andy: 2012年1月アーカイブ


In Kashiwazaki the one place you can sometimes ride in winter is the coast road. Driving up the coast today was the first time I've seen asphalt in a while!


The coast has had its fare share of snow this year. The wind and snow come straight off the Japan Sea. I certainly wouldn't fancy riding my bike today!


And to swim in that!? You'd have to be crazy!


Indoor training is the way to go!

Tuesday's training:

1.Snow shoveling (30 mins)

2. Swim

25m x 140 laps (3.5 km)

3. Rollers

•warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
•150 HR x 40 mins
•warm down x 5 mins

Total: 55 mins


Some people set their rollers up infront of the TV. Watching the early morning news, TDF stages or the latest sufferfest videos. I have mine in the garage. The wind and snow blowing in my face. Delphic fading in quietly.....

Monday's training:

1.Snow shoveling (30 mins)

2.Gym – circuit training no.6 – focus on legs and upper body

•stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
•leg press 134 kg x 15 (2 sets), 141 kg x 15
•chest press 32 kg x 15 (3 sets)
•leg curl 54 kg x 15 (2 sets), 59 kg x 15
•lat pull down 32 kg x 15 (2 sets)
•rear delta 23 kg x 10 (3 sets)
•pectoral fly 27 kg x 15 (3 sets)
•leg extension 59 kg x 15 (3 sets)
•stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins

Total: 1h

3. Rollers

•warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
•150 HR x 40 mins
•warm down x 5 mins

Total: 55 mins


I finally put my FSA crankstet to death. I'm not one to go on about bike parts really but the FSA K Force compact crank was the worst purchase I've ever made! The crank arms failed once and looked to be on the way again. Much worse though are the bottom brackets which last only a few months each. The last one was a new BB put into a new frame last September. It's worn out already! Terrible quality!

I'm looking for durability as much as anything, so back to the tried and trusted Shimano. I would have loved the 180 mm Dura Ace compact crankset (Ultegra only come up to 175 mm), but at twice the price of Ultegra it's difficult to justify...

Nice birthday present Shinobu!

Sunday: rest day


Three hours asaren on the snow shoes this morning.

We've had so much snow recently there is a danger of avalanches on the local passes. Best to stay close to home. The snow is plentiful and there's no need to dig the car out!


Cross the street. 500 m or so up Ukawa River. The river is frozen in parts. The poor ducks are congregating on any bit of unfrozen water they can find.


Local houses have over a metre of snow on the roofs and big icicles reaching down.


Pick up the Kenno Rindo. First time to take it from this approach. The climb is longer than I remember. A nice constant and gentle grade keeps the heart rate around the 140 HR mark.


The nice thing about this rindo is that it runs up the spine of a small mountain, so you don't have to worry about avalanches from the side.


There is a lot of snow on the trees though. Many trees are bent across the road under the weight of the snow. Let's hope they make it till spring.


Returning back on the River Ukawa is a real slog. Approaching 3 hours on the clock. The wind. The snow. I'm ready for a hot shower and a beer for breakfast! It is my birthday after all.


In the evening we head to Rakudaya. My home from home when I first came to Japan. In the winter of 2001 I was sat at the bar every night. Back then I'd sing and Hiro would play guitar to the Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix, the Band...

Now I've got a wonderful wife and two wonderful boys in tow.

Still there's chance for a song... It's a wonderful life

Saturday's training:

1. Snow shoe (3h)

2. Snow shoveling (1h 30)


We've had heavy snow every day this week. Last night's snow fall was the heaviest yet. Back breaking work just to dig out a path from the front door.


All the snow has to be put somewhere. Usually around the sides of the house, making some small slides for sledging on.


Mark and Luke enjoy the thrill of sledging. Mum too!


All this early morning snow shoveling takes its toll on dad though. Just don't quite have the energy for the rollers tonight. Cut the session short. I need to keep my energy for more snow play tomorrow!


