Official Ride 11th Hotaka Hill-Climb/Giro de Hotaka (20th TCC Tour)

TOM

Maximum Pace
See!! there goes my big fish...

The results are out...

CLASS 2 (35~50):

Official version: 8th…5:11:38.98 / Average speed 23.296

Unofficial version: 4th…4:39:38.98 (5:11:38.98 - 32 minutes* accounting for approx. 15km wrong road...) / Average speed 27.538

No medal this year....there goes my big fish :D !!

(* Travis calculation...must be pretty close)

PS: TCC has some very strong riders and it looks like Peloton Leader Alan (and of course MIKE ;)too!!!) is the guy to beat next year!
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
My Report

Travis, Thanks for the race report and organising the accommodation. Thanks also goes to Aaron for telling us about the race and for driving me up there!

This was my first race in Japan and I was pretty happy just to finish, considering that up until August this year I hadn't ridden in 10 years. I have been training pretty hard for the last 3 months though, hoping to make up for all those years of drinking and enjoying life a little too much (if there is such a thing). :beer::climb02:

The hill climb on Saturday was hideously painful. As Travis has written above, I wasn't too happy that it was 1km longer than the profile they had given us. I mean come on! How could you get the distance wrong on a profile when the race is only 9km? Needless to say, the last kilometer was absolute agony. I was and am still pretty angry about that! :climb01:

As for the Sunday race, the Giro de Hotaka, it had the potential of being a great race but once again didn't live up to it's expectations. A lack of race Marshalls on key points i.e. major turns and intersections caused too much confusion. I really feel for Thomas and Travis who went up the wrong road due to no fault of their own.
I also found myself doubting my choice of road on more than one occasion and slowed down to a crawl, hoping that someone would go by. After waiting a few minutes I turned around and went back thinking I must have taken a wrong turn. Finally I came across another rider and was relieved to know I was on the right road. I reckon I lost at least 5-10 minutes.
Anyway, with all of the negatives out of my system now, it was all in all a great race, and I am looking forward to next years improved version (I hope).
By the way Alan, that was a great effort to avoid that crash. I thought you were history for a few horrible seconds there. Good work mate! All that mountain biking pays off, hey? :bike2:


Finally, could someone tell me how I can view the race results? My computer can't open up the file. What the heck is an xls file? An excel file?
Don't worry, got it sorted!
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
438
103
Tokyo
Rider's Eye Report

As promised, here it is.
Travis and Mike have already covered most of the key points (thanks very much, chaps) so these are just my own thoughts.

Saturday - Hillclimb

Thomas and I set off on time at 7 am, and with the help of my car's GPS we managed to avoid the huge traffic jam (isn't technology marvellous :)), arriving around 11:15. As we unloaded the bikes I noticed a cut in my back (bike) tyre, with just a single thread of tyre carcass holding the tube in :eek: So I fixed that by patching the inside of the tyre - not perfect but enough for the weekend.
We waited for the others to show up, as Travis had the paperwork. But as time ticked by we decided to try and register anyway, which worked. The end of registration was getting close, and I managed to call Aaron. They were due to appear at about 12:15. Just as Thomas & I were trying to register on their behalf, they arrived, with 2 minutes to spare. Cutting it fine, guys.

Soon everyone was ready, bikes built, changed, ready to go. But where was the start? We could see one guy sitting at a gate above the car park. Perhaps that was the start....? But no, after checking at registration, the start was 10 minutes ride down the hill. Yikes! Anyway we rolled down the hill together and arrived with a few minutes to spare.

We started by number, and with only 30 seconds between riders I soon found myself at the front of the queue, lining up in the start gate. The starter held my bike, I was already clipped in.
Ju
Go
San
Ni
Ichi
STARTO !
And that was it! The rider in front of me had made a slow start, allowing me to catch and pass him quickly. I knew Mike was behind me and was determined not to let him catch me. I didn't even look back, just tried to keep a nice smooth efficient pedalling style up the road.
The gradient steepened after the car park. You know it's steep when you're climbing past ski-tows on either side! As the road began to switch back and forth I was already down in my lowest gear. A racer passed me and there was no way I could stay with him. With the cold air, I felt it was hard to get a full breath of air, and I could feel my lungs straining at maximum effort.
The others have already commented on the length of the course. 8.2 km came and went and the top was not even in sight. That, rather than the steep section, was the hardest thing about the hillclimb. Nothing for it but to dig in and keep going.
A couple of hundred metres more and I rolled to the base of the 22% section, which looked more like a wall from the bottom. My former smooth cadence turned into a test of my ability to even turn the pedals, hanging off one side of the bike then the other as I forced my way up the hill. Fortunately it levelled out and I could, at last, see the top.
Crossing the line, I dumped my bike and sat down to recover, coughing away. Soon after all the TCC members arrived, we got permission to roll slowly back down, a good thing too as by this time I was frozen and shivering. The apres-ride onsen was very much appreciated.

