2013年5月アーカイブ

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Asaren with Nishihiro san and Kitano san.

I don't feel so strong each time I take a pull as we rotate to Takayanagi. Still not fully recovered from Tokyo~Itoigawa.

At the foot of Isonobe, take off the windbreaker, the heart rate belt, disengage the speed sensor, throw a bottle in the grass. Today's plan? To hold Kitano san's wheel!

Cadence is the only gauge of my effort. Get through the steep section where I was dropped on Monday.

A little dig out of the saddle. Open a gap. I have the advantage. Push on to open it up. Try to get out of sight.

I'm making good time despite not feeling fantastic. About 19:45 on the line.

Next up Ishikawa Toge. After fixing a puncture at the bottom of the climb, take it on tempo. Enjoying the beautiful scenery...

Friday's training: Road (65 km)

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Driving the car to work is boring. Especially a long commute.

Rain on Wednesday. But I get a lucky break on the way to work. Wet on the way home, but at least it's not February!

Clean the bike. Oil the chain. Stuff the shoes with newspaper....

Wake up Thursday to more rain. A shorter commute today. Doesn't seem worth the effort.

I'll get wet in the pool instead. Swimming is great for recovery, so I focus on that. Nice and easy...

Wednesday's training: Road (50 km)

Thursday's training: Swim (25 m x 100 laps, 2.5 km)

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My next race is Tsugaike hill climb in 2 weeks time. I've done much less hill climb work than in recent years. 3 climbs of Ishikawa Pass today. Careful to keep the effort aerobic.

  • Climb 1 - sitting, 150~160 HR
  • Climb 2 - dancing (150 target HR)
  • Climb 3 - SFR (50 × 21)

Tuesday's training: Road (65 km)

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After Saurday's Tokyo~Itoigawa, I'd planned to rest for a few days. But on Sunday I met Nishihiro san down by the beach. "Asaren tomorrow?" "Why not?"

On my way to meet Nishihiro san at 440 am, another chance meeting. I meet Kitano san. "Let's go to Isonobe!". The three of us rotate to Takayanagi. I can just about hold the pace.

Isonobe, my Everest. Our Everest! 3 of us shoulder to shoulder. Nowhere to hide as the road gets steeper and steeper. I try to hold Kitano san's wheel. This needs strong legs and a heavy gear. After a while the elastic snaps. In hill climbing, this is make or break. You can give up. Or you can try to work your way back.

80 cadence. 170~180 HR. In the saddle. Focus on keeping the gap the same.

Through the village. The road eases off. Big ring. But I can't close it. The last steep section. He's out of the saddle. Trying to put me off! All eyes on the computer.

The road eases again. Will he look back? Yes. Now or never. All power into the pedals. He looks back again. The gap is closing. Onto his back wheel. Now I come around. Is he finished? No he's not! Out of the saddle. Sprint time! I try to match him seated but there's nothing left. AJ on the line.

Isonobe in 20 minutes? Two days after Tokyo~Itoigawa? All out じよんのび!

Monday's training: Road (56 km)

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Tokyo~Itoigawa on Saturday. The second time the course takes in this new route. Starting in Kofu, and then Fujimi Pass, Lake Suwa, Shiojiri Pass, Matsumoto, Nagano, the big climb up to Shinanomachi, Joetsu, down the coast and finishing in Itoigawa. This is a nicer course. Even if the start isn't actually in Tokyo

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26 starters for じょんのび TIME.Plus 3 or 4 support staff. Thank you so much!

Staying at a winery. The food, the booze, the sunset, the onsen.... we've got a race tommorow!

My aim was to beat last year's times at each check point. Moreover, I wanted to put in a constant effort from start to finish. TT it all the way. I'd practiced this on the じょんのび 170 km course over the last two weekends.

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At the start line, we realised we were the last group to start at 5:10. 400 plus riders are already on the road. In my group, teammates Yanagi san and Daito san. Yanagi san a strong triathlete. Daito san the じょんのび TIME Tokyo~Itoigawa record holder (a sub 8h 30 with Murayama san!).

