Article 1 night and 2 days of CX Madness

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#1
A great weekend of CX racing with way to much to choose from, so after my win in the first round of the Tohoku CX Project series and not being legible for national ranking points I decided to race the first day of the Shinshu Cross Iiyama stage (which points go towards the new Japan CX series) and Stage 2 and 3 of the Tohoku CX Project.

The contrast in courses and weather was huge, from seriously technical to all out power and speed made worse by the 1200km round trip to get to all 3 races - something few managed to actually achieve.

Day1 Iiyama - Nagano



The first was the Shinshu Cross night race, on a grass, mud, tarmac course with limited lighting making some of the technical sections harder. After getting caught behind a huge crash on the start I managed to start clawing my way back up, with only 1 crash. My goal was basically to finish within the points that go towards the JCX series and the privilege to race against the big boys like Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson.

Finished a respectable 23rd against the top contenders in the national series.

Day 2 - Fukushima



Tohoku CX round 2;

A very technical course with some serious down hill slalom sections, drop offs and rock strewn climbs. The climbing has yet to be the toughest yet with about 63m of altitude gain per lap. I got a much better start this time and managed to force my way through the throng on the technical downhill section by just not braking, the corning required some foot work but it put me clear of the main group and allowed me to focus on fighting it out with my main rivals in the Tohoku CX project series.

The final 2 laps saw me in a group of my two main contenders and with an attack countered by the 3rd man I decided to hit with a one, two on the long climb and then through the technical rock/tree section getting a good 30 meters clear and out of sight out of mind. I continued to go all out until the grass sections where I had a clear view of the distance between us, unfortunately the guy in front did the same and we all orbited around each other until the finish.

6th place and 5 points in the bag moving me up to 2nd over all in the Tohoku CX project series.

Day 3 Fukushima



Tohoku CX round 3;

I ache, every part of me from my fingers to my toes, I'm find bruises and cuts that I hadn't noticed before and I found out that today would be the hardest course of the day - 70% sand, some could be ridden if you followed the right line and others you had to suck it up and run.

Not only that but it was raining and the temperatures had dropped since the previous days.

A pedal slip on the start saw me chasing from the back and some seriously aggressive riding through the forest switch backs that upset a few riders as I bounced off them and the trees got me back in to contention for the points.

After last years experience in the sand at CX Tokyo(the emotional scars haven't healed) I was a lot more confident and able to ride through the majority of the sand sections - the running is where I made ground with me using it to pass riders and put some serious distance, straight after the sand was a slightly technical section through wood land where I continued to go all out, only relaxing on the gravel switch backs in the start/finish area, followed by an all out sprint on the road section before diving back in to the woods.

Again Wild Boars and MuraAce riders were my main contenders and this time after 3 laps I had cleared them and started winding in other riders that were ahead of me, finally spotting my friend and pro rider for Giant Saito-san and again we played cat and mouse through the forests and then me gaining ground on the sand section that was impossible to ride, unfortunately a poor execution over the chicane saw him get just out of my reach and we both passed across the finishing line 8 seconds apart.

2 more points and some more valuable schooling in the sand.

So at the end of it all I gained 8 more points in the Tohoku CX project, possibly keeping me 2nd over all and a nice bonus of moving in to 8th the Japan East CX Ranking, which means I now wear the #8 and get a front row seat at future races.
 
Last edited:

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
#3
Great your in play with the fast boys from the starts now! Well done and now that you'll be able to clear the log jambs it all comes down to technical skills and running, right?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#4
Also I can't believe how tough on the body 3 consecutive cyclocross racing is on the body. I've raced 7 day stage races, 3 days events and single day multidisciplin events and none of them left me aching and drained as much as these past 3 days.


Great your in play with the fast boys from the starts now! Well done and now that you'll be able to clear the log jambs it all comes down to technical skills and running, right?
I really need to get my starts in order - cleat position for road and cx are very different so I don't have the muscle memory yet. Part of my morning drills now unclipping and clipping in over and over again followed by dismounts, remounts and running beside the bike. You can lose several meters on a rider just by cocking that up.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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538
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Yokohama
#5
Keep fighting James!
Thanks Tom,

Update, I've slipped to 4th overall in the Tohoku CX series but should be able to claw some points back in the final 2 races and those should be in the snow.... something I've found to be rather good at.

Also running 15th in the Japan CX series - only the top 20 riders will be permitted to race in the ELITE race at Tokyo CX (No reprieve regardless that my sponsors host the event) so I will need to up my game at the Nobeyama UCI 2 day event in a fortnight an also fly down to Hiroshima..... only the top 20 riders get points!

But I still have Maibashi on Sunday to climb up the Japan East ladder...... boy my CX racing calendar is busier than my road season!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#6
For those that like some numbers as well as to see the effects racing can have on your over all condition here is my heart rate figures for the 3 days:

Day 1:
---------------Min Max Avg
Heart Rate: 103 179 162 bpm

Day 2:
---------------Min Max Avg
Heart Rate: 109 185 165 bpm

Day 3:
---------------Min Max Avg
Heart Rate: 114 191 170 bpm

Wattage output also increased over the course of the 3 days.