andy: 2014年7月アーカイブ

2000 up.jpg

Second day in a row to do 2000+ m climbing. Second day in a row that the heart rate doesn't really respond.

I feel I'm rested. But this is hard training. Especially in the heat. At 430 in the morning it's 17 degrees. At 8 am, it's double that, 35 degrees.

I want to put in a big block of training this week. Back off next week. So a big ride. A hard ride.

  • Isonobe ~ Komura Pass ~ Ogami Dake ~ Sakurazaka Pass ~ Asahi no Sato ~ Takayanagi ~ back roads ~ Nota ~ home

Usually I finish a ride wanting to ride more. Not today. All the contact points are hurting: feet, hands, bum. The heat does that to you. Fill the bath with cold water. Jump in....

Tuesday's training: Road (145 km, 2,100 m climbing)


Cyclists often talk about being "in the zone". Being at one with the bike. It's not easy. Of course it's not easy.

But when everything clicks... The heart rate rises. The breathing is steady. The gears match the gradient...

On Friday I was in the zone. The end of a big training week. The day after a 45 min TT on Mt. Ogami. I smashed that time with my third climb of the mountain in 3 days.

Saturday and Sunday off. 430 am Monday morning. Fresh legs. A cool 20 degrees. Record breaking conditions!

Ogami Dake TT time. Nota lights. 3,2,1 Go!

I believe 30 to 60s into a climb you know if it's your day or not.

The HR is sluggish. 10 beats below expectations (should've drank that Red Bull?). The legs feel good. But can't find the cadence sweet spot. Can't keep focus....

Max effort. But I know I'm off the pace...

  • Ogami Dake TT (17.8 km, 703 m climbing, 156/171 HR, 79 cadence, 23.3 kmph, 45:39 )

Unlike the Lemonheads, I don't get down about it. Spin home. Breakfast. Go again.

Ogami Dake part 2. This time the steep side. 33 degrees now.

First up is Komura Toge. Now the HR responds!

Drop down. Ogami Dake. 14 percent in the steepest places. In control. But it's a hard effort. Looking for shade. Legs on fire....

Two climbs of Ogami Dake. Off pace for the 1st effort. In the zone for the 2nd effort.

Saturday and Sunday: rest days

Monday's training: Road (120 km, 2,200 m climbing)


3rd day in a row to take on Mt. Ogami Dake. It's a tough climb. At 45 minutes in length, you have to pace your effort.

It's really hot today. But I have a tail wind for the first part of the climb.

The traffic lights in Nota. 3,2,1, Go!

Up Nakayama Pass. Like yesterday, gears to spare. Up to 170 HR at the top.

Drill it through the village. I really believe that this is where bigger riders have to take advantage. On slight gradients. Stick it in the big ring. Push, push, push.

Sakurazaka Pass. Constantly changing gears. This is were experience comes in. 180 HR over the top.

Ogami Dake. No deer today. But a big eagle in the road.

The heart rate is responding well. 180 HR on the steep sections.

Push harder than yesterday on the easier sections. Get into the big ring as much as possible.

The final concrete section. Slippery yesterday. I can get out of the saddle today. 184 HR over the top.

  • Ogami Dake TT (17.8 km, 690 m climbing, 163/183 HR, 79 cadence, 24.6 kmph, 43:26 )

This is good training for Shiori Pass Hill Climb. 2 weeks to go...

Friday's training: Road (60 km, 950 m climbing)


A TT on Wednesday's climb:

  • Nota~Nakayama Pass~Sakurazaka Pass~Ogami Dake

It's wet and mid 20s. Perfect weather for a hard effort. The wind is strong though. Mostly a headwind.

3,2,1 Go!

Nakayama Pass breaks you in slowly. After the sweeping right the gradient picks up. 13 percent on the left curve. 80 cadence, 170 HR, gears to spare... good sensations.

