2012年6月アーカイブ

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I spent the morning potato farming today. Real back breaking work. After a shower and lunch I'm on my way to Matsumoto. A solo trip. This is a free race. And I'm doing it on the cheap.

A chance to listen to some tunes. I forgot how good the likes of Joy Division, Teenage Fanclub and Daft Punk sound on the motorway at full blast.

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In Matsumoto at 4pm and it's 30C. Too early to crack open a beer yet. I decide to spin up the first 5km to the lake.

The course is like this:

  • Start ~ lake 5km - very steep
  • Around lake 1km - flat
  • Up to the top 12 km - hill climb grade
  • Top ~ finish 4 km - rolling terrain
  • Total: 22km

The first 2km are really steep. I'm glad I've got the 27 on the back. The first time to use this bike set up with a short stem on a steep climb and I find myself pulling little wheelies at times.

Some guys are really going for it. I keep it as easy as possible on the steep parts.

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Tomorrow there will be 118 riders in the Champions class. I'll need a good position on the start line. But I don't want to be drawn in to trying to follow the wheels of pure climbers up the steep section. To blow up here would be a big mistake.

I have no visions of winning a race like this. I just want to put in a decent race. Try to beat my best time.

That means keeping an eye on things here and going as hard as I can for the 12km of climbing after the lake.

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I enjoy chatting with Nakamura san up by the lake. Drop back down. Onsen. Dinner. A few beers. Set up a bed in the back of the car.

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Tomorrow's plan:

  • 430~ breakfast
  • 530 ~ warm up
  • 630 ~ bag
  • 700~715 line up
  • 730 start

Right, time for bed.....

Saturday: Road (10 km, 105/149 HR)

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A new bowling alley has opened up just across the train tracks from CS Enosan. Today we took Enosan bowling.

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Enosan is a class act on the bike. The same is true of his bowling. It's all about form.

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I rely on power play. A heavy ball. Straight down the middle. We won a game each.

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A big dinner tonight. 2 days of rest before Sunday's race and I hope I'll be firing on all cylinders.

Friday: rest day

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I tested out the GS Astuto Prova wheel on the back today. This is a deep rimmed carbon wheel. Like the other back wheel it rolls well. There's not much weight difference either. I'm thinking I'll use this wheel at Utsukushigahara. It should provide a bit of an advantage on the final 5km of rolling road.

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Today I did 4 climbs of the small pass between Kujiranami and Tanne. This is a nice road for testing kit as it has varied grade and some nice switch backs.

  • Climb 1 - intervals: 30 s hard / 60 s easy
  • Climb 2 - 160 ~ 165 HR keep
  • Climb 3 - big ring 50 × 23 gear
  • Climb 4 - standing out of the saddle
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The main stumbling block for me at Utsukushigahara is the initial steep "wall". It's important not to blow up here. Tonight I called by CS Enosan to borrow an 11~27 cassette. Pop it in a pan of kerosene. A once over with a paint brush and it comes up sparkling new.

I was lucky to get a free entry to this race. My only goal is to beat my previous times. I've used different bikes and different wheels each time. But the result is pretty much always the same:

  • 2009 1:09:35
  • 2007 1:09:33
  • 2006 1:10:57

I'll be happy if I can beat my best time on Sunday...

Thursday's training: Road (40 km)

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Andrew and I often talk about the "get out of jail card". This is a phone call to the wife to pick you up when you can't get home. You get one of these a year. Two if you are lucky.

I don't get that many punctures these days. But when I do, it's often on Isonobe. The rough surfaced and steep climb is great training. But the risks of a puncture are much higher than on better surfaced roads with more traffic.

A quick climb before work. A quick descent. Psssssh! Probably a sharp stone. Glad I'm not cornering. The tyre goes down quickly, so a big hole.

It's always disappointing to get a flat on a tubular. Unless it's a really small hole, the expensive tyre goes into the bin.

The spare tyre is a cheap Vittoria which I've been using as an "emergency tyre" for years. Easy to put on. Just enough air to get me down and into work.

After lunch I put in a bit more air. Head for another climb of Isonobe. Before I begin the climb... BANG! This time a hole in the sidewall. I noticed the sidewall in poor condition when I put the air in, but thought it would hold.

No more tyres. Game over then. Trickle back to work (the one advantage of tubulars is you can ride them, with care, when flat).

A call to Shinobu. "Can you pick me up after work?"

There goes my get out of jail card....

Wednesday's training: Isonobe x 1 (32 km)

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"These boots are made for walking" is one of many fantastic songs composed by the late great Lee Hazlewood. A brilliant singer songwriter in his own right. But when he wanted to raise things a level, he called in Nancy Sinatra

Lee was lucky to have Nancy. Just like I'm lucky to have GS Astuto These wheels are made for climbing....