We talked tactics the night before. The plan was to catch up with Oizumi san and Kitano san, both starting for じょんのび TIME at 4:55. I was prepared to do all the pulling and see how far we could get as a three and then hopefully as a five.

Pre race

A 330 alarm call. A bath to warm up (onsen!). A small breakfast. Driven down to the start.

Start ~ CP1

Fast out of the blocks. I was in the zone: 150 HR / 80 cadence. Hitting around 40 kmph.

On the small inclines, Daito san would come up front. Climbing a little stronger than me.

Trying to hit 150 HR / 80 cadence on the front. A head wind all the way to Fujimi Pass made it tough.

On the climb, we'd decided to pace it to try and keep together. 25 kmph was the number we had decided on.

I did the climb comfortably. Around 160 HR. Daito san on my wheel. Unfortunately we lost Yanagi san here.

From the top of the pass to the first check point is a real roller coaster. The wind on my back now. The 60 mm deep rim GS Astuto wheels make a big difference here. Once you are up to speed you can keep it. These are light and fast wheels. But also strong. They can take the rough surfaces enroute. The "Itoigawa Bombers" is what GS Astuto's chief spoke Tim calls them. They are indeed bombastic!

I also switched to some heavier duty tyres. They noticeably don't roll as well as the expensive Soyos but I wanted to minimise the risk of a puncture. One is a pain. Two is game over. Enosan's "wheel balance" the night before also helped to smooth things out and keep the momentum going.

At CP1 in no time. About 10 minutes up.

CP1 to CP2

This is the deciding part of the course for Daito san. Can he keep my wheel up Shiojiri Pass? We've already passed Kitano san and Oizumi san. Just the two of us now. If we get over this climb we have a chance of getting to the finish together.

Lots of riders on the steep lower slopes keep the pace low. Once on the upper reaches I raise it to about 170 HR. Daito san on my wheel all the way.

Drop down the other side. Through Matsumoto the pace is always furious. 40 to 50 kmph. Here we meet Nalsima's Kaneko san (4:55 start). A decent guy and decent rider. I ask him to join us.

After Matsumoto, the city drag becomes beautiful rolling roads. Up the valley. Criss crossing the river on Route 19.

I pull us all the way to CP2. About 20 minutes up now.

CP2 to CP3

This is where it went wrong lest year. Only good company now though. All my energy focussed on the physical effort. Daito san calling encouragement from behind "Go Andy! Go Andy!" Always smiling. Always positive. Just what you want for a long day in the saddle.

The road continues to wind its way up the valley. Up and down. Little flat. It is quite surreal when you find yourself suddenly in the centre of Nagano city. The shoppers and workers clogging the pavements.

The hardest climb rises out of Nagano city. I'm concerned about hitting these steep switch backs after 180 km of hard riding. "Just think of it as Komura Toge" says Daito san. So I do just that.

170 HR / 80 cadence. Shoulder to shoulder. Kaneko san and another rider in our draft. Once over the top it feels like the hardest work is over. Loosen the toe straps.

CP 3 - 45 minutes up now.


I take two full bottles here. And put a big 1 litre bottle in my back pocket too. It's midday now and heat stroke is a big risk. I've been fuelling myself well. You can never drink too much (10 bottles) and you can never eat too much (15 bananas, 6 soy joy bars). Small portions at regular intervals.

CP3 to finish

The sign sheet reveals that there are only a handful of riders in front of us now.

The long fast descent from Shinanomachi is always good fun. This should be the easiest part of the course. But the head wind is really strong today. The exertion is low but the blasting wind makes you feel like a boxer on the ropes after 200 plus kilometres.

Just after Arai, with about 60 km to go, we meet the last two riders on the road. My rivals from last year. They started at 4:25, 45 minutes before us.

