2011年9月アーカイブ

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As we enter October, most cyclists are thinking of winding things down. The race season almost over. Time for some cyclocross? Hang up the cleats for winter?

For me, it’s only just begun. 3 more races. All of them exciting:

  1. Oct 16 Gunma CSC Arts Cup
  2. Oct 22 Japan Cup
  3. Nov 6 Muikamachi RR

Feeling good on the bike. Enjoying training. I have the desiiiiiiiiiiiire

Friday: rest day

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!

こんにちわ!
いよいよ明日から10月であります!
10日の上越ラン!
体育の日!プラス榎本まぢっくで?晴れると思われます!(笑)
今のところ?参加の連絡が入っているのは?15名ほどであります!
きっと?当日増えていると!覚悟はしております!
さて!今回のお料理!何が出るのでしょう!??お楽しみに!

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“hard, easy, hard, easy, off” This a good pattern of training I think. A lot depends on the weather. Time constraints. Where my commute takes me.

This week I managed it:

Mon: Isonobe (intervals)
Tues: Coast (spin)
Wed: Ishikawa Pass (intervals)
Thu: Coast (spin)
Fri: Off

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90 minutes on the coast today. Nice and cool. Sea breeze not wind. Feeling good. 90 cadence. 120 heart rate. Zipping along. Sometimes it feels just right. Effortless. I could pedal all day.....

Thursday's training: coast road spin (52 km, 200 m climbing)

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“Having fun with intervals”? Perhaps a better title would be “Hurting yourself with intervals”!?

Today was a hard day. Short ride. High intensity. Intervals.

There are many ways to do intervals. If you always do the same intervals, they become less effective. It’s important to mix things up. The purpose of intervals is to shock the body. Give it the unexpected. Make it work when it doesn’t want to work.

Today I did two sets of intervals on Ishikawa Pass.

Climb 1: Big gear, standing intervals

0:45 hard / 1:15 easy.

In the big ring. Out of the saddle. All out effort.

I often do 0:30 intervals. After 0:30 today, the legs are burning. Screaming at me to sit down. These intervals really hurt. I’m glad when I reach the top of the pass.

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Climb2: Descending intervals
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
1:30 hard / 1:30 easy
1:00 hard / 1:00 easy
0:45 hard / 0:45 easy
0:30 hard / 0:30 easy
0:15 hard / 0:15 easy
0:10 hard / 0:10 easy
0:05 hard / 0:05 easy

These intervals are done in the saddle. A more controlled effort. Go as hard as you can for the entire interval.

On paper, the 2:00 interval looks hardest. However, as the rest intervals become shorter, the work intervals become harder. 0:45 and 0:30 are really tough. At 0:15, 0:10, the difference between the work interval and the rest interval becomes a blur……

Wednesday’s training: Ishikawa Pass x 2 (40 km, 550 m climbing)

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Andrew said it right on his blog, this time of year is the best for cycling.

Tom’s blog of his recent adventure into Niigata also shows how lucky we are to live in these parts.

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Working up the coast today. Beautiful weather. The cool wind blowing. If I was in the car I’d have the window down. My elbow in the breeze. Listening to Teenage Fanclub. Or better still, Big Star. Music made for sunny days.

Can’t beat being on the bike though. Even if there is an incredible headwind all the way to Teradomari. Today is about recovery. Resist the urge to fight the wind. Head down. Relax. Breathe. Aim at a constant speed and cadence. 25 kmph, 85 rpm.

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It’s a hard slog all the way to Teradomari. The reward? An ice cream and the wind on my back all the way home.....

Tuesday’s training: coast road spin ( 80 km, 200 m climbing)

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The day after a race is always a funny one. I always pig out after a race, pizza, a few beers. Then I have trouble sleeping. The adrenalin floating around the system.

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It’s that adrenalin that usually makes me feel good on the bike the next day too. I know it won’t last. Tuesday is usually a hard one. But I’ll enjoy the sensations today.

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Two climbs of Isonobe.

Climb1: Intervals 30 s hard / 90 s easy.

Feel good out of the saddle. Strong and punchy. Like a middle aged, slightly overweight Phillipe Gilbert.

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The heart doesn’t respond as well as normal. Maxing at about 170. But the legs feel good. And it feels good to put some effort into it.

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Climb 2: 170 HR keep

This is much more of a challenge. I can only get up to about 170 HR on the really steep sections. After that my body wants to slow down. Tomorrow will be a spin on the coast I think….

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Monday’s training: Isonobe x 2 (68 km, 950 m climbing)

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This weekend I went to the second stage of the Hill Climb Challenge Series at Kitakata.

I left on Saturday evening, enjoying watching the sun go down on my way to Fukushima prefecture. It took about 2h 15m to Kitakata town. I pulled up at the michi no eki, took a 300 yen onsen, drank a beer, and was asleep in the car before 9:30. I slept right through till my alarm call at 4:30.

After a quick breakfast I was on my bike by 5:15 heading to the hills to check out today’s course. It was really nippy at 9C and I was looking forward to starting climbing.

The course was steeper than I had expected with “8%” signs quite common on the way up. With 1 km to go there is a flat section for 500 m before the gradient picks up again for the last 500 m to the finish.

