Whaaazaaap?! From Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture

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Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#1
Howdy!

My friends call me Jeeves, I'm an ALT and crazy, crazy cyclist, living and working for over 2 years now in Takasaki City. I came here on the JET programme in 2008 and have been living it up, enjoying life, learning new things about Japan, the language, about myself and life in general.

Before I arrived here, I cycled in Canada, my home country. Been cycling there since I was 2 or 3 years old. While other kids' parents played field sports with them, my father would throw me on my 3 wheeler at first, then 2 wheeler and we'd go cruising along the sidewalks, me desperately trying to catch up with him, in our neighborhood in my hometown, Toronto, Ontario.

In Japan everyone asks me what my 'tokui' is. A 'tokui' is something that you're good at, your strong point - usually a sport. I'm proud to say that cycling is my 'tokui'.

Just before coming to Japan, I had a cross country bike in Toronto. After arriving in Takasaki, I needed something cheap and comfy to ride to work and back every day - so I went for a soft-tail dual suspension mountain/street bike. After using that for 2 years, I managed to score an A.N. Design-Works DRA-150 (http://store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/nextbike/and-dra150.html) Road Racer off a friend who returned home to Ireland. I love this bike and actively use it to get around not just in the city, but to neighboring cities, towns and even up to the mountains occasionally. It's so much easier to push a hard-tail with skinny tires up a mountain than it is to with a soft-tail mountain bike (and yeah, I climbed mountains with that mountain bike too).

In the past year, I came into possession of the book 'Its not about the Bike' by Sally Jenkins - about Lance Armstrong and his ordeal with cancer and his return to the Tour Du France. Before reading the book, I knew of Armstrong and the scandals about drug-use, but through reading this book (I'm usually pressed for time and haven't finished it yet), I've got to say, even if the man did drugs (which, imo, he probably didn't), it's still remarkable that he returned to racing. In short, I've been inspired to try my hand at cycle racing, or at a Tour - and I have my eye on 'Tour Du Kusatsu' coming up next year. I was originally informed about the Tour Du Kusatsu by some friends who suggested I try it, but didn't care for it much until I read Armstrong's book.

So yeah, I hope to meet some of you some day - I absolutely love cycling - to me, it's akin to flying - I just love the freedom. I actually prefer to cycle than to drive and alot of my co-workers and friends call me crazy for being so into cycling and commuting to work everyday by bike. But I'm not so crazy when they're stuck in traffic a few meters away from work, and I whiz by them, blasting my loudspeaker MP3 player, and enjoying the feel of the wind against my skin...

Thus, I hope I've landed in the right place here on the TCC. If you're as crazy as, or crazier than I am at cycling, ring your bell!

よろしく!!!

Catch ye later.
 
Dec 31, 2009
906
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Matsumoto
#4
Good Luck!

Racing is great and a great way to meet new people and set goals for yourself.
here is a few pointers

1.You need a helmet with a jcf approved sticker on the inside to enter a race

2. Most races are pre entry deals so sign up as soon as registration opens

3. Allow plenty of time before the race to get signed in if you do not speak fluent nihongo

4. try to train with someone who has raced before or at least go on one group ride to get the feel of riding in a group. Not so important on hill climbs because those are pretty much hold on for dear life and pedal your ass off but road races require cornering and following a line being elbow to elbow and you will be happy you practiced!

5. Have fun!


Good Luck and ask any questions on the message board and someone will help!
 

Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#6
LOL, yo Joanna!

Damn, didn't know that point about the Helmet.
Yep, I definitely will prepare ahead of time. I really want to get in, and my Japanese isn't that great.

And yeah, I'd like to get an idea of how difficult racing would be - so i hope to join any get-togethers or such nearby takasaki or gunma with seasoned riders.

And lol, triple in front - sorry, I had to look that up. Three front gears? My mountain bike had 3 front gears, I that 2 gears up front serve me well.

And to whoever asked if it's windy out here - YES! It's VERY WINDY!!! Gunma is famous for it's strong and sometimes FRIGID WINDS!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#7
Actaully the Helmet sticker isn't an issue....

I've raced 1 whole season and no one has checked. There are some helmets that have not passed the JCF inspection though such as the " CATLIKE Whisper" which stand out and may not be allowed in the race, but if you bought the helmet here in Japan look in the box it came in and you'll find the little round sticker. Just stick it to the inside of your helmet.
 

Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#8
It's a good thing I still have the box my helmet came in then.