A じょんのび TIME 1-2 finish is in the bag then! They sit on the back. Of course they don't work. I don't care. Determined to drive it to the line.

On the coast now. At first a head wind. Then a tail wind. Cruising. Daito san and Kaneko san take a few pulls. A chance to stretch. And then go again. The last 20 km are the easiest. Effortless.

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Cross the line. All smiles and hand shakes. Beer. Onsen. Talk over the race. And what a great day it was!

Daito san, Kaneko san, thank you for the great company!

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Of course I'll be back next year. It's Wednesday now and I'm still tired. The hardest race for sure.

Saturday: Tokyo~Itoigawa (304 km)

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I feel a little refreshed after a massage and early night last night.

Before a weekend race, Wednesday is a good time to raise the heart rate. 2 x LT climbs today.

  • Hotel Rara climb x2 @ 170 HR

The HR is slow to respond. The legs not as fluid as they can be. Fatigue... Heat...

Two days of rest planned from now. 310 km at race pace on Saturday...

Wednesday's training: Road (45 km)

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Another tempo ride today. It's warm. And I still feel tired from Saturday's 170 km. Spinning on the bike for active recovery...

There's more you can do though...

  • A hot bath (now!).
  • Stretch.
  • Massage.
  • An early night.
  • Sleep with the legs raised on a few cushions...

Tuesday's training: Road (65 km)

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Tokyo~Itoigawa this weekend. 310 km. They don't get much longer!

The build up is long too. The big picture. Cross training in the winter. Riding the coast early spring. Some intervals come April. Racing legs at Gunma CSC. A couple of big rides to prepare the body in May.

And the small picture. A hard ride on Saturday. A rest day on Sunday. A recovery ride today.

In the mountains. But the exertion is low.

Ride Tuesday. Ride Wednesday. Rest up Thursday and Friday. Roll on Saturday!

Monday's training: Road (65 km)

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Another Tokyo~Itoigawa practice run today. Full kit set up like race day. The じょんのび 170 km loop.

At 4am under clear skies it's 7 degrees. Colder than last week. Not much wind either.

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Through and off with Nishihiro san. CP 1 Arai by 530.

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The long climb over to Iiyama. Rising up to 600 m. A strong headwind makes it tougher than last week.

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The roller coaster from Iiyama to Tsunan. A tailwind! Super fast! In the zone: 150 HR / 80 cadence. CP 2 by 730.

Keep the pace all the way back to Kashiwazaki. I feel like I could keep going. Always a good sign.

Stop the watch. 1 minute up on last week. Every second counts!

Saturday's training: Road (170 km, 34 kmph)

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Some final adjustments to the bike before next week's Tokyo~Itoigawa.

Raise the aerobar angle slightly. The race wheels back on. A new tyre on the front and back.

Another 170 km test run planned for tomorrow. Not too hard today then. Two laps of the じょんのび marathon course. A bit of everything to test the aero position, wheels and tyres....

Friday's training: Road (55 km)

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Perched at the top of Sochi Toge are two love hotels. Hidden away on either side of the tunnel on Route 8. Two secret getaways.

Route 8 is a busy road. There are two small roads up to these hotels. For those who want a more discreet entrance and exit!

The "Rara" climb and the "Shizuka" climb both originate from the bottom on Route 73.

The "Rara" climb is Enosan's favorite. It kicks up straight away. Nice switchbacks. Meandering through the forest. The love hotel is the goal.

The "Shizuka" climb is a good one too. More of a long drag. With a couple of twists at the end. Again, the love hotel is the goal.

  • Rara climb - tempo x 3
  • Shizuka climb - tempo x 1


Love is in the air!

Thursday's training: Road (60 km)

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The third day in a row to do some hill climbing. But today was the first time to drop the hammer.

I haven't raised the heart rate since Sunday. I was planning on two lactate threshold climbs (170 HR) of Ishikawa Pass today.

