2013年10月アーカイブ

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The first time to raise the HR in a good while. 3 laps of the じょんのび marathon course. High tempo pace. Around 170 HR over the two steep climbs on each lap.

Finally starting to feel strong again...

Thursday's training: Road (65 km, 850 m climbing)

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Foul weather today. A tornado warning in the morning! I got to work dry though.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms during the day.

The mountains draw the rain. So I headed home on the coast.

Strong winds. Wet roads. Dark skies. But I got a lucky break. Home almost dry...

Wednesday's training: Roads (42 km)

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Another beautiful autumn day. Another chance to ride. A ride in the hills today.

Still not 100 %. The season is over really. I hope to do an enduro on November 10th. But that won't require any hard training. Just keep the fitness ticking over. And enjoy being out on the bike....

Tuesday's training: Road (68 km, 600 m climbing)

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First ride for 5 days. Still don't feel great. Don't push too hard. Up the coast. Slight headwind. Look forward to the tailwind home.

Just about to U-turn when Hayakawa san comes from the opposite direction. Full TT mode!

He's looking back. Waiting for me. He's doing a TT effort in preparation for a 100 km TT race. I sit on his wheel.

I know how this can motivate you in TT training. Having someone behind you. You want to go harder. You want to show your form too.

We're 40 kmph + all the way. I'm drafting at 140~150 HR. A good place to be. Wouldn't be going this hard on my own. Thanks for the ride!

Monday's training: Road (68 km, 400 m climbing)

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The last few weeks I've been suffering with breathing problems. Coughing and spluttering too. Especially during exercise. A lung infection?

Yesterday I decided to go and get it checked out. I teach English at Niigata National Hospital here in Kashiwazaki, so they always give me the red carpet treatment. Dr. Takashi Nakajima is so patient and thoughtful. Determined to get to the root of the problem. A physical examination, an influenza test and some blood analysis.

As a cyclist I'm always interested to look at my blood values.

Haemocrit

The value all cyclists want to know is Haemocrit. EPO cheating cyclists would try to keep it at the top end of the healthy 40 ~ 50 range. Indeed, 50 was the magic number which was used to pull a cyclist out of competition before a proper test for EPO was devised.

My Haemocrit is 42.1 . This is higher than 39.5 which I measured in August this year. The maximum I've measured was 43.8 % in August 2011.

I'm a big guy who is a half-decent climber. So all I can think is that I have a big heart and lungs!

Iron

As a vegetarian athlete, iron is something to keep an eye on. Two years ago, a blood test revealed slight iron deficiency. Since then I've been supplementing the iron in my diet. So far, so good.

WBC White blood cells

What I'm interested in today is the WBC count. A high white blood cell count is a sure indication of infection. The healthy range is 35 ~ 85. A value of 41 in August. 114 today. The most likely cause is a viral infection.

Inflammatoryindex

The CRP value should be below 0.31 in healthy individuals. Mine is 3.0. Again this is another indicator of infection. A serious infection such as pneumonia would produce a value around 10. So not too serious.

Time to rest the body and recover. I hope to do one last race on November 10th. I'll wait a few days to see how I feel.....

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday (?): rest

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Monday's training: Road (60 km, 700 m climbing)

Tuesday's training: Road (45 km)

Wednesday's training: Road (45 km)

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Last weekend we went to Utsonomiya for the Japan Cup.

This is a great event. There is an amateur road race on Saturday. A professional criterium on Saturday evening. And a professional road race on Sunday on the same course as the amateurs the day before.

Back ground

The road race course was designed for the World Road Race Championships some 20 years ago. The Japan Cup has been run on the same course every year since.

It's a tough course. Perhaps the toughest on the calendar. A short stiff climb. A long hard climb. A fast, technical descent. Some flat. Some rolling. A bit of everything!

The pros make it look easy. An escape. The peloton draws them in. A late attack? Or a group sprint?

The amateurs make it look like a bank raid! Fight for a space on the start line. Full gas up the climb. Full gas down the descent. A select group is formed. This lead group gradually puts time into the chasers.

The amateur race is 6 laps (6 big climbs) covering 80 km. 225 riders will start. The best amateurs and a few pros in the mix.

My target

The last few years I've entered this race my result has been "Failed At Distance" (FAD)

You have to finish within 5% of the time of the winner. In a 2 hour road race, that gives you about 6 minutes.

My goal is to finish in the lead group. Failing that, to make the time cut. I know from last year that the front group eats about 2 minutes into the chasers each lap. So if you can hold on for 3 or 4 laps... you have a chance.

Build up

After some great training and finding myself in great form... I have a stinking cold. Breathing problems. Coughing and splurting. Still a race is a race. "Don't start making excuses before you start!" advises Shinobu...

1 lap of the course with Oono san. Some intervals before the start to get the HR up. It responds well.

I get a great position at the start. 2nd row. I enjoy talking to French pro Julian about life in Japan.... 10 seconds to go...

