2011年10月アーカイブ

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Andrew says it’s a sure sign that the season is coming to an end when my blog titles sound more like CD titles. Music plays a big part in training as the weather worsens. I love music. In the days of ipods and random shuffling a zillion songs, I’m still a fan of listening to an album like a book or a film, in it’s entirety from start to finish.

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For training there are two types of music. One drives you on. Think Underworld or the Chemical Brothers. Another draws you in. Calexico definitely fall into this category. A sensory overload. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Calexico Inspiration? Inspiracion!

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Monday’s training: Rollers ride to the music – Calexico’s Carried to Dust

1. "Víctor Jara's Hands" (50 kmph)
2. "Two Silver Trees" (52 kmph)
3. "The News About William" (55 kmph)
4. "Sarabande in Pencil Form" (58 kmph)
5. "Writer's Minor Holiday" (58 kmph)
6. "Man Made Lake" (60 kmph)
7. "Inspiración" (62 kmph)
8. "House of Valparaíso" (58 kmph)
9. "Slowness" (60 kmph)
10. "Bend to the Road" (58 kmph)
11. "El Gatillo (Trigger Revisited)" (60 kmph)
12. "Fractured Air (Tornado Watch)" (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)
13. "Falling from Sleeves" (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)
14. "Red Blooms" (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)
15. "Contention City" (warm down)

38 mins (35 km, 55 kmph)

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Second day of riding in Karuizawa. 530 today is cloudy, which means it's warmer, a balmy 4℃, and takes longer to come light.

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Today's course was plotted by Ludwig I asked for 2 h, 50-60km, and got just that.

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I was expecting the old national road R18 to be a climb, so was surprised to be descending all the way to the bottom of the climb up to the onsen. A nice winding road, I took care descending as dawn came around slowly. No cars at all but a startled deer to test the brakes for.

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The climb to the onsen gets pretty as you move up the valley. Becoming narrower. Steeper. More winding. Beatiful autumn colours that could only be improved by a bit of sunshine.

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Back up the old R18. A nice climb. Not too steep. Easy to push a good gear. Still no cars except for a couple of boy racers.

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Back before breakfast. Last night's pizza. And another family day out...

Sunday's asaren: old route 18 ~ onsen return (50 km, 945 m climbing)

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This must be a great place to train in summer. This morning at 530, it's -1℃ and there's frost on the ground. Still I'm wrapped up warm and the climbing starts quickly. A few kilometres into the ride and I find the rindo forest road recommended by Alan of TCC. Unfortunately the road is barriered off after a few kilometres. Perhaps passable in summer but deep in fallen leaves now.

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Fear not my new GPS system (p23 torn out of the road atlas)serves me well. A loop using another rindo gets me around the obstacle and back on track. This rindo is a long climb. Not too tricky. Easy to find a rhythm. Feels great climbing in this weather.

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Peaking at a farm, I leave the rindo to drop down to national road R254. This forest road leading to R254 is spectacular. Steep. Long. Switchbacks all the way. A real helter skelter. Really technical stuff. It must be a super tough climb.

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There are more roads like this but I'm behind schedule and opt for the speed of R254. Despite a couple of tunnels and a couple of trucks the scenery is spectacular. Dropping at speeds over 60 kmph. Then a left for R43 to complete the loop to Karuizawa.

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R43 looks innocent enough on my GPS. It turns out to be a big pass. It's getting hotter now and I'm burning through the switchbacks at 170 HR. The road pops out near the rindo start.

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Back for 8am. 15℃ now. Great weather for a family day out...

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Saturday's asaren: Karuizawa loop (65km, 1400m climbing)

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ちまたでは自転車の法規制がなにやら騒がしいですね。
いまさらという気もありますがどうなることやら。
より良い方向に進むと良いのですが。。。

さてさて漫画の紹介です。
タイトルは「のりりん」といいます。

いままでも自転車漫画は数あれど、
突拍子もない才能だったり、
ありえないレース運びだったりする内容ではありません。
等身大の内容で、少し考えさせられます。

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To quote Bruce Springsteen "I'm on fire". Feel great on the bike today. Up the valley to Takayanagi I'm hitting 35kmph with the breeze on my back. Climb Isonobe at 170 lactate threshold HR. No problem getting the heart rate up. Holding back on the steep sections. Cruise back down the climb. Back down the valley. In the drops all the way. 40 kmph. Legs feel great. Just need to hold this form...

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Friday's training: Isonobe x 1 (170 HR)

(65 km, 550 m climbing)

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As a cyclist a few days of rain can do one of two things. Cause you to take a rest. Or move you onto the rollers.

I chose the rollers. With one last race coming up on November 6th, I want to keep things going before taking a rest just before the race. This means I hit the rollers the last two nights. On the rollers there’s no point messing around. High intensity is the way to go. More bang for your buck. Two back to back hard sessions.

