andy: 2012年9月アーカイブ


Today I went to the Yatsuo Road Race in Yatsuo, Toyama Prefecture.

I signed up for the individual TT (8.3 km) and 6 lap road race (49.2 km)

The course is around a reservoir. I was expecting a flattish course with a couple of small climbs. How wrong I was.


From the start, the road begins to climb. A narrow one track but well surfaced road. At the base of the damn, the road climbs up with a series of switchbacks not dissimilar to the Niigata RR in Muikamachi. Once up on the top, the road is rolling with a series of tricky dangerous bends. Coming back on the other side of the water, the road is wider, less technical. There is a strong head wind but here is where the speed rises. Back down the damn, more technical bends, a chicane onto the valley floor and then another stiff climb back up to the start/finish area.

The aero helmet and disc wheel were saved for another day!

First up the individual TT.


Warm up

I did a couple of laps of the course to familiarize myself. Should I try to do the two big climbs in the 50 × 27? Up on the top, there are two tight bends. I don’t want to take any risks here.

A right angle corner at the top of the course. I decide to go wide when suddenly: Vooooof! The bike goes sliding under me. Sand on the road.

It’s been a few years since I’ve hit the ground. I’m lucky. No broken bones. Road rash to the thigh, knee, shin and elbow. A few big holes in my kit.

Luckily a doctor is on hand to treat the damage. The treatment hurts more than the fall!

Just 15 minutes to the start of the TT, I decide to go up and take on that corner again.



Starting a minute behind me is reigning 3 times champion Honma san. I enjoy talking about our breakaway at Uchinada two years ago and pick his brains for advice:

“Where should I put most effort in on the course?”
“On all of it. It’ll be over before you know it!”

Down the start ramp. Up to speed. In the drops. Feeling good.

I decide to go against Honma san’s advice and take the big climb on in the big ring. I’m flying at the bottom but laboring near the top. Over the summit it’s difficult to push on quickly.

Once recovered I press on. Caution through the corners. Out of the saddle to get up to speed again.


Down the descent. The climb to the finish straight. Sprint for the line.

At the finish a time of 13:11, which is good enough for 3rd place.


Road race

6 laps of this course. I imagine it will be a race of attrition as riders fall off the back.

The first two laps pass by quickly. It’s hard going but I manage my position well. Endo san (2nd in the TT) has been off the front from the start. I’m sitting near the back of the chase group.


As we enter the third lap, a flag is waved for the King of the Mountains prize awarded to the first rider up to the top of the dam.

At the base of the climb a bit of cat and mouse is going on. I think “Sod it!”.

Big ring. Out of the saddle. I have a gap of about 50 m. Up front, the lead motorbike and the orange jersey of Endo san. He’s looking back. A good sign. I pass him about half way up. He tries to find a good gear. In the 50 × 27, I have no choices left.

With the top in sight, Nakai san comes beside me. He’s flying . I’m done. “Take it!” I say. Into the small ring.

I’m joined by 3 Tondemo riders including Honma san and Ando san (1st in the TT) as we go over the top.


Here we are, 4 of us at the top. Nakai san in front and the field in pieces behind. “Let’s go for it!” They seem half-hearted. Maybe they have another plan? But as we join Nakai san he puts things into order.

On the backside of the damn we are joined by a group of 4 or 5 from behind. The Tondemo guys seem happy to sit up. Nakai san signals me onto his wheel. Here we go on a hellraising descent. This guy can climb and he descends amazingly too. I almost feel like shutting my eyes at times. I don’t want to come off again. Especially at 70 kmph!

On the valley floor we have a decent gap. Onto the 4th lap we are a 2 man breakaway. He paces me up the big climb. On the top, it’s my turn to lead.


Onto the 5th lap I’m struggling to hold his wheel on the big climb. At the top I’m joined by Ando san. We rotate well to get back up to Nakai san.

Nakai san bosses Ando san around like Bernard Hinault! “Harder! Faster! What are you looking back for?! The road up front! That’s all there is!”

Down the descent. Up the climb to start the last lap. I’m fading now. Like a heavyweight boxer in the 15th round. On the ropes. I just can’t hold the wheel…..

The last lap. I’m joined by Yamada san at the top of the climb. We work together but he’s suffering with cramps. I try to drop him on the descent. I get a gap, but it’s not big enough.

On the last climb he turns the screw slowly and I fall off his wheel.

4th over the line.

All out じょんのび!


  • TT - 3rd
  • 49 km RR - 4th

A beautiful day in Kashiwazaki today. The skyline of this small town is dominated by Mount Yoneyama. Rising from the sea to almost 1000 m in height.


Most of my training is in the hills around town. But there is also the chance to ride the flat of the valley floor. I have a nice little circuit - flat with 4 right angle corners, a chicane and usually a stiff wind. I used this to prepare for the Uchinada TT in June and visited again today.


In June I had the regular bike set up (including training wheels) with aerobars. Today I had no aerobars (not permitted for Sunday's TT) but had:

  • A deep rim on the front.
  • A disc cover on the back.
  • An aero helmet.
  • Some funky shoe covers.
  • A poor man's skinsuit (size "M" shorts and jersey!)

I had good sensations on the bike today. There was a strong wind blowing. Into the wind I kept the cadence high, the body low. With the wind on my back, I grinded out a heavier gear to take full advantage.

I stayed in the drops which maybe isn't as aero as resting forearms on the top, but offers better control and I think, better power transfer.

The disc on the back was okay in crosswinds too.

I kept the HR around 170 and ramped it up for a sprint at the end.

  • TT course x 2 laps (10.8 km, 16:04, 40.3 kmph, 170 / 182 HR av/max, 86 cadence)

A rest tomorrow and hopefully I'll be raring to go on Sunday.

Friday's training: Road (50 km)

helmet on.jpg

put the helmet on....

Thursday's training: Road (68 km)


R48 is a nice pass linking Kashiwazaki (Ishiji) and Nagaoka (Yoita). A climb of each side today.

The Kashiwazaki side is sweeping with nice views over the sea and a steep 10 % stretch at the top.


The Nagaoka side is more direct. Again with some steep 10% sections up the long drag.

Both sides at tempo pace under beautiful autumn skies...

Wednesday's training: Road (52 km)


the autumn sun casts the best shadows

There's a saying in Japan, 女心と秋の空, loosely translated as a woman's mind changes like the autumn skies (or vice versa).

After a few miserable days it was a beautiful day for a ride today.


the start line, just over the railway line

A big ring TT up Tsukayama Toge. The 11~27 race set up on the back gives me plenty of options. Although the last 3 gears (21, 24, 27) aren't as subtle in change as those on a 25 cassette (21, 23, 25).


the finish sign, just over the peak

The legs feel good after a rest yesterday. I can turn the screw on the way up. Going harder, harder, harder. Peaking at 180 HR over the top.

  • Tsukayama Toge TT (2.1 km, 5:43, 22 kmph, 172 / 181 HR AV / MAX, 81 cadence)

AJ - with a face like that I won't break many hearts......

I was happy with the effort today. Feeling pretty good for this weekend's racing.

Monday: rest day

Tuesday's training: Road (46 km)


Solo. In the rain. Head down. In the drops. All the way.


Legs feel good. Strong. Fluid.


Upper body relaxed. Nice and low. Almost effortless.

Sunday's training: Road (97 km, 33.8 kmph, 81 cadence, 129 / 156 HR AV / MAX, 1802 kcal)


sunrise on Komura Toge


splendid views of Joetsu city and Mt. Kurohime from Ogami Dake

Saturday's training: Road (70 km)


wet and windy on the coast

Next week I'll join the Yatsuo Road Race An 8km TT and a 49 km road race. For the TT it seems aerobars etc aren't allowed. It'll be an old fashioned head down, hands in the drops job.


10 km out: start / in: goal

Today I simulated 2 TT efforts. One "out" along the coast road. And one more back "in".


10 km in: start / out: goal

There was a swirling wind today that didn't seem to help either way. I also struggled to find a rhythm and feel at one with the bike. The heart rate too was reluctant to respond....


Tekuteku afternoon

Still the legs felt done after each effort, which is the main thing...

  • TT1 (out) (10.0 km, 16:22, 162 / 169 HR AV / MAX, 36.6 kmph, 82 cadence)
  • TT2 (in) (10.1 km, 16:15, 150 / 163 HR AV / MAX, 37.2 kmph, 79 cadence)

Friday's training: Road (68 km)


Lots of low lying cloud these last few days. The roads are a real patchwork of wet and dry. I was lucky to find a dry Tsukayama Toge today.

  • Tsukayama toge - big ring TT

Thursday's training: Road (56 km)


Sunday: rest day

Monday: rest day

Tuesday's training: Road (42 km)

  • Kita Jo rindos + Tsukayama Toge - big ring / 170 HR

Wednesday's training:

  • Road (25 km)
  • Rollers (35 mins)
  • 85 km, 37.4 kmph, 144 / 180 HR AV / MAX, 82 cadence

Saturday's training: Road (100 km)


In love, the first cut is the deepest. In cycling, the second climb is the hardest. It's also the most beneficial training wise.

With hill climb repeats, after the first climb the body says "thank god that's over! take me home for ice cream!".

U-turn at the bottom to climb again. The HR responds quicker than the first effort. But once up at the target HR it's a harder effort to keep it there.

Three climbs of Ishikawa Toge today:

  • Climb 1 - LT 170 HR
  • Climb 2 - LT 170 HR
  • Climb 3 - SFR 50 × 21

Friday's training: Road (55 km)


Katakuri forest is a great place to explore. A network of rindos crossing over and running along the spine of Mt. Hachikoku.


First I do a 170 HR / 50 × 23 up to the top of Tsukayama Toge.


Turn right into the forest. I keep to the road along the ridge. A real rollercoaster. The road is really steep in places. Into the 34 × 25.

kataku 4.jpg

The views over Kashiwazaki, Oguni and Nagaoka are great from up here.

Thursday's training: Road (50 km)


A much nicer day for a commute today. Beautiful autumn weather. As I cross the "kosoku" highway, Guy Clark's L.A freeway comes to mind....


"My boys and I lie in bed in the dark,
Wondering who sings better in the dark,
Is it Townes Van Zandt?
Or is it Guy Clark?"

Wednesday's training: Road (42 km)


A wet and windy commute.


Some new red bar tape.

Tuesday's training: Road (40 km)


Tucked away in the hills of Takayanagi is the small village of Oginoshima.


It may not be as spectacular as the world heritage site in Gokayama, but this is a real working village of “kayabuki” farm houses. Which is the reason why I love this place.


This is an aging rural community. It always saddens me when I see another kayabuki house become derelict. Today it’s a nice surprise to see a couple of houses having the thatched roofs repaired.


In an effort to boost this community, Takayangi town has two kayabuki farm houses that you can rent. Complete with an “iroiri” fire place and locally grown food, these are great places to stay. A training camp perhaps?


Many artists flock to the village to take photos and paint pictures. The deep snow in winter is a big draw. But the yellow autumn colours are beautiful too.

Monday’s training: Road (62 km)


More asaren this morning. Another 5am start from CS Enosan. I’m joined by Kitano san. We both have tired legs from yesterday so we skip the mountains for some through and off rotation.


How well we rotate together. Never anything said. Each pulling at around 37,38,39 kmph on the flat. Coming through smoothly and at the right time.

Pacing each other up the hills. Only the last climb of the day is contested over.


You can do hard training on your own with intervals and hill climbing etc. But this kind of 2 / 3 h constant “80% effort” is difficult to simulate on your own.


Kitano san いつもありがとうじょんのび!

(82 km, 35.2 kmph)

Sunday’s training: Road (98 km)


Asaren with Nishihiro san and Kitano san. On a very hilly course we contest every hill. "前半" Kitano san Vs. "後半" Andy. オールアウトじょんのび!


Saturday's training: Road (95 km)


Lactate threshold. The borderline between aerobic and anaerobic activity. For me I calculate this to be around 170 HR.

This is a very important value for cyclists:

  • Train below this level to build your base, work on endurance, recover.
  • Train above this level to fine tune your engine, build your top end.

There is also great benefit in training at LT itself. You can train your body to work harder before going anaerobic.


2 controlled climbs of Ishikawa Toge at 170 HR. Riding at LT can be tricky.

Push too hard and the body will be shocked and try to counter the increased load. The key is to turn the screw slowly. 120 HR > 130HR > 140 HR. This increase seems almost linear with effort.

Once I’m above 150 HR it requires a greater increase in effort to raise the HR a few beats. At 160HR the body is saying “this is hard enough” and tries to slow things down. Keep pushing.

Once at 170 HR it’s relatively easy. On a steep slope like Ishikawa Toge I feel myself holding back to stop the HR rocketing. A real concentrated effort. In the zone.

Back home I enjoy a spin with Luke sat on the top tube. It’s great to chat away with the wind in our hair…

Thursday: rest day

Friday’s training: Road – Ishikawa Toge x 2 (46 km)


After 4 races in just a few weeks, I now have a bit of time before my next one.

Time to work on the engine. Solid steady efforts. A couple of hours in the saddle at tempo pace.

Wednesday's training: Road (60 km)


A shift in the weather today. A slight drop in temperature. Heavy rain during the day. And even a tornado warning.


More bearable on the climbs. Cooler on the descents.

Tuesday's training: Road - Tsukiyama Toge x 2 (48 km)


Monday's training: Road (commute) 45 km


Today I raced the Tokamachi Hillclimb. The only hillclimb race in Niigata this year.

We made a fun weekend of it. Joined by Andrew and family, we spent Saturday afternoon on the beach, then onsen, a great dinner and a few beers.


Sunday on the road at 5am, we arrived at the race start in Matsunoyama before 6am. After Andrew set off the alarm in the disabled toilets, we thought it best to head out to warm up on the bottom part of the course.

After a short parade, we were racing by 8:10. A small but strong field.


Riding without a computer, I tried to stay near the front. Follow the moves.

At the bottom of the first steep rise, Team CB’s Takahashi san attacked. He was pursued by Oono san and 2 guys from Team Fins.

I was in the next group of four with Nozaki san, Kenta san and Tazaki san. Fine company indeed.


Through the flatter section I was in the big ring. Tazaki san spinning 140 rpm in his single front ring. With teammates up the road, Tazaki san and Kenta san were happy to sit on.


As the gap in front grew, Tazaki san decide it was time to go. Open up the throttle and he’s gone. Kenta san and Nozaki san do their best to follow. I have no tricks up my sleeve.


A solo TT from here to the top. I enjoy riding on feel alone. Perhaps pushing a heavier gear than ususal.

However, like last week, I find myself counting off the last few kilometers. I used to always feel stronger in the second half of a hillclimb but I find myself fading these days.

The last steep section was torture indeed!


8th in the Champion’s Class. Andrew tucked in behind in 9th. Tazaki san swallowed up all in front for another impressive win. CONGRATULATIONS!

Back to Kashiwazaki for lunch and another session on the beach. Thanks Andrew and family for a great weekend!



前のアーカイブはandy: 2012年8月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2012年10月です。





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