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A semi-deep carbon wheel on the front. A cylindrical carbon hub. This wheel is really light but has a decent braking surface. It seems to roll really well and is perhaps not hill climb specific, but could be used on any type of terrain.

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Another light weight wheel on the back. Again with a decent braking surface. I find the reduction in weight is much more noticable on the back. It feels like a different bike at times.

Perhaps not performance related, but I love the sound of the freewheel on this one. Like a tree full of cicadas, late afternoon in early August. Such a beautiful sound that you want to stop pedaling....

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Today I tested out the wheels on Ishikawa Pass. Four climbs:

  • Climb 1 - intervals: 30 s hard / 60 s easy
  • Climb 2 - 160 ~ 165 HR keep
  • Climb 3 - big ring 50 × 23 gear
  • Climb 4 - standing out of the saddle

The benefits of the wheels are noticed most in climbs 1 and 4.

For intervals the bike accelerates quickly. The effort also feels easier and 30 s pass by in no time.

Out of the saddle, the bike feels much more responsive. You can feel the effects of small things like pulling up under the hoods as you push down on the pedals.

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Next race is Utsukushigahara this weekend. This is a tough race for me due to the initial steep section. It's too steep and it comes too early. Hopefully these wheels will give me a bit of a boost!

Tuesday's training: Road (68 km)

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A sure sign that summer is coming is that the snakes get bigger!

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It has to be a recovery ride today. Races hurt me more as I get older. A gentle spin helps of course. Keep the intensity down. The volume too.

Time for a hot bath, stretch, massage and dinner.

Monday's training: Road (32 km)

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This weekend we went to the 30th Uchinada Road Race. I entered the individual TT and 50 km Champions Road Race.

This was my second time to enter the race. Pancake flat, strong winds, a 10 km square circuit.... it's more fun than it sounds!

By the time we got to Uchinada, the races had started so there was no chance for a pre-race course check. Nevermind, I can pretty much remember it.

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Time Trial

All talk was about the wind. I thought it was windy in Niigata! Bob Dylan was right. You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. A strong wind coming up the long straight from the start line. This would be the hardest part of the course. Important not to overdo it here I thought. I decided to go with the T-spoke wheel over the disc wheel on the back.

With so many races going on, it's difficult to predict when your race will start. I was expecting a 9:30 start. So I was surprised to be called to the line at 9:00 with only the briefest of warm ups. Just a spin really.

Each rider goes off at 20 second intervals. I enjoyed talking to two Team Balba guys starting either side of me. All eyes were on the guy 2 places behind me. Black TT machine. Black wear from shoes to helmet. This man in black wasn’t Johnny Cash but he was just as mean looking.

It seems like forever since I’ve been up on a start ramp. What gear to choose? I go with 50×15.

3-2-1 Go! Out of the saddle. Stomp the pedals. Puff the cheeks (I’ve seen them do this on TV). Get up to speed quickly. The first look at the computer. 45 kmph / 175 HR. Cool - The HR responds well after two days off the bike.

I don’t want to go too hard too early. Try to hold 175 HR. The speed settles to around 40 kmph. I think it’ll take 43 or 44 kmph to win it. My plan is top go 40 kmph into the wind on the outward leg, 45 kmph with the wind on my back on the back straight. It doesn’t take Carol Vorderman to do the maths in a bike race.

I pass my 20s and 40s men on the first straight. They are switching sides of the road to try and get shelter. I just focus on my own effort.

Safely round the first corner. Wind on my back for the next short straight. I put in a dig to pass my 60s man before we approach the next corner. Look down, 183 HR.

The back straight. The wind isn’t helping like I thought it would. Try to hold 180 HR / 90 cadence. It’s here that I notice a creaking noise. I play with the gears but it seems to be a problem with the hub in the rear wheel. “Never use new kit on race day” is the golden rule. An annoying noise but that’s all.

With about 3 km to go Johnny Cash comes flying past. He looks at one with his machine. What’s he doing that I’m not I wonder… Tempted to draft….. But to lose is one thing, to lose cheating is another.

I’m pretty much going flat out but manage to raise it a little for the last 1.5 km. Take the last corner a little too fast. Sprint for the line.

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(14m 25s, 41.55 kmph, 180/187 HR AV/MAX, 29th place)

I was hoping for 43 kmph. But I was happy with the actual effort I put out. Only 29th on the day. The winner did 45+ kmph. His name was Tom. I forgot his last name. But it might have been Cancellara.

Shinobu said to me “I know how you can win next year!” “How’s that then?” “Ride at 46 kmph!”

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Road race

This was a bit of an after thought really. The TT was my main focus. I really enjoyed the race last year though. I was on the right side of a split and enjoyed riding aggressively on the front. Even putting in an attack on the last lap.