Thursday's training:

1. Snow shoveling (1h)

2. Rollers 150 HR (45 mins)


In the winter most cycling blogs look more like cooking blogs. Pictures of food. People feeling guilty about over indulging?

Me? I don't care.

Tempura Thursday? Bring it on!

I don't need to climb on the scales to know I'm a few kilos over my cycling weight. I hear Alberto Contador is 7.5 kg over his racing weight He doesn't care and can still win a mountan top finish!

I don't care either. This will come off when road riding starts in earnest.

Now I'm just building myself up for the months ahead.

I don't care for LSD or EPO or JCF or JCA or....

Thursday's training:

1. Snow shoveling AM + PM (1h)

2. Swim 25 m x 100 (2.5 km / 1 h)

3. Rollers 150 HR (55 mins)


Uchinada 2011

I'm starting to build my racing calendar for 2012. I'm looking at races within striking distance of Niigata. A mixture of hill climbs (HC), road races (RR) and time trials (TT).

These are the races I'm thinking of for 2012:

  • April 15 JCRC Gunma CSC (RR)
  • April 21 Kusatsu (HC)
  • May 19 or 26 Tokyo~Itoigawa (RR) ??
  • May 27 Tsunan (HC TT)
  • June 10 JBCF Tsugaike (HC)
  • June 24 JBCF Gunma CSC (RR) OR
  • June 24 or July 1 Uchinada (RR / TT) ??
  • July 1 Utsukushigahara (HC)
  • July 15 JBCF Ishikawa (RR)
  • July 29 Yunotani HC ??
  • August 26 Norikura (HC)
  • September 2 Tokamachi (HC)
  • September 9 Mt. Akagi (HC) ??
  • October 14 JCRC Gunma CSC ArtsCup (RR)
  • October 21 Japan Cup (RR) ??
  • November 4 Giro de Hotaka (HC / RR) ??

Tsugaike 2011

I selected these races from a huge choice available (?? are races that are yet to be confirmed):

April 15 JCRC Gunma CSC (RR)
April 15 Yatsugatake (HC)
April 21 Kusatsu (HC)
April 21/22 JBCF Gunma CSC (RR)
April 29 All Japan (RR) Iwate

May 20 Zao (HC)
May 19 or 26 Tokyo~Itoigawa (RR) ??
May 27 Tsunan (HC TT)

June 3 Kitakata (HC)
June 10 JBCF Tsugaike (HC)
June 10 Mt Fuji (HC)??
June 17 JBCF Fuji (J HC)
June 24 JBCF Gunma CSC (RR)
June 24 or July 1 Uchinada (RR / TT) ??

July 1 Utsukushigahara (HC)
July 8 JBCF Norikura (JHC)
July 15 JCRC Gunma CSC
July 15 JBCF Ishikawa (RR)
July 28/29 Chokai TT/HC
July 29 Yunotani HC ??

August 25/26 JBCF Miyada RR
August 26 Norikura (HC)

September 2 Tokamachi (HC)
September 2 Urabandai (HC) ??
September 2 JBCF Time Trial championships (TT) Saitama
September 9 Mt. Akagi (HC) ??
September ?? Yahiko HC ?? 

October 14 Sado (HC) ??
October 14 JCRC Gunma CSC ArtsCup
October 21 Japan Cup (RR) ??
October 28 JBCF Wajima (J RR)

November 4 Giro de Hotaka (HC / RR) ??
November 11 Tour of Okinawa (RR) ??



There maybe no “I” in “team”, but there are 3 in “discipline”. It's all about me, me, me. When the weather is bad. When there are no races on the horizon. When there is no-one to gauge your fitness against. It takes discipline to train and train well.

A plan is essential in the winter. I'm trying to do some strength training twice a week. Build endurance with snow shoeing and swimming. And bike specific work on the rollers.

So far so good. I'm enjoying the training. I can feel myself getting stronger. Keep the discipline now and I'll be raring to go in the spring.