Drop into Ukawa village. Sakurazaka Pass. Big ring on the lower slopes. The upper slopes are like steps. Easy, steep, easy, steep. 178 HR at the top.

A slight descent. Right turn. Mt. Ogami Dake. Steep at the start. 2 deers in the road. Mother and child...

A wide variety of gradients. It's hard to maintain the intensity. Something to work on in training.

Into the clouds. The last concrete steep section. The paragliders take off. Goal.

  • Ogami Dake TT (17.8 km, 686 m climbing, 162/178 HR, 79 cadence, 23.7 kmph, 44:50 )

Home in less than 2 hours. The same time as one climb of Isonobe. But with more climbing. A good asaren option.

Thursday's training: Road (55 km, 860 m climbing)


An 18 km hill climb? In Kashiwazaki? It's not the alps here!

10 km inland are the crossroads in Nota. Ride up Nakayama Pass. A short descent. Ride up Sakurazaka Pass. Another quick descent. The climb to the peak of Mt. Ogami Dake.

The road gets narrower and narrower. No stops. No cars (usually). No guard rails from Sakurazaka. No mirrors on Ogami either. Patches of debris after last week's heavy rain....

The short descents mean it's not a pure climb. But there are plenty of 10 percent plus sections. Easier sections too. A chance to work through the gears. Next time I'll TT it....

  • Ogami Dake x 1

Wednesday's training: Road (95 km, 1,100 m climbing)


In the winter, lots of time is spent strength training. During the season, bike work should be enough.

SFR training today. 50 × 19 gear or less. 40~50 cadence target. About 15 minutes a climb, 2 climbs is a decent workout.

  • Komura Pass x 2

Tuesday's training: Road (75 km, 750 m climbing)


Yahiko again on Monday morning. This time the weather couldn't be better.

The preparation couldn't be worse though! Sunday morning on the beach. Drinking all afternoon at a festival in town...

Monday. 4 am. Old red eyes is back. Can't stomach breakfast. If Nishihiro san wasn't waiting I'd go back to bed...

Heavy head. Heavy legs. Through and off to Mt. Yahiko.

Nozomi climb at upper tempo pace. Get the blood flowing. Get the sweat flowing. The athlete's hangover cure?

Descend to the Dairo gate. 10 or so guys waiting.

My plan is to follow Ohno san's wheel. But 5th at Ishikawa RR yesterday, he's in recovery mode.

A TT (timed effort). We set off as a group. Tazaki san starts later as usual.

No confidence. I don't start the stop watch. Last through the gate. Just blast it. See what happens...

Full gas. Pass everyone. Really hard effort. Can't control the breathing. Need to settle into the climb.

I see Watanabe san is chasing. Need to be ready to grab his wheel. Here he comes. Dig in. Lock on.

He's a pure climber. His gear is one or two sprockets heavier than mine. His body weight much lighter.

At 10% average grade the Dairo climb is always tough.

A steep section. Watanabe san attacks. Out of the saddle. A gap of 10 metres in just a few seconds. I jump out of the saddle too. But it's a wasted effort. Sit back down. Drop a gear. Grind it up. Close the gap.

The first attack has the element of surprise. I'm ready for the second one. Still he gaps me. 8 to 10 metres. Stay seated. Reel him in again.

Now they say you can only attack 3 times. Watanabe san goes 6 times. But each one is less effective than the last.

I play my role. My own worst enemy. The wheelsucker.

Sat on at around 175 HR. This is great training. I'm tempted to attack myself. But after last week at Norikura, I want to work on my sprint at the end.

Count down the switch backs. The upper steep section. The sweeping bends.

Here we go. Drop one gear. Another. Draw level. Clunk. Clunk. Nobody likes the sound of gears going down.

187 HR. Goal.

Cross the line. Shake hands. He did all the hard work. "If this was a race, you could punch me!"

  • Mt. Yahiko x 2

The hard work done. 55km back to Kashiwazaki. A strong headwind. The kind that drains you. Physically. Mentally. AKA great training!

Monday's training: Road (135 km, 1300 m climbing)


June's rainy season has come. In July! Terrific thunderstorms through the night.

Asaren with Nishihiro san planned. At 4am it's a war zone out there!

A quick email. "Let's wait an hour."

5am. The rain has stopped. It's wet though. More puddles than a wet Wednesday in Manchester.

On the road we enjoy chatting. The skies look to be clearing. Our families are planning a day on the beach together...

Suddenly, after the first climb, 10 km into the ride, the heavens open.

Through and off. "All you can do is pedal!" Always fast in the rain. Mt. Yahiko by 6:35.

Start the climb. Into the small ring. The chain is jumping on the 23, 25. Stretched in the big gears. A week of riding in the rain has taken it's toll.

Play through the gears. 11 to 17 sprockets are okay. Stick it in the big ring. SFR time. Big ring climbing!

Push pull push pull. Enjoy the climb in light rain...

  • Yahiko x 1

Thunder at the top! Heavy rain on the descent. Heavy rain all the way home too.

All you can do is pedal!

It's fun though. The power station climb. 100 km on the clock. First big effort of the day. Big Gear. 70 cadence. Grind it up. 35 kmph / 180 HR up and over the top...

Saturday's training: Road (115 km, 850 m climbing)

Sunday: rest day


When you get up for asaren, the first thing you feel is your head. Too many beers last night?

Then you feel your legs. Tired from yesterday's effort?

Then you look out of the window. Is it raining?

Not sure?

Go out onto the balcony. Check the sky over the mountains....


Beep, beep, beep. A mail from Nishihiro san. "I'm DNS".


Check the radar. Predicted rain movement. Looks okay.


Pick up the HRM. The HRM is like Superman's Cape. Once it's on... there's no turning back.

Out to Isonobe. The low clouds mean it's darker than usual. Street lights are still on. The wind is weaker too. No flags flapping today.

A bit of rain as I reach Takayanagi. Isonobe is in the clouds. The HR doesn't respond after yesterday's intervals. But I enjoy the climb. Enjoy the sensations.

  • Isonobe x 1

The rain comes down heavy on the way home. But once home the ground is dry.

Shower. Breakfast. A change of cycling gear. A change of cycling shoes. Off to work.....

Drenched on the way home too...

Friday's training: Road (66 km, 550 m climbing)


After a rest day is a good time for intervals.

3 climbs of Komura Pass today.

  • Climb 1: 40 s hard / 80 s easy x 7

In the saddle. A heavyish gear. Only time on the computer's display.

  • Climb 2: 140~170 HR crisscross x 5

In the saddle. The first interval is always the hardest. It's a long hard effort to get the HR up. About 3 mins. After that it's 40 to 50s to raise it 30 beats.

  • Climb 3: SFR (50 × 19,17)

SFR is best saved till last. Aim for 40 to 50 rpm. Concentrate on the effort. Use all the muscles to grind it out...


Wednesday: rest day

Thursday's training: Road (62 km, 850 m climbing)


If Isonobe is "my everest", Mt. Ogami Dake is "my rock".

It looks like a rock. 750 m tall. A green Ayers Rock.


From Yoshikawa town the road climbs from 0 m to 600 m. Straight up. Steep. Relentless.


First time to climb it this year. I do Komura Pass at tempo pace. I want to do the same on the rock, but like Isonobe, there's nowhere to hide...

Tuesday's training: Road (115 km, 1,550 m climbing)


Often after a race I go exploring.

Last year I found a little road being built up and around Mt. Kurohime.

Today I went back.

I think it is a new slick road being built on an old "rindo" forest road.


I was surprised how far they've got. 6km of super smooth deserted road. Mostly up. With quite a few steep sections.

Still being built. Eventually it will connect with Takayanagi. A great new toge in the making!

Monday's training: Road (60 km, 850 m climbing)


JBCF Norikura Skyline Hill Climb on Sunday.

Build up

I've trained well for this. My weight is 74 kg. The Lynskey titanium frame and GS Astuto carbon 50 mm wheels weigh in at 8kg. The gearing is 34 × 25 bottom gear.


The course is 18.4 km. 7.4 percent average gradient. Some steep sections. Some easier sections. At 2,600 metres, the air is thin at the top. Strong winds are also a factor.

Warm up

I plan a good one.

Two climbs up to the top of the small pass at tempo pace. Then raise the heart rate to 170 HR x 3.

(20 km, 800 m climbing)


80 to 90 E3 starters. Light rain. Perfect racing conditions!

3,2,1 Go!

A neutral start. Behind the race car. Nice and easy.

The flag drops. Jostle for position.

The first 4 km are 10 percent plus all the way. A small group of 5 get a gap. I'm in a second group of about 10.

I should be in the front group. But I'm not that kind of explosive rider. I'll try to draw them in...

80 cadence. 180 heart rate.


I break from our group. One guy, race number "550", on my wheel. I signal him through. "Let's work together".

4km on the clock. Through the toll gate. The 5 leading riders are 100m up the road. An easy section. A big dig to close the gap. Don't ... quite ... make ... it ...

Steep again. A big guy falls off the front group. 550 attacks as we pass him.

Still 12 km to go. "Take my wheel". But he can't hold it.

In the distance another rider drops off the front. 550 joins him. 2 of them up the road. The road flattens. They start to rotate.

Into the big ring. I need to bridge. Someone on my wheel? A team Tondemo rider "How you going Andy?" "Enjoying the ride!"

That was it. I was really enjoying it. First time to feel this good on a climb in years...

"Let's work together." "First let's catch those two!"

The Tondemo guy is strong. Soon we are a 4.

I love this course. So much variation. Really steep. But also rolling in places. We start to rotate. One guy can't hold pace. He drops off the back. Down to a 3.

The road steepens. The Tondemo guy is too strong. He opens a gap. Let him slip away. A great move that will see him finish 2nd.

Just me and 550. 5th and 6th on the road?

The upper reaches. A marshal warns about the wind as we turn a corner...

Wham! Straight from the side. We work together to shelter each other. A two man echelon!

Pass a Nalsima guy who's fallen off the front. He’s gone. 4th and 5th now?

Another rider joins from behind. He's strong. Taking big pulls. We're rotating well though. We need to in this wind.

It’s like tornado time in Kansas. A big guy like me has an advantage when the wind is like this. The deep rim wheels are steady. A great test for them. Two riders sheltering in my shadow.

Like the flick of a switch, the wind changes. Dorothy and Toto come flying passed! Like leaves in the wind. I’m out of the saddle. Raise the mast! 40 kmph up a 10 percent grade! Laughs all round….

Right up in the clouds now. 3 of us battling it out for 4th, 5th and 6th.

Up and up. Above the tree line. Snow on the side of the road.

On to the top of the mountain. Rolling road. Head wind. 1 km to go...

My effort has been a TT. A TT on the limit. So when it comes to sprint time ... I just … don't … have it ...

  • Result: ( 6th, 1:08:50, 172/180 HR)

Happy with my effort though. I'm back as a hillclimber. I'd almost given up. Loving climbing once more!

Bring on Shiori Pass Hill Climb in August!


Norikura Skyline Hill Climb on Sunday. 18.4 km at 7.2%. Weather looks a little uncertain There's always the risk of this one being cancelled.

Not much training this week. Lots of resting. Early nights.

A rest day on Wednesday.

Asaren on Thursday. Feel strong on the flats. Comfortable on the climb.

  • Isonobe x 1

Recently I get a niggling numbness in my left foot when climbing. Apart from that, feeling good.

Later tempo climbing, in the rain, on Ishikawa Pass.

  • Ishikawa Pass x 2

2 days rest now before Sunday's race.

Wednesday: rest day

Thursday's training: Road (110 km, 1,400 m climbing)

Friday: rest day

Saturday: rest day


A recovery swim yesterday. Just to get the blood flowing. Nice and easy.

Today I planned to do asaren with Nishihiro san. But Luke wakes up at 2:30 (poor boy has chicken pox). A 4 am mail. DNS.

Later a quick ride. I want to test myself. A TT on Komura Pass.

I set my best time way back in 2008

This was my vintage year. 33 years old. I raced loads. On the podium at Kusatsu. Top 10 at Yatsugatake. A few wins in smaller races. In the JBCF - my best time on Tsugaike, leading before a flat at Norikura, good placings at the tough road races of Ishikawa, Iida, Ogawa, Wajima .... Ahhhhhh

So here I stand. At the foot of the pass. 39 years old. 32 degrees. Up since half past 2...

Can I beat it? Why not!

3,2,1 Go!

The first drag is the steepest. Best this way. It brings the heart rate right up. Swing around the first hair pin. Check the computer. In the zone.

The next steep section. Look down. Gears to spare. A good sign. But gasping for air. Careful not to over cook it.

The road evens. Then steepens. Then evens again.

Into the big ring. 50 × 25. Push, push, push. 50 × 23. Time is gained here.

The last steep hairpin. Up to the finish. All out now. Give it everything...

186 HR over the line. Stop the watch. 10:34.

  • 10:34, 177/186 HR, 82 cadence, 20.6 kmph

A new PB! 7 seconds up! Magic!

I'm happy to beat 33 years old me. Moreover, I'm happy I can get the HR right up there like 6 years ago. However, Norikura is a marathon at 18+ km...

This was a really hard effort. I can feel it in my hamstrings. I'll need a thorough warm up before Norikura next Sunday. Lots of rest too, so I can get in the zone again....

Monday's training: Swim (2 km)

Tuesday's training: Road (36 km, 400 m climbing)


A dress rehearsal for Norikura Skyline HC on July 13th.

Friday was a rest day. Saturday too. A day on the beach - swimming, football, beer, sunburn... A rest day?!

  • The Teradomari shinkansen

A 4:15 start on Sunday. Meet Nishihiro san at 4:30. Raise the HR on the climb behind the power station. Through and off to Teradomari.

We make good time. Say goodbye to Nishihiro san here. Say good morning to Andrew at the foot of Mt. Yahiko at 5:50.

  • Climb 1 - Nozomi skyline - upper tempo

This is the warm up. The pipe opener. We enjoy chatting. Slightly breathless. Around 160 HR. Shoulder to shoulder all the way.

"We should climb like this more often!"

Drop down the steep side to meet the F(t) Racing guys.

  • Climb 2 - Dairo skyline - race pace (19:12)

The steepest of the 3 skylines. 10 percent all the way. 5 of us start together. Tazaki san will start from behind with a handicap. Gone are the days when we used to battle it out shoulder to shoulder from bottom to top!

Still I'm in good company. I want to see how long I can hold Oono san's wheel.

Rev the engines! 3,2,1 Go!

I lead up the first drag. 4 on my tail. Speed and cadence are high. Feeling comfortable even on steep climbs these days.

Soon Oono san comes round. Grab his wheel.

Follow the wheel. Follow the wheel. Synchronized gear changes. 180 HR / 80 cadence. A few turns on the front. Mostly behind.

Hill climbing is a mental game. Alone you think about so many different things. So many distractions. Behind someone, it's just the wheel. Just the wheel. Don't lose the wheel....

Tazaki san comes flying past through the hair pins. Dancing like Pantani. Again the mental game. "Don't even think about trying to get on my wheel!"

He settles down about 30 metres up the road. 30 metres is a long way in a hill climb.