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Today is time to recover. An hour and a half on the road. Spin, spin, spin.

Thursday’s training: Kujiranami ~ Nota ~ Betsumata loop (47 km, 200 m climbing)

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Working in Takayanagi is a great chance to train. Ride there. Ride back. Sneak in a climb of Isonobe? And you have a great training ride.

When the weather forces me into the car it always feels like a missed chance. The demon face on the truck blocking my way sums it up. But I was glad I took the car as it rained all day and was much colder than it has been recently. Taking care of the bike and kit becomes a grind day after day in this weather too.

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Back on the rollers then. Essentially the same training as yesterday but with 5 songs of the top end 140 ~ 170 HR intervals. Watching how your heart rate responds to effort and how it recovers is really interesting. You can compare this between rides and also within the ride itself. Hopefully I can focus some more on this over the winter. Need to start looking for some new music to keep me going this winter too. An old favorite tonight.

Wednesday’s training: Rollers – ride to the music The Strokes’ First Impressions of Earth.

"You Only Live Once" – 3:09 (50 kmph)

"Juicebox" – 3:17 (52 kmph)

Heart in a Cage – 3:27 (55 kmph)

"Razorblade" – 3:29 (58 kmph)

"On the Other Side" – 4:38 (60 kmph)

"Vision of Division" – 4:20 (62 kmph)

"Ask Me Anything," – 3:12 (58 kmph)

"Electricityscape" – 3:33 (60 kmph)

"Killing Lies" – 3:50 (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)

"Fear of Sleep" – 4:00 (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)

"15 Minutes" – 4:34 (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)

"Ize of the World" – 4:29 (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)

"Evening Sun" – 3:06 (140 ~ 170 HR criss cross)

"Red Light" – 3:11 (warm down)

Total: 45 mins (40 km, 55 kmph, 148 HR AV)

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Being a one car family, I rely on my bike to get me to work almost every day. Shinobu relies on the car to get the daily chores done and to get Luke and Mark around town.

The forecast was rain for today. Wake up to drizzle. If I can just get to work before it really starts…

Out of the door to a few drops. Skies above darkening. Head to the coast. Pools of water everywhere. Just missed a heavy shower it seems. Take a right up the coast. Crazy wind on my back. Dry above. Getting soaked from below. Up the coast it’s really dark now. Just where I’m heading. Being sucked into the eye of the storm. Last couple of kilometers and it really starts. Bouncing rain. Head down. Limit the damage. Goal.

At work hang up the clothes. Stuff the shoes with newspaper. They’ll still be damp on the way home.

Wet all the way home too. Open the garage door. Stretch out the rollers. Quick towel dry of the bike. Jump on. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Dig, Andy, Dig!!!

Tuesday’s training:

1. Bike to work (20 km)

2. Rollers: ride to the music – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Did, Lazarus, Dig!!!

1. "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!" – 4:10 (50 kmph)
2. "Today's Lesson" – 4:41 (53 kmph)
3. "Moonland" – 3:53 (56 kmph)
4. "Night of the Lotus Eaters" – 4:53 (58 kmph)
5. "Albert Goes West" – 3:32 (60 kmph)
6. "We Call Upon the Author" – 5:12 (62 kmph)
7. "Hold on to Yourself" – 5:51 (58 kmph)
8. "Lie Down Here (& Be My Girl)" – 4:58 (60 kmph)
9. "Jesus of the Moon" – 3:22 (140~170HR criss cross)
10. "Midnight Man" – 5:07 (140~170HR criss cross)
11. "More News From Nowhere" – 7:58 (warm down)

Total: 45 mins (40 km, 55 kmph)

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Race start...

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The second group entering lap 2...

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The 4th or 5th time up the big climb...

Photos from cyclingtime.com

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Riding after a race is often exhilarating. Still buzzing with adreanalin. Everything feels effortless. The cadence is high. The speed is high. The heart rate is high. 33 kmph on the Takayanagi loop today. A loop that is by no means flat....

Monday's training: Takayanagi loop (69 km, 450 m climbing, 33 kmph)

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ジャパンカップに行ってきました。目的は毎年同じで、完走することでした。

金曜日にマークとルークと忍ちゃんと宇都宮へ。ホテルで良く眠りました。でも夜中から大雨…


アップはいつもの坂道で走りました:

  • 1回目TEMPO
  • 2回目150HR
  • 3回目160HR
  • 4回目140-170HR x3
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スタートエリアがオープンするといつもと同じく良いスタートポジションをとるために200人がダッシュ!怖い!僕は3列目。

ジャパンカップオープンレースは最初からキツイ登りそしてテクニカルな下りです。選手は皆それを知っているからスタートはいつも爆弾みたいです。

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スタート!

早い!後ろからどんどんきます。200人が走ると道が狭い。だれのホイールをフォローしたらいいのか?