I just about made it to the start by 7:00 in time to register. First there was a parade along the local cycling route for 11 km.

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The start proper was at the onsen. We were held up here for quite a while so I did a few climbs of the slope up to the onsen to keep warm.

The race started at 8:20 and set off nice and easy. I was tucked in nicely bombing along in the big ring. As the group began to splinter, 3 riders made a top group and I found myself in the second chasing group.

My HR was up at 180 and my cadence at 80, feeling pretty good. Before I knew it, the “2 km to go” sign appeared. What a short race!

As we entered the flat section, there was 1 guy up front, followed by a group of four, followed by me. Maybe I should have dug deeper so I could have been on the back of that group…

I gave it all in the last 500 m pushing it up to 188 HR and managed to pass a couple of guys on the run in to the finish.

At the finish I was 3rd in the Champions class and 7th overall (It seems the top 3 overall started later than we did).

It was a really short race but really good fun.

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Right…… we didn’t come all the way to Fukushima just to ride 5 km and drive home!

While waiting to descend the hill I did some training on a little “rindo” forest road. Climbing it 3 times, I even did some intervals on the 3rd climb!

After descending the hill, I had more time to kill before the awards ceremony. I headed for Ootoge or “big pass”. Ootoge links Fukushima and Yamagata prefectures. Recently a new road and tunnel have been built so this road has been closed off to cars. What can I say? It’s an amazing road! It’s switchbacks all the way up to the 1158 m summit. Today the only ones on this beautiful climb were an Englishman and 2 monkeys!

Like at Tokamachi, at the awards ceremony the top 10 were awarded with free entry to one of next year’s JCA big 4 hill climbs (Norikura, Utsukushigahara, Chokai, Aizu). That was a really nice touch. Next year maybe hill climbing will become the main…

Looking forward to the next race!

Sunday’s training:

Race: 5.5 km, 350 m climbing, 14:12, 24 kmph

Total: 101 km, 1900 m climbing

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チャレンジヒルクライム第二ステージ、喜多ヒルクライムに行ってきました。

土曜日の夕方家を出て、夕日を見ながら福島県へ。喜多方まで2時間15分くらいかかりました。道の駅に車をとめて、300円の温泉に入って、ビール一本飲んで、9時半前に車の中で寝ました。朝4時半まで良く眠りました。

朝ご飯を食べて、5時15分に山へ行きコースチェックをしました。気温は9C、早く登り始めたいと思いました。

コースは思ったより急な坂でした。8%の看板が何回も出ていました。ゴールの1キロ手前に500mのフラットセクションがあって、ラスト500mは登りです。

ギリギリ7時前に受付に着きました。まずサイクリングロードで11キロのパレードでした。

レースのスタートは熱塩温泉で、8時20分でした。待っている間に温泉の坂を登って下って登って下って…

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スタートはゆっくりでした。グループの中でアウターで走りました。どんどんバラバラになって、トップは3人になって、僕は第二グループに入ってしまいました。

ハートレートは180、ケイデンスは80、なかなかいい調子でした。目の前に"あと2キロ"の看板、短いいいいっ!

フラットセクションに入って、トップは一人、その後ろは4人のグループ、その後ろは僕でした。もうちょっと頑張って、あの4人グループと一緒に走っていればよかった…

ラスト500mにAJして、2人をパスしました。

ゴールでチャンピオンクラス3位、総合7位でした(総合のトップ3は私たちと違うスタートタイムだったそうです)。

短いレースでしたけど楽しかった。

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さあー、福島県まできて、5キロ走るだけじゃもったいないじょんのび!

下る前に林道を3回上がりました。3回目はインターバルしました。

下って、表彰式前に大峠に行きました。大峠は福島県から山形県につながる道ですが、最近新しくトンネルができたのでもう使われていません。なんかすごい道です!スイッチバックばっかりで1158mまで上がります。今日はイギリス人一人と猿二匹しかいませんでした!

表彰式では十日町と同じく1から10位までが2012年のJCAヒルクライム(乗鞍、美ヶ原、鳥海山、会津)に無料参加できる権利をもらいました。嬉しかった。来年はヒルクライムがメインかな…
また次のレースもがんばります!

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Sunday’s training:

Race: 5.5 km, 350 m climbing, 14:12, 24 kmph

Total: 101 km, 1900 m climbing

応援団1号 みっちぃがツールドのとのブログを書いているので
よければ見てやってください。
あと、写真もPicasaに上げましたのでご一緒にどうぞ。

第23回ツール・ド・のと400 前日&1日目
http://tenkuu-jitensya.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/09/23400-6a73.html

第23回ツール・ド・のと400 2日目
http://tenkuu-jitensya.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/09/23400-de9b.html

第23回ツール・ド・のと400 3日目
http://tenkuu-jitensya.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/09/23400-16df.html

Picasa

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Recently before a race I've been following the same pattern. Rest day on Friday. Quck spin up Komura Pass "to remind the legs I'm a racing cyclist" on Saturday.

Got the HR up to 160 HR on the first steep bit, the second steep bit, then eased off for the rest of the climb at tempo pace.

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Nice and fresh this morning. Arm warmers and an undershirt. The first ride on the road for a week. The first climbing for a week.

