andy: 2014年10月アーカイブ


I've been riding easy all week. Taking photos. Enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.

A commute and some rollers on Thursday. All tempo stuff.

I plan the same on Friday. But then... I get a mail from Nishihiro san.

"I'm going to Komura Pass".
"Me too."

On the way, "Where are you?" I ask. "Climbing the pass. TT?"

All the motivation I need. Cat and mouse time! At the foot of the pass I'm already at LT 170 HR. Hold this through the steep sections.

The gradient eases. Into the big ring. Hammer time. The Grinderman!

This kind of riding is completely unnecessary. It's November tomorrow! The next race is 4 months away! November spawned a monster!

Nishihiro san is waiting on the last hairpin. Camera in hand. Got to put on a show now! Full gas!

Round the corner. The tricky last section. 190 HR over the top. Boooooom!

Love it! Absolutely love it! Can't beat the feeling! Like staring death in the face! And when better than Halloween!?

Thursday's training:

Road (26 km)

Rollers (1h)

Friday's training: Road (46 km, 600 m climbing)

strava data


Isonobe is one of the best climbs to train on. Steep. Relentless. A rough road surface.

You can never beat it.

You can embrace it though.

I rode up nice and easy today. Well as easy as you can. Took a bunch of photos too.

The photo above says it all. Blue autumn skies. Red leaves on the trees. White pampas grass blowing in the wind. Not a car for miles.

Autumn Isonobe.

Wednesday's training: Road (80 km, 1000 m climbing)


Another wet and windy day today. An easy ride at tempo pace.

Rollers at night. More Vuelta 2014. Stages 1 to 6 yesterday. Stages 7 to 11 tonight.

Drop a gear for each stage. Keep the cadence at 100 rpm +. Gradually increase the effort.

This is bog standard base training for me. I enjoy it a lot. But from November I hope to be following a more structured training plan...

Tuesday's training:

Road (55 km, 700 m climbing)

Rollers (80 mins)


Bad weather yesterday. On the rollers at night. In the winter this is "my time".

730pm to 9pm on the balcony.

The wind howling. A cycling video on youtube. Pedal just to keep warm.

This is staple training. Build the speed at steady intervals. I love this base training.

The reward? A protein shake. A hot bath. A couple of beers....

Monday's training: Rollers (90 mins)


Happodai Hill Climb today. A local event run by Nagaoka Cycleshop Fins. Happodai is a tough little climb. 9 km at 6 % average. Some steep bits and a few rolling sections.

On my bike for a relatively late 5:15am start. Wrap up well. It’s not so cold in Kashiwazaki which is buffered by the sea. But descending Sochi Pass into Nagaoka city it’s a chilly 7C.

A nice and easy 40 km warm up. Before the start I raise the HR two times on the lower slopes of the mountain.

This climb eases in gently. I want to sit on the back. Get in an easy gear early. Waste no energy.

On the start line. Strip off the cap, windbreaker, gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers. Fresh and ready to go!

3,2,1 Go!

A nice pace set by Tojo san and Hayakawa san. Not too fast. I keep an eye on Adachi san. He starts to move to the front. He does a pull.

Then I do a pull. Through the first steep section. I have good sensations. Peel off at the top. Slot in about 4th man.

Hill climbing is a game of poker. Adachi san, the team ace, looks good on the front.

But the other two guys are suffering. Struggling to hold the wheels. I move up again. 2nd man. Lock onto Adachi san’s wheel.

At around 170 HR I’m comfortable. He’s in his lowest gear. I have a few to spare.

I sit there. Sit there. Never coming through. The wheel sucker. The waiting game.

When he presses hard I pull up beside him. Slow down the breathing. Relax up on the bike. “I’m not suffering” is the message. Bike poker.

2 weeks ago we did 5 climbs of Yakushi Pass. He won the first 2. I won the last 3.

I won like this. Sat on his wheel. Waiting. Waiting. Grind it out with a heavy gear over the top.

I know he won’t want to drag me to the top today. So I wait there. Just sitting there. Waiting for his move.

Through the snowsheds

The turn in the road. This is critical. It steepens here. I’ve been dropped here before. Move side by side. We clear the steep section together.

