andy: 2011年6月アーカイブ


If Wednesday’s are my Isonobe days, Thursdays tend to be my coast road days. I’ve been using the coast road much more this year. Good for speed work and good for recovery. A bit of a sore throat today. Hopefully it won't develop into a cold. A nice easy ride on the coast.


Today I rode my carbon bike for the first time in a while. It has a crack in it and will be disassembled soon, with the parts going on to a new frame.

I noticed the bottom bracket is becoming worn and loose again. That’s the third one in less than 18 months. FSA really are rubbish. With the new frame on the way, I am thinking about breaking the bank even more with a new Dura Ace or Campagnalo crankset.


Anyway, really looking forward to the new bike. Titanium. Hand made in the USA by Lynskey (the original Litespeed). One of their top-end models, so I’d better do it justice!


Thursday’s training: coast road nice and easy (55 km, 200 m climbing)

Fridays tend to be asaren days but the weather looks a bit dodgy tomorrow. I need to save the legs anyway for a run out at the Happodai Hill Climb on Sunday, so maybe time for a rest…..


Always looking forward to the next race. Next up is Norikura in 11 days time.

I was debating over whether to go to Norikura (JBCF) or the 2 days at Gunma CSC (JBCF) both held on the same weekend. The format at Gunma looked a bit boring really. An almost identical race on both days.

I have fond memories of Norikura finishing 6th in 2007 and riding well until a puncture spoilt things in 2008. Since then the course has been extended. 18 km at 7%. The views are fantastic and it must be one of Japan’s most beautiful climbs.


The perfect training ground for Norikura? Isonobe!

I climbed it twice today.

Climb 1:

Wednesdays before work are becoming a bit of a good habit. 45 minutes with a heavy backpack on my back, like a baseball slugger with a donut on his bat, I'm raring to go once I'm free of the weight.

Yesterday I did some tempo climbing. Today was a chance to turn it up a notch. Simple intervals, 30 s hard / 90 s easy. The body reacted well today. The work intervals felt short, the rest intervals long enough.

Climb 2:

After work is more of a challenge. It's 33 degrees now. Tired from a day's slog. From work to the base of the climb in less than two minutes = no warm up. I want to take it on at lactate threshold. The body doesn't respond though. Aim at 160 ~ 165. Hard enough in this heat.

An easy flat ride tomorrow and maybe some asaren on Ogami Dake on Friday.


Wednesday’s training: Isonobe x 2

Climb 1: Intervals (30 s hard / 90 s easy) x 10 sets

Climb 2: 160 ~ 165 target HR

(72 km, 900 m climbing)


My focus shifts back to climbing for the next couple of weeks. Nothing too hard to day. All at tempo pace. Strength training on the bike. Really really wet today but it beats riding the rollers in this heat.


Tuesday's training:

1. Ishikawa Pass (dancing out of the saddle)
2. Tajima Pass (big ring seated)
3. Osawa Pass (dancing out of the saddle)
4. Takeishi Pass (big ring seated)


(80 km, 900 m climbing)


Shinobu always laughs when she hears cyclists talking after a race about what could have been, what should have been, what would have been...... The “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve guys” she calls us!

“If you spent as much time training as you do talking, you’d win for sure!”


When I look at that picture of the goal sprint at Uchinada, I can’t help but think of what could’ve been.

What’s the big guy doing at the back? Look left, squint, that’s me! Wasted before the sprint even began!

Was it right to attack? Should I have held out for the sprint? Who knows? In bike racing, its best to make your plan and stick to it.


I made a big attack with 2 km to go. It looked good for a while. My moment in the sun. But I didn’t quite have the legs to finish it off. As the great Scott Walker would say, No Regrets

youtube 4th lap

youtube goal

official results


Recovery ride today. The gentle rain feels great on sunburnt arms and legs. In the small ring. Keep the cadence high. Keep the heart rate low. Spin, spin, spin.


Monday's training: Recovery ride, Betsumata back roads (40 km)


Today was the Uchinada team time trial and road race.

Team Time Trial

First up the TTT. We checked the course. Talked it through. Warmed up. And raced.

We set off in the middle of the field. Each team setting off at 30 s intervals. A speed of 45 kmph should win it.

The first lap we were flying. Passing 3 or 4 teams on the road. But by the end of the lap we were struggling to stay together. The classic mistake of going too hard too soon. Oono san gave us the nod to go ahead as a three. No room for error now.

I stayed up front for almost the whole of the second lap. Taking care to stay together.

7th, 28:26 (1:29 off the top), 41.93 kmph.

Not bad considering we only trained together once. Next year we'll be back to take revenge.


Road Race

5 laps, 50 km. The plan was to be at the first corner on the front. Our team plan (Vamos san, Oono san, Kitano san, Andy) was to go hard in a mini TTT from the traffic light and get away through that first corner.

It was a really hard effort but we all got through safely near the front.


On the first couple of laps, attacks were going off left, right and centre. I was in the thick of the action. Getting in with potential breakaways. Bridging gaps.

Eventually we got away in a small group. One guy from Silbest looking really strong. 3 guys from Balba who were trying to play the team card.


I felt good. Took my turns on the front. Not going too hard. But enough to show I was worth my place.

Sprinting out of the corners to keep with the group. Feeling good.


I wanted to attack. The question was were. The wind on the final long straight before the finish was causing all kinds of problems. Get away here on the last lap and you could catch them by surprise. I decided to go on the 2nd S bend of the 5th lap, about a kilometre before the last long straight (maybe 2 km from the line).


On the 4th lap I took a risk and sat on the back. Time to recover.

On the 5th lap I asked the Silbest guy if he wanted to attack with me. He seemed to have another plan. The guy next to him seemed keen to have ago.

I waited, waited, waited. The Sibest guy was driving through all the corners. The second S bend. I was sitting nicely about 5th man. Now or never. All or nothing.


Out of the saddle. 50 kmph. Don't look back. Don't look back. Look back. A gap of about 30 metres. Two guys on my wheel. Signal them through. Short rotations. 3 men working together. This is the winning move!