Wednesday's training:

1.Snow shoveling (30 mins)

2.Gym – circuit training no.5 – focus on legs, core and upper body

  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • leg press 120kg x 20, 127 kg x 15, 134 kg x 15
  • chest press 32 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • back extensions x 25 (3 sets)
  • leg curl 54 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • sit ups L2 × 40, x 20, x 20
  • shoulder press 14 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • leg extension 59 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • stretch

    Total: 1h

3. Rollers

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 35 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 50 mins


Both Luke and Mark love the water. The sea, the pool and especially the bath. The highlight of the day is a bath before bed. A book. And one of dad's songs

Today I had a chance for a swim. I'm convinced of the benefits of swimming for cycling. Gradually upping the distance, I can feel my endurance building. Also the upper body and core muscles, neglected during the cycling season, are becoming stronger and stronger.

Tuesday's training:

1. Snow shoveling (30 mins)

2. Swim (25 m x 160 laps = 4 km / 1h 40 mins)


I always think my winter training is a nice mix of Rocky and Drago's in Rocky IV


Drago has the science at his fingertips. Stepping machines. Weight machines. Heart rate etc etc.

I did a bit of Drago training today at the gym (minus the seroids!).


Rocky doesn't have the means, but he has the brains. Camped up in his stone cottage at night. Out on the snow in the day.

Tonight I'm in the garage as it snows heavy outside. Finish the session with some snow shovelling (about 50cm has accumulated quickly).


Lessons learned from Rocky IV Yeah!

Monday's training:

1.Gym – circuit training no.4 – reduce the reps slightly

  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • leg press 120kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • chest press 32 kg x 20, 32 kg x 15 (2 sets)
  • back extensions x 25 (3 sets)
  • leg extension 50 kg x 15, 54 kg x 15, 59 kg x 15
  • lat pull down 18kg x 15, 27 kg x 15, 32 kg x 15
  • rear delta 23 kg x 12 (3 sets)
  • pectoral fly 23 kg x 15, 27 kg x 15 (2 sets)
  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • stretch

Total: 1h

**2. Rollers**          

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 35 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 50 mins

3. Snow shoveling (30 mins)


9 holes before breakfast. The beach in the afternoon. Summer is here! Or is it!?


When thinking about snow shoe courses, mountain trails, forest rindos and passes closed for the winter come to mind. Another great option are golf courses. Long sweeping drags of undulating terrain.

Kurohime Country Club sitting at the foot of Mt. Kurohime is a beautiful course. Closed for the winter I have the 9 holes to myself.

A long drive. Pitch over the small hills. And onto the green.


I do all 9 holes. It seems that golf buggies are all the rage these days. But if everyone walked the course it would be a more appealing sport.


I have some time to explore the surrounding forest and rindo network too.


Two and a half hours is plenty of time on the fairways. A ten minute drive home. Breakfast and coffee.


We spent the afternoon down the beach. A rare treat in January!

Sunday's training: Snow shoe (2h 30)

I got the kit ready for some asaren on the bike this morning. Outside in the pajamas at 6am, the weather doesn't look too promising.


A change of plan, a hike of Mt. Kurohime. I know the different climbs of Mt. Yoneyama and Mt. Hachikoku well. However, I've never climbed Mt. Kurohime. I'm hoping someone has been up there recently and left a trail for me to follow.


I'm in luck a trail made by some old style kanjiki snow shoes, some CX skis and a sledge. I follow these for away until they diverge. I try to follow the ski track but it's too steep.


Then I realise. These are one person's tracks. Hike up on the snow shoes. Back down on the skis. That's the way to do it.


I return to the snow shoe tracks but they stop suddenly. Decide to follow the river to it's source. From here the only way is up. Steep and exposed. I zig zag up and up. The heart rate is about 160..


Decide to drop back down and try another route up. This time in the forest. Find a ridge and climb the spine to a peak.


Look at the watch, time to turn back.


Grab some water from the spring in Ukawa. Back home. Rollers. Shower. Breakfast.