From here it’s rolling. I’m at a disadvantage now as I don’t know the course so well. It’s easy to lose momentum too. Difficult to find the right gear. The short steep climbs have me at 180 HR plus.

Follow the wheel. Just follow the wheel.

Then a steep narrow winding section. He’s turning the screw now. My heart rate is being dragged up to about 190. This is my limit. The lights go out here. It’s okay in a sprint finish, but there’s still a way to go…

A gap opens. One bike length. Two bike lengths…

Then suddenly… We are descending… On the limit… Slow to react… Need to get in the big ring…

The damage is done here.

He has a good gap. He's not looking back.

I’m looking back! Not a good sign! No more bike poker!

Damage limitation time. About a kilo to go? The road starts to roll again. Out of the saddle. Desperate to find something extra. But I’m going full tilt.

Manage to keep it together. Looking for the finish around every corner. Here she comes...


2nd over the line...

The legs and lungs are on fire. I put it all out. Just like last week. Surely that's it for 2014!?

I've been training with the Fins guys all year. Nothing beats riding with strong riders.

Looking forward to next year already!

Sunday's training: Road (105 km, 1,300 m climbing)

strava data


the week after.jpg

Wanna beer?

After what is likely my last "real" race of the season, I had the luxury of 3 days off work.

Before a race I take lots of care. Massages. Early nights...

After a race it's party time! So I was glad of Monday off.

On Tuesday I headed out for a ride. Recovery ride? Base training? Enjoy cycling?

No plan. Just enjoy the ride. Even in the rain it's fun.

100 km at tempo pace.

Heavier rain on Wednesday morning. Jump on the rollers. Cycling shorts and pajama top! A Cadel Evans video on you tube. Build up to 60 kph and keep it...

Back in work on Thursday and Friday. Beautiful autumn weather. Two really easy rides. Less than 25 kmph av.

A rest day today. Enjoy the beach, the park, a few beers. Happodai Hill Climb tomorrow...

Now is the time to reassess and build a plan for next year...

Monday: rest day

Tuesday's training: Road (100 km, 450 m climbing)

Wednesday's training: Rollers (1h 15)

Thursday's training: Road (40 km)

Friday's training: Road (40 km)

Saturday: rest day


Gunma CSC today. The JCRC S class race. 20 laps (120 km) of the hilly circuit. 2,700 metres of climbing.

Some strong riders in the mix. Adam making a return to road racing. Ovest’s Bandai san. Eqads’ firecracker Koyama san. Fin’s ace Adachi san. Fin’s team captain and fast man Hayakawa san.

Gorgeous weather. A nice 12:30 start time. A summer skinsuit for me. I got a message from Hayakawa san the other day:

“Will you be wearing the Fins’ jersey?” This is code for “Will you be racing with us or against us?”

My reply: “Forget the Fins’ jersey! I’ll wear the Fins’ skinsuit! Gonna put it all out!”

3 of us for Team Fins then.

Just one lap for a warm up. Raise the HR once on the climb.


3,2,1 Go!

I like this course with this kind of group. Slowly up to speed. Down the descent. Along the rolling section at the bottom. Koyama san (just like last year) attacks on the first lap. Firecracker! But it doesn’t work.

He’s restless though. Attack no. 2! This time Adam goes with him. An Eqads team mate too.

Lap 2

Into the second lap. 3 up the road. I attack on the descent. Faster through the 2 hairpins than ever before. I’m almost there. Adam’s setting the pace.

“WAIT! WAIT!” I shout. Hardly code in any language! The Eqad duo raise the pace.

I get on but the group is still lively. Soon we are swallowed up.

4,5 laps

About 4 laps in, the Eqad guys and Adam are off the front again. They are not working though. Young kids? Adam is a wiser rider. He drops back to the group. A few steady rotations bring the break back.

9,10 laps

The key move is made on the 10th (?) lap. Eqads’ Kodama san, Adam and team ace Adachi san. Ovest’s Bandai san will join them too but is suffering with a cold and throws the towel in early.

3 of them up the road.


In the group Hayakawa san says “Adachi san is in the break, let’s slow it down”. “Yeah, Adam too.”

Slow it down we do. The pace drops dramatically.