Tomorrow's course looks easy, 5.5 km at 5.5%. Hopefully I can check it out in the morning. For now the plan is to go full gas as soon as the gradient picks up.

Saturday's asaren: Komura Pass x 1 (30 km, 300 m climbing)

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なぜか…
文章がなくなったw
いつも上手くアップされない(*_*)

------------

こんばんは☆
能登の疲れは取れたでしょーか?
私は…火曜は仕事から帰宅後
死んだように寝てましたw

さて!
あいにくの雨で
写真はあまり有りませんが(*_*)
でも今回も皆様を
無事サポート出来たのでよかったです!

本当にお疲れ様でした

https://picasaweb.google.com/108256059376583428354/2011?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOyMsMf7jYfRZw&feat=directlink

次は10月10日☆
上越BBQランですね

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In the garage. Lights down low. The sound of rain on the roof. A musical journey. Over Snakes’ Pass and into Sheffield. The home of steel. Tony Christie. Joe Cocker. The Human League. Babybird. Arctic Monkeys and …. Pulp.

Do you remember the first time?

1. "Babies" ~ 50 kmph 4:05
2. "Razzmatazz" ~ 53 kmph 3:40
3. "Lipgloss" ~ 55 kmph 3:35
4. "Do You Remember The First Time?" ~ 58 kmph 4:20
5. "Common People" ~ 60 kmph 5:50
6. "Sorted for E's & Wizz" ~ 63 kmph 3:37
8. "Disco 2000" ~ 55 kmph 4:33
9. "Something Changed" ~ 58 kmph 3:18
10. "This Is Hardcore" ~ 60 kmph 6:26
11. "Party Hard" ~ 63 kmph 4:01
14. "Trees" ~ warm down 4:48

Thursday’s training: rollers – ride to the music, Pulp’s “Hits”

(42 mins, 40 km, 57 kmph, 141 / 167 HR AV / MAX)

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!

こんにちわ!ツールド能登でのことであります!
な、なんと!初日の雨の走行後!泥だらけの自転車を榎本が!
全員の自転車を洗車してくれました!
何と言うことでしょぉ!!!
次の日!快晴のなか!じょんのびは!
ピカピカの自転車でランランランでありました!
榎本ありがとう!すごく!!嬉しかったよ!

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All this rain has its advantages. Instead of the early asaren starts, I get to roll over and stay in bed. I’ve had longer than usual sleeps these last few nights and I feel all the better for it. Obviously it’s wonderful to be woken up by the boys too.

Working in Takayanagi today. This is usually a chance to get a decent ride in but the typhoon was forecast for the afternoon and I didn't fancy being caught in it on the way home. A chance to drive with a coffee and some music. An old Britpop CD. Reliving the magic of the Boo Radleys. Summers gone, days spent with the grass and sun

The rain started heavy around lunchtime so it was a choice well made. I was glad I didn’t have to fight the wind and rain on the way home.

Another session on the rollers then. The last two nights have been intensive sessions so I opted for a lighter load. Music is all important for rollers. Tonight's choice: Delphic.

I did a brief warm up and then raised my heart rate 5 beats for each song up to 160 HR.

Acolyte was trying to push me much harder than 145 HR and I really needed Counterpoint to get me up to 160 HR (about 62 kmph) for the last interval.

Great training music all the way from sunny Stockport!

1. "Clarion Call" x2 ~ warm up 6:00
2. "Doubt" ~ 130 HR 4:06
3. "This Momentary" ~ 135 HR 4:35
4. "Red Lights" ~ 140 HR 6:11
5. "Acolyte" ~ 145 HR 8:51
6. "Halcyon" ~ 150 HR 4:43
7. "Submission" ~ 155 HR 5:33
8. "Counterpoint" ~ 160 HR 6:18
9. "Ephemera" ~ warm down 1:56

Wednesday's training: rollers - ride to the music, Delphic's Acolyte (43 mins, 40 km, 54 kmph)

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Rain forecast for the next couple of days. I’ve been focusing on short rides of high intensity recently. As I was on the rollers today, I thought I’d have a go at beating my 20 min TT record.

My average speed for the 20 min TT in June was 61.5 kmph.

June TT:

  • HR: 160 AV / 169 MAX
  • Dist: 20.5 km
  • Speed: 61.5 AV
  • Cadence: 112 AV
  • Gear: 53 × 12
  • Bike: VITUS

Back then I said, “I’m confident I can average about 63 kmph next time”, so that was what I was aiming at today.

I did a decent warm up:

  • 5 mins ~ 50 kmph
  • 5 mins ~ 55 kmph
  • 5 mins ~ 60 kmph

In the TT I initially aimed at 65 kmph. I held this speed for the first 5 minutes but the effort seemed too hard so I focused on 64 kmph.

I held 64 kmph until the 10 minute mark.

For the last 10 minutes, I dropped into the 63 kmph range quite a bit and had to dig in to push back to 64 kmph. The HR was manageable at 170 LT for a while and then up to about 175.

For the last minute I gave it all I had and held a speed of 66 kmph as the heart rate rose above 180.

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Today’s TT:

  • HR: 169 AV / 182 MAX
  • Dist: 21.2 km
  • Speed: 63.6 kmph AV (66.8 kmph MAX)
  • Cadence: 114 AV (126 AV)
  • Temp: 19C
  • Gear: 50 × 11
  • Bike: LYNSKEY

Really happy with 63.6 kmph and where my training is going.

