andy: 2014年9月アーカイブ


the last steep part of the last climb

a summit finish

this is a max effort

at 75 kg it's best done in the saddle

hands close to the stem, pulling gently on the bars

legs pulled in, concentrate on pulling, pushing, pulling, pushing - imaginery pistons

jaw locked open

drop the gears as the summit approaches

squeeze every last drop of power out...


still tired two days later!

Monday's training: Road (recovery pace x 40 km)

Tuesday's training: Road (tempo pace x 70 km)


warm up with Ito san

The JBCF tour rolled into Niigata this weekend.

Welcome to Niigata! Where the mountains rise from the sea. The air is clean. The water pure. Home to the best rice, sake and most beautiful women in Japan!

This is a good course. A steep climb up the dam. Rolling around the lake. A sweeping descent. 2 of these. And then a climb to the summit finish.

Build up

2 weeks ago we reccied the course. I did a hard and consistent effort. Hot on the wheels of Tazaki san (3rd today in E1) and Satou san (4th in E2).

I did the three climbs at 4:27, 4:24 and 4:32. At an estimate 400+watts each time.

Since then I’ve been down with a cold. A whole week and I still can’t shake it…

Warm up

I decide on a long one. Build the intensity slowly. Clear the lungs. Coughing and spluttering. Raise the HR 3 times on the flat. 3 times on a short climb.


climb 1, good position, about 10th man

Race time

Mid-afternoon and it’s hot. 97 riders start the E3 race. 10 Niigata friends in the bunch. This is our home race!

3,2,1 Go!

A descent. Leading into a right angle right hander. It’s neutral but a bit chaotic. Everyone seems to get round the corner. Except the commissionaire’s car! He mis-times it! Just the lead motorbike then. All the better for it.

Climb 1 (4:21 est. 406 W)

97 riders on the road. It’s all about following wheels. A few duffers have to be passed.

The first climb is the one where you can hold back a little. So long as you can bridge in the top group. I’m about 10th man.

Around the lake. I keep my place. About 10th man. Avoid getting involved in the pulling. Safe from any crashes behind. Textbook racing!

Kenta san and Tojo san (Fins) and team mate Takahashi san are doing good pulls. I sit back. The heart rate is high but it’s not too tough.

The descent. Hayakawa san (Fins) attacks and gets a gap. We are all back together on the climb. But it was a nice move. Need to be right at the front on descent no.2.


climb 2 Me, team mate Takahashi san, and Fin's Tojo san, Kenta san (hidden) and Hayakawa san all in the mix

Climb 2 (4:37 est. 389W)

This is an important climb. Splits will be made here. I work my way to the front. The crowd is big on the final steep drag. I’m third man. Oono san and Tazaki san screaming us on.

We roll around the lake again. I’m a bit further up now. About 5th man. I do a few pulls. Nothing too hard. Try to be on the front on the two right angle corners at the back end of the course.

The back straight. More jostling down. I’m on the front when riders come round from both sides. You don’t want to be swarmed up here. Elbows out. Force my way back to the front.

Hayakawa san, Kenta, then me. Like a training ride. Into the descent. Hayakwa san goes again. This is a great move as other riders are forced to chase.

6th man on the descent. But I’m not fast enough through the corners. By the valley floor I’m in no-man’s land. Trapped between the 5 up the road and the chasing pack.

Climb 3 (4:37 est. 389W)

This should be the climax. But I’m being swarmed from behind. It's a pure hill climb now.

I pass Hayakwa san. "Good job!" His work is done. I’m on 185HR. Can’t go much harder.

A little dig at the end gets me a few places. 191 HR over the top.

Kenta is 1st. Takahashi is 2nd. A Niigata 1-2!

I drop from 6th to 16th but..

I’m satisfied with my race. I rode well without the best condition. I rode a good race too. Next up is Gunma CSC – 120 km. My kind of race!


One of the great things about working in Japan is the annual health check. A full medical examination including, eyes, ears, blood tests, x-rays and electrocardiagram. Free for everyone.

The idea is to catch a problem before it becomes serious.

My results came through. Like my school report! All "A"s except for one "D". Not Art this time! A "D" for the electrocardiagram.