One long pull to the corner to the last long straight. No-one's coming. I've gapped the two guys. The group is swallowing them up. Then me.


Vamos san, 2nd in the Individual TT, 43 kmph! OMEDETOU JYONNOBI!

I latch onto the back. One more straight and it's going to be a sprint. Force the air out. Try to recover.

Everyone fancies their chances now. Riders are all over the road. Through the last corner. 50 metres to the line. Sprint time.

I crossed the line with the Silbest guy. Perhaps 10 ~ 15th?

“You were the strongest today”
“I thought you'd made the winning move there”

Despite the lack of anything to show for it, I was really happy with the race. One of my best performances on a bike for sure.

I'll be back next year!

Umiguchi san, Oono san, Kitano san, 来年もよろしくじょんのび!


Umiguchi san

Oono san

Vamos san


I'm writing this from our fabulous hotel in Kanazawa. The kids are bathed and in bed. I'm on my third beer. And it's only 7:30!

I was worried about the event even taking place after the heavy rain of the last few days. It kept raining all the way down to Kanazawa, but had eased off by the time we reached the race course.

Set in a “bokujo” or animal farm, it's completely flat with long straights and technical corners. I rode round the course once to check it out.


The TTT:

I believe time will be made up on the straights and not the corners as many people say. The straights are long. The back straight in particular is sheltered by a levee on the right and a thick hedge on the left. We should be able to get some speed out here. The corners are tight T-junctions and cross roads. All teams will have to slow right down to go through these safely.

There was a whole array of TT bikes, aerohelmets, aerowheels, the lot on show. I had to remind myself, “it takes more than a Cervelo to turn a donkey into a race horse!”


The road race:

For the mass start race, I think the corners will make a huge impact. 100 riders will start on a big 2 lane road. 1.5 km later, they will turn 90 degrees left into a farmers access road! You HAVE to be at the front here.

Here's my promise to myself:

  • Get a good spot on the start line.
  • Use the right side of the road to pass the masses.
  • Treat it like a race to the corner. One big effort.
  • Be at the front on the corner.

If you're not near the front here, you're asking for trouble. After that, it's 9 km of narrow roads with a few corners thrown into the mix.

I hatched a plan with Vamos san and Oono san after we checked the course. It's definitely a case of putting your cards on the table. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.


I think we should put all our focus on the TTT. We'll have much more chance of controlling our destiny than in the RR. In the RR, keep our plan, give at go, and see what happens.....


In the evening we enjoyed a nice stroll around Kanazawa. A beautiful city. With the surrounding coast and mountain options, a great base for a working cyclist. Another beer, another bath, a massage, and into bed early for an early start tomorrow.


Saturday's training: Uchinada RR course check (10km)

no i in team.JPG

On Sunday we have the Uchinada TTT. I've had lots of advice from within our team, Oono san, Umiguchi san (with a good link from Silbest ) and Kitano san, and also from Andrew and the guys at Tokyo Cycling Club.

So here goes, TTT tips:

Strong riders should pull longer as opposed to pulling faster.


One idea is to decide roughly who will pull say 400m, 200m, 100m
(If the course is rolling, maybe this should be determined by time and not distance.)


Any accelerations should be gradual. Big accelerations can cause distress to the guy who pulled previously and is trying to rejoin the line.


Quick rotations are counterproductive (10 rotations are equivalent to 200 m loss) so stronger riders should do longer pulls.


The team should decide on a leader to make calls such as “too fast”, “pull longer” etc


Coming out of corners and at the base of slopes the first rider shouldn't overdo it. In a race, this is where a rider will put the foot down, but in a TTT, you have to think of the unit.

On the flats is when to put the foot down as the differences in individual strength are less exposed.


Coming out of a corner at the front of the team, you should check back to see that all other members are in place.


When drifting back from the front, as you come parallel with the third man, it's time to speed up to ensure you can get into forth position easily.

3人目の選手の横まで下がってきたら徐々に速度差をなくしてゆき、 急加速しなくても4番手に付けるようにしましょう。

When drifting back, don't go too wide. By staying close to the 3 riders coming through, you can take advantage of their slipstream.


If you are struggling, make this known to the other riders, so you can rest on the back.

If you are being dropped, but the three other riders can go ahead (the time being based on the 3rd rider to cross the line) you should let this be known too.


If you are down to three and suffering, it is now very important to tell the other two to slow down before ruining the race completely.


Weaker riders should take shelter behind bigger riders.


If you pass another team on the course, you should let them no you are coming through to make the pass smoothly.


If your team is being passed, you should hold back on rotations until you have been passed.


The first half of the race should be a controlled effort to keep the four members together. The second half should be a hard effort. If one member is dropped, the three can press on regardless.


The aerodynamics of drafting are important. However, the benefits of riding at a steady speed and in a straight line are equally important.


It's important to pay attention to the wind. The line should be formed straight or to an angle depending on the direction of the wind.


All remaining energy should be expelled before the finish line.

If still in a four, the strongest rider should go all out on the front with the remaining 3 riders coming round him for the finish. The 2nd and 3rd riders should ride side by side with the 4th rider slotting into the middle to cross the line together.


Moreover, for the last 500 metres, rotation should be forgotten. All members should be trying to keep up with the fastest guy at that time.


The most effective style of rotation is the pull over and drift back style of rotation (clockwise) rather than the anticlockwise coming up on the outside rotation. If you do the clockwise rotation the guy on the front is in control and can pull over when he has had his fill, or his time is up.

If he is feeling really strong he can keep pulling a bit longer. Of course you have to be careful on the drift back to slot in at the back without losing contact with your mates.

Look at the rider's front wheel in front of you rather than his rear wheel . If you can focus your gaze just slightly farther than 'normal' you have better depth perception and will be able to hold a closer group with less stress.

Have in mind the necessary average speed to win and keep your eye on your average speed... You need to be always a little bit faster than that goal to achieve it.