Another minimal warm up. A TT of 180 HR for 14 minutes is enough. A quick spin and a couple of sprints to get the HR up again.

On the start line with friends Tazaki san and Oono san from F(t) Racing.

My plan is to stay near enough to the front to avoid the inevitable splits but not too far up front to waste valuable energy. Which is pretty much everyone else’s strategy. So it ends up being a game of chess at 50 kmph.

I try to stay tucked in and keep an eye on riders around me. Mark Burns is a good guy to watch. JPT rider and previous winner of this race. If he’s next to me I’ll be alright.

At the front Tazaki san is driving the pace and following attacks. Fuji, Tsugaike, Uchinada?

The further back you are, the easier it is on the long straights, but the more difficult it is coming through the corners as the elastic stretches.

As the race goes on, it becomes a race of attrition as riders gradually fall out of the back. It’s a game of Frogger jumping across these small gaps.

I decide to move up to the front on the third lap. Before I know it I’m on the attack. I follow the wheels of an Olympic triathlete who just happens to go at the same time. I know him from last year and we exchange a glance. And a third guy, a pro-Keirin rider (Open category) also comes. The three Amigos!

The Keirin guy is sitting on. He’s huge. Legs like tree trunks. Power to weight ratio? Power to legs is all that matters on a flat course like this.

Me and the triathlete take turns, signaling each other through with twitches of the elbow. I hate doing this normally but I’m on the limit here. A face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. He looks as fresh as a daisy. After several turns, he’s a little too fast for me and I let him slip away.

From behind a small group catches me. A little dig to get on the back. Chance to recover.

The triathlete guy is out on his own about 50 m up the road. A guy in a “Tondemo” jersey invites me to try and bridge. Here we go again. This time I’m a little too strong for him but not strong enough to bridge on my own. So I find myself in no-man’s land.

Back in the group then for the last lap. I know I don’t have that top end explosiveness for a sprint with a big group so I’m hoping I’ll have another chance to try and get away. But now the pace is relentless. People are dropping off like flies. Are they really that done? Or do they just give in too easy?

Strung out in single file. Gaps open up. I’m maxing out just to cover these gaps. With two kilomteres to go I find myself off the back of the front group.

I’m with Oono san. Nothing like an ally in times like these. We are working hard to get back on. In the back of our minds we know, even if we make it, we won’t be able to sprint. But still we turn ourselves inside out. Up the road Tazaki san has fallen back too.

Now it becomes a race to catch him. I’m screaming “Wait! Wait!” He smiles back and opens a sprint. “You’ll never beat me on the flat!” I shout. He crosses the line hands aloft. Me with chin over the bars. A great way to end the race.

(50 km, AJ)

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A great weekend away. I really recommend this race. Give it a try!

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I've always liked Kanazawa. It's a beautiful city. A nice mix of history and modern. Not too big but big enough for a Starbucks or a Tower Records. A great location too. Mountains and the sea, and the Noto Peninsula not too far away.

A great place to live for sure.

Today we spent an action packed day outside followed by a nice evening in the city.

Looking forward to tomorrow's racing.

Saturday: rest day

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I'm not one to go crazy about the latest bike kit. You, the rider, are the most important thing. Let the legs do the talking!

However, in a race like a TT, where every second counts, marginal gains become important. This is Team Sky's philosophy: many tiny differences make a big difference.

Aerobars offer the biggest single advantage. Next come wheels. A disc or T-spoked wheel? On a non-TT bike and with wind likely, perhaps a T-spoked wheel?

I was impressed at how the T-spoked wheel spins. It feels like a motor in the back. It is also an advantage that I can use the same wheel for the RR (no wasted time changing wheels, cassettes etc).

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An aerohelmet should shave off a few seconds. It's a squeeze to get my big noggin in there.

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Wheel balance. CS Enosan is one of the only shops in Japan that can offer this service. Balance the weight of the wheel so it spins out for longer.

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With shoe covers we are talking marginal marginal. Still it's a pyschological boost!

No excuses. Time for the legs to do the talking!

Ishikawa san, Enosan, ありがとうじょんのび!

Friday: rest day

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One last training session before Uchinada on Sunday. The bike is still set up with training wheels but I tried to simulate Sunday’s TT today.


Warm up:

Loosely based on the warm up I will do on Sunday:

  • Spin on the coast (17 mins)
  • 150 target HR on the pass between Kujiranami and Shindou (9 mins)
  • 1 lap raising to 170 HR (9 mins)
  • 1 lap raising to 170 HR (9 mins)
  • Total: 44 mins

    I found it really difficult to get the heart rate up today. On the two laps of the course, it was only rising to about 140 HR. In a desperate attempt to get up to LT I did 3 sets of intervals: 30 s hard / 60 s easy (x3). This brought me up to about 165 HR.
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Race simulation:

Plan:

  • 2 laps at race pace.
  • Aim for 175 HR / 90 cadence.
  • Try to get up to speed quickly.
  • Hold a constant effort.
  • Aim for 40 kmph AV.
  • Full gas for the last 2 km.