My job is to follow the wheel. I'm right in the zone. How I'd love a wheel like this to follow at Norikura.

Raise the pace at the top. He gets a slight gap. A shake of hands.

  • Climb 3 - village skyline - race pace (27:29)

The old hill climb race course. There is a chance to draft on the lower reaches.

Start with the traffic light. Red, Orange, Green, Go!

I lock onto Tazaki san's wheel. 4 riders behind me.

A big rouleur. Behind a tiny climber. Drafting? It's difficult! Still it's motivation. Follow his gear changes. Into the big ring. Into the drops. Vrooom vrooom!

The steep hairpin. About 15 percent? I lose his wheel here. Look back. Just Oono san on my wheel. "Remember Uchinada TTT last year!?" I joke... At least this is a steep climb. That was pancake flat...

I push on. Maybe we can catch him? Through the gate. The grade picks up. Oono san comes to the front to set the pace.

He flicks me through at the top of the steep section. He must be suffering?

We meet Fujita san on the way up. He joins us. I'm leading all the way. I'm concentrating on the effort. 175 plus HR. 80 cadence.

The right hairpin. The steep drag. Need to be ready here. Andrew used to jump me here in our younger years!

Look back. Oono san has gone. Just Fujita san. We share the pacing from here. He's all about power. A huge guy. We've battled it out on the track before. First time to climb together.

I think I'll jump him after the tunnel. He's thinking the same thing. Battle it out to the line.....

Great training!

Just 1 week to Norikura. This was the dress rehearsal. My climbing is good. My weight is good. The "two days rest" schedule seems to work. Looking forward to next Sunday...

Sunday's training: Road (150 km, 1,900 m climbing)


Ride today? Ride tomorrow? The weather can often decide this for you.

Looks like rain on Friday. That can be a rest day.

I want to work the legs on Thursday. But I don't want to raise the HR.

SFR on Komura Pass.

  • Komura Pass x 2 (50 × 21,19 gear)

On the second climb the weather changes suddenly. 32 degrees. Drops to 22 degrees. The wind picks up. A storm is coming.

Race the storm home. Just about win it.

A week of hard training. A rest on Friday. A rest on Saturday. A race pace effort on Sunday....

Thursday's training: Road (50 km, 600 m climbing)

Friday: rest (commute 10 km)

Saturday: rest

stuck in the 25.jpg

The modern age. Cyclists watch their wattage. Keep an eye on the heart rate.

But there is no substitute to gearing. What gear do you need to climb that hill? To ride at that intensity on the flat?

More hills today:

  • Isonobe x 1
  • Yakushi Pass x 4

Stuck in the 25 today. On grades where I'm usually in the 23. Or on a good day the 21.

Take it easy tomorrow. Go again on Friday. Rest on Saturday...

Wednesday's training: Road (125 km, 1400 m climbing)


Asaren on Isonobe this morning. The HR is sluggish after 2 hard days climbing. The legs burn like usual.

  • Isonobe x 1

Later Ishikawa Pass with Nishihiro san. He sets out before me on the first two climbs. My carrot up the road.

With someone to chase, the motivation is high. Up to speed quickly. Race pace. The heart rate settles at around 175 HR (80 cadence). Maybe this should be my new target HR for racing?

A third climb SFR. 50 × 21 gearing. Feeling strong...

  • Ishikawa Pass x 3

Tuesday's training: Road (125 km, 1,400 m climbing)


The third month in a row to top 2000 km (April 2,155km, May 2,810km).

The focus has been more on climbing than distance. 21, 000 m up. High up into the ozone layer!

今月も2000キロオーバー(4月 2155キロ、5月 2810キロ)。今月は登りが注目しました。21000mアップ。オゾン層までへ!

June's training:

Road: 2,015 km, 21,000 m climbing
Rest days: x 7
Race: x 1



前のアーカイブはandy: 2014年6月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2014年8月です。





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