If wind is a problem, it might be worth working on peeling off on both sides, so that in the race you can use the one that offers the most protection to the person starting the next pull from the crosswinds. If the course is a loop, then obviously (as the direction of the crosswinds will change) you need to practice changing the direction of the pull-off whilst riding. Of course, this needs a clear signal that the change is about to come.

Right, time to stop drinking and get my head down to rest up for Sunday's battle.

ALL OUT じょんのび!


What a wind today. I headed up the Nota valley for a quick asaren loop this morning. The side wind was incredible. The hot, wet and humid weather means that the grass at the sides of the road is really growing quickly and is really showing off the aggressive wind.

By Nota I’ve had enough. At this rate I won’t be back for lunch, never mind breakfast. A quick right and fight the now head wind to the base of Komura Pass.


Shelter at last. A couple of digs to raise the HR to 170. Just to remind the legs. Tempo the rest of the way. Drop down into the headwind and down to Kakizaki dam.

Water from a spring and a u-turn. A fantastic wind on my back now. Can do most of the climb in the big ring. A few welcome spots of rain.

Head home. Trying to catch the side wind like a windsurfer to propel me home. Like Mary Poppins on the way out. Like Cancellara on the way home.


We can expect similar weather down in Uchinada. Rain too. Not that I would wish for bad weather, but I think it will play to our advantage. Less time to be gained on technical corners. More time to be gained on strength and power through the straights. It’ll be hard to escape in the road race though……

Friday’s asaren: Komura Toge ~ Kakizaki dam return (40 km, 500 m climbing)


Paulo Bettini's shotgun


Albero Contador'S trademark pistole


Juan Antonio Flecha's bow and arrow


Luke George Wood's quick draw

The rainy season started in earnest today. Timed nicely with a scheduled rest day. Was hoping to do asaren tomorrow but will let the weather decide. Either way, resting up now for a double shotgun at Uchinada. Bring it on!

Thursday: rest day


I rode out to Isonobe this morning a little later than planned. A heavy back pack, a head wind, hot and humid. I’ve done some top end training recently, so I wanted to take it easy today. Just enjoy the climb.

I took the old road up to Isonobe village. You can access it from the bottom via the next turn after the one for the main road up to Isonobe. Or you can access it from a small bridge across the river at the first hairpin on the main road up to Isonobe. I rode up from here this morning.


It was the first time to do this climb in a few years. The main road up to Isonobe is so good for training that this back road gets largely overlooked. I guess it offers access to the village when the main one is out due to landslides.

The road snakes it’s way up the mountain and is consequently of an easier grade.


However it’s still a challenge. Concrete all the way up. Narrow and winding. Quite a bit of gravel and sand. No guard rails. Vegetation creeping up through the cracks.

The road eventually pops out into the village. Only a few occupied dwellings left. I would have loved to have seen this place in its prime when they even had a primary school up here.


Best to take the main road down. Time to cool down before heading into work almost on time…..

I had the chance to do a second climb of Isonobe later in the day. The temperature at the bottom was saying 32 degrees. The unusually strong swirling wind helped a little but couldn't break the humididty.

Again, nothing special. Easy pace. Heart rate in the low 150s. The smallest gear being 34 × 23 on the bike today makes it quite a grind on Isonobe. Cadence around the 70 mark.

Drop back down to Hashimotoya for a big monoka ice cream and a big coke. Consumed, as always, on the go. The wind had changed direction, as it so often does in the morning / afternoon. Quite a tough ride home and I was glad of a few spots of rain.

Today's training: Isonobe old road x 1 / Isonobe new road x 1 (68 km, 800 m climbing)


I really enjoy interval training. Repetitions of hard effort and easy effort are a great way to develop your top end fitness.

The standard interval is 1:3 in terms of hard : easy. However, you can play with this ratio to make the training more interesting, more stimulating and to simulate what you might expect in a race.

Today I did 3 sets of different intervals.

Warm – up - 20:00

Set 1 – decreasing rest intervals

1:00 hard / 1:45 easy
1:00 hard / 1:30 easy
1:00 hard / 1:15 easy
1:00 hard / 1:00 easy
1:00 hard /

5 intervals

Set 2 – increasing work intervals

1:00 hard / 1:30 easy
1:15 hard / 1:30 easy
1:30 hard / 1:30 easy
1:45 hard / 1:30 easy
2:00 hard /

5 intervals

Set 3 – long 50:50 intervals

2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy
2:00 hard / 2:00 easy

7 intervals

These intervals are different to what I would do on a hill to prepare for a hill climb race. I imagine the effort on the front of the team TT. Go hard in a big gear. Pulling and pushing. Stay aerobic. Down on the aerobars for maximum speed.

I felt pretty strong on the bike today. The five day plan?

Wednesday: Isonobe asaren, easy pace
Thursday: rest
Friday: asaren loop
Saturday: rest / course check
Sunday: race

Tuesday's training: Izumozaki loop with intervals

(60 km, 200 m climbing, 35 kmph)

taking corners1.JPG

On the football field I love taking corners. Drill one in low and hard in the danger zone between the keeper and the defenders, hoping someone will get something onto it. Float a looping in-swinger to the back post, hoping someone will nod it in....

On the bike, cornering is not something I pay much attention to. In races I try to take minimum risk. I've seen people come down and I've been knocked over by others on tight corners like the Ishikawa Road Race. Even at a race like Ogawa, where I can pass many on the climb, only to be passed again by the risk takers on the descent, I won't be tempted.

However, cornering is an important skill and is something that will be important in Sunday's TT and road race.

Today I devoted some time to practice going through corners and tight bends. The rice fields in the Shindou ~ Nota valley is the perfect place. Quiet roads. Lots of T junctions. Little traffic. Excellent visibility. There is even a nice S – shaped chicane.

taking corners 2.JPG

As you practice going through the corners, things you often hear said but rarely pay much attention too, come to mind:

  • brake before the corner
  • take the corner wide
  • choose a line and stick to it
  • look through the corner
  • more stable in the drops
  • choose a lighter gear to drive out of the corner

In Sunday's road race I expect the bunch to become strung out snake like through the corners. As you exit the corner, you have to sprint to keep contact. Out of the saddle and shifting through the gears.