Aim for 175 HR / 90 cadence:

After the warm up, I knew this wouldn’t be possible. Averaging about 165 and up to about 168 on the long drags. I resisted the urge to use heavier gears and try and force it. This is where “perceived exertion” is so important. Knowing the level to ride at on feel alone. No cycling computer can tell you this.

Try to get up to speed quickly:

Again, difficult today. Slower than last week’s effort for sure. By the end of the back straight (3.5 km in) I was up to the kind of level I held for the rest of the ride.

Hold a constant effort:

After a few goes at 10 km TTs, I’m getting pretty good at this. Keeping an eye on speed, HR and cadence. Keeping things nice and steady.

Aim for 40 kmph AV:

Despite strong winds, I was hitting 40 kmph + for most of the circuit. I realized today that speed and therefore time is lost in corners. Brake late. Choose a good line. Accelerate quickly.

Full gas for the last 2 km:

Don’t know if I would say “full gas” as the engine wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I put in a big effort though to get to the line.

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Today: (10.7 km, 16:15, 39.5 kmph, 164/176 HR, 91 cadence)

Last Thursday: (10.8 km, 16:27, 39.4 kmph, 171/184 HR, 93 cadence)

Not a bad effort in the end. I can improve on this on race day with good rest, a good warm up, aero kit and adrenalin and race motivation.

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Points taken:

  • I will warm up on the rollers.
  • 2 days of rest before the race.
  • Check the course – particularly the corners.

Thursday's training: Road (62 km)

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A fun commute today. A typhoon passed through last night. The strong winds still remain. Especially near the coast. The hills of Takayanagi offer a little shelter.

Usually commuting time is just a brisk pace to try to get to work on time. And to get home on time. Today going to work I tried to practice my pre-race warm up routine. I had 30 minutes free at lunch and managed to squeeze in a climb of Isonobe too.

  • to work: warm up routine
  • lunch time: Isonobe x 1 (160 ~ 165 HR keep)
  • to home: fight the wind!
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Warm up

This is the routine I intend to use for the time trial on Sunday:

  • 20 minutes spinning
  • 10 minutes cruise interval 150 HR
  • 10 minute build to 170 HR
  • 10 minute build to 170 HR
  • Total: 50 mins

This is a tweaked version of warm up routines that I've done in the past.

2010 warm up

2011 warm up

On the road with strong winds and rolling terrain, the heart rate fluctuates more than I would like. The general step by step increase in intensity is there. But it's not as controlled as on the rollers or a stationary trainer.

I prefer to warm up on the roads. Especially if it's raining. Or if there is a hill available. However, I think I'll try and squeeze the rollers into the car this weekend.

Isonobe

No warm up for this one. 30 minutes to spare. Straight into the climb. Straight after a huge lunch. I'm interested to see how hard I can push it. The heart rate settles in the low 160s. The wind is swirling in the basin at the top. Riding in the clouds feels great as water vapour collects on the arms and legs. Drop back down. Back to work...

Wednesday's training: Road (62 km)

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An important game for England tonight. A win or a draw will take them through to the next round of the European Championships.

A lot of the talk has been about whether the older guys, the 30 somethings like captain Steven Gerrard, can play a game every four days.

A cyclist, like a footballer, has to think carefully about their training routine as they get older. Especially with a big game coming up.

Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Tuesday: rest day
  • Wednesday: commute or warm up practice (rollers)
  • Thursday: race kit check, warm up and race simulation (road)
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: course check / light spin
  • Sunday: race

Tuesday: rest day

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I've been training hard recently and I can feel it.

Always keeping an eye on the forecast to plan a rest. Later in the week looks wet. One or two days of rest before Uchinada.

Today was perfect cycling weather. Sunny and in the low 20s. An easy ride. Keep the heart rate low. The cadence high.

Monday's training: Road (66 km)

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Sunday's training: Road (48 km)

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Up at 5 for asaren. Heavy rain. Heavy head! Back to bed? Propellerheads!

Take California is the hangover cure. Sweat it out. Beads of sweat on the arms and legs.

Bang On! Brings me up to cruising intensity – 150HR.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is where the real training is done. 160 HR for 10 mins. This song builds up, drops off, fades in, fades out. It deserves a more exciting ride.

Bigger? Foot to the floor. 65 kmph. Fading. Push again. Fading. Squeeze everything out in 2 mins.