Saturday's training:

1.Snow shoe (2h 15, 136 / 161 HR, 500 m climbing)

2.Rollers 150 HR x 40 mins


In the winter most of my riding on the trainer is in heart rate zone 3. The muscular endurance zone. For me, around 150HR.

However, I think it is still important to raise your heart rate up to lactate threshold (for me, 170HR) once a week. Don't fear intensity. Embrace it!

In the days of power, heart rate and cadence, speed often plays second fiddle as a training tool. It is however a useful value to train with.

Today I increased the speed gradually up to lactate threshold. The driving force, Doves' Some Cities. I love the Northern Soul / Motown influence on this one. Snowden at 50 kmph has me at 150 HR. Sky Starts Falling has me in the high 160s HR.

Now I don't want to sit at lactate threshold, just kiss it. Next up Doves' Last Broadcast. The Words and There Goes the Fear combination never fails. 140 ~ 170 HR up and down for 10 minutes. These are not intervals of the summer variety, out of the saddle bent over the bars, squeezing out every last drop of power. These intervals are all about leg speed and smooth pedaling. Great training.

Friday's training: Rollers – ride to the music - Doves

Some cities:

1. "Some Cities"  40 kmph / 3:22
2. "Black and White Town"   45 kmph / 4:15
3. "Almost Forgot Myself"   48 kmph / 4:42
4. "Snowden"   50 kmph / 4:12
5. "The Storm"   52 kmph / 4:52
6. "Walk in Fire"   54 kmph / 5:34
7. "Sky Starts Falling"   56 kmph / 4:11

Last Broadcast:

1. "Words"   140 ~ 170 HR criss cross / 5:42
2. "There Goes the Fear"   140 ~ 170 HR criss cross / 6:54
3. "M62 Song"  warm down / 3:48
4. "Where We're Calling From"   warm down / 1:24

Total: 45 mins


Like Suzuoto, I look to aerobic training after weight training.

Today is “Swim Thursday”. My goal this winter is to swim every Thursday.

Why swim?

  • Muscle strength – a full body workout
  • Endurance building
  • Cardio-vascular fitness - work on breathing technique
  • Non-contact – kind to the body
  • Aids muscle recovery
  • Relaxation

nightswimming deserves a big dinner.

Thursday’s training:

1. Swim : 25 m (4 breastroke : 1 freestyle) x 120 laps

Total: 3 km / 1h 15

2. Rollers:

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 40 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 55 mins


Kusatsu April 22 2012

Stairmaster? Me too! Kusatsu entry? Me too! Motivation up? Me too!

  • Kusatsu 2008 36:00 / 5th
  • Kusatsu 2009 36:55 / 3rd
  • Kusatsu 2010 40:01 / 6th
  • Kusatsu 2011 38:00 / 12th

In the warmer months I’m checking the weather forecast constantly.  Planning my training rides around the weather.
In the winter in Niigata, I rarely check the weather.  I don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
I could have commuted by bike today but I just wasn’t expecting the good weather.


Still I have a good plan:
Wednesday: Gym / Rollers
Thursday: Swim
Friday: Rollers
If the roads are clear at the weekend I may try a longish ride on the flats…


Wednesday’s training:
1.Gym – circuit training no.3 – increase the load slightly

  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • leg press 107kg x 20 , 114kg x 20, 120kg x 20
  • chest press 32 kg x 20 (2 sets) , 32 kg x10
  • back extensions x 25 (3 sets)
  • leg curl 45 kg x 40, 50 kg x 25, 54 kg x 20
  • rear delta 18kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • pectoral fly 18kg x 20, 23kg x 20 (2 sets)
  • leg extension 45 kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • shoulder press 9 kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • stretch

Total: 1h 15 mins

**2. rollers**                

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 40 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 55 mins


Back on the snow shoes today. Revisited the little rindo near Shindou. A bit more snow than last time


More snow doesn't make it harder though. The snow today was more compact. Easier to walk on.