Sunday - Giro

The race started at 7am, my group rolled at 7:01am. Mike and I had agreed to try to work together for as long as we could. The first group rolled out at what looked like a very leisurely pace. I reckoned with a bit of skilled decending we could catch them, giving ourselves a 'free' minute, so I cranked up the pace. Sure enough, we were passing the stragglers within a couple of kilometres. Then we started to catch the faster riders.
As we rolled downhill at 40-50 km/h, I saw the two riders in front of me touch wheels. Then the rider on the right started to wobble, more and more severely and it was clear he was going to crash. The whole thing took only seconds; the rider hit the ground directly in front of me. I heard the horrible noise of his slide along the road. I was braking hard, and just managed to thread my bike through the narrow gap between the fallen rider and his bike, with a final swerve to avoid his water bottle. It really did feel like threading a needle, everything was moving at different speeds and directions. I know at one point I was heading directly for the fallen rider, and I was glad for both our sakes that I managed to avoid him. All the riders around slowed down, and I saw the rider sit up behind me, so he was conscious at least. Later an ambulance came past, I assume for this rider. Hope he's OK.

After this drama, we picked up the pace again, and caught the front-runners by the bottom of the hill. We formed a group of about 7 riders including Mike and I. The speed was a little too fast to be fully comfortable for me, but I wanted to make the most of being in a quick group, so just worked a bit harder.
Up the first climb, which was about 30km long (!) there were a couple of breakaways by the strong riders at the front of the group, but they were pulled back in. On about the 4th break, the group split, with three guys going off the front. Much as I would have like to stay with them, they were just too strong. At some point we also dropped a couple of riders.
Soon the fast boys were out of sight, and I could only see rider 31 behind me. At the "junction of doom" I also went the wrong way, as did my pursuer. But we were sooooo lucky, because a car came chasing after us and told us to turn around, so I only lost about a minute. Thankyou to the driver of the blue VW Polo, whoever you were. Of course, I was now behind number 31 by about 30 seconds instead of ahead of him, but I was basically so angry about going the wrong way I reeled him in and passed him on the climb. I was now by myself at the top of the first long descent.
The downhill was fast, and I got colder and colder, to the point I was quite worried about being able to control the bike. My computer display also stopped working around the 60 km mark (must have been the cold). Eventually the road started to climb again, and this was the worst part of the race for me. My muscles had cooled right down, and stiffened after the effort of the long first climb. I was caught by a group of about 5 riders. I just managed to tag onto the back of this group as I was determined that they would not blow past me. Rider 31 was in this group, in fact we were to battle it out to the finish. Towards checkpoint 2, I started to feel better, the sun came out and everything warmed up a bit. Also my computer came back to life, showing the correct distance! It must have just been the display that had the problem.
There was a steep climb just after checkpoint 2, where I grabbed a banana without even stopping. The climb was enough to split the group, three riders going off the front, then me and rider 31, then another rider off the back. As the climb continued I managed to open up a gap. He came back at me on the following flatter section, but on the final big climb I got him! From where the road started climbing it was a case of just keeping going at as high a pace as I could manage. A couple of km from the end I felt a warning twinge in my leg as it threated to cramp, but by standing up on the pedals and forcing the muscle to strecth I kept it at bay until the end.
It was with a sense of satisfaction, but mostly relief, that I rolled across the finish line. I don't think I could have gone much faster.

So well done to all who finished the races, thanks to Travis for doing the legwork of organising the accommodation and Aaron for getting the ball rolling.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
Thanks for the reports and pictures everyone--gripping reading, to say the least. Glad you all managed to avoid going down in any crashes. Despite the organizational mess-ups, it sounds like a fantastic weekend and a great experience. It's a shame that the Giro route wasn't more clearly marked so we'd know where everyone REALLY stood in the rankings, but congratulation to everyone for their great results regardless--especially Alan of course and his top 10 finish (7th overall, I think?)!
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
You're the ace to beat next year!