As for the TT itself, I made the classic mistake of going too hard too early. My strategy next time will be to ride comfortably at 62 kmph for 10 minutes. Do the next 7 minutes at 64 kmph and then go full gas for the last 3 minutes.

If the weather continues like this, that might be sooner rather than later…

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!
こんにちわ!
ツールド能登も無事に全員ゴール出来ました!お疲れさまでした!

さて!次!(笑)でありますが!

体育の日!10月10日上越BBQ ランをいたします!
大勢の参加お待ちしています!
お料理の関係で!参加者は!
総務部もしくは!榎本まで連絡よろしくです!

尚!今回!上越も!生ビールのランクをあげたいと思いますのでお楽しみに!

こちら能登です〜〜
サポート組はゴール着きました。
 
 
1日目 まあまあ雨
2日目 めっちゃ晴れ
3日目 雨風ヤバいw
 
そんな3日間も
もうすぐ終わりです
 
 
後は みんなを
待つだけです!
 
ケガなく終わることを
願って・・・
 
 
サポート組は
帰りの為に寝ますw
 
写真はまた後日…

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Sometimes it’s nice to wake up to rain. An extra couple of hours in bed. Hit the rollers at 7am. About 10 degrees cooler today.

Enosan replaced the bearings in one of the roller drums but the back one needs doing too. Still with the music up loud, it’s not too annoying.

Start out at 50 kmph. Easy.

At 55 kmph the HR is only about 130, the cadence about 100.

58 kmph brings me up to 150 HR. In the winter, I do a lot of riding at this target heart rate but the speed is never as high as this.

At 65 kmph, all is comfortable at about 160HR.

It takes 68 kmph and 120 cadence to bring me up to lactate threshold 170HR.

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Speed on rollers is only relative. It is however great for monitoring your progress over the season. It’s also good for comparing bikes. With the new bike and my new position, I seem to be getting more speed out with less effort both in terms of heart rate and cadence.

Rode to Underworld’s Barking today. I was always a music fan before a cyclist. I sang a Neil Young song at our wedding, we had Nick Cave for the first dance, and I play Townes Van Zandt to Luke and Mark every night. For my funeral though, it’s got to be Underworld

Monday’s asaren: Ride to the music ~ Underworld's Barking

1. Bird 1 ~ 50 kmph
2. Always Loved A Film ~ 52 kmph
3. Scribble ~ 55 kmph
4. Hamburg Hotel ~ 58 kmph
5. Grace ~ 60 kmph
6. Between Stars ~ 62 kmph
7. Diamond Jigsaw ~ 65 kmph
8. Always Loved A Film ~ 68 kmph / 170 HR

Total: 45 mins (42 km, 57 kmph, 105 AV cadence, 138 AV HR)

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!
へっへっへっへっへっへっへっ!

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!
こんにちわ!ラベンダーアイスを食べぇ〜の??夜の部へ!!

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I've been happy with the way my training has been going since returning from the UK in August. Step by step I can feel myself getting stronger, fitter, faster.

Yesterday, I could feel the top end coming back. The kind of fitness that let's you drop a gear and get out of the saddle at the top of a pass. The kind of fitness that you can respond to attacks when riding at lactate threshold.

Today I did some motorpacing behind the car. An excellent way to take your fitness to the next level.

I think the best four ways for developing your top end fitness in order of effectiveness must be:

1.racing
2.motorpacing
3.a group ride with friends of similar or slightly better ability
4.intervals

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Being behind the car is very similar to being in a fast moving group. The speed is very high, above 60 kmph at times. You have to be aware of what's going on, what's coming up. Cadence is also high. In the biggest 50 × 11 gear, you have to really spin to keep up. “Leg speed” is what they call it. Heart rate is high too. Usually about 160 HR when tucked in. Get dropped and it's above 170 HR trying to get back on.

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On the flats, if the pace is constant, and the ride continuous, there's no reason to be dropped by the car.

It's the short hills that test you. Out of the saddle. Big gear. Feathering the brakes. Staying close to the bumper. It's not the incline that will cause you problems. Rather it's when the car bridges the climb. As the gradient eases, the car accelerates naturally. You have to save your biggest effort to chase the car down here.

Brakes caused by traffic lights are also a test. Get up to speed. Start to accelerate as the car comes past. Swing right. Head down. In the drops. Out of the saddle. Back on.

Repeat this pattern and it's a real sufferfest. Just taking a drink from the bottle, never mind a picture, and the car will have a few metres on you.

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When you are left alone with the car in the distance, it's amazing how fast you can go. The speed in your legs is an amazing thing indeed.

Today we took the back roads, hit the coast at Izumozaki and up past Mt. Yahiko to the beach at Maze. Luke and I were in the sea in seconds! An Italian restaurant for lunch. Yahiko skyline. Yahiko ropeway. Yahiko village. Onsen. A Perfect Day.

Sunday's training: Motorpacing – Kashiwazaki ~ Maze (63 km, 250 m climbing, 45 kmph)

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!

こんにちわ!
へっへっへっ!