If your resting HR is below 60, this rings the alarm bells.

Competitive endurance athletes often have resting HR below this.

In a phenomenon known as "sports heart", the heart muscle strengthens. The heart pumps harder, pumping more blood each time. Therefore the heart can beat slower at rest.

However, a diseased heart can produce similar symptoms, so it's important to have more tests.

On Friday I went in for further analysis. I'm lucky to have many friends at the hospital. Dr. Shin Imazato talked me through it. The further analysis:

  • a blood test
  • another electrocardiagram
  • ultrasound analysis of the arteries in the neck
  • ultrasound analysis of the heart
  • 24 hour surveillance

Lieing on the bed for the electrocardiagram I wasn't as surprised as the nurse to see a HR of 40 bpm. The ultrasound showed a heart which pumps 150 percent stronger than average. The blood test showed no markers for heart disease.

In and out in less than an hour. Quicker than a haircut!

All signs are good but the 24 hour monitoring is necessary. Shin asked me to do a typical day. Some hard training and drink a few beers! Doctor's orders!

On Friday afternoon an easy ride. Just one hard effort. A 170 LTHR climb of Komura pass.

Asaren with Nishihiro san on Saturday. Still coughing and spluttering. The first hour is a pipe opener. 2 hard efforts on the 2 climbs of the day.

I'm looking forward to looking at the 24h data with Shin.

Friday's training: road (60 km, 500 m climbing)

Saturday's training: Road (90 km)

Race tomorrow! We'll see how it goes!


The week before a race is the time to ease off...

I've been knocked down by a cold since Sunday. Only the second time to be sick this year. But right before a race...

Rest is best. 3 days off.

A quick spin attached onto my commute on Wednesday. Still don't feel great.

Wednesday night I feel 50:50. Sunday's race? To start? To DNS?

I decide to give myself a test on the rollers on Thursday...

The worlds TT on youtube. On the balcony. In a typhoon! All the inspiration I need!

Chasing Bradley. 4 × 10 km TT efforts. 50 × 12, 100 + rpm, each one a harder effort.

I'm surprised how hard I can push it. 68 kmph av. for the last effort. This would be torture in winter. An aerobic effort today. I feel I could go harder...

It's not the perfect lead up. But all I can do is rest. Maybe a couple of short spins to keep things moving. Race on Sunday!

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: Road (30 km)

Thursday's training: Rollers (1h)


430 am start. Rolling R116 in the fog. Nishihiro san for company.

600 am group start in Bunsui. 4 starters. The first half is flat. Down the coast.

Hayakawa san is pushing his 53 × 12. My gear is much lighter. My cadence is much higher too. 95 to 100 rpm. Race cadence.

Part 2 - Kashiwazaki. The gateway to the mountains! Roll down the arm warmers. Dig in!

Each climb is the same.

Grind it up. An easy gear at first. High cadence. Hayakawa san on my wheel. He's pushing 350 watts. Me on the front, 10 kilos heavier. How many watts? Time for a power meter???

Drop the gears as we approach the summit each time. In the saddle. Hands on the tops. Push and pull.

Focus on the pull. 180+ HR over the top.

I've done lots of these big rides this year. They feel easy now. They've made the difference.

Fitter, lighter, stronger.

Friday: rest day

Saturday's training: Road: (175 km, 1,500 m climbing, 34.5 kmph, 136 / 186 HR, 88 cadence)

Sunday: rest day


Tempo pace. The legs are still a little heavy. Time to rest up before the weekend.

Thursday's training: Road (75 km, 900 m climbing)


Asaren on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Monday's race simulation was a hard effort. Breaking into the 190s HR.

On Tuesday I wait to see if I wake up naturally. If I feel ready to go.

The body clock is more reliable than an alarm clock. 430 am the eyes are wide awake.

A solo ride. Nice and easy. Enjoy climbing Komura Pass as the sun comes up (140 HR max).

On Wednesday I do a loop with Nishihiro san. The legs are still a little heavy. Keep the cadence high @ 90 ~ 100 rpm.

Two hard efforts:

The Ishiji climb: I come to the front. Grind the speed up gradually. Nishihiro san on my wheel. 40 kmph. Fade slightly just before the top.