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Cominagetcha doesn’t come soon enough. Warm down. A shower. Stretch. And breakfast.

1. "Take California" – 7:23 43 kmph
2. "Velvet Pants" – 5:49 46 kmph
3. "Better?" – 2:05 48 kmph
4. "Oh Yeah?" – 5:28 50 kmph
5. "History Repeating" – 4:05 52 kmph
6. "Winning Style" – 6:00 54 kmph
7. "Bang On!" – 5:57 56 kmph
8. "A Number Of Microphones" – 0:48 58 kmph
9. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" – 9:23 58 kmph
10. "Bigger?" – 2:22 63~65 kmph full gas
11. "Cominagetcha" – 7:07 warm down

Total: 50 mins

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A train ride to Nagaoka.

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Riverside Senshu.

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And another trip to the Enmaichi festival.

All Out じょんのび!

Saturday’s training:

Rollers – ride to the music – Propellerheads’ Decksanddrumsandrockandroll

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One of the keys to a good training plan is variety. Training at the same intensity and in the same way will only take you so far.

I took break from TT training for some hill climb repeats. That's not to say that it's not beneficial for time trialling though.

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3 climbs of Ishikawa Pass.

  • Climb 1 Big ring 50 × 23

This an aerobic effort. 60 cadence. 40 on steeper sections. Strength training on the bike.

  • Climb 2 Controlled climbing - 170 HR keep

Like yesterdays TT, build up slowly, hold 170 for the mid section, full gas for the last 500 m. 185 HR at the top.

  • Climb 3 Intervals - 30 s hard / 60 s easy

Work interval

The heart rate rockets up each time. Upper 170s at the end of the work interval.

The true effort is greater than this as the heart doesn't have time to respond. Indeed the HR rises a few beats after the work interval is finished.

Rest interval

For the rest interval, it takes 30s to drop below 170 and into the aerobic zone. 30 s later at around 160 HR, it's time to go again. Great training!

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Tonight we went to Enmaichi. The festival is in town for 3 days. I love this time of year!

Friday's training: Road (49 km)

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I read an interesting article on time trialing. Thanks to the guys at TCC.


In my limited time trailling experience I often go too hard too early, and then begin to fade.

The basic strategy this article outlines is to:

  • build up slowly
  • ride at threshold
  • put everything out in the last mile


Today I tried to ride a 10 km TT like this:

  • 2km - build to 170 HR
  • 6 km at 170 HR
  • 2 km full gas
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warm up

On the pass between Kujiranami and Shindou the HR responds well. I don't feel fresh and perhaps a little dehydrated but just one day off the bike is all it takes to get the heart going again. A short dig at the top of the pass takes me up to 175 HR.

Laps 1 and 2 - Race strategy

  • 2 km build to 170HR

    Start. 500 m and I'm up to 160HR. 1km and the first turn, 165. Take care not to push too hard. Keep it at 165 until the next corner at 1.5 km. Through the technical section. Ramp it up to 170.
  • 6 km 170HR keep

    170HR and 90 cadence are my targets. It feels comfortable. Don't let it below 170. Don't let it above 175.
  • last 2 km full gas

    Through the chicane on the 2nd lap. Push harder. 180 at the top of the back straight. Hold it for a while. Up another notch. Full gas to the line.

    (10.8 km, 16:27, 39.4 kmph, 171/184 HR, 93 cadence)
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Lap 3 - Tempo

Lap 4 - Cruising (160HR target)

Points taken:

  • This 3 step build strategy looks like the way to go.
  • Is a shorter build up (ex: 1 km) possible?
  • I want to try a mid section at 175HR and perhaps even 180HR
  • last 2 km at full gas seems about right, but maybe shorter if I go harder in the middle

how to win?

It will take 43/44 kmph to win at Uchinada. Will aero kit, adequate rest, a good warm up, adrenaline and race motivation allow me to raise my game by 10%?


Why not!?

Thursday's training: Road (50 km)

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It's hotting up. The sudden change in weather can be a shock to the body.

Luke had a fever of 39.5C today. I took the day off work to look after him and Mark. Plenty of resting all round.

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Still some time to play with the bike. Minor adjustments to cleat alignments on my right shoe.

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A new Shimano Ultegra crankset received under warranty.

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And a demo wheel from GS Astuto A carbon hub and just 460 grams...

Wednesday: rest day

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when two worlds collide - Ullrich the grinder Vs. Armstrong the spinner

The ideal cadence depends on the individual. Some people grind at 70. Others spin at 100. It also depends on the type of riding you are doing. Hills or flats? Long or short?

Today I experimented with cadence on the race circuit I mapped out yesterday.

Lap 1

Tempo. The wind is blowing in the opposite direction to yesterday. The back straight up the centre of the valley is completely exposed. It’s going to be a harder ride than yesterday. And a slower one too.