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Seven passes before Eight o'clock. 5 am start. Up, down, up down. Home by 8 am. Home for breakfast. Home before the rain.

Saturday's asaren: Kashiwazaki ~ Oguni passes x 7 (88 km, 1100 m climbing, 30 kmph)

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Only got 60 minutes to spare? That's plenty of time to get a good ride in living in Kashiwazaki. I've always said that if you only ride 60 minutes a day you will become a decent cyclist living here. The reason is we have two decent passes in stones throwing distance:

  • Komura Pass: 3.5 km, 225 m climbing, 6.5 % AV
  • Ishikawa Pass: 3.3km, 245 m climbing, 7.4 % AV

It takes 20 minutes to the foot of each pass. 20 minutes to climb and descend. And 20 minutes to ride home.

The two passes are very similar. Starting steep. Single track roads. Cars a rarity. Winding through the forest. Exposed to the sun and wind further up. Beautiful views of the valley below (Komura looking over the Ukawa River valley, Ishikawa looking over the Sabaishi river valley).

Ishikawa Pass is a little steeper, kind of like Isonobe's little sister.

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Today I headed out to Ishikawa Pass. Here on Monday, I suffered like a dog in the heat and could only get up to about 155 HR. Today it was hotter still but I responded well. Keeping it at 170 for the first half of the climb. I put the foot down on the upper reaches and kept it around 175.

A couple of pictures. A big can of 100 yen Calpis at the bottom. Tastes like melting ice cream! A bit of drafting behind a bus. Home with 58 minutes on the clock.

Friday's training: Ishikawa Pass x 1 (31 km, 285 m climbing)

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That's cadence not speed. Rpm not kmph. Inspired by a thread on the TCC forum I did some big gear repeats today. 5 climbs of the little pass between Shindou and Kujiranami. Each time trying to keep the cadence above 60 rpm and concentrating on pedalling form.

As the gear got heavier with each climb, so the cadence became less. By the 4th climb it was difficult to keep up to 60. For the 5th climb I dropped a gear and did it out of the saddle.

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  • Climb 1 - 50 × 25
  • Climb 2 - 50 × 23
  • Climb 3 - 50 × 21
  • Climb 4 - 50 × 19
  • Climb 5 - 50 × 21 dancing out of the saddle

Thursday's training: Kujiranami loop + Shindou climb x 5 (40 km, 475 m climbing)

今年も能登に行けんな〜
昨日、今日は休みで調整ばっちりなのに。
週末は仕事でございます。

今年は経験者ばかりの少数精鋭だとお聞きしております。
怪我には気をつけて楽しんできてください!!

自分は、空を見上げてため息ついてますから(涙)

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Back to Takayanagi today. For work, not for pleasure. They say you can't mix work with pleasure, but you can certainly mix it with training.

My "tsukin" or daily commute often forms the base of my daily training. Just to ride to Takayanagi and back is close to 50 km. Add to this a couple of climbs before or after work, and you have a decent day's training.

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Three climbs of "My Everest" Isonobe, today. Isonobe tells you a lot about your form and condition. Recently with my new bike and new position, I've been able to make more use of the gears and keep the cadence up.

When you're in good condition, your heart rate rockets up and you have to hold back on the steeper parts. When you're tired or lack condition, the heart rate struggles to respond and it's a gruelling slog from bottom to top.

Today I felt good but not fantastic.

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First climb at 170 HR.

Second climb of intervals. 40 s hard, 80 s easy.

Third climb at 170 HR.

Wednesday's training: Isonobe x 3 (80 km, 1200 m climbing)

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Today was a rest day of sorts. Just a short spin to じょんのび onsen in Takayanagi. 23 kilometres, high cadence, low heart rate (95av).

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I met Shinobu and the kids there. Luke is crazy about his new bike. Unlike a tricycle which needs someone to push, he is free to ride by himself. He seems to have caught the bug and loves the freedom that bikes bring.

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Unfortunately じょんのび onsen was closed. Not to worry, we headed further into the hills for Shiba Toge onsen. The view from the rotenburo is fantastic. Especially today as dusk settles...

Tuesday's training: recovery spin - Takayanagi (23km)

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After climbing Yoneyama on Sunday I've got aches all over. The classic "kinnikutsu" of aching muscles that you don't usually use. I actually feel better on the bike than on foot but still it was hard to find strength on today's ride. Couldn't get into the heavier gears on the climbs. Couldn't keep the cadence up.

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The heart didn't respond well either. Two early asaren starts and two high intensity training sessions mean I was a bit shagged out today. My heart rate was maxing at 155 on Ishikawa Pass. Usually I can hold 170 plus quite comfortably.

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I should've spun on the flats today. Or even taken a complete rest. But for some reason I find myself hitting the passes between Kashiwazaki and Oguni. It's always nice to take in the views on the way up and enjoy the breeze on the way down but flirting with overtraining is a fools game. I'll rest up tomorrow....

Monday's training: Kitasabaishi ~ Kita Jo ~ Ishikawa Pass ~ Tajima Pass ~ Ishikawa Pass ~ return

(70 km, 920 m climbing)

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A busy day today. Asaren. The kaze no jin festival by the beach. The Mont Bell shop in Niigata for a Strider bike for Luke. He won't leave my bike alone, so I decided to get him one of his own. It's 3kg and fast!