  • Climb 1. I build the effort slowly. Two ramps. Over the bridge. 160 HR. Grind it up to 170 HR from here. Now hold the HR. But I feel good. The HR trickles higher and higher. Push a little. Get that hillclimbing feeling. At one with the bike. Push to 180 HR for the last few hundred metres. Photo. (11:45)
  • Climb 2. This time the HR responds quickly. Two ramps in the big ring. 170 HR before the bridge. Find the hill climb combination. 180 HR / 80 cadence. Feel myself fading towards the end. AJ at the line. (11:44)
  • Climb 3. SFR - 50 × 21. It's nice to grind a gear. Enjoy the scenery.

Not bad for the first serious hillclimb training of the year. I could go faster without the aerobars. Without the training wheels. But for now I just want to get that hillclimbing feeling back...

Wednesday's training: Road (65 km)

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Bagged myself another pass today. This time Komura Pass.

Like Ishikawa Pass yesterday, the road is closed to cars. It's been swept though. Just waiting for the guard rails to be put up. My own private mountain. Take your time guys...

  • Komura Pass x 1 - SFR 50 × 21

Tuesday's training: Road (55 km)

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"making friends with the mountain"

This is the campaign of many Niigata cyclists as the snow melts and the mountains open up.

So far this year I haven't focussed on any pure climbing. Just one fun climb of Isonobe in the snow.

I've been training on race wheels and race tyres. The passes in spring are puncture paradise. So I've stayed well clear.

No Yahiko. No Komura Toge. No Ishikawa....

Ishikawa Toge! Now there's a challenge. Put the training wheels on. Time to climb!

Don't want to push too hard today. Aerobic is the key word.

As always with hillclimb repeats, take it on a different way each time.

  • Climb 1 - tempo
  • Climb 2 - dancing out of the saddle
  • Climb 3 - SFR 50 × 21


Monday's training: Road (60 km)

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Tokyo~Itoigawa race simulation on Sunday. The bike, the kit, the stuff in my pockets. Set up just like race day.

Leave Kashiwazaki at 4am with Sagara san and Nishihiro san. It's dark. And wet. But we have confidence in the weather forecast.

55 km to Arai. Through and off at 37 ~ 40 kmph.

From Arai to Iiyama. R292. Not too steep. The big ring all the way. It's long though. 170 HR. Nishihiro san on my wheel. "OHAYOU GOZAIMASU" to 20 to 30 riders we pass taking part in an audax event.

R117 to Tsunan. Always a head wind! This road drains you. A flat tyre. I'm not prepared to fix it. I'm grateful of the other guys' tools. Need to sort out my repair kit.

Tsunan to Kashiwazaki. A 930 promise to our families. 1h 15 to do 50 km. Fast all the way. A couple of leg sapping passes. Nishihoro san attacks from Takayanagi. 15 km to go!

I'm on the limit trying to close the gap. Like Boonen trying to catch Cancellara. After 150 km of riding, this kind of training is fantastic!

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170 km in 5 hours (34 kmph).

Ready for Tokyo~Itoigawa!

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday's training: Road (170 km)

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Just an hour to play with today. A rest day planned for tomorrow. A chance to go hard.

3 laps of the Shindou TT course. The plan? To beat yesterday's best time of 8:14.

  • Lap 1 - I don't expect to beat it first lap. So I'm surprised to be so close.

(8:15, 39.3 kmph)

  • Lap 2 - The second effort is often the best. 50 × 11 @ 45 kmph on the back straight. Cross the line.

(8:14, 39.4 kmph)

Dead heat!

  • Lap 3 - Riding at almost 40 kmph av, you look for anything to get a marginal gain in speed.

A heavier gear? Lower on the bike? Sprint out of the corners?

Flat out on the home straight. Push, pull, push, pull. Cross the line.

(8:13, 39.4 kmph)

Up by one second! Every second counts!

A rest day tomorrow. 170 km planned for Sunday. The final touches for Tokyo~Itoigawa...