Hopefully I can ride in the safest place near the front. I won't take risks, but I don't want to be dropped either.

Monday's training: cornering technique (48 km, 30 kmph)

eyes to me1.JPG

When we bought our new car last year, the space in the back for too little kiddies and the space in the boot for all their stuff was the deciding factor. However, I couldn't help notice the big square back end, huge back window and front windscreen, metallic paintwork.... a motorpacing dream!

Today I did the usual motorpacing loop with Shinobu, Luke and Mark. Out on the back roads, back on the coast road. If base training is the sponge, hill climbing the cream, intervals the jam, motorpacing is certainly the icing on the cake. Only racing is better training for racing.

eyes to me2.JPG

From our place we are out into the rice fields in less than a minute. No time for a warm up today. We are doing fifty and my legs are on fire.

On the way out it's a headwind. If the car drops you, like the bunch in a race, it's torture getting back on. And she does drop me. How she loves to drop me. The sounds of Dreams Come True disappearing into the distance.

The bigger the gap gets the harder it is to get on. You have to go hard and go quickly. Onto the aerobars, 45 kmph, grit the teeth, close the eyes. Once you close the gap, you have to close the deal too. A weakness of mine is that I ease off too soon. You have to get in real close before you can relax a little.

The odd traffic light is a good chance to practice getting up to speed quickly. Out of the saddle. Clunk, clunk, clunk. Drop the gears until there are no more to be dropped. All you have now is cadence. The faster you spin, the faster you go.

eyes to me3.JPG

Between Ishiji and Izumozaki there is a steady climb at about 5% for a kilometre or so. I love this climb. I fancy my chances against anyone on this stretch. Even the car!

Up we go. Get in close. Brake into the bends. I'm losing it. Drop a gear. Mouth wide open. Need more air. Force air out to draw it in. Bridge the hill. Look down. 50 kmph, 176 HR. All out!

Back on the coast road now. Lots of traffic on such a beautiful day. Wind on my back. Mixing it up with the motorbikers. They love to rev their engines. I love to show them how slow they are going.

We stop at Tenryo no sato for some ice cream and to stretch the legs.

eyes to me4.JPG

Back on the bike half an hour later and it's hard to get going again. The climb over the bridge hurts like never before. Lock onto the car. With a tail wind, it's easy to hold 60 kmph. A car is closing in behind. He can't complain, this is a 50 zone. “” written across my rear end must be getting read over time and time again. Maybe I should sell some advertising space to Strawberry Cones Pizza. “We deliver fast...”

On the hill behind the power station I can't follow the car. Shinobu is trying to draw me in, but I'm on the limit. Great training.

We stop at central beach and Luke and I are straight into the water. It feels so good. So cold and fresh. A cold shower, a change of clothes and back home for dinner.

Today's training: motorpacing loop (80 km, 250 m climbing, 44 kmph, 150 / 176 HR av / max)


Today we had a chance to put our F(t) Racing / じょんのびTIME super team on the road.

I met Kitano san at Matsunami at 5:10. A brief chat and off we go. The first climb behind the power station. Kitano san gets a metre, and another and another. He's flying! I have to dig hard to close the gap. Latch on to his wheel. Look down. 170 HR, 34 kmph. If you do a hard effort here, it sets you up nicely for the run out to Teradomari.

No wind to speak of today. We took long pulls. When we got to Ishiji, I switched the watch to the timer mode. I sat on the back for 45 seconds to a minute before going on to the front. Kitano san followed the same pattern. I thought he'd fallen into this pattern naturally, but later he explained he was counting in his head and watching my movements. How well we understand each other.

On the front I was doing 40, 41 kmph, 165 HR. On the back I could recover to about 150HR. On the front Kitano san was doing 42, 43 kmph, 170 HR plus. Always stronger than me at the start.

We made it To Teradomari 45 mins after leaving Matsunami. Record time. Both of us a bit worried that we'd overcooked before the real training began.

Luckily the F(t) boys arrived in a similar looking state after some hard training of their own. Umiguchi san, Oono san and Honda san, who would sit just off the back keeping an eye on things.

We talked over strategy. Rotation techniques, timing, cornering, starting.

Then we were off. The first time to try the clockwise rotating technique. The front rider drifts to the right after his pull, allowing the 3 riders to drift through. This worked very well and after a few rotations we were putting the foot down. Holding 45, 46 kmph on the coast road.

It became apparent that we shouldn't stick to times to rotate of say 30s. Rather, stronger riders should pull longer. The main thing is to keep the pace as flat as possible and avoid sharp accelerations.

We turned inland at Izumozaki for a loop of the race circuit that Andrew and I sometimes train on. There are a few climbs moving inland from the sea. We took these on at tempo pace.


On a quiet stretch of road we practiced our race start. My idea was to have me as an anchor with one foot on the floor. The three riders would clip in both feet and rest their arms on each others shoulders. The three start like that. I clip in and go hard to get on the back. We tried it a few times. It looks cool but is a bit tricky to pull off smoothly.

In the end we decided to go for a standard start. Fall into the formation. When the last man is on the back, he calls out “OK!”.

We also experimented with our order in the line. We found it works best 1. Umiguchi san, 2. Kitano san, 3. Oono san, 4. Andy. This is also the order we'll try to get into technical corners too. Oono san and I will have to work out our pulls to set up the timing for this.

After the first lap we did one more at full pace. The pace dropped a bit on the second lap but was still very fast.

After 2 laps we were all cooked and regrouped at the Save On to talk over a few more things.

Really looking forward to next week now. Let's home we can give our rivals Chojin Club a run for their money.

I rode back to Kashiwazaki with Kitano san. A high pace all the way. It seemed somewhat effortless after the hard training that had gone on before.

Just one last contest, the hill behind the power station. Kitano san went early and gapped me. I dug in and managed to bridge the gap by the tunnel. I thought he new I was there. I was expecting him to launch a second attack as we left the tunnel. I was planning to try to go with him and override him as he began to tire.