Laps 2 and 3.

Race pace. 90 ~ 100 cadence target. Keeping the cadence high. Only shifting to a heavier gear when the cadence tops 100. The wind on the back straight means I can only hold about 33 kmph here. The HR responds less today than yesterday. Back to back hard training days see a steady decline in heart rate levels. One big push on the home straight on the last lap.

(10.8 km, 17:41, 155/168 HR, 36.7 kmph, 93 cadence)

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searching for the perfect cadence

Lap 4

Tempo. Time to recover for one more hard effort.

Laps 5 and 6

Race pace. 80 ~ 90 cadence target. Keeping the cadence low with heavier gears. I seem to lose 2 or 3 kmph on the back straight. Struggling to hold 30 kmph now. The legs are tireder. And perhaps the wind is stronger. The heavier gears are less comfortable none the less. I realize that the higher cadence is the way to go.

(10.8 km, 18:57, 142/152 HR, 34.2 kmph, 84 cadence)

Points taken:

  • Wind has a big role on flat and exposed courses. It can’t be assumed that things even themselves out over 4 sides of the course as exposure varies.
  • A 90 ~ 100 cadence target seems like the way to go.
  • Rest before a race day hard effort is very important.

Tuesday’s training: Road (50 km)

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もう かれこれ 3週間は経ってしまいましたが、東京糸魚川クラシックの前夜と出走時の
写真をUpしました。
Google+で限定公開にするやり方がわからなかったんです。(^^;

当日はねんざ&お仕事で出走出来ませんでしたが、ある意味正しい「応援団」な活動が
出来たかと… (それにしては写真のUpが遅い!と言う話はありますが。すみません。)

いつもの様にスナップで撮ってます。暗いことも手伝って手ブレの嵐だったりしますが、
現場の雰囲気を思い出して貰えたらと思ってます。 枚数も多いので暇なときにでも
見てやって下さい。

https://plus.google.com/photos/118321513678571009297/albums/5749803886993396161?authkey=CMGRpq7DvL7sBQ#photos/118321513678571009297/albums/5749803886993396161

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応援団2号 naitoでした。


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I did some TT training in the Nota valley today. Lots of well surfaced and quiet roads intersect the rice fields.

Lap 1

Riding at tempo pace I plotted out a circuit of just over 5 km. 4 sides of a square like the course at Uchinada. 4 tight right angle bends. Vision is not so good so I take no risks. There was a very strong wind today. Hitting me at different angles on the course. I have aerobars on the bike but regular training wheels.

Laps 2 and 3

Race pace. Like yesterday, without a proper warm up, the HR responds slowly. It’s up to 160 HR by the third straight. Doesn’t want to go much higher than this after yesterday’s effort. I hold it at this HR and 85~90 cadence on the first lap. On the home straight I’m fighting a head wind. I experiment with a few gears. Into a strong wind I find a heavier gear (80 cadence) produces most speed. I decide to go with 80 cadence for the second lap. At the 8km mark just before the chicane I push harder. 170 HR to the finish.

(10.8 km, 16:56, 38.3 kmph, 159/172 HR, 84 cadence)

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Lap 4

Tempo pace.

Lap 5

One more race pace effort. I try one lap in a lighter gear at 90 cadence. This feels faster. The heart rate responds well, holding at 170 HR (However, looking at the data now, it’s almost the same). The legs are fresh at the end to push for the line.

(5.4 km, 8:23, 38.6 kmph, 160/174 HR, 87 cadence)

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Points taken:

  • Warm up, warm up, warm up. I’ll try this again with a decent warm up.
  • I want to push harder. I know I can hold 175~180 HR. Just need to be fresh and motivated.
  • Cadence – I want to decide a ball park figure to aim at.

Monday’s training: Road (48 km)

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this man can TT - Bradley Wiggins - on fire at the moment and my bet for this year's TDF

Two weeks to go to Uchinada. A 10 km individual time trial. 15 mins of hard effort.

My goal for the next two weeks is to work out how to pace the effort.

In recent indoor TTs and in the 2km track TT last week, I made the classic mistake of going too hard too early.

I think the best way to ride a TT is a hard sustained effort followed by an all out effort at the end. Don't blow up too soon. But squeeze everything out. Nothing left when you cross the line.

The questions are:

  1. What is a good intensity for the sustained effort? (in the absence of a power meter, this is a target HR value)
  2. When is the best time to drop the hammer? (in terms of time, or better still, distance from the line)
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temporary crank set up - Dura Ace crank arms, Sugino 50/39 rings - thank you Enosan!

Today I did a controlled effort on the rollers.