登りに入って、走る場所がない。登りで落車する人がいる!ハートレートがどんどん上がって。峠で190HR。マックスエフォート。
下りで選手が一つの長いヘビになります。クラッシュに継ぐクラッシュ。僕は大丈夫。良いラインをとって。ヘビについていける。

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下のフラットセクションに入って。ここで集団になるだろうと思ったら、そのままヘビだ。ペースが早い。50キロオーバー。

前のホイールについていけないとギャップができて、ロングスネークはたくさんのショートスネークになっちゃいます。

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第二か第三集団に入ってしまいました。ジャパンカップではトップグループまでのタイム差はどんどん大きくなります。

毎回峠でトップとの時間が"2分!"4分!"7分"10分!"と増えました。

もはや自分の集団の中だけのレースになりました。サバイバルモード。フラットでがまん。登りに入る前にフロントへ。登りはマイペース。上で真ん中位につくといい。下りはついていく。コーナーの前で良いギアを選んで。コーナーを出てスプリント…

そんなかんじ…まあ、良いトレーニングですね。ただあの山を6回登るだけでもすごいな。毎回180HRオーバーだったけどそんなにキツクはない。

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ゴールで75位でした。トップ選手のタイムより10%オーバーだったからリザルトにタイムがでない。厳しい!

自転車も体も真っ黒でした。温泉に入って。テレビでクリテリウムを見て。イタリアンレストランに行って。最高でした。

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日曜日はプロレースを見ました。プロを見ていると何だかあのコースは楽みたい!

よし、再来週は今年のラストレースです。関東ロード楽しみにしています…

(96 km, 1600 m climbing) RESULT

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This weekend we went to the Japan Cup road race. The goal? As always, just to finish.

Mark, Luke, Shinobu and I headed out to Utsunomiya on Friday. We had a wonderful night’s sleep in the hotel. Although, I couldn’t help but notice the heavy rain that started in the middle of the night…

We are really grateful to the family that let us park our car both days on their apple orchard near the start area.

For a warm up I used the same small stretch of gently sloping farm road that I always use:

  • 1st climb TEMPO
  • 2nd climb 150HR
  • 3rd climb 160HR
  • 4th climb 目140-170HR x3
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At the start area there was the usual mad dash for a good starting place on the line once the gates opened. 200 people fighting for a good spot is scary indeed! I managed to get a nice spot on about the third row from the front.

The Japan Cup is characterized by a steep climb from the start followed by a technical descent. Everybody knows this. Everybody wants to be near the front. The result? It’s starts like a bomb has gone off…

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Start!

It’s fast! I’m being swarmed from behind. 200 people on this road and it feels so narrow. Which wheel to try and follow?

We hit the main climb. There’s nowhere to go. People are even crashing going uphill! Heart rate rises and rises. 190 HR as we breach the top. Maximum effort.

On the descent riders form a long strung out snake. Crash. Crash. I’m okay. Manage to take a good line. Manage to keep my position in the snake.

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As we reach the flat at the bottom, things should start to group together. However the long stretched out snake continues. The pace is that high. Over 50 kmph. Strung out in single file.

As riders lose the wheel in front, the chain begins to snap. The long snake becomes lots of small ones.

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I find myself in the second or third group on the road.

Once the selection is made in the Japan Cup, the advantage of the front group slowly increases.

Each time we reach the top of the big climb, I can hear the time gap growing, "2 minutes!", "4 minutes!", "7 minutes!", "10 minutes!".

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Our group becomes a race within the race. Survival Mode. Holding back on the flats. Moving towards the front before the climbs. Climbing at a steady pace. Content to cross the top in the middle of the pack. Hold position on the descents. Select gears before corners. Sprint out of corners to hold position…

The usual race stuff… Well it makes good training. Just to climb the big climb 6 times is an achievement in itself. Each time I’m at over 180 HR but it feels comfortable all the way.

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At the finish I come in 75th place. The time is over 10% more than the winning ride so I don’t get an official time on the results page. How strict they are!

At the finish both me and the bike are filthy. We take an onsen. Enjoy watching the downtown criterium on TV. And head to an Italian restaurant… the perfect day!

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On Sunday we watched the professionals race on the same course. How easy they make it all look!

Next up, Kanto Road Race. The last of the season. Looking forward to it!

(96 km, 1600 m climbing) RESULT

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One thing I've improved at as a cyclist is holding back. I used to ride every day regardless. At 36, I'm a bit older and a bit wiser.

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The week leading up to a race is carefully thought through. This week sees one hard effort yesterday sandwiched by two days of recovery riding and two days of rest.

This has been the easiest training week in a long time. The Japan Cup is by far the toughest race I'll take on this year, so it deserves respect.

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A recovery ride today. Still got a bit of a cough but besides that I feel in great form. Legs light and fast. Comfortable on the bike. Raring to go.

Thursday's training: recovery ride - Kujiranami ~ Nota ~ Betsumata loop (43 km, 200 m climbing, 31 kmph)

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Good form is like a flower in bloom. It takes nurturing, time, patience and a bit of luck to get it right. Good form like a flower doesn't last long. You want to show it off. But you don't want to shake it so much that the petals fall off...

I feel that I'm in bloom at the moment. Two climbs of Komura Pass this morning.

On the road at 530. Need to be back by 700. Three layers, leg warmers, arm warmers and a cap. Still feels cold. Need to dig deeper into the winter wardrobe.

Stiff headwind down the valley but still at the foot of the pass in 20 minutes.

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Climb 1: Intervals

30 s hard / 90 s easy x 9 sets

The great thing about intervals is they tell you about your form in a split second. The first one was a shock to the system. After that I was flying. Dancing on the pedals. Pushing down. Pulling up. Still have a bit of a cold so the rest interval involves coughing and spluttering. But the work interval, pretty much anaerobic, feels good.

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Climb 2: 170 > 175 > 180 > 185 HR

The plan was to go at lactate threshold 170 HR. It took a while to get the heart rate up. 160 by the first hairpin. By the second hairpin and 2 minutes into the ride, 165. The long steep drag brings me to 170.

I push hard through an easy section to keep it at 170. The next steep section. It creeps over the target. Up to 175. No bother, it should drop again on the next easy section.

Into the big ring. Keep pushing. Heavy gears. Light legs. 180 HR and still climbing. 185 HR on the final hairpin. 10:10 here, a fast if not record breaking time.

Keep it at 185 to the finish. Time: 11:25. Excellent considering it wasn’t an all out effort.

Hoepfully I can ride this wave of form all the way to Utsonomiya….

Wednesday’s asaren: Komura Pass x 2 (38 km, 560 m climbing)

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じょんのびマニアの皆さん!
こんにちわ!
いやぁ〓!三連休最終日晴れましたねぇ!
上越バーベキューランに参加の皆さん!楽しんで頂けましたでしょうか??あくしでんとありぃの?!じょんのびラン!!
終わりよければ!!であります!
ありがとうございました!
次回?じょんのびスキーミーティングで!お会いいたしましょう!(笑)

画像よろしくです!

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Japan Cup, a one week plan:

Monday: recovery ride
Tuesday: total rest
Wednesday: asaren, high intensity, Ogami Dake?
Thursday: recovery ride
Friday: total rest
Saturday: race

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Woke up this morning feeling like I’d done 17 rounds with Mike Tyson rather than 17 laps of Gunma CSC. All parts that had contact with the bike – feet, bum and hands – are aching today.

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Time to spin out that lactic acid. A strong wind. A bit of rain. Nice just to cycle without looking over my shoulder….

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Monday’s training: Betsumata loop (37 km, 250 m climbing)

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群馬CSCのJCRCロードレースに行ってきました。Sクラスというトップクラスで17周、100キロ、アップダウンレースでした。

先週風邪をひいて、行けるかどうか心配していました。

アップは坂道で

  • TEMPO 15分
  • 150HR 10分
  • 160HR 10分
  • 140 170HR X3
  • コースを一周しました。

思ったより良い調子でした。

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スタートラインでケンタさんとノグチさんと話しました。逃げることができるかな・・・

70人位がSクラスで」スタート。久しぶりのロードレース!

2周目あたりでノグチさんともう一人が逃げたようですが残念ながらにげきれませんでした。

4周目に僕が逃げてしまいました。橋の下の登りでグループの前に出て走りました。アタックしたわけじゃなく、マイペースで登ったのですが、後ろを見ると50m位のギャップがありました。ええっ来ないの?よし、行くぞ!

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アウターに入って。ローリングセクション。一人でグループより早く行ける。急な坂。上まで一人だったら本当に逃げるチャンスだ。上のヘアピン。後ろ見て。だれもいない。

ここで単独トップ、超うれしい!応援が最高!

下り。リードバイクに注文。フルガス。ホームストレート。後ろは全然いない!忍ちゃんに[No.1だよ!]のジェスチャー。My moment in the sun!

そして黄色ヘルメットクラスの集団に会いました。右!右!行くよ!アドレナリン満タン。僕は飛んでいる!

下のヘアピン。まだ一人。一周一人。急な坂に入って。後ろから同じSクラスのノグチさんともう二人。前の選手が後ろに乗ってとジェスチャー。よしいいぞ!

4人の逃げ集団になりました。一番後ろでリカバーしようと思いましたが、早い。後ろでもキツイ!

そのまま何周か4人の逃げ集団でした。その内に後ろからもう二人加わり6人になりました。

二人が前に逃げました。30秒遅れ。20秒。10秒。また6人になりました。

後ろからもう二人。8人グループになりました。後ろの集団まで1分。このグループはゴールまで行けそう。

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でも毎周どんどんキツくなりました。登りで切れて、下りで戻るパターンが多い。

14周の下りで戻れませんでした。

ゲームオーバー。

第二グループを待つ。2周一緒に走って、やっぱり楽だ!でもこのペースではトップまで行けない。

ラストラップに入って、トップと70秒差。あきらめました!

17周はウォームダウン。ゴール前、ノグチさんに会いました。残念でした。So near but so far. Close but no cigar. やってみないとわからない・・・

100キロ本当にAJでした。自分のリミット以上に走れてよかった。今週末のジャパンカップを楽しみにしています!

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Last weekend I went to the JCRC road race at Gunma CSC. I was in the top “S” class covering 100km (17 laps) of the up / down course.

I was suffering with a cold so was in two minds whether to go or not.

However, as I warmed up on the climb up to the venue, I realized that I was going better than I had thought:

  • Tempo 15 mins
  • 150 HR 10 mins
  • 160 HR 10 mins
  • 140 ~ 170 × 3
  • Course x 1 lap
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On the start line I met Noguchi san and Kenta san and we talked about the possibility of breaking away…

70 riders started in S class. My first taste of road racing in a good while.

On the second lap Noguchi san tried to get away with one more rider. Kenta and I soft pedaled on the front of the group but that breakaway attempt didn’t work.

Next it was my turn. On the 4th lap I found myself on the front of the group as we rode under the bridge and up the little climb. I wasn’t attacking, just riding at my own pace. So I was surprised to see I had about 50 metres on the group at the top. The group was spread across the road. Not strung out. No one wants to start the chase? Catch me if you can!

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Into the big ring. Through the rolling section. In the group I freewheel through here. I can go faster on my own. Now the steep climb. If I can make it up here without being caught, I can get a decent gap. Into the hairpin. Look down the climb. Nobody!

Oh how great it feels to top this climb solo! Great support from the people on the hairpin. Now the downhill. Trying to catch the motorbike.

Bouncing in the saddle. Through the home straight. They’re still nowhere to be seen! A flash of one finger to Shinobu. Number 1! My moment in the sun!

The motorbike peels off as the road is blocked by the bunch of riders in yellow caps from another category. Migi! Migi! Iku yo! It’s difficult to get through. But the adrenalin is pumping. Really flying now. Hopefully this group will do a similar job of blocking the S class group too….

Down through the hairpin. Again faster on my own. One full solo lap. Into the steep climb. 3 S class riders including Noguchi san come up from behind. The lead rider signals me to get on. Here we go.

I latched onto the back of the 4 man breakaway group and tried to recover. The pace was high though. It was tough just sitting on the back!

We did quite a few laps as a four. At some point 2 more riders bridged the gap up to us and we became 6.

At some point 2 riders launched off the front of our group. They had 30 s. Then 20 s. Then 10 s. Back together as a 6.

2 more guys bridged making us an 8 man breakaway. With over a minute on the group and enough riders to turn the pace, this was the winning group for sure.

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However, for me each lap was getting harder than the last. Losing ground on the climb and chasing back on the descent – ala Sean Yates – was becoming a trend. And an energy sapping trend at that.

On the 14th lap I didn’t quite bridge on the descent. That was it. Game over.

I was determined to finish though so rode on till the group caught up. Two laps on the back of the group. Bliss! So much easier tucked in here.

However, at this pace and with 70 s to the breakaway group, there was no way we’d be catching up. On the last lap, completely spent, I sat up. Time to warm down. Reflect on what could have been.

Just before the line I met Noguchi san. Blown up just like me. “So near but so far”. “Close but no cigar”. “You’ll never know if you don’t try”.

I put it all out over the 100 km course. Dug deeper than I thought I could. So I’m happy with myself. Looking forward to the Japan Cup next weekend!

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The three boys in the Wood house are all down with a cold. Shall we go to the races tomorrow? Or shall we stay at home? Time to harden up...

Saturday's training: rest day

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I've been full of a cold these last few days. Maybe Wedneday's training was too much? I was down and out on Thursday.

I've been taking lots of vitamin C and drinking lots of water. In bed the last two nights before 10 o'clock. The 10 o'clock rule.

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I felt a bit better today. Got wrapped up warm and went for a spin. Nice and easy. The heart rate wants to respond. Take care not to go over 150 HR on the hills. The 150 HR rule.

Whether today's ride will work as "active recovery", I'll know tomorrow... The race is on to be over the cold by midday Sunday on the start line.

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Met Nishihiro san at the top of the climb near Kita Sabaishi. 今度一緒に走りましょうね!