As we left the tunnel, he looked back. Surprised to see me there. Sighs of disappointment. Now's the time to go. Onto the aerobars. Dig deep. 36 kmph! Up hill! Wait! Here comes Kitano san from behind! Neck to neck. He doesn't quite have it. Drops back in line. The two of us on fire.

As we parted ways in Matsunami the rain started. Perfect timing.


Great training today. Thank you Umiguchi san, Honda, san, Oono san, Kitano san.

Saturday's asaren: team time trial training (140 km, 450 m climbing, 35.5 kmph)


This week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was the Enmaichi festival in Kashiwazaki. The whole town is out wandering the crowded streets of food stalls and other attractions. The four of us were there every night. Three nights of festival food and festival beer sure takes its toll! Great fun for the kids and parents alike.

Hard to get up this morning for asaren. Felt good to be out on the bike though. A chance to do some intervals on Isonobe. Heavy gears. Out of the saddle. Time to sweat out some of those toxins....


Friday's asaren: Isonobe intervals 30 s hard / 90 s easy x 10 sets

(70 km, 800 m climbing)


Last time I trained on the aerobars was for Tokyo ~ Itoigawa. Tucked down in a position I can hold for hours on end. Maximum speed. Maximum comfort.

I put the aerobars back on today in preparation for the Uchinada team TT. Tucked down in a position I can hold while on the front for maximum speed.

My only experience of a team TT was at Gunma CSC a few years ago.

This time we are a combined team:

F (t) Racing’s Umiguchi san and Oono san

じょんのび TIME’s Kitano san and Andy

= F(t)じょんのびtime麒麟山

Four riders of similar strength. Hopefully we’ll take equal turns pulling on the front. However, we should analyze the course to decide who will pull where and when and who will lead through the corners.

Today I tried to simulate the effort of a team TT riding solo on the coast road.

Into a headwind

Using a ball park figure of 30s, I did 30s hard to simulate being on the front. I then did 90s at high tempo to simulate being 4th, 3rd and 2nd man. Standard 1:3 intervals but with the rest interval being of relatively high intensity. I did 25 minutes into a really strong wind and then turned back.

With a tailwind

With the wind on my back I did 60s hard followed by 120s high tempo. With the wind on my back I was touching 50 kmph at times. Oh, to be Fabian Cancellara! Another 25 minutes with a final interval on the climb behind the power station at 35 kmph.

Thursday’s training: coast road TTT simulation

(55 km, 35 kmph, 200 m climbing, )


Thanks to advice from Vamos and the guys at Tokyo Cycling Club here are some strategies for breaking away from the fast moving bunch at Uchinada. In all cases, team work and a clearly defined plan is important. Positioning in the bunch is also very important. Keeping together and in a good position.

Group break

Get an 8 man rotation going to completely break away. Launch out of a technical corner intact and then each put in a 50km/h sprint in a pace line. Get a large enough break to stay ahead and enough riders to recover while at the back.


The block

Leave one or more loyal riders at the top of the bunch, when a break is launched. This should allow a bigger gap and will act as a discouragement to chase until somebody sees through the trick.

Over and over

Another tactic is for a few guys to attack over and over again. This forces the pace up and causes other teams or contenders to work on bringing you back in.

This can be done solo or in pairs. The main contender sits in the pack and conserves energy. When he is ready he then launches for a solo escape or with the assistance of other riders.


From the gun

An instant breakaway straight from the start. A 60km TTT with one or two teams. The idea is to catch the peloton by surprise. Hopefully the group will think that over the 60km they will bring the break back.

The main contender should do minimal work. If the group is caught, the main contender can counter attack. Better still, if the main contender can go before the catch, he may not be noticed.

Can the Jyonnobi Time / F(t) Racing / Chojin Club boys pull something off?????


Cyclists often talk about the “damage” done by a race. One of the good points of cycling is that like swimming, its kind to the body. During the training year, injuries are a rarity. In races however, you push yourself to the limit. Hill climbs in particular really take it out of you. A general feeling of fatigue, tiredness and aching muscles.

Yesterday I rode tempo on the flats. Nice and easy. Felt tired on the way back. Need to get more sleep.

This morning, Isonobe. Really easy. Engage those aching muscles. Stimulate recovery.

Just a week and a half to Uchinada. Time for a few days of specific training and then back off again.


Wednesday's asaren: Isonobe x 1 (34 × 23, 160 HR max) (70 km, 800 m climbing)

pb1.JPG pb2.JPG pb3.JPG

Tuesday's training: recovery, Teradomari return (80 km, 200 m climbing, 30 kmph)


My next race is Uchinada in two weeks time.

Unfortunately I missed the deadline for the individual TT. However, four of us will enter the team TT , so I'm really looking forward to that.


We'll also race the Champion Road Race. The course at Uchinada is flat and technical and notorious for crashes. The race (for all categories) usually ends in a bunch sprint. I don't really want to get involved in a sprint but would love to set up a break away.


The problem is the speed. Last year's 66.5 km course was covered in 1h 35mins. That's an average speed of 42 kmph! Difficult to break away solo or even in a small group.

Numbers are on our side though with 4 of us and a few more allies in the group. We need to make a plan to shake the race up, so one of us Niigata boys can cross the line first.


So, “How to win at Uchinada?”

Ideas please!

Monday's training: recovery ride / bike to work (20 km)

tazakisan.jpg2011 Mt. Fuji Hillclimb Champion Tazaki san. おめでとうじょんのび!

Today I went to Tsugaike hillclimb. From Kashiwazaki, daddy, mummy, Luke and Mark, what a happy family!

At Tsugaike I met up with Andrew and we had a good hour to warm up. Tempo (20 mins)、160 HR (10 mins), 140-170 HR (5 sets, last set raised to 180 HR).


In the race, I held back for the first 1 km of steep road as planned. I managed to get a ride behind Honda san on the flat section, thank you!

From there it was a solo TT all the way. 180HR / 80 cadence. I picked off riders up front one by one. When you train on Isonobe, the 7% average of Tsugaike seems pretty easy. I like the roughness of the road too, just like the roads we have around Kashiwazaki. I was using big gears and feeling good. At the half way point I looked down, 27 minutes on the clock. I can beat my best time of 54 mins at this rate!


