2014年5月アーカイブ

maystats.jpg

A rest day tomorrow. Time to look back at this month's training. A bumper 2,800 km this month.

Some big rides before tapering before Tokyo~Itoigawa. Resting and easy riding after the event too.

I'm doing much more volume than in recent years. It seems to be paying off. The next chance to test the legs is the Uchinada TTT and RR on June 22nd.

Time to fine tune the engine...

May's training:

Road: 2,810 km
Rest days: x 7
Race: x 1

icecreamboy.jpg

Summer like temperatures the last few days.

On Thursday some intervals on the flat. Trying to simulate the TTT effort.

60 s @ 100 percent / 120 s @ 80 percent x 8

The reward is an ice cream in Teradomari.

Asaren on Friday. Some hills for change. Isonobe. Shiba Pass.

Later I have an hour free over lunch. Komura Pass. 37 C now....

A rest day tomorrow. Yahiko on Sunday...

Thursday's training: Road (100 km)

Friday's training: Road (110 km, 1300 m climbing)

fatboyslim.jpg

Cyclists love a compliment!

One from Nishihiro san. "Your thin! It's been a long time since I've seen you this thin!"

One from Shinobu. "Your legs are really fat!"

The dream combination. Lightweight with strong legs!

445 am start with Nishihiro san. Just as the sun is coming up. 80 km on the flat. 34 kmph average. I feel strong on the 2 climbs. Driving it over the top at 35 kmph. Lightweight with strong legs!

Later an extended commute. 30 to 35 degrees C. The body isn't used to the heat yet....

150 km on the clock. These big rides help keep the weight off, keep the legs strong.

Tuesday's training: Road (60 km)

Wednesday's training: Road (150 km)

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A wet ride on Monday. I decided to stay on the flat and do some more TTT simulation.

4 laps of my 5.3 km TT course. I tried to simulate the effort of riding on the front and riding in the draft in a TTT.

  • Laps 1 ~ 3: 60 s @ 100 effort / 120s @ 80 effort
  • Lap 4: 60 s @ 100 effort / 60s @ 80 effort
  • last effort 120 s @ 100 % effort

I wanted to do some cornering practice too. But the rain became really heavy.....

Sunshine forecast from Tuesday......

Monday's training: Road (75 km)

tttrialling.jpg
The second promise I made this year is easier to keep.

promise no. 2 = one early morning "asaren" ride each weekend

I think this is really boosting my training. A full day of rest (preferably Saturday). Followed by a long ride.

The usual formula is 75 km solo + 80 km group ride + 40 or so km solo (190 km)

Saturday

Saturday is a "rest day". A day on the beer at the beach festival in town.

Sunday

On the road at 320 am. The new light I got at Tokyo~Itoigawa is great. A tail wind to Teradomari. A head wind to Nagaoka. I make the 6am rendezvous by 545.

5 of us on the road. The pace back down the river is frantic. Everyone trying to show each other their form. This is what group riding is all about.

We've been riding together like this every week. So we know each other as riders well. Next month we'll ride the Uchinada TTT. Today is TTT training.

Hayakawa san has plotted out a 6km circuit. Similar to Uchinada. Pan flat. 4 left right angle bends.

1 lap tempo. 2 laps race pace. 1 lap tempo. 1 lap race pace. 1 lap tempo.

Hopefully we'll have chance to do a few practice sessions like this. The order we chose was (Adachi san < Morikawa san < Andy < Hayakawa san).

Here are some of the observations I made:

  • there are big benefits to riding echelon into side winds
  • long pulls with a tail wind
  • short pulls with a head wind
  • we started to fade on the second lap. The first lap we should try to keep it together. The second lap we should give it all.
  • the way we rotate (clockwise or counter clockwise) is determined by the wind on each section of the course.. We need to make a decision on this on race day
  • we need to use the full road. Avoid rough patches of road. Avoid riding in the gutter.
  • we should avoid rotating in the last 200 m before a corner. The first man should put in a big effort to take us to the corner. Once through the corner, his work is done. It is now the second man's job to bring the group up to speed
  • it is important to pull off the front before you are completely spent. A second effort is required to latch on to the back of the group.
  • when training solo, interval training will be beneficial
  • I need cornering practice

After the TTT training I rode back to Kashiwazaki. A strong headwind. Memories of Tokyo~Itoigawa. I was glad to be joined by Adachi san. Together we made good pace. Back before 10am (couldn't have done it on my own!).