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Hopefully he can enter some of the Strider Cup races next year!

Papa Baka!

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Sunday's asaren: R353 ~ Nota ~ Ishiguro ~ Takayanagi ~ Shiba Toge ~ Isonobe ~ CS Enosan

(87 km, 1320 m climbing)

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Like David Lynch's fictional town of good looking people, Kashiwazaki is dominated by two mountains. Mount Kurohime ( 891 m) and Mount Yoneyama (993 m). Today I took them both on.

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First up Mt. Kurohime

20 km inland, Kurohime rises up from the onsen and thatched farm houses in Takayanagi. From じょんのび onsen, the steep winding road takes you up to Isonobe. My Everest. Two climbs on the bike today.

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I did intervals for the first climb. The usual formula is 1:3 work:rest (ex: 30s hard / 90s easy). Today I did harder 1:2 intervals, 40s hard / 80 s easy. The heart rate rose to 170 for the first interval, a good sign. For subsequent intervals I got the HR up to 180 each time. A rest yesterday means that I can respond well today. The shorter rest interval means that you can't recover fully before it's time to go again. 10 sets by the summit.

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The second climb was a standard lactate threshold climb at 170. Interrupted by a flat tyre half way up the climb, it was a challenge to get going again.

Enjoyed racing the bus all the way home. They only come once an hour, so you're lucky to catch one!

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Second up Mt. Yoneyama

Mt. Yoneyama dominates Kashiwazaki's skyline. When I first arrived in Kashiwazaki, the snow covered mountain looked just like K2. I'd never seen anything like it. A mountain that rises straight out of the sea to almost a 1000 metres. I was up there with Kurochan from Coffee No.1 within two weeks of arriving here.

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There is actually a road up to about 800m. It changes between asphalt and dirt track. I've always fancied having a go on a MTB. Today however it was hiking. Luke's second climb. Mark's first.

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There are many approaches to climb Yoneyama. Today we climbed from Mizuno near Yoshikawa. It takes about 2h to the top with the kids and it's quite a steep climb.

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Luke did much of the less steep sections by himself, but I had to carry him up the steep parts. It's a few months now since I was snow shoeing with Luke on my back and he has become much heavier! He weighs in at 12kg.

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Mark is also a bumper baby, weighing 8 kgs. Shinobu carried him all the way up and all the way down. Now that takes some power and stamina! We should get her on a bike soon!

Today's hiking: Mizuno ~ Yoneyama (2h) ~ Mizuno (45 mins)

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Saturday's asaren: Isonobe x 2

Climb 1: Intervals 40s hard / 80s easy (x 10 sets)
Climb 2: 170 HR keep

(58 km, 820 m climbing)

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Japan Cup 2006, 5 years is a long time in cycling!

The second part of my season kicked off with last weekend’s Tokamachi hill climb. After a few weeks off, a new bike and a new position, I’ve found renewed energy and motivation. Four more races to come.

September 25th Challenge Series - Kitakata hillclimb.

Another hill climb. Looks like another easy climb. Just what we want!

October 16th Gunma CSC JCRC Arts Cup.

Gunma CSC to get me where I want to be for the beast of a race that is:

October 22nd Japan Cup.

I have unfinished business with this one. Best bike, best position, best condition. Bring it on!

November 6th Muikamachi RR.

Cancelled after landslides in August, the race has been brought down from the dam onto a flat course lower down the valley. After enjoying the flat Uchinada RR in June, I’m looking forward to this one too.

Four autumn races. All quite different and I’m looking forward to each of them.

Friday’s training: rest day (bike to work, 10 km)

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Don’t you just love this weather? The weather has been glorious all week. Sunshine. Low to mid 20s. Perfect cycling weather. The four distinct seasons in Japan is one of the main reasons I enjoy living here so much.

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And of course the cycling. Hills are plentiful around these parts. But I like to spin at least once a week. There’s no better place for that than the coast road. In a group, it turns into a through and off high speed sufferfest. On your own, it’s a chance to relax. Find a rhythm. Refresh the legs.

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Thursdays seem to be my tempo days. A couple of hours on the coast in the early evening.

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Followed by a long dip, dinner and a couple of beers at the onsen with Shinobu and the kids. What more can you ask for?

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Thursday’s training: coast road (68 km, 200 m climbing, 31 kmph, 116 HR av, 82 cadence av)

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Mt. Yoneyama, Kashiwazaki city and the sea, from above Kita Sabaishi

My next race will be the Kitakata hill climb on September 25th, 3 weeks away. Before then I want to drop some weight.

The basic formula for weight loss is calories in Vs. calories out. If you burn more than you eat, you will lose weight.

However, there are also ways to enhance fat burning. The first 30 minutes of exercise tend to be based on carbohydrate as an energy source. After this, your fat stores come in to play.

I tend to replenish my carbohydrate (glycogen) stores quickly by eating early and always eating continuously on a ride. The main reason why I never bonk, hit the wall, get the hunger knock.

This is important for high intensity training (intervals, high intensity hill climbing etc) when your body will be primarily relying on carbohydrates.

