tokyo enduro 2014 race report

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The Tokyo Enduro on Saturday. How much distance can you cover in 4 hours? 500 teams of 2, 3 or 4 riders on the road.

It's great to escape the snow of Niigata. Blue skies over Saitama. Most are complaining about the cold and wind but I'm raring to go.

A 3 man team with Wada san and Satoru san. We are the "A" team of 4 Jyonnobitime teams.

The order for our team is Andy (1h) > Wada san (1h) > Satoru san (1h) > Andy (1h).

My objective is to:

1. ride in the front group for the 1st effort.
2. Do a flat out hard effort for the 2nd effort..

The course is a 5 km rectangle around a lake:

1. The home straight is into a strong head wind.
2. For the turn, a short climb and descent, some speed bumps, another short climb and descent, through a chicane.
3. The long back straight with a strong tail wind.
4. A right angle turn. Over the bridge. Another right angle turn. Back into the home straight.

The first lap is a neutral lap. I work my way to the front of the group on the back straight (the widest part of the course).

1st effort

Race time. It’s a good pace. I try to sit in the sweet spot around 10th man. The top group slows and accelerates through the corners and chicane. It takes a dig each time to keep position. Great race training.

Riders fall off the back slowly but surely. We are down to about 15 men. A few turns on the front. I count down the laps. These guys will do 2 hours each and change for another 2 hour rider. I said I’d do 8. But in a group it’s fast. And I’m enjoying this so much, I stay on for nine.

I attack the group down the back straight on the last lap. A decent gap. This was my strategy to give the next man a chance to get into the front group. But it takes much more time to get through the pits here (unlike the Maze racing circuit or Gunma CSC).

Next up Wada San. And then Satoru san. A good job done! We help each other with the change overs.

2nd effort

2 hours later, it’s my turn to go again. No group to shelter in now. A flat out effort. Arms on the tops in time trial position. Head down. Time to dig in.

The only data I’m interested in (and have displayed) is speed and time. I try to hold 35 kmph plus on the home straight. 45 kmph plus on the back straight. Attack each climb out of the saddle.

The GS Astuto 60 mm rims are great for this kind of riding. Aeodynamic for the straights. Light enough to keep momentum up the climbs. Responsive enough to get up to speed through the chicane.

The home straight is hardest. Looking for shelter. Leap frogging riders.

On the back straight the wind is so strong, you feel like Cancellara. Now it’s all about a hard constant effort. Keeping a good line wide of other riders. The 50 × 12 top gear is too small. Spinning out at 110 ~ 120 rpm.

I pass hundreds of riders. Including what looks like the top group. Somehow it’s easy to go hard with other riders in front of you. And when you know there is a time limit.

I’m doing the math in my head. It takes 6 or 7 minutes a lap. If I cross the finish before the cut at 11:45, I’ll be able to do one more lap. Don’t quite make it…..

Still 8 laps entirely solo is a good effort.

We did 30 laps in total (Andy 9 > Wada san 6 > Satoru san 7 > Andy 8).

Good enough for 10th place out of 500 teams.

Next up Gunma CSC in April. Good sensations. I have good speed.
Now I need to work a bit more on top end. Intervals. Pacing. Race simulation….

Saturday’s training: Tokyo endure (10 km warm up, 95 km race)

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