Really enjoyed reading your report Alan. Great manoeuvring...wow! This time I could not take part in the Day One HC but intend to do so next year. I did the part from the parking area to the top after the race was over and liked it! Longer distance "gran fondo" type of mountain stages are really my specialty so I will try to beat you next year when I hope to stay on the right track! BTW, I have written to Mr. Kodama, urging him for next year to field sufficient marshals also along the initial stages of the race and especially at that crucial, "junction of doom" forked road!

For the DAY Two Giro, I still think that the "touristy ride-cum-race" - is a very dangerous mixed format... Thank heavens there were no collisions with those koyo-gazing cars.
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
Thanks for the reports and pictures everyone--gripping reading, to say the least. Glad you all managed to avoid going down in any crashes. Despite the organizational mess-ups, it sounds like a fantastic weekend and a great experience. It's a shame that the Giro route wasn't more clearly marked so we'd know where everyone REALLY stood in the rankings, but congratulation to everyone for their great results regardless--especially Alan of course and his top 10 finish (7th overall, I think?)!
And how about me in my top ten finsh??? I was there too! number 27! :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,205
292
113
Kawaguchi, Saitama
Don't take it personally...

And how about me in my top ten finsh??? I was there too! number 27! :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
Hey Mike,
In Phil's defense; He met Alan on the Miura-Hanto ride we did a few weeks back, so he had a "face" to put to the "name". I was actually hoping you could've joined us for that ride too, but you were obviously busy (in the mountains, perhaps?:D).
I think it was only because he's never met you before that your name probably didn't click with him. Phil is a really nice guy, and didn't mean you any disrespect.

Anyway; HYPOTHETICALS:

After a double-check of the "lost time", I realized that I only took into account the amount of time we spent on the wrong road - HAD we actually been on the right road, we would have been so fewer kilometers from the top of that first climb, which means that we can double the "lost time" and take that off our final results.

Everyone can do their own calculations, but for myself; I would have been back at the car-park just a little after 12:30 (with a time of 5hrs,30mins - instead of 6hrs, 15mins) - Not toooo far behind everyone-else - and way further up in the overall results. Even with me being the slowest rider on the day, ALL TCC members would have come home in the "top-20".

>Back to you, Mike: With only 3 months training, and after being off the bike for more than 10 years, it was very clear to everyone that "you ain't lost much" in the legs!
If Alan hasn't returned from the US by next year, it'll be YOUR number on TOM's handle-bars!

Travis
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
Many apologies Mike! I was trying to count all the classes together in the Excel sheet for the overall results, not knowing what the different classes meant, of course... :confused: (Some riders in class 2 had better times.) In any case (better late than never, but) congrats on the top 10 finish and to everyone for the great results :no1:!

(Edit: Actually I just noticed the 総合順位 column in the Excel sheet, so I didn't have to fiddle around miscalculating the times after all :))
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
>Back to you, Mike: With only 3 months training, and after being off the bike for more than 10 years, it was very clear to everyone that "you ain't lost much" in the legs!
If Alan hasn't returned from the US by next year, it'll be YOUR number on TOM's handle-bars!

Travis
I'm afraid my handlebar has not enough space to stick all those numbers onto! Too many fast guys to beat...but it's going to be a nice challenge and I really hope to be able to ride against (it's more like "with") Alan, Mike, Aaron, Thomas, Travis and so many more nice people I met last weekend. I'm a bit intrigued though by those non-TCC gaijin racers A.C. and A.W. and another A.W...whew!!...30km/h average on that hilly parcourse...those guys have got to be semi-pros... :eek:!
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
No Worries!

Don't worry guys I wasn't offended at all. Just wanted to make sure you remembered me too. :D
Tom I reckon you're right. With an average speed of 30km/h they must be close to if not semi pro's!
After my encouraging result I plan to have a solid year of training (bar any injuries, touch wood) and do even better next year in the Hotaka race and a few other events if they suit my riding style.
I'll do my best to stay away from the curcuit (i.e. massive peleton pile-up) races that seem to be so popular here.
Looking forward to riding with more of you guys here over then coming months if we can bear the cold:(
I'm heading home to Australia for a month over Christmas, so hopefully I can get a few miles on the road down under in the nice weather.
A quick question for Sean if your reading this (an Aussie guy on here), I heard from Pucci that when you flew back to Oz with your bike you were charged an exorbitant amount for excess baggage. What airline did you fly with? I've got a hard case that will double as a suitcase. Just wondering if it was with Quantas?

Cheers lads, and lets go riding soon.
:run01::run01::run01::run01::run01: