andy: 2012年7月アーカイブ


It's grim up north. Don't get me wrong, I love being here. But July in England can be like March in Niigata.

Wet and cold this morning. A 530 start. Surprised to see other cyclists about. Hardcore.


3 climbs of Buckstones Road. A steep little climb. In mist at the top.

Monday's training: MTB (1h)


Another 500 am start. I was going to get the MTB out. But it’s raining heavy and moors are covered in mist.

Another trail run.

Down the farm lanes to the Rochdale Canal. Dodging puddles and nettles all the way.

Along the tow path. Stop under the railway bridge for a quick photo.

Onto Chadderton Hall Park. Really raining now.

A left for Heartbreak hill. It’s over 20 years ago when we used to climb this as part of cross country running in PE class. It must be 20%. 165+ HR at the top.

Over the motorway bridge. Turn left. Another loop of Tandle Hill. Climb up to the monument. 165+ HR again.

Back down. Home. Shower. Breakfast.

Sunday’s training: Run (1h 2 mins)


500 am start. 3 minutes to the gate from my parents’ house.

There is a beautiful network of trails through the park. Up and down. Through the forests. Over the grass.

As kids we’d explore all day long.


I try a few different loops today. Each one finishing with a climb up to the monument. 165+ HR at the top.

Saturday’s training: Run (45 mins)


After a few days of asaren, the body wakes up early naturally. Try to sleep? Or a quick spin?

Thursday's training: Road (30 km)

last scene.jpg

One last piece of training before leaving for London, the Olympics and more...

Wednesday's training:

Komura Pass x 3

  • Climb 1 long intervals - 60 s hard (approx 175 HR) / 60 s easy (approx 145 HR) x 8 sets
  • Climb 2 dancing - (156 / 165 HR, 54 cadence)
  • Climb 3 SFR 50 × 19 (124 / 132 HR, 35 cadence)

Total: 48 km



Tuesday's training: Road - Isonobe x 1 (58 km)


We spent the day at the beach yesterday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner! In bed by 8:30. Totally refreshed. A chance to go hard today then.

A TT on Komura Pass.

Today I went from bottom to top in the big ring. 50 × 23 on most parts, 50 × 25 on the steep bits and 50 × 21 on the easier bits. Full gas. Pushing as hard as I could.

My recent hill climb training has taught me – a heavier gear can make you go faster.

The HR responds well. Up the first steep section. In the 50 × 25 briefly. 170 HR around the first hairpin.

Drop a gear. The next hairpin. Hold 50 × 23 up the next steep section. The road eases. 50 × 21. Drill it here.

The steep middle section. 50 × 25 / 180 HR. The steep bit seems endless. Finally out of it. Drop a gear. And another. 180 HR / 80 cadence. Here we go!

The last hair pin. Road steepens. 50 × 25 again. I can see the finish. Drop a gear. Shut up legs. 181, 182, 183, 184, goal.

10:51 on the line.

(10:51, 3.6 km, 176 / 184 HR AV/MAX, 19.8 kmph, 77 cadence)

Just 10 seconds off my PB

I’m really happy with the time. Especially in the big ring.

A while ago I wouldn’t have thought of climbing this pass in the big ring, yet alone time trialling it.

Sunday: rest day

Monday's training: Road (52 km)


a wet start on the coast


dry and cool on mt. yahiko

Saturday's training: Road (115 km)


Last Friday I did my PB on Ishikawa Pass (11:14). On Tuesday I tried again but was a minute off the pace (12:09). Today I managed to shave off a few more seconds for a new PB (11:07).

Cycling is quite a unique sport in that you don't really know your condition or how well you are going until you hit the road and try it.

On Tuesday I couldn't get into the zone. Today, I was like Luke Skywalker in my X-wing fighter, trying to blow up the Death Star. Almost there! Stay on target!

Like last Friday, I switched off my targeting computer and concentrated on speed. Trying to average more than 18 kmph.


Last week I started out in the inner ring. Today I started in the big ring. Holding it through the village and keeping good speed. Perhaps this is where I made up time.

Into the forest I remained focussed. A drop in speed? Drop a gear. Sure it hurts but a heavier gear can make a difference.

On the steeper sections you are forced to shift up one or two gears. How quickly can you recover? How quickly can you shift back down? This is really important. Again it hurts but you need to keep momentum.

Into the upper section and I'm struggling like last week. Today I'm looking at distance too. Knowing you have 1 km to go, 600m to go, 300m to go, is a great pyschological boost.

100 m to go. No sprint in the legs. Drop another gear. Grind it out to the line.

(11 m 07 s, 3.4 km, 18.3 kmph, ERR/185 HR AV/MAX, 79 cadence)

Friday's training: Road (39 km)

Ishikawa Toge x 2

  • Climb 1: TT
  • Climb 2: SFR (50 × 21) ( 137/147 HR, 31 cadence)

Thursday's training: Road (38 km)


Most hill climb training is cardiovascular work:

  • intervals
  • lactate threshold
  • time trial pace

Strength training is important too:

  • standing (dancing)
  • big ring (SFR)

I think these two types of training should be kept separate. i.e. you don't need to do your big ring climbs at lactate threshold or above.

Strength work should be at low intensity:

  • concentrate on form
  • maximise oxygen flow to the muscles

A nice article on that here


Two climbs of Ishikawa Toge today:

Climb 1 - standing

Out of the saddle. Pushing a biggish gear. You can really feel your muscles working. Particularly in the bottom and lower back.

(130/139 HR AV/MAX, 46 cadence)

Climb 2 - SFR (50 × 19)

I think 50 × 21 is the optimum SFR gear on this climb. I went a gear heavier today. Grinding it out at a low cadence. Coming almost to a halt on the steepest sections. Come on Grinderman!

(112 / 125 HR AV/MAX, 30 cadence)


Wednesday’s training: Swim + Road (38 km)


Kakuda beach, Niigata

“Umi no Hi” marked the start of beach season yesterday. The plan was to do some early asaren on Yahiko with Andrew. But too much wine and beer the night before meant that we were both “DNS”. Sorry to be such a bad influence!

Still made a great day of it though. A really hot one. We escaped to the cool waters of Kakuda Beach.


Ishikawa Toge, Kashiwazaki

Today was another scorcher. Sweating all day long. Today I attacked Ishikawa Toge. Attacked it hard.

3 climbs at race pace, 1 SFR.

Climb no. 1

After two days of rest, maybe I can beat my PB set last Friday? But time off the bike isn’t really rest. I’m not so fresh today. I can’t quite get into the zone.

A decent effort. But the time is 1 minute off the pace. On such a short climb, it’s amazing what time differences emerge. 11 or 12 minutes? On an hour climb, that’s a variation of 66 minutes or 72 minutes. Top 10 or top 100.

This highlights the importance of good preparation before race day. The heat plays a part. As does hydration. Other small things to look at too.

(12:16, 163 / 174 HR AV/MAX, 16.5 kmph, 79 cadence)

Climb no.2

It’s often said that the 2nd climb is the most important when doing hill climb repeats. The heart raises quicker after the last hard effort. “It never gets easier, you just get faster” said Greg Lemond. A few seconds shaved off the first climb.

(12:09, 166 / 179 HR AV/MAX, 17.0 kmph, 81 cadence)

Climb no.3

The legs are pretty much done now. Survival mode. Try to hold 170 HR. Give into the urge to drop gears. The mind wanders a bit. 3 climbs is at TT pace is plenty. I’m already dreaming of ice cream.

(12:43, 163 / 172 HR AV/MAX, 16.0 kmph, 80 cadence)

Climb no.4

50 × 21 SFR. I am the Grinderman. 7 days a week.

(130 / 145 HR AV/MAX, 37 cadence)


Tonowa beach, Kashiwazaki

In the evening I take Luke and Mark to the beach. How great the water feels. In their arm bands, they have no fear.


On the sand. In the water. Loving every minute of it.

Monday: rest day

Tuesday’s training: Ishikawa Toge x 4 (73 km)

makenai1.JPG makenai2.JPG

Sunday: rest day


full gas at the top


Isonobe's summit at 6:30


  • Isonobe (20:41, 5.6 km, 16.2 kmph, 167 / 176 HR AV/MAX, 80 cadence)
  • Shiba Toge: 50 × 19 SFR

Saturday's training: Road (85 km)


Today's plan was to beat the time I set on Ishikawa Toge last Friday.

(11 m 41 s, 3.4 km, 17.5 kmph, 166/179 HR AV/MAX, 83 cadence)

In hill climbs I'm always looking at heart rate and cadence. Trying to find the sweet spot. 175~180 HR / 80 cadence?

But to beat your best time, you just have to ride faster!

Today I concentrated on speed. An average of 17.5 kmph will do it.

However this is not a uniform climb. It needs to be broken down.


The first section is steep. But the road is straight and the surface is smooth. I can hold 20 kmph+ here.

Into the forest, the road winds up the mountain. The road surface is rough. I try to keep it above 17.5 kmph through here. Pace myself through the steep parts. Drill it on the easier parts. Ignore HR. Ignore rpm.

Out into the exposed section. The time looks good. But I'm struggling to hold speed. With the finish in site I drop a gear. The legs don't like it. Shut up legs!

Full gas to the line. I'm really happy with the time. My PB,11:14. Beating my best time from 2006 (11:19).

(11 m 14 s, 3.4 km, 18.1 kmph, ERR/182 HR AV/MAX, 81 cadence)


Hillcimbing is all about controlling the effort. Getting in the zone. I can feel my hill climb legs coming back.

Friday's training: Road (48 km)

Ishikawa Toge x 4:

  • Climb 1 - TT
  • Climb 2 - 50 × 21 SFR
  • Climb 3 - dancing out of the saddle
  • Climb 4 - intervals: 30 s hard / 60 s easy (x 7 sets)

In the winter, swimming is great cross training. Maintain and build stamina. A full body work out. Improve breathing technique.

In the summer, swimming is a great way to refresh. Cool the body down. Increase blood flow to muscles. Refresh and recover.

Thursday's training: Swim (2 km)


I love this time of year. Evening dips in the sea. Dinner on the balcony. Windows wide open. Mazzy Star on the stereo.

But it's no fun working in it.

Usually when working in Takayanagi I'll squeeze in a climb or two of Isonobe. But it's so hot today. 36 degrees.

It's hard to find a rhythm. Hard to be at one with the bike. I'll acclimatise to it with a few rides.

But no point training when your heart's not in it. Just a commute today then.

Wednesday's training: Road (45 km)

sumfe1.JPG sumfe2.JPG sumfe3.JPG

I love this time of year. Early evening down by the beach. We'll take our swimwear next time.

Tuesday's training:

  • Tsukayama Toge - dancing out of the saddle
  • Ishikawa Toge - intervals: 30 s hard / 60 s easy (x5), 45 s hard / 60 s easy (x7)

Road (70 km)


Another TT on Ishikawa Toge today. Full gas from bottom to top.

(11 m 59 s, 3.4 km, 17.0 kmph, 167/184 HR AV/MAX, 83 cadence)

  • Climb 1 - TT
  • Climb 2 - big ring 50 × 21

    Monday's training: Swim + Road (38 km)
realtr1.JPG realtr2.JPG realtr3.JPG realtr4.JPG realtr5.JPG realtr6.JPG

Sunday's training:

R252 ~ Isonobe ~ Tochigahara ~ Shibatoge ~ R353 じょんのび rollercoaster ~ R252

  • Isonobe: 5.6 km, 173 / 181 HR, 16.5 kmph, 80 cadence, 20m 19 s (20~30 s lost time to an avalanche = approx. 20m)

Road (107 km)

Kitano san, いつもありがとうじょんのび!


start point

When I lined up at Utsukushigahara HC last weekend, I realised it was not only my first HC of the year, but also my first HC effort. Sure I've done some climbing. But this is intervals, LT, SFR etc. Not once had a gone hard from bottom to top.

I used to do TTs on Isonobe, Komura pass and Ishikawa pass. But recently I've not done any. Maybe I'm too scared I won't get close to my times from previous years?

Today I did a TT on Ishikawa Pass. A tough little climb. The gradient varies with a few steep sections. The road eases near the top if you have any gas left. It's 3.3 km long, rising 245 metres at an average of 7.4 %.

I've only recorded time on this pass twice before: 11:19 in 2006 and 11:51 in 2007. The climb is timed from the sign at the bottom to the sign at the top.

It only takes 16 minutes to the foot of the pass with the wind on my back. Not much of a warm up. Tighten the toe straps. Glasses into the back pocket. A swig from the bottle.


through the village

Through the village is actually quite steep. The heart rate rises slowly. 160 HR on the steepest bit past the pumping station.


through the forest

Into the forest. Cooler in here. More likely to meet animals than cars. Swerve around a snake. Around a bend. A small rabbit. "Watch out mate! There's a snake down there!" Heart rate approaching 170 HR.


steep hairpin

Now the steep harpin. Take it wide. Drop a gear. 177, 178 HR.


exposed near the top

Into the upper reaches. I can see the top now. The road easens. But the heart rate doesn't. I've built it up gradually but I'm on the limit now. No sprint in me today.


the finish line

Cross the line. Stop the watch. Take a photo.

(11 m 41 s, 3.4 km, 17.5 kmph, 166/179 HR AV/MAX, 83 cadence)

Not my best time. But I wasn't expecting it. I've done some hard training this week. This time gives me something to aim at.

As I prepare for some autumn hill climbs, I want to do more and more of these race pace efforts.

  • Climb 1 - TT
  • Climb 2 - big ring 50 × 21

Friday's training: Road (40 km)


They say a picture tells a thousand words. That the camera never lies. Looking at this one I can say I put in my best effort at Utsukushigahara.

The expression is remarkably similar to my finish at Uchinada. A 15 min TT and a 70 min HC are completely different things but the effort is the same.


No more racing now till the end of August. I can lose the top end a little. Go back to basics. Strength and endurance.


4 climbs of Komura Pass today. All in the big ring. Low heart rate. Low cadence. Heavy gears:

  • Climb 1 50 × 24
  • Climb 2 50 × 21
  • Climb 3 50 × 21

Thursday's training: Road (64 km)

Photo: Thank you


Two climbs of Isonobe in the heat today. The first climb at tempo pace. I take it easy and take a few photos with the keitai.

A tempo ride on Isonobe is like dancing the waltz to Metallica. This climb was made for harder things.


For the second climb I do some intervals. 30 s hard feels a little easy so I extend the work interval to 45 s. For the last interval I squeeze every last drop of juice out for 90s.


Climb 1 - tempo pace (HR up to 160 HR)

Climb 2 - intervals

  • 30 s hard / 60 s easy x 7 sets (HR up to 170/171 HR)
  • 45 s hard / 90 s easy x 3 sets (HR up to 177/178 HR)
  • 90 s hard x 1 set (HR up to 180 HR)

Wednesday's training: Road (68 km)

big vs small1.JPG

Lining up at Utsukushigahara the other day I couldn’t help but feeling out of place. Hill climbing in Japan is becoming more and more specialized. Records are being broken each year. Utsukushigahara was won with a time of 1h for the second year in a row. Part of this is due to advances in equipment. But perhaps more significant is the evolution of the hill climb specialist. Small skinny guys weighing I’d say 55 to 62 kg.

These days I weigh around 78/79 kg. 80kg Vs 60kg? I need 33% more power just to keep up!

Power is basically strength. The strength to weight ratio. The stronger the legs, the faster you will go. Recently I’ve been doing a bit of SFR in my training. Climbing hills in the big ring. Basically strength training on the bike.

My ride on Sunday wasn’t spectacular but I think I noticed the benefits of this training on the steep sections. I felt comfortable. In the saddle. Grinding it out. The rhythm. The rhythm. The rhythm.

big vs small2.JPG

Climbing in the big ring may sound daunting but it’s actually an easier workout than most hill climbing training. Sure the gear is heavy. But the effort is aerobic. Focus on technique. Enjoy the views.

Recently I’ve been doing hill climb repeats consisting of a LT climb, a climb of intervals and an SFR climb. “Never climb the same hill the same way twice” used to be my motto. But perhaps it’s best to do strength work and cardiovascular work on separate days.

Today I did 3 climbs of Ishikawa Pass in the big ring:

  • Climb 1 50 × 24 (cadence around 60?)
  • Climb 2 50 × 21 (cadence around 50?)
  • Climb 3 50 × 19 (cadence around 30?)
big vs small3.JPG

It’s so hot and humid today but we can find our oasis in the water vapour jets at Eki Mae Park.

Monday: Swim + road (commute 20 km)

Tuesday: Swim + Road (40 km)


Today I raced the Tour of Utsukishigahara. 8 hours sleep in the car. The longest sleep in a long time!

This is my first hill climb of the year. Usually I break myself in at Kusatsu or Yatsugatake. Half a year gone already. Still there’s nowhere like Utsukushigahara to work yourself over.

Warm up on the rollers. Take time to raise the heart rate but it doesn't respond well. 140 HR at 60 kmph. The furthest I can push it is 163. I decide to try and finish it on the road. I force it up to 170 on the steep section.

By now the rain is really coming down. Falling down like sheets. Coming down like love. Falling at my feet. Just like spring rain


I relish riding in the rain. Especially a hill climb. You can literally tick off the riders you will beat. Anyone in a rain coat. Anyone sheltering before the start…

I get a good spot at the front on the start line. Here we go. Into the steep section. The HR is slow to rise. I let the riders go. Don’t panic. Ride my race. By the end of the steep section I’m up to about 177HR.

Alan is beside me. We exchange a few words. “It eases off in a minute”. “Let’s work together through the flat section”.

Get through the steep bit. Rotate through the flat bit. Time to start picking off other riders. Now the only men harder than English men when it comes to riding in the rain are the Scottish. Alan and I paced each other all the way. Driving each other on.

I was riding constantly if not spectacular. Think Indurain more than Pantani. Clapton more than Hendrix


HR above 170 all the way (although I’d hoped for 180) and cadence around 80 rpm. I found myself in the 27 gear more than I expected. But it’s important not to grind it on a long race like this.

I was also really impressed with the light weight GS Astuto wheels. In training I’d noticed the acceleration they offer. Today I was impressed with how they keep momentum as the terrain changes, making it easy to put in a constant effort. A great balance of weight and aerodynamics.

We picked up another guy on the way up. He was keen to work together. (perhaps worried about the final 4km of rolling road). We met another guy who was also strong (in the big ring!) so we became a 4. The two shared a drink. Now anyone who’s ridden a bike knows that doing the dirty on someone who gives you some water is akin to sleeping with their mother…

Finally into the last 4km roller coaster ride. Visibility is really poor by now and thankfully nobody takes any risks. I find myself slipping away up front on a descent.

1km to go. The road rises. I keep it in the big ring. Out of the saddle. The road descends again. A strong wind from the side. 500m to go. Slip back into the small ring. The water taker comes past. Mother*****! Although I don’t care really. Let him go.

Into the cones to the finish. I can sense someone coming through. A quick glance. Alan! Animal instinct takes over. Into the big ring with about 5 metres to go. Neck and neck. Throw the bikes to the line. Nearly hit the orange guy!


Now it should have been a photo finish. But Alan crossed the start line 2 seconds behind me. So his chip was activated later. That’ll teach me to get a good starting position!

Later Alan’s wife Naomi told me “you were Alan’s target today!”. Well I’m glad I could provide the motivation. Next time Alan, you’ll be my target!

Naomi did another fantastic ride. She’s on the podium more than the podium girls at the TDF!

After the race Naomi, Alan and I tried to get back down via a rindo forest road loop. However in circumstances like my favorite scene in American Wererewolf in London we gave up and took the regular road back down.

My time was 2 minutes off my best. But I was happy with my first hill climb of the year. The effort I put in. And of course the great company.

(1h 11m 26s, 171/182 HR av/max, 82 cadence)

Next up Norikura!



前のアーカイブはandy: 2012年6月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2012年8月です。





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