However, for medium intensity aerobic riding, there’s a chance to push your body into the fat burning zone. Commonly said to be 65% ~ 75% of maximum heart rate, for me the so-called fat burning zone would be 122 ~ 142 HR.

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The view from Tsukayama Pass

My aim is to alternate days of high intensity top end training with days of fat burning low intensity training and, here’s the key, to fuel my rides accordingly. I think you should always carry some food in your pockets, but I’ll try to eat less, especially on low intensity days.

In addition, I’ll ease off on the beers and snacks which have been a nightly ritual this summer!

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Tsukayama Pass - my kind of climb

Wednesday’s training: bike to work + Kitasabaishi ~ Kita Jo Kita (x2) ~ Tsukayama Pass ~ Oguni ~ Ishikawa Pass (u-turn) ~ Oguni ~ Tsukayama Pass ~ Kita Jo Kita ~ Kitasabaishi

(86 km, 1000 m climbing)

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Made up a nice circuit taking in Ishikawa Pass and Tajima Pass today.

It takes 20 minutes to the foot of Ishikawa Pass. Climb the pass and drop down the other side. A tunnel half way down connects the road to Tajima Pass which goes back over the same ridge. Drop down the nice winding descent. Take the flat / rolling back road from Minami Sabaishi to Sabaishi (running parallel to R252) and the bottom of Ishikawa Pass again.

The plan was to do 3 laps, but didn't quite have time in the end. I did 2 full laps and an additional climb of Ishikawa Pass, making 3 climbs in total. This little circuit has it all: a steep climb, a fast descent, a gradual climb, a technical descent, and a fast flat / rolling section.

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Ishikawa Pass is a steep and technical climb. I did each of the three climbs at lactate threshold, 170 HR. The benefits of the new bike and position were evident today. Using a variety of gears, it was easy to keep the HR and cadence just were I wanted it.

I did the two climbs of Tajima Pass in the big ring. Again, the bike seems to keep speed well. No problems getting over the top.

The flat section between Minami Sabaishi and Sabaishi is fast and fun. Head down. In the drops.

Each lap takes about 30 minutes. To do 5 laps would be great training I'm sure. Like Ogawa RR!

Tuesday's training: Ishikawa / Tajima loop x 2.5

(65 km, 950 m climbing)

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I like to set up my rollers by the pool

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personal trainers don't come cheap

two ways to go faster:

1. get lighter
2. get stronger

That's my focus. The magic equation that is the "strength to weight ratio". 30 mins in the rain, 30 mins on the rollers, 30 mins with the barbbells.

Monday's training:

1. bike to work (20 km)

2. rollers - tempo x 30 mins

3. dumbbells:

lunges 12.5 kg x 10 (3 sets each leg)
1 leg squats 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets each leg)

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Today I attended the Tokamachi Hillclimb. Representing じょんのびTIME were Kitano san, Ogawa san, Suzuoto, Murayama san (じょんのびたいむKashiwazaki!) and me. We left Kashiwazaki at 5am and arrived in Matsunoyama for 6am. Kitano san, thank you for driving!

Before the start I warmed up for about 40 minutes. On the same climb I did six sets at 130HR, 130HR, 150HR, 160HR, 170HR, and 130HR.

From the start there was a parade and I enjoyed chatting with Murayama san and Kenta san.

From the actual start line the first kilo or so is flat. There was also an incredible swirling wind today courtesy of the typhoon. I was wondering how to approach it. I guess there’s no better place to be than on Murayama san’s wheel.

At the front a guy in full TT gear and on a TT bike was setting the pace. Behind him, Kenta san and about 5 Team Fins teammates. I was tucked in behind Murayama san in about 20th spot.

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As we entered the climb proper, I was escorted up to the front by the ever-aware Murayma san. Just as we got to the very front, someone came flying up the right side of the road. Kitano san! Here we go!

The two of us were on the front setting the pace. As we entered the steepest section I looked back to see a long line streamed out trying to shelter from what was a ferocious headwind. As people fell off and we entered the easier mid-section, the top group was down to about 8 riders.

Before the race, if I was still in contention at this point, I imagined that this is where I would drop the hammer and a ttack. However, with the wind as it was, it was better to draft in the group. A few guys took turns at the front keeping the climbing pace at around 30 kmph. As we entered the next steep section it seemed as though in the group I could keep it going in the big ring. But I stuck to my guns and dropped into the small chain ring as planned.

I soon found myself on the front. Now I can really appreciate this wind. I’d been hovering around the 185 HR mark for the whole climb, so I took the opportunity on the front to try and drop the pace a little for the oncoming steepest part.

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Along the way the top group had whittled down to 4. Kenta san, a team mate, Murayama san and me. Into the last kilo and into the steepest section. I thought the race would be decided here, and I was right. Murayama san took things up to another level. Impressive to watch him. I couldn’t follow.

As the road evened off a little for the last 500m, I got into the big ring again and gave it all I had to the line.

At the finish I was 3rd in the Champions class. Murayama san won, with Kenta san in 2nd. Overall I was 5th. The top ten earned the right to a free ticket to one of next year’s JCA races (Norikura, Utsukushigahara, Chokai san). So that was a nice reward.

The race was short but great fun. I’m happy with the bike, happy with the position. Now I just have to focus on my fitness (80kg just won’t cut it!) and surely I’ll be flying come the next race.