A world of difference to the deep powder snow on Komura Pass just a few kilometres up the road.


Today I can cover ground quickly. Up to the top. Along the ridge. Descend part way down the other side.


The views of Kashiwazaki city, the Japan Sea and the surrounding mountains are great reward.


Make a few short cuts between hairpin bends on the way back down. Great fun.


The gym tomorrow? Swimming on Thursday? The off-season is perhaps my favorite part of the training year...

Tuesday's training: Snow shoe (1h 40)


A letter from the JCA

At this time of year I am starting to put together my racing schedule. One race a month. Two at a squeeze.

Road races. Hill climbs. Time trials. So much to choose from.

Which race to try to peak for? Which race to use as training?

A nice surprise in the mail this morning. A letter from the JCA. An invite to join the Norikura and Utsukushigahara hill climbs.

Well that's two races chosen for me!


Norikura August 26th 2012

It's been a while since I've been to Norikura. The competition gets harder each year. These days we are usually visiting or entertaining family in August. It might be difficult to be in race shape.


Utsukushigahara July 1st 2012

I'm usually in good shape for Utsukushigahara. However the steep wall at the start is a barrier for me.

I'll be aiming to beat my best times at each race. がんばるじょんのび!

Monday's training:

1.Gym – circuit training no.2

  • stepping machine level 20 × 10 mins
  • leg press 100kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • chest press 25 kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • leg curl 41 kg x 50 (3 sets)
  • lat pull down 32 kg x 20, 32 kg x 29, 32 kg x 10
  • back extensions x 25 (3 sets)
  • stepping machine level 20 × 20 mins
  • stretch

Total: 55 mins

2. rollers

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 30 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 45 mins


Another snow shoe asaren. Another 630 start. Another visit to Nota.


More company from Nishihiro san. More great training. ありがとうじょんのび!


Today's course: Komura Pass.


Very close to yesterday's course. But the snow is much deeper.


At first it's really tough. But it doesn't take long to find a rhythm.


I wore a heart rate monitor today. 117 HR AV / 142 HR Max.


HR zones 1 and 2 base training with some good strength work thrown in.


Back home for some snow play and a ride on the rollers while the boys have a nap. The heart rate responds well today.

Sunday's training:

1. snow shoe (2h 35)

2. rollers

  • warm up – build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 30 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 45 mins


This morning I did asaren snow shoeing with Nishihiro san


It was great to train together and I really enjoyed talking too. ありがとうじょんのび!


Today's course was the Prefectural Road R257 between Nota and Tanne


This is a beautiful road. For some reason the snow condition is always good here.


Even with all the rain we had yesterday, the snow was great.


Tired legs by the end. Good base training.

Saturday's training: snow shoe (2h 30)


I've always thought variety is essential for a good training plan. Especially in the off-season.

This week I've hiked a mountain, done some snow shoeing and swam in the pool.


Today I visited the gym for some circuit training.

Weight training is best done with free weights. However, the advantage of machines is that you can complete exercises quickly and move onto the next exercise quickly too – circuit training.

Today I tried to focus on the legs, upper body and back. I'm not doing so much weight work this year, so high reps are the order of the day. I aimed at 20 today for most exercises.


I also did a longish session on the rollers. Recently I've been sticking to base training at 150 HR. However I think it's important once or twice a week to raise the heart rate to lactate threshold if only briefly. Touched 170 HR five times today.

A good mixed session.

Friday's training:

1 Gym

  • stepping machine level 20 × 20 mins
  • leg press 79kg x 20, 104kg x 20, 120kg x 20
  • shoulder press 14kg x 20, 14kg x 10, 14kg x 10
  • leg extensions 50kg x 20 (3 sets)
  • back extensions x 30, x 25, x 20
  • chest press 18kg x 20, 25 kg x 20, 25 kg x 20
  • stepping machine level 20 × 20 mins
  • stretch

Total: 1h 30

2 Rollers

  • 150 HR x 20 mins
  • 155 HR x 5 mins
  • 160 HR x 5 mins
  • 140 - 170 HR criss cross x 10 mins (5 sets)
  • 150 HR x 20 mins

Total: 60 mins


Some new aerobars arrived today. My main use of aerobars is for Tokyo~Itoigawa. Riding alone, I can sit low on the aerobars for much of the 300 km duration.