  • warm up x 20 mins
  • TT x 20 mins (17 mins @170HR / 3 mins @183HR)
  • warm down x 10 mins

Total: 50 mins

warm up

As we enter the rainy season it's hot and humid even at 530 am. I'm sweating heavily in minutes. Ideally you should touch your target HR during the warm up. I don't push as hard as that today though.

170HR sustained effort

Without a "proper" warm up, it's hard to get up to 170HR. Moreover, it's hard to hold it there.

It's the body's natural response to try and slow things down when the body is put under stress.

Ten minutes in and I'm finally comfortable at 170HR. This is my LTHR, so although tough, I can hold it for a long time. I actually feel myself holding back a bit.

183HR final push

183HR is my theoretical MAX HR (220 - 37 years old). In practice it's a few beats higher than this.

It's hard but not quite hard enough.

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time to start - asaren rollers in June requires motivation

Points taken

  • a thorough warm up is essential
  • I can probably aim for a sustained effort of 175 or 180 HR (my target HR in hill climbs)
  • I can probably put in the final maximum effort from further out

I want to check out these points on the road in the next two weeks to come up with a good 10 km TT strategy.

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almost AJ


Sunday's training: Rollers (50 mins)

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Growing up in the 80s was a time when music videos took off. Some of them stick in your mind forever. Madonna's Get Into the Groove, Bill Joel's Uptown Girl, Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer........

Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love was one of those.

Whenever it came on TV my dad would say, "How does a midget from Scarborough get those lasses backing him up!?"

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25 years later and I've got my own beautiful back up. The best wife and the best mum in the world! しのぶちゃんいつもありがとうね!

Friday: commute (20 km)

Saturday: rest day

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Almost AJ...

This is real training. 110 km in the mountains. A sure way to get stronger.

  • Komura Pass - Intervals 30 s hard / 60 s easy
  • Ogami Dake - 165 ~ 170 HR keep
  • R252 - Time Trial
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So raise your bike if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your bike!

Photo inspiration: Kenta's blog

Musical inspiration: Pink (!)

Thursday's training: Road (110 km)

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77 kilometres today. 77? Talking Heads' 77? One of my favorite albums.

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I need some of the energy that David Byrne has got.

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Lack of sleep. Hot and humid. I just haven't got the spring in my legs.

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What do I need? A bath. A stretch. A massage. And some Talking Heads on the stereo....

Wednesday's training: Road (77 km)

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As I get older I find it takes longer to recover from hard efforts. Just a few minutes of all out effort can still be felt a few days later.

I planned to do some TT efforts on the small pass between Kujiranami and Shindou today. But just a few pedal strokes and I know I'm not ready. Never force it. Another recovery spin. High cadence. Low gears.

Tuesday's training: Road (35 km)

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When out on the bike some people imagine they are Pantani as they swagger up a mountain pass. Cancellara when they meet a tail wind. Cavendish as they sprint for a traffic light.

Today I'm Steve McQueen. Getting lost in the countryside around Kita Jo and Hirota.

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Enjoying the pleasure of two wheels. "Cycling" or "Recovery" is what they call it. The great escape...

Monday's training: Road - 45 km

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I went to Yahiko Keirin today for my first go at racing on the track. There was a full day of racing available. I missed the morning 1 km TT and 200 m flying start TT races, which made me illegible for the overall TT points.

I checked out the course from 12:00. My first time on the track. It’s quite scary at first up on the banks but you soon get used to it.

I was surprised how much wind hits the Yahiko Keirin track. Head wind / Tail wind. With views of Mt. Yahiko behind the stadium, it must be one of the most beautiful track circuits.

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I tried out a few different gear combinations while warming up. I decided on 50 × 14. All the regular track riders were really friendly and gave me lots of advice. A real nice community feeling.

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First up, the 2 km TT.

Looking at the results of the morning 1 km event, it will take a speed of about 45 kmph to win it.

A standing start. 5-4-3-2-1. Go! “Ohh that’s heavy!”. Not the fastest of starts! I was advised later to sit over the back of the bike and then push your body forward to get the bike moving.

The guy setting out on the opposite side of the track was gaining time on me already in a “pursuit” kind of situation.

On the aerobars quickly. Up to full speed. The first two laps at about 47 kmph. But it’s too fast. Wise men say, only fools rush in….

I can feel myself fading. But I’m loving the sensation of me Vs me. All eyes on the two white lines. Vaguely aware of shouts of encouragement from Shinobu and Andrew and family. Thanks Sean!
Into the last lap and I’m now catching the TT rider who started on the other side of the track. Nothing like a carrot!

One last kick for the line. 2:44 was enough to get me 1st place by a few hundredths of a second.