Start

Fluff the clip in. Need to work on that. Still keep okay position.

Look for a decent wheel to follow on the climb. Ovest's Nishitani san, previous winner and sure to make the front group. The climb reaches the upper steep section. Team mates Oono san and Tazaki san pass me from behind. Still I'm not too far from the front.

Over the top. The fast and technical down hill. A few gaps open. The bottom of the descent is straight and fast. My body weight and 60 mm Astuto rims help me to close a few gaps.

On the flat at the bottom, the group is strung out like one big snake. I remember this snake 2 years ago. As gaps form, the race can disappear infront of your eyes. Some short hard efforts to leap frog the small gaps. By the turn at the 7-11 I find myself sat on the back of the lead group.

I've never made it this far! It's been a hard effort. But worth it!

The pace is fast. Through the rolling section. I move up a bit before the the short steep climb by the golf club.

This is tough. You can here the suffering around you. Oono san's foot comes out of the pedal. What a shame.

Dig, dig, dig. Over the top. The snake is back! The fast descent to the goal area. Up one steep ramp. The road flattens. The group comes back together. I find myself behind Nishitani san again. The start of the climb. Look down. 175 HR. We're not even climbing yet!

Somewhere between the base of the climb and bottom of the descent, I find myself in the second group. It takes something a bit special to follow the wheels of the top group. I just don't have it today.

In the second group. It's survival mode. There are only about 10 of us. Short rotations on the flats. Move up before the climbs. Follow the wheels on the descent. It's not particularly fast. We go faster than this in training...

The time gaps increase each lap. 2 minutes. 4 minutes. 6 minutes....

6 times up the big climb. I'm counting it off each lap. Riding my own pace. I'm surprised to pace the group up here each time.

The last climb. Lead the group down the descent. Rotate through the flat and rolling. I even enjoy a sprint at the end. Great training!

Result

Still it's another FAD. 10 minutes off the pace.

Luke said "Daddy you were my winner!". Which of course makes it all worth while. Lucky to have those two boys. Lucky I can ride my bike. And with any luck I'll finish next year!

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The Japan Cup this weekend.

Off the bike I have a bit of cold and allergy problems which come with the changes of the seasons.

This doesn't give me much confidence. But on the bike, with a decent warm up (that will be key on Saturday), it's not too bad.

Sunday was a group ride. A strong head wind. Some attacking. And a steep climb at the end. This made for a great pre-race ride. Happy I can close gaps. And go with the climbers.

Sunday's training: Road (100 km)

Monday was a rest day. A family trip to Toyama.

Monday: rest day

Tuesday. An early start. It's cold. But I feel good. The HR responds well. 90 km at 34 kmph av.

Tuesday's training: Road (90 km)

Wednesday brings a typhoon. I thought about rollers. But rest is best.

Wednesday: rest day

Thursday is the last chance to ride before Saturday's race. No point going too hard. Just enough to remind the legs I'm a racing cyclist. I raise the HR twice on Komura Toge. Coughing. Spluttering. Will I be okay on Saturday???????

Thursday's training: Road (50 km, 700 m climbing)

Today will be a rest day as we drive out to Utsonomiya.


Friday: rest day

I thought about skipping this one. But it will probably be the last race of the season. I'll go. Soak up the atmosphere. Enjoy the ride. Hopefully I can finish....

timeupd.jpg

In the past, one look out of the window and you'd decide whether to ride or not.

At 430 am today, I'm exchanging line messages with Nishihiro san, checking the pin point forecast, radar images...

Still it was rain at his house, just before we set out, which was the final decision maker. A good decision maker too as it was belting it down soon after!

Back to bed for an hour. On the rollers at 6 o'clock.

99 % of my training is on the road during the season. Rollers are a chance to work on leg speed. Build up from 110 to 125 cadence. Focus on keeping form.

After that 5 sets at 60 kmph. HR in the 140 ~ 150 range. I could ride like this forever...

Until Luke comes to the door "time up daddy!"

  • warm up x 5 mins
  • 110 cadence x 5 mins
  • 115 cadence x 5 mins
  • 120 cadence x 5 mins
  • 125 cadence x 5 mins
  • 115 cadence / 60 kmph x 5 mins (x 5 sets)
  • warm down x 5 mins

Saturday's training: Rollers (50 mins)

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It's the middle of October. What strange weather we are having! We still don't need arm warmers at 5 am! Shorts and jersey! Like summer in the UK!

Asaren with Nishihiro san. 3 laps of the Jyonnobi marathon course. This is always great training. Each lap is 11km. Two stiff climbs bring the HR up.

The first steep climb has me up to 168, 169 HR each lap. Nishihiro san is a few beats higher. What's interesting is the speed the HR drops. Mine drops much quicker. The benefits of interval training? The speed of rcovery is important on a course like this.

The second steep climb has me at about 173,174 HR each lap.

Nishihiro san holds my wheel all the way.

Like last week I feel stronger each lap. Like last week, this will be decided on the last gradual climb out of Betsumata.

