a wedge. This would explain gaps just wide enough for road tyres.

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Some of the grates are bolted or wired together for safety, but that can create extra work when opening them to clean them.

I always make sure I either go across them at an angle or avoiding the end sections of the segments. The fastest descent line is secondary.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,681
494
103
Japan
#11
they move with expansion and contraction, along with vehicles moving them. If it was deliberate I would imagine they would just take the whole thing.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#13
So, pictures of hills, approaching fall colors, road grates, bikes w/new wheels and the odd piece of art…

This was the most striking part of this morning's ride:

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(I left it wide instead of zooming in for some extra detail)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,440
901
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#14
I missed my 100 km per week goal this week, due to a combination of too much work and supporting my son at a race.

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By Sunday night I had only cycled a bit over 17 km total, most of that on a night time round of Lake Saiko after my son's race registration on Saturday. So after 9pm on Sunday, when we had finally made it back to Tokyo, I changed into my winter tights and TCC jersey and headed over to the Imperial palace for 2 loops and back before midnight, which at least took me to 60% of my goal.

After the 195 km Nichitsu ride on the first November weekend I knew I'd get in far less cycling the second weekend. My son had signed up the Saiko race by JCRC (Tour du Japon) on Nov 10. He was going to be in D class, after making podium with a 5th place in E class last year. I ended up driving more than 500 km on two trips to the lake, one for registration on Saturday afternoon, the other on race day. My wife also joined us for Sunday.

Compared to last year it was a little less chilly and though there was some slight rain, it was mercifully short and then brightened up in the afternoon, rather than getting worse as it did last year. When the sun came out it made the best of the colourful autumn leaves all around us. Mt Fuji already has masses of snow on it.

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Last year Shintaro had been commuting to university by road bike, which had helped a lot on race day. This spring his bike got damaged beyond repair in an accident and so he had been without his road bike for 5 months. Only a week or two ago he could rebuild it with a borrowed frame and the bits from the dead bike, but he basically missed out on any training, ignoring the occasional mamachari ride or errands made on my Bike Friday.

Because of the lack of preparation my expectations weren't very high, but after the first of two loops of 10 km around the lake, we found him in the lead group when the peloton came around again. On the second and final round he started his sprint to the goal earlier than the year before, since he felt he left it too late then, but as he got closer to the finish line, the lack of training started to bite and he ran out of gas, being passed by more and more riders on the last stretch. He still made the top 10 with 9th out of 47. Not the victory he had hoped for, but still pretty impressive for his first race of 2013 after basically no training for 5 months.

Now he's all fired up for next year and another race next month.

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jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,517
644
133
Kanazawa
#15
Not cycling, but…

Drove to work today, and upon getting home, about 16:00, noticed on backing in that my snow tires were gone. Four studless tires and rims just slickied away.

Nothing else gone, but even tho they were four years old, it'll probably cost me another 8 man to replace them. Went to the local koban, spent over an hour getting a report done. I doubt they'll be recovered, but the cho-kai will get notified and it'll be a talking point with the neighbors.

I thought it might be someone local, kind of our extended neighborhood, but the police said it probably was someone (some people) with a truck and clothes so it looked like someone who had business picking up some tires.

I haven't talked to the neighbors yet, it was very rainy and I doubt anyone was out...
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#16
Tour de Bintan 2013

Don't think my performance warrants its own thread, so here we go.

Never done any kind of road race (2x circuit tho), never mind a stage race. Was convinced to sign up for Cat 2, which gives you a Prologue TT day. I don't really know what Cat 2 means, but I'm pretty sure I'm not one of them. No biggie, if you don't qualify, you go Cat 3. Which I don't think I am either, but whatever.

Got a morning ferry from Singapore to Bintan (Indonesia). Well organized, bike was shuttled to hotel and everything. Crashed the hotel villa with a couple of friends. Fortunately there was a spare single bed so I didn't have to sleep on the (non-air-conditioned living room) couch.

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Afternoon headed out to the TT venue. Ran in to some people that Tim should know....
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(me, just off the line)


Rode the TT. First time ever doing a Time Trial. 12km out and back. Pretty cool on the ramp. Though scary. Skies were gray. Indeed from the 3km mark it was pissing down rain. Couldn't see very well, overshot the u-turn since I couldn't stop. Not ideal. I had some left in the tank when done, so I probably could have given it a bit more. Oh well, live and learn. Needless to say I didn't qualify for the top 110 people for Cat 2. Not too fussed, Cat 3 isn't slow....

Stage 1, Cat 3. Broken into 3 waves, 10 mins apart. I was in the second wave. Again, nicely organized.
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more in a second.
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#17
For Cat 3, top 30 in each wave goes through to the Stage 2 cat 3. If you don't make it, you drop to the Gran Fondo. Which also, is not slow. Stage 1 is 150km.

I gave it a good go, was with the peloton through most of the hardest bits, but just before the end of those rollers, it started pissing down rain again. couldn't see, brakes didn't really work, I kinda got bugged out. No real confidence in the wet. So unfortunately lost the group and did 25km solo work down the coast. Not ideal. Eventually wave 3 caught up and I rode with them for a while. They got pretty strung out in the rain tho, I was toward the back and a couple of crashes around me later, basically was without the big group again with 30km to go.

Lesson learned. Stick with the peloton. visibility or not. don't hang with stragglers. Unfortunate because I was feeling pretty decent leg-wise.

At the end finally got some pics.

Fellow TCCer Max (he had a rougher ride than me....let's just say he needs new bibs)
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Me and my ad-hoc group.
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Given my result, I was pretty sure I was in Gran Fondo. So I hit the beers Saturday night and enjoyed the evening.

(un)fortunately, i checked the results and got 27th in my wave. Wow. OK, gotta get up earlier to start earlier.

Nice to be in the Cat 3 group, was drizzling a bit. Got off the line, has some rollers for a while and still felt pretty good leg-wise with the group. Then going from small to big ring, chain drop. crap. messed around a bit sorting it, Shimano van came by seeing if I needed help. Sorted chain and made an effort to catch the group. Chain fail. Again. Crap, now I'm stuffed. This was only 12km in to a 107km stage. Having lost the group, I did the 95km solo. Not great, my GC time was completely wrecked. But happy I carried through to finish (not all finished). Pretty lonely for sure.... drizzled most of the way as well.

Overall crap result. But very happy with pulling through to do the whole thing. Need to actually train next time, and sort out maintenance on my bike. I've kept my old Kuota in singapore, relatively neglected and with my old heavy training wheels and conti 4 season tires. Not ideal for a race, and I certainly noticed the change from my other Astuto bike with way nicer wheels/tires. next time....


BBQ
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Iguana
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Beer
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Giddyup.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#20
Well today I bought my plane tickets to visit again next spring. I will be in Japan from mid March for a month. I have no concrete idea where I will be going yet but I intend to be in the Tokyo area for two weeks so I can do some of the routes I keep reading about here. Now I need to start putting the miles in so I can at least keep up on a half fast ride :)