Lessons learned:

  • I need to practice standing starts.
  • Pacing is absolutely crucial – in order to do well in the Uchinada 10 km TT I have to rehearse my race to find the right intensity to ride at.
  • I love time trialling!
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Next up, the scratch race.

Again 2 km (5 laps). This is a qualifier. The first 4 go into the final. No point finishing first. But you don’t want to finish 5th either!

First a neutral lap. Then the pistol fires. Race mode. I try to hold 4th or 5th position. Using the bank a little. Avoiding being on the front. Remembering not to touch the brakes. Despite little group riding this year I feel quite comfortable.

On the last lap, the winner makes his move. I push hard enough to gap the group and roll in 2nd.

Lesson learned:

  • This is a real tactical race. Poker on a bike. But you need the speed at the end.
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Next up, the scratch race final.

This time 4 km (10 laps).

I sat last man or second to last man for most of the race. It’s really easy here. But you have to watch carefully. I closed a couple of gaps as the first two or three riders tried to get away.

I believe you have to make a plan and stick to it. I wanted to hammer it from the back on the last lap.

There’s nothing like the sound of the bell of the last lap. The dogs turn into wolves. Here we go. I start to move up. Two guys hit bars (later to be disqualified) and I’m forced up the bank. Still time to go. Count the riders off 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, ….. 2 and 1 cross the line before me.

3rd over the line. Not a bad result and confident I can do better next time.

Lesson learned:

  • Track racing is fantastic for honing your bike handling skills and giving you that top end speed – there is a reason why Cavendish is as explosive as he is.
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I really enjoyed today. Gonpei san of Niigata’s JCF is really pushing to make good events and I’m really happy to have the chance to be involved.

Sunday: Track: 2 km TT (1st) / Scratch qualifier (2nd) / Scratch final (3rd)

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Without doubt, one of the best ways to improve as a cyclist is to ride with someone who is slightly stronger than you. Someone who'll push you that little bit harder than you'd go on your own.

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There Is two years difference (3 years old and 1 year old) between Luke and Mark, but I'm always amazed at the speed Mark develops. Just to keep up with big brother. The second child will always grow quicker. He'll get knocked down, but he'll get up again.

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A rest day today. Eki mae koen in Kashiwazaki. Teku teku in Nagaoka. The super sento. A few beers. And get the kit ready for tomorrow.

Saturday: rest day

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On Sunday I'll do my first ever racing on the track. A 2 km Time Trial. And a 6 km Scratch Race

I've never raced on the track before.

2km on the smooth track is a totally different prospect to 310 km on the rough and tumble of national highways.

For the TT I think it will be a standing start. And perhaps gear changing won't be allowed. So the choice of gear is all important.

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Last night I put the TT bike together. For the TT I'll use aerobars and a new disc cover. The super lightweight deep rim wheel is by GSAstuto The disc cover is by wheelbuilder

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How to race it?

The nearest thing to the TT is perhaps the "kilo". This is how the BBC describes it:

  • This an individual race against the clock from a standing start.
  • It is probably the most painful of all the track events.
  • The 'kilo,' as it is commonly known, requires the rider to have an explosive start, devastating speed and superhuman strength and stamina.
  • The rider must also be able to judge their pace so they do not run out of steam at a crucial point of the race.
  • But every single part of the race is crucial because the medals will be decided by a fraction of a second!
  • And there is no second chance, so you have got to nail it first time.
  • The start must be smooth but explosive - time lost coming out of the starting gate means time is lost at the other end.
  • If the rider tries to make it up too quickly they could go into oxygen debt.

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I also called on Enosan for some advice:

  • find a gear that is not too heavy to start with but won't cause you to overspin
  • however, be prepared to spin at a high cadence
  • time is lost due to overgearing at the start and finish
  • the 3rd lap will probably be the hardest
  • the pacing over 5 laps is important
  • compared to track bikes, road bikes accelerate quickly. Once at full speed, the bike relies on the strength of the rider to keep it there
  • a track bike takes longer to get up to full speed. However once at full speed, it is assisted by the momentum of the fixed gear
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the perfect gear?

Today I experimented to find the perfect gear. A gear that is not too heavy to start with but won't cause you to overspin. Also a gear that can be pushed all the way to the finish.

  • 50×16 is easy to start with, but once at full speed the cadence is very high at 120+ rpm
  • 50×13 gives a good "road style" cadence at around 90 rpm, but is too heavy to get a fast start
  • 50×14 or 50×15 seem like the best choice.

A strong wind today. I want to compare these two gears before the race on the sheltered keirin track.

the perfect start?

I also practiced standing starts. I came to the following conclusions:

  • right foot at 1/2 o'clock is the best starting position
  • shoes need to be strapped tight
  • out of the saddle and use the upper body to get up to speed

track racing in general?

  • it's all about power!


Friday's training: Road (35 km)

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