The power station climb: Same again. Come to the front. Drop the gears slowly. Build momentum slowly. Nishihiro san tries to come around before the top. An extra kick...

Training before breakfast is the way to go.

A shower. Get the kids changed. Make the breakfast. The washing up. The futons.... Time for work!

Jump on the bike again...

Tuesday's training: Road (40 km, 400 m climbing)

Wednesday's training: Road (100 km, 500 m climbing)


In two weeks the JBCF Pro Tour and Elite Tour visit Niigata. A road race around the reservoir in Minami Uonoma.

A tough climb up the dam. A rolling loop around the lake. A fast and twisting descent.

Today 9 of us reccy the course. And then race it.

I arrive early. 1 loop solo. Another easy lap as a group.

We are 5 E3 riders, 2 E2 riders and 2 E1 riders.

The E3 race is 2 full laps. The finish is at the top of the dam. So 3 climbs in total. We'll do this at race pace.


3,2,1 Go!

A short descent. A bit of flat. Straight into the climb. It's a toughy. Like a mini hill climb.

Climb no.1

Saito san (all the way from Tokyo) shows his legs. He's riding well. He gets a nice gap.

The gradient changes often. A steep start. A steep mid section. And a super steep finish.

I'm surprised to be 2nd over the top. (182 HR max)

We regroup. Roll through the upper sections. Descend quickly. Ohno san's ski tuck - pedaling sat on the crossbar - is effective. My weight advantage is useful too.

Climb no.2

Here we go again. Saito san off the front. Tazaki san follows. I share the pace with Adachi san and Ohno san. The last steep section. I feel myself easing away from them. Closing in on Tazaki san and Saito san at the top. (189 HR max)

3 together at the top. No waiting this time. A 3 man breakaway. Rotating through and off. 2 chasing behind.

At the turn we ease off a little. Regroup as a 5. (Me E3, 2 E2s, 2 E1s).

Climb no.3

In the E3 race this will be the last climb. I thought that the E3 race is too short. But at this pace it's plenty.

I go hard from the bottom. Get a gap. Halfway up I'm joined by Tazaki san. Then Saito san. As the road steepens at the top I pull clear.

Max effort. I have nothing more. Tazaki san and Saito san will do another climb - so no attacks from behind.

Feels great to be first over the top. (191 HR max)

My race simulation is done. But I join them for the rolling section on the top. Other riders are all singled out now. You don't want to be alone up here. Our advantage increases.

I put in one last big effort before the descent. "Ashikire jyonnobi!"


  • Disappointed at Yahiko last week, I was on form today. Need to be ready like this on race day.
  • Good warm up.
  • Start line position.
  • Position at the base of the climb.
  • Easy gears / high cadence for the climb.
  • Need to be in the front group over the top.
  • Worst case - second group. DON'T be alone.
  • Minimum work around the lake.
  • Move to the front on the long wide straight before the descent.
  • Half a bottle.
  • AJ!

Sunday: rest day

Monday's training: Road (60 km, 1,100 m climbing)


The fix

Some people think you should be able to do all your bike maintenance yourself. Strip the bike down. Put it back together. With a blindfold on!

Me? If I have a sore tooth I go to the dentist. If I have bike issues I go to CS Enosan!

I'm lucky to have Enosan around the corner. An amazing mechanic. Generous with his advice. Generous with his time. The door is always open.

I call around on Friday night. I need some derrailleur adjustments. But Enosan is out drinking. If he was here, he'd grab a screwdriver. Give it a twist. "Good to go!" And we'd crack open a beer...

I usually have a "no touch" policy. But how hard can it be? Just twist a few screws. See what happens...

Nothing like overconfidence to make a small problem worse! Now the gearing is really messed up!

I get Enosan on the phone. He tries to talk me through it. It's no use.

"I'll fix it for you in the morning"
"I've got asaren in the morning"
"What time?"
"I'll fix it at 4:00"

I'll fix it at 4! Not even pros get this kind of service!

Saturday morning. 4:15 at CS Enosan. The bike is "ready to go!" The best mechanic in the world!

The ride

A 4:30 am start with Nishihiro san. A 6am rendezvous in Bunsui with Team Fins. A 40 km warm up.

A dry start. 10 km in and it's raining cats and dogs. R116 is like a river. Pitch black. Spray everywhere.

We make Bunsui in just over an hour. Time to kill. Shivering in the cold.

By the 6am start I've lost the feeling in my fingers and toes. All the oil from my chain too. All you can do is ride hard!


5 riders start.

In Teradomari it's so wet the brakes don't work. Heading back to Kashiwazaki some sunshine on the horizon.

The power staion climb. Finally get warm.


Dry through Kariwa. A beautiful rainbow. But the rain starts again.

Dry at last in Takayanagi. 120 km on the clock. The first and only big climb of the day. Up to the tunnel to Tokamachi. It's longer than I remember. Adachi san sets the pace. Grind up the HR. A nice climax to a great ride.

I say goodbye at the top. A 30 km warm down home.

Saturday's training: Road (150 km, 900 m climbing, 35 kmph)


I always ride better in the morning. Fresh out of bed. An empty stomach. 2 bottles on the bike. 2 bananas in the pockets.

5am meet with Nishihiro san. The skies are threatening. We head to Sabaishi dam. The mountains look driest for a change.

The first few pulls are hard. Slightly uphill and into a headwind. But the legs start to feel good. The gears start to feel light. The cadence is high.

With Nishihiro san on my wheel I'm motivated. Driving hard. Too hard to take a drink.

The ride to the dam is a good one. First it's the wind (always a headwind in the morning). After Takayanagi there is some shelter. But 3 steep ramps have you pushing hard...

"You're riding well" "Yeah, I don't know why!"

  • Sabaishi Dam Out: 33.4 kmph (149/174 HR)

The ride home is a treat. Downhill. Tailwind. Rain slicked roads.

The goal sprint. No cat and mouse today. I push as hard as I can to stop Nishihiro san coming around. In the saddle. Push and pull. 56 kmph.

  • Sabaishi Dam In: 39.6 kmph (145/179 HR)

Nishihiro san, thank you every time!

Later a commute let's me clock up 100 km for the day.

Thursday: rest day

Friday's training: Road (100 km, 650 m climbing)


I can feel it in the legs after Sunday's race. I could rest... But it's so beautiful out there!

I took in some old roads on Tuesday. A rindo short cut between Sakurazaka Pass and Ishiguro. Lots of leaves on the road as we enter autumn.

On Wednesday I'm working in Takayanagi. A head wind going and coming back! A quick climb of Isonobe after work. Tempo pace...

A rest day today. Maybe a swim just to refresh?

Tuesday's training: Road (65 km, 1000 m climbing)

Wednesday's training: Road (60 km, 600 m climbing)


Switching the tyres. Race tyres to training tyres. Most people switch race wheels to training wheels. I'm lucky to be able to train and race on Astuto 50mm carbon tubulars.

A recovery ride on Monday on the Vittoria race tyres. Soft and spongy. But they roll well. 70 kmph plus on the descent of Nakayama Pass.

Put the gatorskins back on on Monday night. The ultimate training tyre.

Mounting the gatorskin tubulars is easy. They centre themselves nicely.

These are rubber tyres with a rubber sidewall. At 4 bar they are hard. At 9 bar they are rock solid.

Thick rubber too. Maximised puncture prevention. I ride these tyres right down to the thread.

Tyres swapped. Pick the bike up. Is it just my imagination? It feels heavier...

Heavier tyres, increased rolling resistance, a stiffer ride.

Is weighed out by reliability, durability and reduced puncture risk.

Monday's training: Road (50 km, 500 m climbing)


Niigata hill climb today. I set a PB of 18:20 last week. I want to break 18:00 today.

Proper rest. A stripped down bike. Race tyres. The race buzz… I want to win it!

A 5.3 km hillclimb comes in the middle of a 155 km training ride.

Up at 4:30. Out of the door at 4:45. Pockets full like Tokyo~Itoigawa. Meet Nishihiro san at 5:00.

Warm up

60 km to the mountain. A big warm up. The ground is wet. Luckily no rain. Careful not to go too hard.