These days the trend is for aerobars to be short and straight. Perhaps designed with shorter TTs in mind. However, I’m looking for comfort for such a long race. I’m sticking with the Syntace aerobars which have worked so well for me in the past. The new ones will fit the wider diameter handlebar tubes on my new bike set up.


I also hope to use the aerobars for some time trial events like Uchinada and Chokai. To get faster still, I’m also considering a disc wheel cover. I’ve always fancied having a go with a disc wheel. The wheel covers by Wheelbuilder offer a cheap alternative to an expensive disc wheel.

All I’ll need then is an aerohelmet!

Thursday’s training: Swim (2km)


Up early for asaren rollers today.  I'm trying to do some small weights too.  Use the bike to warm up and warm down.  Some leg exercises and upper body work in-between.  A good cover of snow this morning so I did some snow shovelling.  A real good workout.


I was working in Takayanagi today.  Just 20 km inland, but there is so much more snow in Takayanagi.

Chance for a quick hike on the snow shoes.  Would love to climb Isonobe, but I'll save it till I've got a bit more time.
There's a rindo running out of the village centre.  I wonder how far it goes.  No time to reach the end today.

Wednesday's training:

1. Rollers / weights

  • warm up x 10 mins
  • 140 HR x 10 mins
  • lunges 7.5 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • snow shovelling
  • 150 HR x 25 mins
  • warm down x 5 mins

Total: 1h
2. Snow shoes (1h)

Kashiwazaki skyline is dominated by the mountains Yoneyama (993m), Kurohime (891m) and Hachikoku (518m).  All three rise up from sea level, making for decent climbing.
Although the smaller of the three, Hachikoku is a great climb.  Like most mountain hikes in Japan, the route is steep and straight up.   DVC00166.JPG

On Hachikoku there are several courses to choose from.  I like the fact that you can climb one route and come down another.

Only one route is good for climbing today though. The steep one straight up the middle.


My snow shoes, MSR Lightning Ascent are equipped with a heel bar for climbing. This is very useful today on the steeper upper reaches.


I'm surprised to reach the top in just 40 minutes. A good pace even in the summer months. The views of the city and the sea are always good reward for the climb.


The tough climb is rewarded by a fast bouncy descent. Great fun. It's easy though and doesn't really count as training.


At the bottom of the climb I take the rindo loop. Now I have to plough my own route. Tough work indeed.

Tuesday’s training: Snow shoe ( 1h 50 mins)


I sit writing this in Kenno cho, Kashiwazaki. A couple of kilometres from the town centre, station and the Japan Sea. If someone had told me a few days ago that there is a rindo forest road starting in this neighbourhood, I would have laughed out loud! There is though and I checked it out today.


Cross the street. Up onto the river bank. Put the snow shoes on under the bridge. Go.

Up the Ukawa River. Brisk pace to get the heart rate going.

Pick up the rindo I enjoyed coming down yesterday. It's a tough winding climb up to the ridge. Probably about 10%.


The Kenno Rindo runs along the ridge. Some good views on a clear day for sure. Follow the ridge back down into Kenno cho.

I'm going to use snow shoeing as my main base training this winter. Most cyclists turn to LSD riding at this time of year. Long hours in the saddle at low intensity. That's never been my thing. I'm looking for stamina and strength at this time of year. An hour plus on snow shoes is a great way to do it...

Monday's training:

1. Rollers / weights

  • 140 HR x 20 mins
  • lunges 7.5 kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • shoulder press 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • shoulder pull ups 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • 150 HR x 20 mins

2. Snow shoes (1h 30)


I had to cancel this morning's asaren. Sorry Nishihiro san!