After the race we enjoyed a bath at the Matsunoyama Onsen and put the gas back in at Café Suzuoto.

Ogawa san, Kitano san, Suzuoto, Murayama san, thank you じょんのび!

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十日町ヒルクライムに行ってきました。じょんのびTIMEのメンバーは北野さん、小川さん、スズオト、村山さん(じょんのびたいむ柏崎!)、アンディでした。柏崎を5時に出発して6時に松之山に着きました。北野さん運転ありがとうじょんのび!

スタート前に40分位アップをしました。同じ坂を130HR, 130HR, 150HR, 160HR, 170HR, 130HR, X6回登りました。

スタートラインまでパレードがありました。村山さんとケンタさんと楽しく話しました。

スタートから1キロ位はフラットです。そして台風のため風はものすごく強かったです。どこを走ったらいいかなと思いました。やっぱり村山さんの後ろが一番いいな。

先頭でTTようなヘルメットとバイクの選手がペースメーキイングをしていました。その後ろにケンタさんのチームフインズの選手が5人位いました。村山さんと僕は20番目位でした。 坂に入って村山さんがどんどん前へ連れていってくれました。一番前になったら道の右側に誰かがきました。北野さんだ!よし行くぞ!

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一番急な所に入ってそのまま北野さん、アンディ。後ろを見ると風を避けている選手がたくさんいました。でもどんどん人数が少なくなって、フラットセクションに入った時には8人位でした。

レース前にはここでアタックする計画でした。でも風が強いアゲインストでした。ほかの選手が前でペースメーキングしていました。アウターで30キロ位で上がりました。また急になってもグループでそのままアウターで行けそうでした。でも予定通りインナーで行きました。

一番前になってしまいました。やっぱり風が強いな!と思いました。ハートレートはずっと185位でしたからちょっとペースダウンしてみました。

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my bike is bigger than your bike!

どこかでトップグループが4人になりました。ケンタさんとチームメイト、村山さんと僕。

ラストキロに入ると坂が急になり、村山さんがペースアップ。すばらしい!ついていけない!

ラスト500メートルでまたフラットになったので、またアウターで走って、ゴールまでAJ。

ゴールはチャンピオンクラスの3位でした。優勝は村山さん、2位はケンタさんでした。

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総合で5位でした。総合トップテンは来年のJCAレース(乗鞍、美ヶ原、鳥海山)の内の一つに無料参加できます。うれしいです。

短かかったですが楽しいレースでした。バイクもいいし、ポジションもいいし、体だけ頑張って(体重80キロはNG!)次のレースではもっといけるだろう。がんばるじょんのび!

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レースの後松之山温泉に入って、CAFE SUZUOTOでガソリンインしました。小川さん、北野さん、スズオト、村山さん、ありがとうじょんのび!

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typhoon wind

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typhoon rain

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typhoon sunshine

80.5 kg on the scales this morning. Ouch! That’ll slow you down. I want to be about 3 or 4 kilos lighter. Especially with a hill climb race tomorrow. The Jan Ullrich syndrome! 3 or 4 kilos? That’s half a bike!

Since coming back from the UK I’ve paid little attention to my weight. Thinking healthier food and riding more will take care of things. I need to be more focused if I want to be at a good weight for the Japan Cup.

Nevertheless, I’ve done some good training. I feel good on the bike. And I’m enjoying the new set up.

Today just a quick spin “to remind the legs I’m a racing cyclist”.

Tomorrow’s plan? To hang in there on the first steep section. Put the hammer down on the flatter mid-section. See where I’m at for the last section…

Saturday’s asaren: Komura Pass x1 (30 km, 300 m climbing)

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A big blue pepsi for 100 yen. Goes down in seconds in this heat. Revisited the Shinodo climb today. Another short ride with short bursts of medium intensity. 5 climbs the same as Wednesday:

Climb 1: 140 target HR
Climb 2: 150 target HR
Climb 3: 160 target HR
Climb 4: 170 target HR
Climb 5: 177, 178 HR (big ring / out of the saddle)

I responded better than Wednesday despite the heat. The HR rose quickly. I could hold 170 comfortably. And I pushed it close to 180 for the last climb.

A few niggling bike issues:

  • A squeaky left cleat - the position has slipped and needs resetting.
  • A clicking noise when the right pedal is at 12 o'clock - maybe need to reset the BB?
  • A rattling noise from the back wheel - time for a grease up?
  • A slow puncture......

Friday's training: Shindou repeats x 5 (45 km, 500 m climbing)

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half the world away - Sado Island across the water

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Mt. Yahiko in the distance

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made in Tennessee USA and "built to go... fast"

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you're my lucky clover

Sixty six kilometres on the coast today. All at tempo pace (116 HR AV). In the drops. Head down out of the wind. No escaping the flies though. Little black ones get everywhere. Good training for breathing through the nose! Not too hot. But the humidity is really high. Sweating buckets. Glad of the odd drop of rain.

One little dig on the climb behind the power station. 166 HR.

Today's goal? Salt Spa. A nice rotenburo with Luke. Dinner and a couple of beers. My body feels young but my mind is very old...

Thursday's training: coast ride, tempo spin (66 km, 200 m climbing, 32 kmph)

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