I love riding to a race. It feels like an LSD training ride. No pressure.

Sign on. For 4000 yen, you get a T-shirt, a meal ticket, an onsen ticket, 200 yen for an ice cream at the top (a beer for me!). Well organised by JCA Niigata's Gompei san.

A quick climb up the pass. Raise the HR 3 times. Good sensations.


Race time

On the start line. 70 km / 800 m climbing. Warmed up!

On my stem "start fast, in the zone, max effort, 5.3 km, 18 mins".

That's the plan!

3,2,1 Go!

The man to watch is Maruyama san. Rumour has it he's doing 17 min climbs. Rumour has it his bike weighs 4kg... The whole gig must be less than 55 kg!

I lock in behind him. 2nd man. It's fast. Like I’d planned. I've got riders on my wheel though.

Maruyama san is spinning ferociously. He opens a gap. Fuchita san comes around me to lead the chase. This is a better wheel for me. A big guy. Big muscles. Pure power. Like a steam engine. Lock on.

Still a group of us. 1 guy up the road. 2 young guns launch from behind. Then 2 more. Fuchita san too.

I can’t follow these accelerations. I'm in the zone. Max effort.


7th on the road. 2 on my wheel. Ishikawa san and Andrew.

Ishikawa san does a turn. Then Andrew comes through. Ishikawa san fades…

Just the two of us. Me and Andrew. Like the good old days. It’s been a few years since we’ve pushed each other like this. The A team!

“Let’s work together”. We catch and drop one guy. 6th on the road now.

“Let’s catch him”. The 5th guy on the road looks catchable.

We press on. Working together. It’s a hard effort. 180 plus heart rate all the way.

Out of the hairpins

The long steep drag. I need Andrew here. The guiding light to get me up it.

The road eases. A right curve. I move across the road. Swing back. But Andrew’s gone. He’s flying. Less than a kilometre to go. The elastic snaps…

First thing you do is look back. Can I ease off? Ishikawa san and the young guy we passed are chasing. Arrggh!

On the limit

I’m on the limit. Can’t go any faster.

The young guy comes past first. 200 m to go. He twists the knife. An out of the saddle attack. 7th or 8th? Doesn’t bother me.

The last corner. A big crowd. Ohno san is screaming AJ! AJ! AJ! (Get it all out!) Dig in a little more. Here’s the line. Sit up. Ready to press the lap button…

Ishikawa san comes flying past! Ooops… My mistake. But a great last burst from him!


9th on the line

  • 18:39, 181 / 187 HR, 84 cadence.

I was hoping for better time. A better result. But you can only go as hard as you can. The stars just didn’t line up for some reason. Too big a warm up? Too many beers last night?

Like Scott Walker, No Regrets!

I put it all out on the road. Haven’t done an effort like that in a few years. Great to see Andrew flying too!

Next up JBCF Minami Uonoma RR (?). A few more races left….

Saturday’s training: Road (155 km, 1,500 m climbing)


Working in Takayanagi on Wednesday.

A commute. And a quick loop of Shiba Pass.

The legs are still heavy. Need to be firing on all cylinders for Sunday's race.


A recovery spin today.

Rest Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday's training: Road (80 km, 800 m climbing)

Thursday's training: Road (20 km)

Friday: rest day

Saturday: rest day

Sunday: RACE!


2 days of hard training. I feel tired. Heavy legs. Sluggish HR.

I could take a rest day...

But it's a beautiful day...

Japan is the land of four seasons.

And nothing beats the changing of the seasons.

Autumn blue.

Mid 20s.

Sit up.

Enjoy the ride.

Cruising the streets for an ice cream...

Tuesday's training: Road (65 km, 300 m climbing)


Four climbs of Ishikawa Pass today.

A similar intervals set to Thursday last week.

But this time some criss cross intervals for climb 3.

  • climb 1 tempo
  • climb 2 intervals (30 s hard / 60 s easy) x 9
  • climb 3 intervals (140~170HR criss cross) x 5
  • climb 4 SFR 50×21

Monday's training: Road (52 km, 1000 m climbing)



前のアーカイブはandy: 2014年8月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2014年10月です。





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