Friday's training:

1. Kita Sabaishi ~ Kita Jo hills
2. Betsumata hills

(63 km, 650 m climbing)

IMG_1641.JPGのサムネール画像














BBQランに参加のみなさん、おつかれさまでした。 応援団2号です。
いつもの様にスナップを撮りましたので、良ければ見てやって下さい。
2号のバイクフィット中の写真もあります。


コメントが余り付けられていませんので、コメントや説明なんかを書き込んで
頂けるとうれしいです。




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With a 100 km road race coming up this weekend, I wanted to do some race simulation today.

1. Ishiji ~ Teradomari Sprint intervals

40 s hard / 80 s easy x 10 sets

Out of the saddle. Hands in the drops. Weight over the front wheel. 50 kmph +. 170 HR +. Sprinting for the line. It took a few intervals to get going, but with the wind on my back I enjoyed the feeling of kicking the pedals.

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2. Teradomari ~ Ishiji Race pace

150~155 HR / 80~85 cadence x 30 mins

In the drops. Sheltering from the wind. A 30 minute constant effort. I wanted to stimulate the effort of riding in a fast moving group. Hard but not too uncomfortable.

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I have some cold symptoms today, so I may regret this hard training. All I can do now is rest, early nights, vitamin C, some mild cold medicine and lots of fluids. Hoping to be fresh on Sunday…

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Wednesday's training: Teradomari return (77 km, 200 m climbing, 33 kmph)

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A hard ride on Sunday. An easy ride yesterday. I was looking for something in-between today.

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The R353~Takayanagi~R252 loop is the standard じょんのび TIME training course. 57 km with some stiff climbing, some rolling terrain and some fast flats.

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When I first started cycling, this would be my weekend ride. As I got faster, I'd squeeze it in on a week day. These days I tend to use tougher climbs for hard days and gentler courses for recovery.

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However, it's still a good training course. A nice length. A nice challenge. My favorite part is the rolling section between Ishiguro and Takayanagi. This is my strongest terrain as a cyclist but perhaps where I focus on the least in training.

Feel a bit better than yesterday but still not setting things on fire. Easy does it...

Tuesday's asaren: R353~Takayanagi~R252 loop (57 km, 400 m climbing, 31 kmph)

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As I get older it becomes harder, sometimes impossible, to do back to back hard training days. Yesterday the legs felt golden on Yahiko. This morning they felt like lead weights. Just a few turns of the pedals and I know "nothing special today".

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Still you can't go hard every day and easy rides on the bike are important too. A Teradomari loop. Mostly flat. Can't get comfy in the saddle. Seems like a headwind all the way. These are the things you notice when you're not firing on all cyclinders.

Sweat out yesterday's alcohol, refresh the legs with a good spin, and a big breakfast. Take it easy....

Monday's asaren: Teradomari loop (90 km, 300 m climbing)

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Just back from a fun-filled booze-filled training camp at Andrew’s place….

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Saturday was a rest day of sorts. Enjoying watching Sean and Luke riding their bikes and playing in the park on a warm sunny afternoon. Hideko cooked a wonderful dinner as always and Andrew and I had our first beer session in a good few months.

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Sunday, 545 start to meet Kei in Yahiko village at 630. 9 degrees means we ride fast just to keep warm. 615 in Yahiko and Kei is ready to go. Today’s menu? 3 climbs of Yahiko.

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Climb 1: Yahiko village climb.

This was supposed to be a warm up. As usual it starts off nice and easy but once the gradient picks up, the pace picks up, race mode. Once I got a gap on Andrew on the steep hairpins, it was foot to the metal all the way to the top. With about 1 km to go I met Nozaki san. He was up for a sprint, which made a good finish to the climb.

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Climb 2: the steep side.

This time we planned to ride tempo to the hairpins and attack each other from there on up the climb. Nozaki san set a good pace up to the hairpins though, so we were going pretty hard from the bottom. Once in the hairpins I tried to up the pace. Dropping gears though the curves to get as much speed out as possible. Heart rate was 180 plus all the way. A rest day always pays dividends. I managed to creep away gradually. Full gas. Andrew not far behind at the summit.

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Climb 3: Nozomi climb.

Three climbs is always tough. I took it relatively easy up to the gate. I upped it on the long steep drag. Nozaki san was hanging on my wheel. Another dig through the steep hairpins but I couldn’t shake him off. With about 2 km to go he came on to the front. I sat on. Waiting, waiting. He opened the sprint on the last two ramps up to the finish. I had the legs to ride over his sprint and had a good gap at the top. Happy with my top end speed. Recent interval sessions seem to be paying off.

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Back to Andrew’s place. A late breakfast. Play in the garden. And off to the onsen near Kei’s place for lunch. Beautiful scenery as we leave Niigata and head into the hills around Kamo. A great onsen too. The beers were flowing once again, this time courtesy of Kei.

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Beer > Bike > Beer is what Andrew calls it. Not a bad triathlon this weekend!

Sunday's training: Yahiko x 3 (83 km, 1600 m climbing)

mte.JPGMore top end training today. Short duration. High intensity. Komura Pass x 2.