However, the gradient picks up for the last 5 km or so. I also had trouble keeping the target heart rate. And perhaps a subsequent loss of power. I know I can keep 180 HR for an hour so maybe I need to rest up more before the race.

I pressed on for the finish and made a time of 57:28. Good enough for 6th place on the podium in my class!

UPDATED: Seems I was good enough for 5th!


That was the first time to go all out like that on a long climb for a good while!

Shinobu, Luke and Mark, thank you for your support!






その後一人のTTでした。180HR / 80ケイデンス。前の選手をどんどんパスしました。いつもイソノベを登っていると7%平均の栂池は楽!重いギアを使って、良い調子でした。中間地点で27分でした。よし!54分のベストタイム切れるよ!







tghcf.jpg tghc5.JPG

Sean and Luke, rivals in the making!


The day before Tsugaike and its time for those final bits of preparation:

The rest:

Early dinner and beer last night and in bed with Luke by 8:00. The first Saturday morning with no asaren in a good while. A lie in till 6:30. 10 hours sleep.

The bike:

Over breakfast I was still milling over which bike to use.

I thought back to some of my best rides: a win in the age class at Yunotani, 2nd in the age class at Norikura, 1st at Oze hill climb (30 kmph!)…. All done on the VITUS.

I checked Andrew’s blog and noticed his best time at Tsugaike was also done on his old steel machine

I asked my 10 year old niece for her advice, “I like the black one but the red one looks faster!”

Right, the red one it is!


The test ride:

I often ride Komura Pass the day before a hill climb.

I rode out on VITUS. What is it? The compact geometry? The saddle set back? The long crank arms? It just feels right…

Minor annoyances such as magnets, sensors, pedal tension, that would all be a pain on race day, are all put right.

Nice speeds approaching the pass. One dig to get the heart rate up to 170. Just to remind the legs that I’m a racing cyclist The rest of the climb at tempo pace.

The strategy:

As always at this race, I expect to go faster in the latter stages. It’s important to focus on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. I’ll try to limit the damage on the first kilometre or so of steep road. After that try to draft a bit through the village and then go full gas. I’m stronger on the lesser steep sections. This is where I want to make up time. I’ll go with aero wheels for this reason.


Saturday’s training: pre race bike check, Komura Pass x 1 (30 km, 310 m climbing, 29 kmph)

Another early night tonight...


The R353 / R252 Takayanagi loop is the staple training for most Kashiwazaki cyclists. A couple of climbs, some nice rolling terrain, a cold water spring, less than 2 hours, perfect!

Still debating over which bike to use at Tsugaike. I've been riding my carbon bike this week. It's lighter and has compact cranks which suit hill climbing. However, it just doesn't seem to connect with me as well. My aluminium bike is comfy, gets up to speed quickly and feels like all the power is being transferred to the road.

At the end of the day, the rider is the most important thing. This ain't horse racing! Will go for a quck spin on the aluminium bike later to make up my mind....

Friday's asaren: Takayanagi loop (57 km, 400 m climbing, 30 kmph)

millarfall.jpg slaying the badger.jpg fignon.jpg

Just ordered three new books. Should be good reading on the plane in July. Will review them later....


Last night I manged to get an early night with my feet up on a few pillows. We've been living on about 5 hours sleep a night these last couple of months, so an 8 hour sleep felt fantastic.

Was undecided about whether to take a complete rest today or do a recovery ride. Opted for the latter combined with a hot bath at Kashiwazaki's “shio kaze” salt spa.


An hour and a half on the coast in the evening. The sea breeze was nice on a sticky June day. Light drizzle too which felt good. Stopped at Tenryo Sato for an ice cream and turned back. Met Shinobu, Luke and Mark at Matsunami and drafted the car to the onsen.


Nice and easy......

Thursday's training: coast road spin (50 km, 200 m climbing, 30 kmph)


I rode out to Isonobe again this morning.

25 degrees even in the morning. A headwind. A heavy backpack. Tired legs. Can’t get the cadence out. Can’t get the speed out. Not comfortable in the saddle. Pain in the lower back. Sometimes it just doesn’t click. Not much more than 12 hours since yesterday’s hard effort…

Working in Takayanagi today though, so it’s a chance to ride. I shelved my plans of a hard climb of Isonobe. I took it on at tempo pace. Ditching the backpack and unzipping the jersey feels great. Concentrating on form. Keep the heart rate around the 160 HR mark. The 34 × 27 emergency gear is used much more than usual. Quick U-turn at the top. Cool down on the descent. In to work (almost) on time.

The ride home was nothing spectacular either. Felt very average today. TIME TO REFRESH. It's only Wednesday. Time is on my side. Time to rest, bath, massage and sleep.....

Wednesday’s training: Isonobe x 1 (500m climbing, 60 km)


The week before a bike race you'll often here cyclists talk about “tapering”. Reducing their cycling so they will be firing on all cylinders on race day.

However there are two ways to do this:

Do you reduce the intensity? Do rides on the flat at tempo pace? “Cycling” is what many people call this kind of riding in Japan.

Or do you reduce the volume? Do short rides with with bursts of medium to high intensity work?

For a race like Tokyo ~ Itoigawa, you need to be completely fresh and rested to slog it out for 8 hours plus. The week before I did some light riding or “cycling” and a couple of days of complete rest.

For Tsugaike however, it's 1 hour of pain. Of course you want to be fresh but you also want to respond quickly. Your body needs to be ready to go hard from the off. This week I want to do a couple of hard efforts of short duration. Keep the engine revving.

I also want a few early nights (not enough sleep these days!) and later in the week some light riding followed by one or two days of rest before the event.


Yesterday I rode to work, nice and easy.

Today I did a TT on Isonobe. A hard effort if ever there was one! Starting at the bridge, I went hard all the way to the top. Heart rate above 170 and above 175 for the upper reaches. Using the gears to keep a cadence in the low 80s. Gearing mostly 34 × 24, with the 27 coming in useful for the really steep parts. 25 degrees today and it was particularly tough for the last kilometre or so.