Saturday: Rest

Sunday's training: Road (190 km, 33.5 kmph)

promises.jpg

I made 2 promises to Shinobu this year:

promise no. 1 = 1 race a month

I'd love to race more. So many races to be had this month. But with 2 small children, I'm lucky to have the chance to race at all.

Next up Uchinada TTT and RR on June 22nd. A full month to focus. Sharpen up on what I need to sharpen up on.

Some specific group training for the TT. Some intervals and cornering practice for the RR.

Asaren in drizzle today....

Friday's training: Road (95 km)

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Heavy rain today.

I drove my car to the bottom of Yakushi Pass.

Heavy rain. But with the car, I know I can bail out anytime.

Beats riding the rollers for sure.

7 climbs. 950 m of climbing.

Thursday's training: Road 33 km

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The first thing to do after Tokyo~Itoigawa is to take the aerobars off. I'll do the TTT in Uchinada in June but need a break.

Cycling pace on Monday and Tuesday. Sit up. Enjoy the ride.

I'm really tired after Saturday's effort. Even after two recovery rides I'm not recovered.

A rest day on Wednesday. It's rainy anyway.

Sunday: Rest day

Monday's training: Road 50 km

Tuesday's training: Road 50 km

Wednesday: Rest day

toito2014a.jpg

This will always be my focus. This race. I just can’t get enough of it.

Half Paris~Roubaix. Half the Canonball Run. One side of Japan to the other. Through cities. Over mountain passes. Who can go the fastest?

I’ve won this 5 times. Maybe this time will be my 6th….

Riders go off in 3s. A 1 minute gap between each group. My start time is 4:44. The last 3 member starting time. One extra group of 8 will leave at 6am.

This year I’m in very good condition. I’ve got the bike too. Set up just how I want it.

The plan is a 2 up TT with Hayakawa san. I’m as confident in him as I am in me. He starts 10 minutes before me. He’ll wait till I catch him. Then we’ll fire the turboes!

The sun comes up at 430. Right on schedule

Start to Check Point 1

3,2,1 Go! Down hill. 50 kmph. This is the warm up. A big guy wants to rotate. He’s loving it! Till his electronic gears’ battery falls off! I ain’t waiting!

Where’s Hayakawa san? Where’s Hayakawa san? Where’s Hayakawa san?

Blast through Kofu. A HCC rider grabs my wheel. Doesn’t want to rotate. Give him the slip.

Look back. Mt. Fuji is glorious at dawn. No time for a photo though.

I leave Kofu city. Catch Tom and Satoru from our team. Another HCC guy.

Where’s Hayakawa san?

Now the head wind starts. I pull the 3 of them towards Fujimi Pass. We pick up another HCC rider. The wind is almost taking my helmet off! I can’t kick out more than 20 kmph. Sweating like a dog. Gasping for air.

“Tom, the wind will change after Fujimi Pass”. Positive thinking. That’s all you can do.

Am I making good time? I say to myself “No one can go as fast as you into this wind”. “If you’re suffering, they’re really suffering…..”

Tom drops off along the way. Satoru falls back on Fujimi Pass. Just the 2 HCC guys.

From the top of the pass to the check point at Lake Suwa. This is my terrain. Blaze through here like a motorbike. These wheels are good. Aero with 25 mm tyres. Fast but forgiving. Absorb the shock. There’s plenty of shock…

Catch up to Enosan. Where’s Hayakawa san? “shiranai yo! kite inai yo!”. He must have taken a wrong turn.

An individual team trial it is.

The HCC riders are chatting in my draft. Clearly enjoying the ride. I should charge them! 100 yen per kilometre!

The big city of Matsumoto is coming up after the check point. Best to navigate a big city on your own. I need to shake them off before we get to Matsumoto. I know the wheels to follow. The wheels of a kindergarten bus!

On my own at last. By the lake. It’s beautiful here. Need to bring the kids here….

Keep focus!

Check point 1. 4 bananas. 2 bottles. Go!

Check point 1 to Check point 2

Check point 1 is at the bottom of Shiori Pass. Fill your bottles. Fill your pockets. The timing couldn’t be worse. The steepest climb of the whole race on the lower slopes. Weighed down like a bag lady. Don’t want to blow up here.

Over the top. Zoom down the other side. At the turn for Matsumoto. A guy from Team Aspen is angry that I want to turn right with the cars. I join them in the que on the sidewalk. 10 of them. I start to tell him that you’re not really allowed on the pavement either…

Off we go. 10 on my wheel. The volume of traffic here. The first man in a ten man chain is the sitting duck for an angry truck driver.

Oh yeah, there are a few angry truck drivers. In Niigata motorists wave and give you drinks!