Friday's training: Road (36 km)

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Now is the best time to be out on your bike. Sunshine. Low 20s. It only gets hotter from here!

6 laps of the Shindou TT course today. 5.4 km each lap. A sustained effort. 140 ~ 150 HR. Raise it a notch for the last lap.

  • lap1 8:54 (36.4 kmph)
  • lap2 8:34 (37.8 kmph)
  • lap3 8:40 (37.4 kmph)
  • lap4 8:40 (37.4 kmph)
  • lap5 8:35 (37.7 kmph)
  • lap6 8:14 (39.4 kmph)

Do I need one big ride before Tokyo~Itoigawa? Possibly...

Thursday's training: Road (76 km)

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Squeezing training in and around work. I can usually get in more training on a work day than on a day off.

Bike to work. Lunch time run. Bike home. Evening job. Rollers. Bath and beer.

The quality is not the same though. 4 sessions spread over the day means limited recovery. However this "overload" is perhaps good as I get ready for Tokyo~Itoigawa...

Wednesday's training:

  • Road (commute 45 km)
  • Run (5km with sprint finish)
  • Rollers (50 kmph x 40 mins)
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Yesterday I took advantage of a trip away to Nagano city to check out the Tokyo~Itoigawa course. Climbing out of Nagano city and over the border into Niigata prefecture is perhaps the toughest part of the course.

Today back on the bike. It's cold. A bit of rain in the air. And really really windy.

I was planning some intervals. But on the first climb of Nakayama Toge the HR doesn't respond. No point forcing it. A tempo ride then. Being battered by the wind is tiring enough....

Monday: rest day

Tuesday's training: Road (86 km)

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I feel like I've got great form right now. My best form ever? Certainly the best for the last few years.

Golden Week is over. For most cyclists this is a chance to get some big rides in. I've not done too much. Family time mostly. Some sessions on the rollers and a quick ride on the road on Sunday.

Sunday was the じょんのびTIME BBQ ride. I don't have time to do the full ride. Just 30 km down the coast before a U-turn back.

Up - down all the way. I decide to race it. Full gas. With Murayama san and Nishihiro san in my draft, I feel highly motivated. I pull them the entire way. 180 HR on the ascents. 50 × 11 gearing on the descents. 36 kmph on a course with no flats.

Sunday's training: Road (60 km, 36.9 kmph, 83 cadence, 142 / 180 HR)

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I pick the boys up in Kashiwazaki and then head down to the BBQ by car. A BBQ without beer is tough but it's great to catch up with everyone. じょんのびTIME! The best team in the world? Definitely!

I need to hold this form now for Tokyo~Itoigawa later this month...

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An hour on the rollers before the kids wake up. Good session today.

BBQ ride tomorrow!

Saturday's training: Rollers (1h 10)

  • warm up x 10 mins
  • 55 kmph x 10 mins
  • 60 kmph x 10 mins
  • 55 kmph x 10 mins
  • 140 ~ 170 HR @ 70 kmph (5 sets, 10 mins)
  • 150 HR x 10 mins
  • warm down x 10 mins
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Another roller session. I feel tight so I take care to warm up and down properly.

Muscular endurance @ 150 HR. I'll have to hold this for 9 hours for Tokyo~Itoigawa...

Thursday: rest day

Friday's training: Rollers (1h)

  • warm up x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 40 mins
  • warm down x 10 mins
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The Tokyo~Itoigawa details came in the post today.

May 1st but it's like winter out there! Cold and wet. 3 days straight.

Back to the winter training mindset. It's quite nice to do a bit of cross training. And to listen to some tunes on the rollers...

Wednesday's training:

Run 20 mins (last 2 minutes hard)

Swim 2.5 km (100 × 25 m)

>>>>> 25 m hard / 25 m easy x 7 (3 sets)

Rollers: 50 × 11 / 90 cadence / 50 kmph x 45 mins

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