Some people do TTs all the time. I don't do too many as they hurt so much. A feeling of great satisfaction when they are finished though.

Time: 17:36. The reward? A big can of coke and a jumbo ice cream at Hashimotoya in Takayanagai....

Today's training: Isonobe x 1 (TT) (64 km, 500 m climbing)


Tsugaike 2008, best time

Body weight:

After Andrew’s “skinny” comments yesterday, I decided to jump on the scales this morning. 75.5 kg. That’s a great weight for me. I don’t get to see it too often these days. I haven’t paid much attention to diet but some good training seems to have paid off.

Tsugaike times:

It seems there is no afternoon time trial at Tsugaike this year. That’s one of the main reasons for going really. Instead it will be simple hill climb.

Time to review the times

2006 Stage 1 59:49.6 (130) / Stage 2 DNQ
2007 Stage 1 56:01.9 (73) / Stage 2 43:15.5 (92) / Overall 1:39:17.4 (90)
2008 Stage 1 54:39.2 (43) / Stage 2 43:44.5 (90) / Overall 1:38:23.7 (66)
2009 Stage 1 55:51 (54) / Stage 2 43:08 (88) / Overall 1:39:00 (77)
2010 Stage 1 + 2 total 1:40:08

Bike weights:
Recently I’ve been using my VITUS bike almost exclusively. Yesterday, I dusted off my carbon bike. It’s 750 grams lighter, but the question is does it perform better on the climbs?

vitus bike, mavic cosmic carbone wheels 8910g
carbon bike, mavic cosmic carbone wheels 8160g

What's 750 grams?

My best time at Tsugaike was done on my VITUS bike in 2008 (all other attempts were done on a carbon bike). However, I consider this to be my vintage year on the bike. Also I had Arthur pace me up most of the climb too.

Which bike to use???? Oh the dilemmas we cyclists face!


Second of two hard training days on Yahiko this morning. The F(t) Racing guys are using it as their final prep for the Tsugaike and Fuji hillclimbs next weekend.

After climbing Yahiko on my VITUS bike yesterday, I decided to give my carbon bike a ride today and compare the two.

Left Kashiwazaki at 5:00 with Kitano san. He was especially strong today. Pulling harder than me. We reached our Teradomari rendezvous at 6:00. 40 km in one hour!? We'd arranged to meet Kei at 6:30 and luckily he was already there.


Next up Yahiko. We climbed the easy side. Kei was setting a good pace. We met Andrew on his way down after a climb of the steep side. We kept the pace easy in preparation for race mode on the steep side. Andrew even had chance to munch on a banana.

From behind “Andy, you're looking skinny”.
Now for most people this would be an insult but for cyclists, it's a compliment of the highest order.

The mountain was shrouded with mist all the way up which made it feel almost dream like. At the top Andrew and I had a fun sprint. Him in the saddle, me out of the saddle. It's usually the other way around!


We descended the steep side and met up with Tazaki san and co. They arrived puffing and panting. A good sign! There was no urgency to start like yesterday and we eventually set off as one big group. I set the stop watch anyway.

Andrew and I (mostly Andrew) set the pace. Not too hard but hard enough. Behind us a few chatting voices. Some people are on form.

Honda san comes on to the front and both Andrew and I will comment later on his smooth effortless pedaling style.


Into the hairpins and Tazaki san eventually makes his move. I drop a couple of gears and dig in to hold his wheel. This springboards me away from the rest of the group. When he gets out of the saddle, I know better than to try to follow. Looking back I can see Andrew, then Kitano san and then a group of orange shirts down the road.

Time to dig in now. I actually get back up to Tazaki san on three occasions. Each time I make contact he drops the hammer again. Out of the saddle, accelerate, make the gap. Maybe this is the training he's looking for? I'm not complaining as it's pushing me hard. Much much harder than I could motivate myself to go alone.


At the top, 19:49, 166 HR AV / 180 HR MAX, 425 m climbing, 5.4 km, 16.3 kmph

Not bad at all, considering yesterday's 19:30 was a flat out effort from bottom to top.


On the way home, 3 days of hard training was really taking its toll. I was glad of Kitano san's company to drive through the headwind. On he front I was finding it difficult to get that perfect gear. One gear is too heavy, the next is too light. Perhaps due to tiredness and a shift to a smaller chain ring and crank arms today.


On the climb behind the power station I found the energy from somewhere to climb it at 33 kmph, a new best.

Today was fantastic training again. Time to rest up now before Tsugaike. A few short rides. Maybe one Isonobe!


Sunday's asaren: Yahiko x 2 (126 km, 1200 m climbing, 29.1 kmph)


Today’s asaren was more than I had been expecting. With the benefit of hindsight, yesterday I would have trained easier, drank less, eaten more, gone to bed earlier and prepared myself mentally!

The basic plan was to ride out to Mt. Yahiko, climb it from the easy side, descend the steep side, meet Tazaki san and ride up together.

On the road at 5:00. Nice and warm. Headwind. Shouldn’t have bothered with arm warmers and an undershirt. Feels great to be on the road in these conditions.

First climb of Yahiko. Tempo pace. Keep it aerobic. Raise the HR a couple of times on the steep sections.


Descend the steep side. Down to the gate meet up with Tazaki san and co. Early in the season we take it easy from the bottom, chit chat, catch up, until someone drops the hammer and it’s race mode. Not today!

We’ll set off in intervals. The chasers and the chased!

First off is Ono san. Pacemeaker, going hard from the bottom, the carrot to be chased.

I join Numa san and Watanabe san (two pure climbers) soon after.

10 seconds later, Honda san will start.

35 more seconds and Tazaki san will be last off.


And we’re off. Watanabe san is out of the saddle in his usual style. Numa san is latched onto his wheel. I decide to try to bridge across to Ono san right away. I almost make it but he has about 10 metres on me for what seems like an eternity. Numa san has my wheel.