Drop them easily enough. I fly through Matsumoto. Always do. The shelter of the cars and buildings. Slightly downhill all the way.

Out of the city the road starts to roll through the valley towards Nagano. A beautiful road.

But that head wind again. Like being in a wind tunnel at times.

Nice and cool though. Make sure to drink both bottles. And eat all the heavy food before the check point.

Check point 2. 4 bananas. 2 bottles. Go! Just 3 more riders up the road…

Check point 2 to Check Point 3

It’s hard. The wind is a bitch. I’m looking forward to some climbing. To sitting up on the bike. To using some different muscles.

A wrong turn crossing the river costs me about 5 minutes. Not much in the scheme of things.

Nagano city on a Saturday morning in rush hour. Talk about a cluster fu… I’m like Michael Douglas in Falling Down!

Out of the city. Time to climb at last. Climbing with 180 km in your legs is a challenge. This climb is a hill climb race within a race. I’m glad to be on my own. Set my own pace. Once over the top, it’s downhill all the way.

Check point 3. 4 bananas. 2 bottles. Go! I’m first on the road…

Check point 3 to the finish

First on the road. The virtual leader.

But behind me Nishitani san his coming. A great guy. An even better bike rider. J Pro. With a great palmares.

I watched in awe when he destroyed Team Shimano at Ogawa Road Race in 2007 (the hardest of hard races). And I did one of the rides of my life in 2010 when I stayed with him, averaging 37.8kmph, over the old 300km Tokyo~Itoigawa route.

The carrot up front has gone. Now the bulls are coming from behind! There’s motivation for you!

Nishitani san starts with 3 Team Ovest team mates. A 4 member team. Later he’ll finish with just one lieutenant.

It’s not rocket science. I have to go faster than him and his mates. I know where my strengths are on this course.

The long downhill from Shinanomachi to Naoetsu is one of them. From the mountains to the sea. I absolutely hammer it! Hell for leather! Never rest your legs in this race. Or you’ll pay the price later.

The wind is really strong now. Straight off the Japan Sea. Once at the coast, it’s a left turn. The last 50 kms to Itoigawa.

I’m praying for a tail wind. Come on! Give me a tail wind! Make the turn. A head wind!

50 km to go. Empty my pockets. Eat everything. This is where others will throw in the towel. This is where the endurance comes in. Winter base training. Long group rides. I know I can go the distance. Count down the kilometres... The last few I give it everything.

Goal

Cross the line. 9 hours 12 minutes 32 seconds. 20 minutes slower than last year. Will it be enough?

After the race

Meet Shinobu. Meet the boys. Onsen. Beer. The waiting game. Nishitani san has to cross the line at 3:12 pm. Will he make it? He and his team mate cross the line at 3:20 pm.

I’m the winner! Win no. 6!

toito 2014 b.jpg

Ceremony

One of the best things about winning Tokyo~Itoigawa is the prizes. There are plenty:

A wheel balance kit. A helmet (just what I wanted). Shimano backpack. Jerseys. Gloves. Bottles. A powerful night light. A bottle of Sake. All kinds of food….

Nishitani san was gracious in defeat. “We gave it all. It was really tough in the wind. Andy was too strong in the end”. No excuses. No complaints. A true champ.

Thank yous

Loads of people to thank.

Shinobu who puts up with all my early nights and early mornings.

Enosan for his support. Willing to check over my bike any day and any time. Always helping me.

Tim at Astuto who has given me wheels. But more than that given me the chance to develop some great wheels.

Training partners like Nishihiro san and Hayakawa san. Willing to train at any time and in any weather.

And of course all the じょんのびTIME riders and support team who make this such a wonderful event and weekend.

ありがとうじょんのび!

resist.jpg

As a cyclist one of the hardest things for me to do is ease off.

In the week before Tokyo~Itoigawa, no training will make you go faster. Better to spend time resting, massaging, stretching. Be raring to go on Saturday morning.

Still I wake up naturally at 4am. The sun is coming up. It's warm outside. I want to get out on my bike......

I have to resist.

No asaren this week. Commuting keeps things ticking over. Don't push too hard though....

Monday's training: Road (80 km)

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday's training: Road (80 km)

Thursday's training: Road (60 km)

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Race

lastlong.jpg

Every year before Tokyo~Itoigawa I do 2 or 3 long rides to get me ready.

This year I’ve done 5 or 6. These rides really bring the form out. And bring the weight off too. I hope to continue these rides all season long….

A 330 am start on Sunday morning. A rest day yesterday. Legs still a little heavy. 600 start in Nagaoka. Back to Bunsui. The pace is fast.