It's an OGK helmet. I think it looks cool, but sometimes when I see other riders around town, it sorta looks childish...

I think I have a pic of my helmet here:

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fsphotos.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fphotos-ak-snc1%2Fv3770%2F199%2F67%2F515318178%2Fn515318178_2547679_7786994.jpg&hash=8dc24b032be873d254c1fffa1674cbc4


The one on the far left is what I currently use - cost about 10000yen. The one on the far right is what I brought with me from Canada. I don't wear it anymore, but keep it as a reminder that a helmet saved my life once (long story short, i was looking somewhere else, and the side of my head slammed into the sharp side of a sign post while cycling back home). The one in middle is what I used to use when I rode around on my old mtb.

I'll look for that sticker in the box.

Edit: Sweet, I just looked up my helmet on the OGK site - it's the Regas (リガス) model. Looks like it's JCF approved. Just gotta get that sticker right? 
 
Jan 20, 2009
130
4
38
Yokohama
#9
LOL, yo Joanna!

Damn, didn't know that point about the Helmet.
Yep, I definitely will prepare ahead of time. I really want to get in, and my Japanese isn't that great.

And yeah, I'd like to get an idea of how difficult racing would be - so i hope to join any get-togethers or such nearby takasaki or gunma with seasoned riders.

And lol, triple in front - sorry, I had to look that up. Three front gears? My mountain bike had 3 front gears, I that 2 gears up front serve me well.

And to whoever asked if it's windy out here - YES! It's VERY WINDY!!! Gunma is famous for it's strong and sometimes FRIGID WINDS!

That helmet looks like it is good to go, no worries.

And you really should try the Tour de Kusatsu, it's a great event with an unforgettable ambience. You said it, Gunma is windy and the Tour de Kusatsu rams that point home most years. Like riding in the middle of a freezer with all the snow piled up, too. But the nasty weather is what makes racing memorable...:bike:
 

Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#10
Actually, I'm not so much worried about the weather - since I'm from near the snowbelt in Canada and have felt temperatures dipping down as low as -45 degrees celsius. Anything Japan throws at me is child's play.

But man, I am worried about the competition at Kusatsu - Looking at the times and the ages of people... Seems like last year's winner was 42 years old. Dayum... man must be ultra fit. There were also several 16-20 year olds in the top 10-20 racers.

And oh! Keep this a secret! I was talking with a Japanese friend of mine about the Tour Du Kusatsu and he told me that the Gunma Prefecture/Maebashi City Ministry/Committee of infrastructure/roads is currently in talks to set up an Akagi Mountain Hill Climb Tour/Race next year, around September. Apparently the race will start somewhere near downtown Maebashi, and head all the way up Akagi Mountain to the lake on top.

That's going to be mad-crazy. Central Maebashi is flat - and then it begins elevating once you leave the city and head closer to Akagi Mountain. Sadly, I've never biked up Akagi. I don't think it'd be that much more difficult than biking from downtown Takasaki to the lake on top of Haruna Mountain.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,661
477
103
Japan
#11
Hey I used to bike commute to Takasaki from Omiya a few years ago, nice country down there. Akagi, that would be a wicked climb. September not a bad time of the year for it.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,595
1,277
133
Niigata
#13

Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#14
MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! Reading those blogs of yours gets me soooo excited!!! I thought I was training hard at the gym - now I'm going to train even harder. Some of those ex-olympians and other pros scare the heebyjeebies out of me.

Also, Omiya to Takasaki daaaaamn! That's crazy... Furthest I've gone was from Takasaki to Tatebayashi (also in Gunma) and back again.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#16
That's going to be mad-crazy. Central Maebashi is flat - and then it begins elevating once you leave the city and head closer to Akagi Mountain. Sadly, I've never biked up Akagi. I don't think it'd be that much more difficult than biking from downtown Takasaki to the lake on top of Haruna Mountain.
Except that Akagi-san is a few hundred meters higher... So this race would be even tougher than Norikura.
 

Type R

Warming-Up
Jul 25, 2010
41
0
0
Gunma
#20
That's fine by me. And I'm sorry that you do take it in that way. I use it as an informal way to refer to a person of Japanese descent (As per 'most' dictionaries). This isn't a boardroom it's a message board LOL.. Never meant any contempt - I love Japanese (most) people - heck, my GF is Japanese.

There are worse terms than 'Jap'. But I think you're going nuts over nothing. Relax.
 
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