The two of us on the front. It’s like a training ride. Sat up and chatting. When others take the job on. We slot in 5th or 6th man. Keeping out of the rotations. “Controlling the group” is what they call it.

Lap 15

We get regular time checks on the steep hairpin. “1 min 50 seconds” we are told. “It’s decided then”.

A Team Fitte guy and a Nalsima guy encourage us to help. A team mate and a friend up the road. “No choice. Sorry.”

The Fitte guy and another rider lose patience and go it alone. It takes a few attempts. Eventually they make it stick.

Lap 17

The steep climb. Adachi san! He’s dropped off the back. “Those two are too strong”.

Just Adam holding the cards now.

Lap 18

Rolling along the bottom. Adam! He’s off the back too. Much to his credit he can get on to our group.

Lap 19

Chance to chat to Adam. He’s raced an amazing race. I have nothing to hold back for now.

"3 riders up the road". Too far gone.

Lap 20

The last lap. The last race of the season. Now or never!

I know where to attack. Down to the millimetre. Under the red bridge. The second ramp. The crack in the road.

The timing couldn’t be better. Haykawa san on the front. Me second man. Adam on my wheel.

Drop two gears. Out of the saddle. “Like a rocket!” I’ll joke later.

Look back. Got the gap. Hammer time!

The next rolling section. I’m faster than the group here. Hug the side of the road. Every second counts. Need to get out of site. Out of mind.

The last steep climb. I’ve got the gap. Give it everything here. Over the top. Hammer it down the back straight. The home straight.

Get in! Only me in the photo! Shame it’s for 4th!


I put everything out on that last few kilometres. Rode it like it was for the win. Enjoyed it like it was the win too!

Happy with my performance. Happy with the result. A great way to end the season.

I’m lucky to be able to ride my bike, race a bit and have the support of a wonderful family. Bring on 2015!


One of the things I love most about Japan is the changing of the seasons. Here in Niigata we have heavy snow in winter. A long hot summer. And a beautiful spring and autumn in-between.

However, changing seasons means changing of bedding and clothing. The summer clothes are packed away. The winter clothes are pulled out of boxes.

Even after a wash. Dust and pollen from the spring clothes come back into the air. This gets me every time.

I did some tests in the spring and I'm allergic to almost all kinds of dust (house dust, wheat pollen, cedar pollen...). I try to avoid medication as much as possible. Coming to Japan and starting a healthy lifestyle helped me to wean myself off asthma medication which I'd been taking for almost 10 years...

I find myself a little breathless though. Especially at night.

On the bike too. I rose the heart rate a few times yesterday. But breathing was troubling me.

I don't want to be like this in Sunday's race.

Time for some antihistamines...

Wednesday's training: Road (65 km, 900 m climbing)


It's been a long season. March's Tokyo Enduro seems light years away.

Sunday's road race at Gunma CSC is probably my last race. 20 laps or 120 km of the hilly circuit make for a tough race. Only 30 to 40 starters. But there are some big names in there.

There are few road races in Japan where endurance is a factor. Tokyo~Itoigawa (310 km) and the Tour of Okinawa (210 km) are two obvious examples.

Freshness will be really important. This week I'll alternate between rest days and short rides of medium to high intensity.

Sunday: rest
Monday: rollers
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: road
Thursday: rest
Friday: road
Saturday: rest
Sunday: race

Yesterday I got a bit carried away on the rollers. 70 kmph target for the last interval.

Tonight a few beers, a long soak and a massage. Rock n' roll!

Sunday: rest
Monday: Rollers (55 mins)
Tuesday: rest


Next year I hope to take myself to another level. I want to be coached. And I want to use a power meter.

Recently Hayakawa san has started being coached. Today he tweaked his training menu for our group ride.

And what a ride it was!

4am start. 50 km in the dark with Nishihiro san. 6 am group start in Nagaoka. 7 starters.

Hayakawa san’s menu?

  • 15 min TTT
  • hill sprints x 5
  • 15 min TTT
  • hill climb repeats x 5

15 min TTT

7 riders. Through and off. Max effort. It’s hard. Really hard. Memories of Uchinada…

7 riders become 6. Become 5. Become 4. Time up….

Not long to recover before the next effort.

hill sprints x 5

The short sharp ramp before Teradomari. I’ve never won this.