I slow down a little to encourage Numa san to come round. He comes round and keeps going. He’s a really strong climber. He bridges the gap to Ono san alone. I look back, Watanabe san is about 30 metres back.

Numa san and Ono san together pick up some momentum. I’m sitting pretty at 170HR. If I want to get across, I’ll have to go harder. Into the hairpins and I’m up to about 180HR. Catch up with Ono san and exchange a few words.

Tazaki san comes round on a tight corner. He’s made up 45 seconds and is flying. Moments later, Watanabe san. He’s found the energy from somewhere!

I ride with Ono san for a while until he fades. Before me Numa san breaches the climb in 19 m 20 s. Behind me, Ono san in 19 m 40s, so I guess about 19m 30 s for me. Not a bad time at all!


At the top we chat and catch up and then go our separate ways. I descended down to the gate on the easy side for a third climb with Ono san and Tazaki san. Tazaki san’s plan = a TT. Ono san’s plan = some SFR big gear work. My plan = to hold Tazaki san’s wheel for as long as possible!

I didn’t hold it for long! However, having him up the road and in view was motivation to do a decent ascent.

On the way home, the expected tail wind had turned into another head wind. Turned the computer off and got my head down.

Great training today, thanks F(t) Racing!


Same time, same place tomorrow for another sufferfest!

Kashiwazaki Sea Youth 5:00 start
Teradomari Save On 6:30
Yahiko skyline gate (steep side) 7:15
Yahiko summit 7:45

Saturday’s asaren: Mt. Yahiko x 3 (140 km, 1550 m climbing)


First time on Ishikawa Pass this year. Can’t believe it’s June already. Taking about 12 minutes to climb it’s similar in length to Komura Pass. It could be considered Komura’s twin brother, the road is similar, a winding single track carved in the mountainside, bits of forest cover, fantastic views of the valley below. However, the gradient is steeper and the surface rougher, giving it a feel of being more like Isonobe’s little sister.

Four climbs today.


Climb 1 – 170 HR keep

There are two initial steep rises that get the heart rate up quickly to around 160. Then it’s into the forest. The winding technical road keeps you focused and requires good use of the gears. Soon up to 170. Out of the forest and the road is exposed. You can see long stretches now. Your eyes tell you this is the easiest part but your legs and heart disagree. Creep up to 175 and keep it there to the summit.


Climb 2 – dancing all the way.

I climbed from bottom to top out of the saddle. I’ll repeat that, bottom to top out of the saddle! I’m loving these out of the saddle efforts. I’m intrigued to know just how far I can take it. In terms of heart rate, the climb was similar to climb no. 1. 160, 170 and finally 175 HR. I was interested to see time was only about a minute slower.


Climb 3 – 145 ~ 175 criss cross intervals

This is a training method I often use on the rollers. The theory is that by crossing the line between aerobic and anaerobic training, you can train your body to work harder at a lower HR, raise your threshold, and recover quicker. These intervals are different to standard work / rest intervals. In standard intervals, it’s out of the saddle and go as hard as possible for the interval duration. With these intervals, it’s shift a couple of gears, in the saddle, raise the effort, raise the HR gradually. The sensations are similar to attacking in a hill climb race, so good training for sure.


Climb 4 170 HR keep

Same climb as climb no.1. Having raised the HR a few times the body responds quicker and it’s easier to hold the HR all the way to the top.

1000m of climbing in a 2 hour ride is a great work out. Ishikawa Toge, I’ll be back soon.

Today’s training: Ishikawa Pass x 4 (1100 m climbing, 60 km)


Variety is the spice of life and also the basis of a good training program. Do the same training every day and you’ll soon plateau. Focus on one style of riding and you’ll become… good at one style of riding. Ride too hard, too often and you'll burn out. Ride too easy, too little and you'll never get anywhere.....

The last three days I’ve done some intense hillclimbing including intervals and some intensive TT work on the rollers.

Today I wanted to do some medium intensity work. Focus on pedaling. Keeping good form on the bike. About 2 hours. On the flat. Just hard enough to be conscious of making the effort. 130 target HR. 90 target cadence.


I’ve got 3 races on the horizon now, spread out by two week intervals:

June 13 Tsugaike Hill climb
June 27 Uchinada Team TT / Road Race
July 9, 10 Gunma CSC road race

I’m feeling good on the bike and want to try to carry this form for the next month. At the end of July we’ll visit the UK for 3 weeks. Hopefully I can use August and September to rebuild for a few autumn races too…


Thursday’s training: Teradomari return ( 80 km, 200 m climbing, 32 kmph, 88 cadence, 126 HR)


Today I did a 20 minute TT on the rollers. It was the first one I’d done since March

Heavy rain forced me onto the rollers today. Recently I’ve noticed that I can seemingly go faster with less effort. I wasn’t planning on doing the TT today. I was aiming to do ten minute intervals at increased speed and see where I got.

I did 10 minutes at 52 kmph, 55 kmph and then 58kmph. I was feeling really comfortable on the bike and thought I’d have a go at holding 62 kmph for 20 minutes.

I started out well but as the session progressed I kept losing the back end of the bike a bit. At this time of year I put lots of oil on the chain to compensate for loss of oil in wet riding conditions. This is not a good idea for the rollers though and the back 2 drums became increasingly slippery. I wasted a lot of time, effort and most importantly speed in trying to keep the bike stable. I was confident I could beat March’s effort though, so I kept going.

I averaged 61.5kmph (60.5 kmph in March) which is quite satisfying. The average heart rate was also lower at 160 HR (165 HR in March).

With the chain cleaned properly I’m confident I can average about 63 kmph next time, Looking forward to it!

Today’s TT
* HR: 160 AV / 169 MAX
* Dist: 20.5 km
* Speed: 61.5 AV
* Cadence: 112 AV
* Gear: 53 × 12
* Bike: VITUS


Today’s training: Rollers

10 mins x 52 kmph
10 mins x 55 kmph
10 mins x 58 kmph
20 mins x TT
20 mins x 55 kmph

Total: 70 mins



前のアーカイブはandy: 2011年5月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2011年7月です。





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