Climb 1: big gear intervals

30 s hard / 90 s easy x 7 sets

Climb 2: descending intervals

120 s hard / easy
90 s hard / easy
60 s hard / easy
45 s hard / easy
30 s hard / easy
15 s hard / easy

Friday's training: Komura Pass x 2 (37 km, 550 m climbing)

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As the days get shorter and the weather worsens, I find myself returning to the rollers more and more. I also find myself returning to the same music. The albums that have proved themselves as great training music.

Today’s choice: Dinosaur Jr’s Beyond. Released in 2007, it was their first album in ten years. Moreover, the first in almost 20 years featuring the original 3 piece line up. Any concerns that this may just be a sellout comeback gig are dispensed in the first 30 second guitar solo of the first track. Indeed the first 3 songs hardly let you stop to catch your breath.

What is it about this band and this album that is so good to ride to? The long fast almost out of control guitar solos are the speed, the power drumming and bass are the cadence and heart, and the lazy slurred out vocals are the breathing… I don’t know but it works!

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Yesterday I did a hard work out. Today I was planning to build up to 150 HR and keep it there. My staple winter training. But the songs push me and push me till I find myself doing the final track at 170 HR. Ride the dinosaur!

Thursday’s training: rollers – ride to the music – Dinosaur Jr’s Beyond

1. "Almost Ready" – 50 kmph - 3:08
2. "Crumble" – 54 kmph - 4:04
3. Pick Me Up - 56 kmph - 6:32
4. "Back to Your Heart" 58 kmph / 150 HR – 4:31
5. "This Is All I Came to Do" – 155 HR - 5:21
6. "Been There All the Time" – 160 HR - 3:40
7. "It's Me" – 160 HR - 5:14
8. "We're Not Alone" – 165 HR - 4:35
9. "Lightning Bulb" - 165 HR - 3:45
10. "What If I Knew..." – 170 HR - 4:01
11. "I Got Lost" – warm down - 4:37

Total: 40 mins (148 / 172 HR, 56 kmph)

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There's no point messing around on the rollers. I didn't mess around tonight. "Here comes the action..."

Ramp it up step by step. Build up to lactate threshold. Back off. Up to threshold again. Repeat.

I used speed to build up to LT step by step. I hit 170 HR at 62 kmph and "Walk with fire".

After that I criss crossed between 140 and 170 HR. Lock on to 65 kmph to bring the HR up quickly. Lock on to 40 kmph to bring it back down to 140 HR slowly. I did this for about 25 minutes - much longer than I can usually stand.

45 minutes total at this intensity is plenty.

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Wednesday's training: Ride to the music ~ Doves Some Cities

1. "Some Cities" 50 kmph 3:22
2. "Black and White Town" 54 kmph 4:15
3. "Almost Forgot Myself" 56 kmph 4:42
4. "Snowden" 58 kmph 4:12
5. "The Storm" 60 kmph 4:52
6. "Walk in Fire" 62 kmph 5:34
7. "One of These Days" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 4:50
8. "Someday Soon" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 4:08
9. "Shadows of Salford" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 2:44
10. "Sky Starts Falling" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 4:11
11. "Ambition" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 4:00
12. "Some Cities" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 3:22
13. "Black and White Town" 140 ~ 170 criss cross HR 4:15

Total: 45 mins (148 / 178 HR, 55 kmph)

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Back to Komura Pass and Ogami Dake today. Two days later and the heart rate responds much better. Hovering around the 175 HR mark on both climbs. It is the legs which are the limiter today, particularly on the steeper sections of Ogami Dake.

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Then comes the final steep section on Ogami Dake. The steepest part. Concrete. Around 20% ? Out of the saddle. Rocking left. Rocking right. Squeezing out all the strength you have left. The sting in the tail. 180 HR to finish.

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The reward? Beautiful views of the Japan Sea, the Joetsu plain and Mt. Myoko and Mt. Kurohime.

Tuesday's training: Komura Pass ~ Ogami Dake ~ Sakurazaka Pass ~ Betsumata rolling course loop

(68 km, 1200 m climbing)

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rain or shine, Luke is on his bike every day

Short ride to work and the rollers today. I was going to tag on an hour on the way home but the sky was dark and threatening. Once Mt. Yoneyama is out of view you know you don't have long till the rain starts.

Raced the rain clouds home and jumped on the rollers. That's one advantage of rollers over a stationary trainer, you can literally just jump on with your bike and start pedaling.

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racing the rain clouds home

Put on the Pains of Being Pure at Heart "They all sound the same!" is what my dad would say of this album. But that's a good thing as far as training goes: rhythm, repetition and a few vocals is all you want.

Work the heart rate up slowly. Bit of a cold so I don't want to push too hard. Break above 160HR for the last interval.