Instead I took the boys ice skating. We were more Laurel and Hardy than Torville and Dean! Still I'm always impressed by Luke's willingness to try anything new.

I have an hour free in the afternoon. Rollers or snow shoes? An easy choice...


Put the snow shoes on at the door. Cross the street. Start making my way up the Ukawa River.
In snow shoeing there are three variables that determine the toughness: the depth of snow, the gradient and your speed.

Along the river the snow is not so deep. A little jog to get the blood pumping. Don't really need a heart rate monitor to tell me where I need to be.


About 500 m up the river there is a little rindo forest road I've always fancied checking out. Hop over the “no entry” fence. I get more than I bargained for. Up and up it goes. Trees crossing my path suggest the track doesn't get used very much.

As I reach the ridge I'm surprised to find another more established rindo running across the top. This looks like it gets more traffic.


Trying to keep my sense of direction. I continue to explore. A network of rindos. Forks in the road. Choose one that goes up. Or one that has a “no entry” sign on it.

Check the watch. Time to start heading back. A really nice steep and twisty rindo takes me back down to the river.


Cross the bridge and return home on the other side of the river.

In the days of Garmin and GPS, it's nice to explore and get lost a little. All this wilderness on my doorstep that I never even knew about...

Sunday's training:

Snow shoe (1h 30)


Another snow shoe asaren this morning. Up at 610. At the foot of Komura Pass at 630. Just as the light is changing. Perfect timing.


There's always plenty of snow in Nota. On the bike this is one of Kashiwazaki's easiest climbs. On snow shoes it's one of the toughest.


With good form on the bike I can climb it in about 10:30. On the shoes I can't reach the top in 1h 15. Maybe 1h 30 or 40 is necessary.


Descending on snow shoes is fast if you use the track you made on the way up. However, if you plough a new track it can be almost as hard going down as going up. Great training.


Tomorrow I'll check out the Nota-Tanne line. Looking forward to it!

Saturday's training:

1. Snow shoe (2 h10 mins)

2. Rollers / weights

  • 150 HR x 20 mins
  • one leg squats 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • shoulder press 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • shoulder pull ups 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • 150 HR x 20 mins

Total: 50 mins


Why cross train?


Living on this side of the island, there isn't much chance of riding the bike. That's perhaps the main reason why I turn to cross training, but not the only one. Other reasons to cross train:


Cycling although kind to the body can lead to imbalances. Check out the Fumi Beppu documentary – he has to take the bus everywhere because he can't walk! Cross training in the winter is a chance to strengthen the body in areas which cyling alone does not. To this end, variety is the key I think: swimming, running, CX skiing etc.

Reduced intensity

I like to ride hard and get bored pretty quickly riding around like Mary Poppins . Cross training forces me to back off the intensity while keeping things interesting.

Renewed motivation

Limiting time on the bike in the winter means I'm raring to go in the spring.

How to cross train?

As for types of cross training, swimming, running and team sports like football are all good.

In the gym, I think the stepping machine is the cyclist's best training partner. I wouldn't bother with stationary bikes. If you want ride, best to ride on a stationary trainer or rollers.

I'd love to have access to a rowing machine but I don't unfortunately.

In the snow, snow shovelling is definitely a great workout!

Snow shoes are also great. You don't have to go into the mountains either. On the flats are good and if you live near a golf course, the rolling terrain makes for good training.

Again, variety is the spice of a good training plan. Spice up your life!


It's always difficult to get up for asaren in winter. The weight and the warmth of the futons make it hard to move. It's still dark outside but I can hear swans flying over the house. "It must be cold in Siberia if they escape for the winter to Niigata!"


Get changed in front of the stove. Outside it's blowing a gale. The snow coming in horizontally from the Japan Sea. I'll escape into the forest. A nice "rindo" road just a few minutes away.