I lead him up the climb. He comes around as the road eases a little. Grab his wheel. Get into a good heavy gear. Out of the saddle. Sprint time. About 180 HR over the top.

Thank you for the great training every time!

Friday's training: Road (75 km, 800 m climbing)

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I was hoping for an easy recovery ride on Wednesday. Just a commute. But a typhoon came in later in the day. The ride home was straight into it. Blasted from all angles. I had to get off and walk at times. Just glad to get home in one piece.

Wednesday's training: Road (40 km)

The effects of yesterday's typhoon can be seen on Komura Toge. Still it's rideable. Some intervals today. 1:2 duration. I feel strong out of the saddle. Like I could push harder for longer...

  • Komura intervals - 30 s hard / 60 s easy x 10

Thursday's training: Road (50 km)

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After 6 days on the bike, a rest day on Saturday. Getting ready for Sunday!

Saturday: Rest day

Another weekend group ride. 10 riders zooming down the coast. Through and off. The highlight for me is Komura Toge. Adachi san on my wheel. Push the HR up to the high 180s. 150 km before 10 AM. Followed by a day on the beer.

Sunday's training: Road (150 km, 1100 m climbing)

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A solo ride on Monday. 30 degrees! Can't complain! My bread and butter. The Takayangi loop.

Monday's training: Road (70 km, 600 m climbing)

Asaren with Nishihiro san this morning. The Takaynagi loop in reverse. Feel tired but can still grind it out on the climbs.

Later on the coast, some intervals into a head wind (30/90 ×3, 40/120 ×3, 50/150 ×3, 60s x 1)

Tuesday's training: Road (140 km, 900 m climbing)

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Asaren with Nishihiro san this morning. The mornings are getting darker and darker.

6 days in the saddle. I'm feeling tired. The legs are heavy. The heart rate sluggish.

A rest day planned tomorrow. One last hard ride today. The じょんのび marathon course x 3. Always good training.

I can't get the HR up on the climbs. But I feel stronger as each lap passes.

The 3rd and last lap. Raise the pace a little. Nishihiro san stops coming through. But he can hold my wheel on the climbs. Maybe he's waiting for a goal sprint?

I decide to attack over the top of the last climb. Murayama san beat me here a few years ago.

Here comes the last climb. And here comes Nishihiro san! An attack from behind! At the base of the cimb! He has good acceleration. He always does.

I'm out of the saddle. Trying to catch his wheel. He can see my shadow as the sun rises behind us.

As the road curves right, his head drops. He's starting to fade. Now or never!

Drop into a heavy gear. Out of the saddle. Attack! Look back. A gap! Full gas. The gap's getting bigger. AJ over the top.

This is race training! Hammer the descent! Sprint for the line! You have to! 

ニシヒロさんいつもありがとうじょんのび!

Friday's training: Road (70 km, 750 m climbing)

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The Takayanagi Loop. I must have done this how many times? 500 plus? Probably! The bread and butter of my training. Once around the block...

Thursday's training: Road (70 km, 600 m climbing)

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Four asarens in a row. A four thirty alarm call. On the bike!

Asaren with Nishihiro san this morning. The Senda loop in reverse.

I'm surprised how tough the climbs are this way. They come quickly too.

I can't hold Nishihiro san's wheel on the first short and sharp one. 170 HR over the top.

The long climb up to the tunnel. This breaks in gently. 170 HR keep. Out of the saddle for the last 100 m. 180 HR over the top.

Descend into Oguni. Thick mist. Chilly. Roll the arm warmers up.

Another stiff climb up to the cold water spring.

Descend into Takayanagi.

The home straight back to Kashiwazaki. Fast through and off. A 2-up TT.

On the front for the last 1km. I wasn't expecting a sprint. But here he comes. I'm in a good gear. Full gas to close the gap. This is the hard bit.....

Back on his wheel. The sign post is coming quickly. Wait. Wait. Go! AJ over the line!

Wednesday's training: Road (75 km, 600 m climbing)

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Asaren with Nishihiro san on Monday. The legs are tired after Sunday's effort, so a flat loop.

The legs feel good on the 2 climbs of the day.

  • Nishiyama climb - this shallow grade is made for me. 33, 34, 35, 36 kmph / 170 HR over the top.
  • Power station climb - we always race this one. Sit on Nishihiro san's wheel through the tunnel. Drop back. Drop into the 50 × 13. Out of the saddle. Power it for the last 300 or so metres. 180 HR / 35 kmph over the top.

Monday's training: Road (75 km)

Solo asaren this morning. I head out for an Ogami Dake loop. Focussing on strength today. A heavier gear. Grinding up the 12, 13, 14 percent sections. This is the basis of good training.

I rode my old cosmic carbones this morning. I really noticed the extra weight on the climbs (aluminium rims, 50 mm deep) compared to the Astuto 60s. Super slick on the flats though. A smooth ride...

Tuesday's training: Road (60 km, 1100 m climbing)

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