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warm and dry in the safety of the garage

Monday's training:

1. bike to work (20 km)

2. rollers - ride to the music - Pains of Being Pure at Heart

No. Title Length
1. "Contender" 50 kmph 2:40
2. Come Saturday 52 kmph 3:17
3. "Young Adult Friction" 54 kmph 4:07
4. "This Love Is Fucking Right!" 56 kmph 3:15
5. "The Tenure Itch" 58 kmph 3:45
6. "Stay Alive" 60 kmph 4:56
7. "Everything with You" 56 kmph 2:59
8. "A Teenager in Love" 58 kmph 3:24
9. "Hey Paul" 60 kmph 2:03
10. "Gentle Sons" 62 kmph 4:32

Total: 45 mins

保育園の運動会が1日にありました。

「走って」「踊って」「笑って」「泣いて」
息子の成長を肌で感じる事が出来る
貴重な時間となりました。

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Seventh Image photo exhibition, Energy Hall, Kashiwazaki

今日写真展に行きました。新潟の自然がメインで、良い写真たくさんがありました。

Today I went to a photo exhibition. The main theme was photos of Niigata prefecture and there were some beautiful photos to be seen.

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Isonobe!

その中に 柏崎フォトコンテスト の優勝写真がありました。それは僕がいつも写真を撮っているイソノベのポイントから撮った写真でした!

One of the photos was the winner of the Kashiwazaki photo contest A photo taken from the exact same spot on Isonobe where I so often take a snap!

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Ogami Dake???

7人の写真家によるSEVENTH IMAGEと言う写真展でした。その中の一人の写真は こちらから 見られます。

それから別の一人-フォトキングはじょんのびタイムのメンバー、桑原さんでした!すごいじょんのび!

The exhibition featured 7 photographers and was titled SEVENTH IMAGE. You can see the photos of one of the photographers here

I was amazed to find that one of the contributors was じょんのび TIME’s Kuwabara san! Amazing photos too!

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Another three hours. Another 1400 m of climbing. This time in sunshine.

I watch the sun coming up easy as I head out to Nota. I have a few extra layers from the じょんのび wardrobe. A じょんのび cap, a じょんのび gillette and some wooly socks. Nice and toasty.

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Take the turn for Komura Pass. Up we go. Yesterday the HR was up in the 170s no problems. Today I can only get into the mid 150s. What a difference a day makes.

Drop down into Yoshikawa town. Beautiful at this time of day. Take the turn for Ogami Daki. From sea level to the summit. The real way to take it on.

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Again the heart rate doesn't respond. Even on the steepest sections of this tough climb.

Nevermind. It's all training. And just being out on the bike feels great.

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Up above the blue skies are turning cloudy. I expect it'll rain later. Worth the effort to get up and out early....

Sunday's asaren: Komura PAss ~ Yoshikawa ~ Ogami Dake ~ Ishiguro loop (85 km, 1450 m climbing)

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Now bein' six years old, I had seen some trains before,
so it's hard to figure out what I'm at the depot for.

Trains are big and black and smokin' - steam screamin' at the wheels,
bigger than anything they is, at least that's the way she feels

Trains are big and black and smokin', louder'n July four,
but everybody's actin' like this might be somethin' more. . .

. . .than just pickin' up the mail, or the soldiers from the war.
This is somethin' that even old man Wileman never seen before.

And it's late afternoon on a hot Texas day.
somethin' strange is goin' on, and we's all in the way.

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Well there's fifty or sixty people they're just sittin' on their cars,
and the old men left their dominos and they come down from the bars.

Everybody's checkin', old Jack Kittrel check his watch,
and us kids put our ears to the rails to hear 'em pop.

So we already knowed it, when they finally said 'train time'
you'd a-thought that Jesus Christ his-self was rollin' down the line.

'Cause things got real quiet, momma jerked me back,
But not before I'd got the chance to lay a nickel on the track.

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Look out here she comes, she's comin',
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

Big, red, and silver,
she don't make no smoke,
she's a fast-rollin' streamline
come to show the folks.

Look out here she comes, she's comin'
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

. . .Lord, she never even stopped.

She left fifty or sixty people still sittin' on their cars,
and they're wonderin' what it's comin' to
and how it got this far.

Oh but me I got a nickel smashed flatter than a dime
by a mad dog, runaway red-silver streamline. . . train

Guy Clark, Old No.1, 1975

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This is what training is all about. 3 hours in the rain. Pedaling hard just to keep warm.

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A rest day yesterday really pays off. HR is 10 or 20 beats higher on the flats. It's easy to get into the mid 170s for each of the four climbs of Komura Pass.

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4 laps of the Komura Pass ~ Tajima Pass loop. Each lap takes about 35 minutes. Would have liked to have done one more. But two bananas and one drink just won't cut it....

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Saturday's asaren: Komura Pass ~ Tajima Pass loop x 4 (90 km, 1400 m climbing)

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