It’s all about explosiveness. Adachi san and Morikawa san are made for this.

Today we do it 5 times. I try a different tactic each time. Get boxed in twice. But this isn’t my terrain…

Great training though.

“What’s next?” asks an exhausted group…

15 min TTT no.2

With a tail wind. On the coast. This is easier than the first effort.

Still it’s a max effort on the front. And a max effort getting on the back.

15 minutes. Time up….

Next up Yakushi Pass.

hill climb repeats x 5

Yakushi Pass is my kind of climb. I’ve done repeats here before. But I have 120 km, hard kms, on the clock now.

The climb is three steep ramps with easier sections inbetween.

On the first 2 climbs I set the pace. On the front. Drop gears on the easier sections. Stop the others coming round. On the last steep section, Adachi san comes around to peak first. I run out of road...

On the 3rd climb I try a different tactic. Sit on the back. So much easier in the draft. 20 watts easier says Hayakwa san.

In HR terms, it’s 165 HR instead of 175 HR. Either side of lactate threshold. I have something left to kick at the final to peak first.

Same on the 4th climb.

On the 5th climb, the others are tiring and I can peak with a comfortable gap.

Just the ride home now…

Next Sunday is Gunma CSC 120 km. Maybe the last race of the season for me. Hayakawa san and Adachi san plus Bandai san and Adam will start too. I’m hoping we can pull something off!

Friday: rest day

Saturday’s training: Road (170 km, 1,500 m climbing)


After last Sunday's group ride I took a day off on Monday.

Early nights and tempo riding on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first time to put the foot down today.

3 laps of the jyonnobi marathon course. Push a little harder each lap.

I love this course. Just ride it.

Slight gradients turn the screw. 3 climbs bring the heart rate up. Sweeping descents are a chance to rest.

Natural intervals.

Monday: rest day

Tuesday's training: Road (80 km, 900 m climbing)

Wednesday's training: Road (80 km, 900 m climbing)

Thursday's training: Road (70 km, 800 m climbing)


A wedding party on Saturday. Rollers before breakfast. Shinobu was on the beer by 930 am!

I was the driver. A long day. Free drinks. I went a bit daft on the espresso!

So much so I couldn't sleep! Lieing in bed. Like Bez minus the maracas!

Not a wink!

On the bike at 4 am. Old red eyes is back!

October now. 90 minutes in the pitch black. No street lights on the coast. No cars either. How dark is it? So dark the wind gets lost. Just my flashing light. Reflecting on the road posts.

6 am group ride start in Nagaoka. 50 kms on the clock. I feel okay. Surprisingly.

6 riders start. Through and off. Adachi san is strong.

The pass upto the Yahiko Dairo Gate. 170 ~ 180 HR. The others make it look easy.

I'm surprised they make the turn. 100 km on the clock. 5+ km at 10 percent? At race pace? I accidentally miss the turn...

I do the easier Nozomi skyline approach. Catch them on their way back down.

Back on the coast. More through and off. I'm suffering now. On the front it's difficult to keep the pace.

Watch the heart rate rise quckly to 170. Peel off.

On the back it's difficult to recover. That's a lack of sleep for you.

I do my pulls. Say "good bye" in Kashiwazki. "REST UP!" says Hayakawa san.

Good advice!

A hard ride. I'm glad to throw the towel in early.

Home. Breakfast. Bath with the kids. Time for a few beers...

Rest day tomorrow.

Saturday's training: Rollers (1h)

Sunday's training: Road (170 km, 1,200 m climbing)


Still don't feel 100 percent. Almost two weeks now. I feel okay. But the lungs still aren't clear.

An extended commute on Wednesday. I checked out a few rindo forest access roads in Takyanagi. Sunny skies. Nice and easy.

A rest on Thursday. Just a short commute.

Rollers today. Enjoyed some intervals.

Hammering at up to 80 kmph! That'll clear the pipes!

Big ride planned on Sunday.

Wednesday's training: Road (75 km, 1,100 m climbing)

Thursday: rest (15km commute)

Friday's training: Rollers (70 mins)



前のアーカイブはandy: 2014年9月です。

次のアーカイブはandy: 2014年11月です。





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