Tokyo〜Itoigawa 2015

| | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0)

Tokyo〜Itoigawa on Saturday. My first target "A" race this year.

the preparation

Working with a coach I've been focused on this since November! 3am riding the trainer, in the garage, on Christmas Day... it was all about Tokyo〜Itoigawa in May.

I've done the training. I've done the resting. At 74 kg, this is the lightest I've ever been.

The final piece in the puzzle was a GS Astuto aero bike. Much to my disappointment I didn't get the bike ready in time. I was going to smash the record on this. They've supported me with wheels for my last 2 victories in this race. The very least I could do now was to win on the latest version of the superb 50 mm tubulars. Complete with ceramic bearings! The wheels won't stop turning even if my legs do!


race week

This was the first "race week" in my annual training plan. All easy riding.

Monday: Road (2h)
Tuesday: Road (2h 30)
Wednesday: Road (3h)
Thursday: rest day (commute x 30 mins)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: race
Sunday: rest day



We set up base camp in Kofu on Friday night. A winery complete with onsen, bbq dinner and "nomihoudai" ("drink as much as you like") wine and beer. I'll burn 7000 kcal tomorrow. Any source of calories is fine by me.

race format

304 km. 3 check points / aid stations. Racing on open roads. Part Paris〜Roubaix. Part Cannonball Run.

Riders go off in small groups at one minute intervals.

Start times are seeded. Fastest riders go last.

I'm in the last group. A 5:32 start. 4 riders. Me and 2 teammates:

  • 100 km TT specialist Hayakawa san
  • Hill climb rocket Oba san

And a new friend:

  • Meiji University's All Japan University Road Race Champion, Nishizawa san

The plan is to work together from start to finish.

Raining on the start line. Under shirt, jersey, arm warmers.

I decide against a windbreaker. Pocket space is reserved for food. 5 x SIS gels. 5 x soy joy bars. 2 x bananas. 2 full bottles on the bike.


CP 1 to CP 2 83 km

3,2,1 GO!

The new start to this event is perfect. Slightly downhill. Get up to speed quickly. High cadence. Raise the heart rate. Rain slick roads make it super fast.

I do a long pull from the start. 3 on my wheel.

My rival in previous editions of this race, Team Rogers' Suwagara san, set off 1 minute before us. I catch him in just 2 minutes. He and another rider jump on. 6 of us now.

The 4 of us start to rotate. 2 hitchhikers on the back.

Hayakawa san is smooth as always.

After a while I force the other 2 guys into the rotation. But they can't hold the pace. Suwagara san returns to the back. The other guy is dropped. 5 of us now.

University champ Nishizawa san is a classy act. Really smooth on the bike. Difficult to hold him on the climbs. HR is up to 175. Going too hard? I wonder if he'll go the distance.

Oba san is also strong. Particularly on the climbs. Impatient he forces the pace a few times.

The first test is Fujimi Pass. I've attacked here before. But today's plan is to ride together as far as possible. I sit on the front. Tempo pace up the climb.

Over the top Nishizawa san is on the front. But it's not fast enough on the descent. I take the initiative. My favorite part of the course.

Lake Suwa. About 10 mins down on my solo effort two years ago. But riding in a group I must be fresher.

  • CP 1, 1st (2 h 32)

CP1 to CP 2 66 km

Our well oiled machine falls apart here. Nishizawa san throws in the towel. Hayakawa san goes to the toilet. Oba san and Suwagara san shoot off up the road!

No choice but to go. We ride easy for a while. But Hayakwa san doesn't come. The steep climb through the park. Shiori Pass.

It's been raining all the way. And now we are in thick fog. Up to the top. 1000m elevation. 3 of us now.

The descent is crazy fast in good weather. But visibility is down to about 5 m now. No risks. Safely to the bottom.

Through Matsumoto city. The fastest part of the course. Like being on a motorbike here. Hammer time.

At one point I look back. Oba san isn't there (later I learn he dropped his chain). Suwagara san is chasing hard about 100 m back.

He's no use to me. And he ruined my race a few years ago. So I go full gas to get rid of him. Taking a few risks. Cannonball time.


I'm surprised he gets back on.

"Don't worry Andy, you have a minute on me."
"You can sit on, but don't attack."
"Okay, 1 and 2."

A deal struck with 200 km still to go! I'm suspicious of him though. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

We get talking though. And he's a nice guy! I even give him a banana. And a promise of a beer at the finish.

A solo TT from here then. Suwagara san on my wheel.

  • CP2, 1st, 2h 01

CP2 to CP3

I always find the first section to Nagano city a challenge. Up and down. No flat.

On the way we pick up Otsuka san. He set off at 4:30 but has been held up by two punctures.

"Gatorskins!" I tell him.

So many riders are by the side of the road. Flat tyres. Mechanicals. I have complete faith in my kit.

Otsuka san is a strong rider to have on board. He does a pull so I can stretch and fuel.

Raining until this point. At last some dry roads through Nagano city.

Next up is the big climb to Shinanomachi. A 5 km pass with a few sections at 10 percent. I want to take this on at tempo pace.

Suwagara san is dropped early. Just Otsuka san. 2 of us now.

We are going hard through the steep sections but enjoy chatting where the gradient eases. A real nice guy. We share a few stories about his Ovest team mates. Another beer promise.

Once over the pass we press on for CP 3.

  • CP 3, 1st, 1 h 42

CP 3 to finish, 86 km

It's all downhill from here. Well not really.

Again we are in the fog. Can barely see at all now. Heavy rain too. It's fast. 50 × 11 isn't big enough at times. We have to be really careful though.

We pick up a HCC rider. Physical Monster Okamura san too!

The HCC guy wants to do a pull. But I know he'll be more useful when we hit the flats. I ask him to wait.

Coming off a long descent onto the windswept flat is always tough. The HCC guy does a huge pull here. 40-45 kmph. It's tough to hold his wheel. But I know it's worth it.

Now we are on the coast. The last sector. 3 on my wheel.

Now is time to empty the pockets. Eat everything. And then go as hard as possible. 40 km to Itoigawa.

On the coast it's nice to climb a little just to enjoy the descents. Pushing on the rolling sections, I drop the other 3 along the way. Solo now.

Team mate Daito san started 30 minutes before me. He's still up the road. With no one on my wheel, catching him is my motivation now.

I go as hard as I can. I'm fading a little. The aches and pains. The neck and shoulders. But the legs are still going. Dreaming of the finish. Put it all out by the end.

  • Goal, 1st, 2h 40

Just missed out on catching Daito!

First to all 4 check points. 1st overall. Win no. 7! Nothing beats the feeling of finishing this one.

Tokyo~Itoigawa 2015, 304 km, 8 h 55, 34 kmph


Into the onsen. Onto the beer. Back to Kashiwazaki for the party.

On Sunday morning we collect the prizes. Maybe the best prizes of any bike race in Japan? A set of Fulcrum wheels, an MET helmet, a 3T handlebar, bottles, lights, sake.....

Thanks to the organizers and of course Enosan and everyone at じょんのびTIME for helping to make this a great event every year.

Bring on 2016!


このブログ記事を参照しているブログ一覧: Tokyo〜Itoigawa 2015





このページは、andyが2015年5月17日 22:21に書いたブログ記事です。

ひとつ前のブログ記事は「brief meeting」です。

次のブログ記事は「post race meeting」です。





じょんのびtime ホームページ

サントリー ホームページ

じょんのびtime スケジュール