In this age of heart rate and power, speed is still the real form teller. 5 riders through and off. The speed changes as each rider pulls on the front. Adachi san is clearly strong.

Sprint time. Every week there is a sprint on the flat. I’ve not contested it yet. Today I decide to have a go.

Adachi san attacks. He opens a big gap. Still a way to go though. I set out to reel him in. Up to speed out of the saddle. In the saddle. Lock on at 55 to 60 kmph.

Just before I make the catch I’m aware of someone on my wheel. Ease off a little. Morikawa san comes round to get on Adachi san’s wheel. They are watching each other. I’m watching the 2 of them.

Who to follow? It’s Morikawa san who has something left. He goes for it. Follow his wheel. Time my move. Around him before the line. What a leg burner!

More through and off down the coast. I’ve not got the speed of recent weeks. Adachi san is keen to show his form.

Yakushi Pass. I’ve been first over the top in recent weeks. Not got the legs today though. Can’t find the cadence / gear sweet spot. Too heavy. Or too light. Still I dig deep to keep within reach over the top.

From Nagaoka to Oguni and then Kashiwazaki. I’m joined by Tojo san. We keep good pace. It’s hotting up now. Tajima Pass in the big ring. All downhill from here….

6 days to Tokyo~Itoigawa. Time to rest up. Ease up on the riding. A day in the park with the kids. In bed at 730 last night!

Sunday’s training: Road (195 km, 1000 m climbing, 33.5 kmph)

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Wednesday

Wednesday morning I wake up at 4 as usual. Another beautiful day on the cards. But after 2 long rides over Golden Week, I need to back off a bit. 2 more hours sleep. Up at 6. A bath with the boys. A lazy breakfast. Off to work. Just a commute clocks me 50 km.

Thursday

I'm working in Nishiyama on Thursday too. I do asaren first (very cold and windy) followed by an extended commute. That clocks me 140 km with some good climbing.

Friday

Friday is forecast rain. At 4am the ground is dry. Rain clouds over the mountains. A loop by the coast. Incredible head wind on the way home. Tired in the legs....

A rest day tomorrow. And a long ride on Sunday.

Wednesday's training: Road (50 km)

Thursday's training: Road (140 km, 1200 m climbing)

Friday's training: Road (70 km)

Saturday: Rest day

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4 days off. Beautiful spring weather. Asaren. Play with the kids all day. All day drinking too…

Saturday

A rest day. Took the kids to the zoo and dinosaur park in Nagano.

Sunday

A long one. A 330 am start. 75 km solo before meeting up with Team Fins at 600 am for a group ride. Adachi san is fast. Morikawa san is powerful in the sprints. I play my hand on the tough climb up Yakushi Pass. I’ve got good legs now. The pressure of others on my wheel. Use the gears. Drop the hammer on the easier bits. Keep tempo on the steeper bits. First over the top.

Back to Kashiwazaki via Tajima Pass. Tojo san and Hayakwa san are both strong. These group rides are benefitting everyone.

Take the 1030 train to Nagaoka for the day. Beers start here. A great kids festival in town. All day drinking….

Monday

A quick spin. Back for 7am. A hangover. Heavy legs. No point pushing too hard.

Take the 1030 train to Nagaoka for the day. Beers start here. A great kids festival in town. All day drinking… Déjà vu!

Tuesday

Another 330 am start. 75 km solo before meeting up with Team Fins at 600 am for a group ride. This is supposed to be a recovery ride. Hayakawa san and Tojo san have ridden 600 km in 3 days. Still we scrap it out over Yakushi Pass. Hayakawa san shows his climbing power. Bring on Tokyo~Itoigawa! Back home via Oguni.

A day in the park. Beers are delayed till 1130! Later karaoke. All day drinking… Déjà vu!

Didn't waste a minute this golden week. Now it's time to sober up!

Saturday: rest day

Sunday’s training: Road (195 km)

Monday’s training: Road (75 km)

Tuesday’s training: Road (185 km)

boysback.jpgTwo days asaren with Nishihiro san. The boys are back! I’m going well and Nishihiro san is just starting out really. It won’t take many rides till we are bombing along through and off…

Thursday’s training: Road (110 km)

Friday’s training: Road (84 km)

asarencomm.jpg

April is an important month in the training year. The shift from winter cross training and rollers. To asaren and commuting by bike.

This asaren and commuting combo helped me put in good miles last month.

April's training:

Road: 2,155 km
Rollers x 5 (9h)
Rest days x 5
Race x 1

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