The road climbs switch-backing up the side of the hill. I'm reminded why snow shoeing is such great cross training. Pushing down. Pulling up. The snow gets deeper. A good sweat on. An eye on the watch, I turn round at the top to be home in time for breakfast.


Thursday's training:

  • Asaren snow shoe (90 mins)
  • Yoruren rollers (plan) (150 HR x 50 mins)

Woke up to heavy snow this morning. The kind of snow that sticks and builds up quickly. Time for skiing. Time for snow shoeing. Snow country!


The nearest ski slope is 20 minutes inland at Takayanagi. Mt. Kurohime is home to my favorite Isonobe climb and also a nice little ski hill. Perfect for Luke's ski debut.

Living this close to a ski slope and with a mother who is a qualified ski instructor, both Luke and Mark should be on the British Olympic ski team in 15 years time. They've got to be better than Eddie the Eagle!


Luke was happy on skis. Mark seemed to enjoy the sledging too.

Winter cross training starts here. I'll try to sneak out early for some snow shoeing tomorrow...


Wednesday's training:

A bit of snow play plus:

Rollers / weights

  • 150 HR x 30 mins
  • lunges 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • shoulder press 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • shoulder pull ups 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • squats 7.5 kg x 10 (3 sets)
  • 150 HR x 30 mins

The beauty of rollers is that you only need an hour to get decent training done. Not long for the Wood Brothers to wait for some snow play.

The only chemicals I need to get the blood pumping are the Chemical Brothers. Music to train to. It's an assist from one of the Gallagher Brothers that has me singing along to Setting Sun

you said that you're body was young but your mind was very old

The body may not be all that young anymore but I'm hoping it's an old wise mind that helps me to get in some quality training this winter.


Tuesday's training: Rollers - Chemical Brothers' Dig your own hole

  • Warm up - build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 20 mins
  • 155 HR x 5 mins
  • 160 HR x 10 mins
  • 165 HR x 5 mins
  • 160 HR x 5 mins
  • Warm down - 130 HR x 10 mins

    Total: 65 mins

Winter training started in earnest today. It's no surprise to find Kashiwazaki in snow. Shinobu's dad finds peace in his garden.


I find peace on the rollers. I'll be renting a little corner of his garage until March.

150 HR is the main staple of winter rollers. After a few weeks of low intensity training, the heart rate responds wonderfully. New Order are the driving force. World has me singing along

that's the price of love,
can you feel it?
if we could buy it now,
how long will it last?

Like love, you can't buy fitness either. It's hours like this that will pay dividends when I come to fine tune the engine in the spring.

Monday's training: Rollers - New Order's Singles

  • Warm up - build to 150 HR x 10 mins
  • 150 HR x 20 mins
  • 155 HR x 10 mins
  • 160 HR x 10 mins
  • 140 - 170 HR criss crossx 10 mins (5 sets)
  • Warm down - 130 HR x 10 mins

    Total: 70 mins

From this...


From summer to winter. From deserted beaches to the Tokyo metropolis. From Micronesia to Disneyland.

Yesterday morning I was in the sea before breakfast.


... to this ...

This morning before breakfast I was in a Narita hotel training room.

When in Chiba? Go to Disneyland!


... and then this...

I've always found an excuse to avoid TDL in the past. But now with two boys its unavoidable! I actually really enjoyed it. Kind of like Las Vegas for kids. An earthquake while we were "under the sea" was scary but apart from that a most pleasurable experience.

It's always sad when a holiday ends but I've still got a week off work. Time for some snow shoeing and Luke's ski debut!

Enjoying my first Asahi in a few weeks on the shinkansen now...

Fridays training: Swim (90 mins)

Saturday's training: Gym

  • Stepping machine: build to level 20 (20 mins)
  • Running machine: 12 kmph / 14 kmph x 1 min intervals (20 mins)
  • Lunges: 4kg x 15 (3 sets)
  • Stretching exercises



前のアーカイブはandy: 2011年12月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2012年2月です。





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