Frustrated Roadie

TimKendall

Speeding Up
Dec 28, 2009
129
0
36
Nagoya
#1
Not sure that I would be able to handle the schedule anymore, but this current situation is making me very very frustrated.
When I was racing in the UK, I was racing at least twice a week during the season... a short time trial during the week, plus a road race of 60-100 miles on the weekend. In addition, there was almost certainly a chain gang on Tuesday and Thursday evening of about 30-40 riders riding very hard for 30-40 miles.
Can't seem to find anything here...
One race per month, or less

Does anyone feel the same?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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538
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Yokohama
#2
Tim I feel you fustration.... Evening 10's and 25's with Excelsior on Thursday nights then Crit racing, Hillclimbs or raod racing at the weekend. Club or team rides kicking off all the time.

To be honest though road racing in Japan is really going through its infancy if your into track however you could probably ride and race every day!
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,712
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Niigata
#3
There's not much going on in the week that's for sure. But if you are prepared to travel a bit (see lots of Japan at the same time) and have the finances to do it, you could race every weekend. I did 20 plus races in 2008.

It's only a young baby that's holding me back from racing every weekend this year....:):happy:
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#4
True.... if you race the JCRC, Tour Du Japon, JBCF and all the Hill climb TT's you'll have a very busy racing year. That doesn't include all the enduro events either!
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#5
Takes a while to figure it all out as well and make friends with training groups.

I can train in about 7 high paced groups 5 or 6 days a week within 5km of my home.
At the moment I go to 3 of them. 2 with my club and one with a mixed group.
4 of them start at 5a.m though, and so far this year I haven't been able to get up early enough.
Was talking to my frined last night, he gets up at 3:45, leaves at 4, one hour warm up to get there, then the training is full on from 5.a.m. If you're not warmed up you get dropped right away.
Some of these trainings are harder than racing. (cheaper and more fun as well).

I'm probably not going to do many (paid) races this year as the trainings are enough for me.
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
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Kobe
#6
I feel your pain. I am from Portland Or., and during the summer months I can race (I mean a real race) 5-6 times a week. Weekdays there is track on MON and THUR nights, MON and TUES is the "training races" at the F1 Raceway which draw fields of 100 riders or more per field, WED is crits at closed course in the city. Then on the weekend, bigger crits and road races or a stage race. Weekday races, $12 US, weekend about $20 a race.

Its hard to compare....and painful to think about. To top it off, 99% of the races dont require pre-registration like they do here. They are easier to get to, and the general environment is much more enjoyable with everyone chatting, kids chillin, and real teamwork in races.

The only upside is, there is some fantastic riding in Japan (outside of Tokyo) and I love riding....

Just to further this rant, there is a lot of "double-batting" weekends this year. J1 MTB races conflict with Japans most popular endurance MTB races Outaki. Talking with some other industry folks, and they are not happy with the situation....I think at some point we (industry players) should join together to voice our concern over this scheduling BS. We want nothing more than to see a healthier, more vibrant race/ride community in Japan, but some (many) organizers don`t seem to get it.....
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#7
Basically I really think the industry needs to get involved a lot more, they need to get some serious sponsorship into the grass roots of cycle racing here in Japan....the JCRC series for a start as that is where most start and they have some great races and with some good prizes and more coverage in the press more people would get involved.

Japan is going through a cycling BOOM and unless the industry gets involved now they will miss the wave that will act as a catalyst for others not directly linked to the sport to get involved.

Many sit back and blame bureaucracy of Japan to not get involved, but it’s the same in every country you need to jump through government hoops to get something going but once it is your golden.

It was great to see the owner of Corratec at last year’s Tokyo Endurance event and actually racing in it, and the atmosphere was like UK racing scene.

It's time for the big boys to stop saying and start doing.

Also on another not there is nothing to stop the TCC or PE from becoming a proper road club, organising evening time trials of weekend hill climb events all you need are the following:

  • Suitable location away from busy traffic (not hard to do really)
  • 2x two way radios
  • 2x stop watches
  • 2x marshals
  • As many participants to make it worth while.

Riders pay an entry fee/ marshal fee and at the annual dinner prizes are awarded for what ever the organisers decide.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
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103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#8
I'm curious what is actually required to hold an actual event. I mean - when I had formed a club in the U.S. the process was generally joining the USCF, paying some dues, and insurance then using combined resources and guidelines to host events. TT's were easiest and lowest cost. Privateers could also host events, though without USCF sanctioning its hard to draw racers - except for fun rides, etc.

The hardest thing, perhaps, in Japan is getting corporate (Japanese) sponsors. Cause typically Japanese Corporations do not have this written into their budget or planning. The idea of charitable contributions or sponsorship-as-marketing is very immature in Japan, especially among mid-tier and smaller companies. Unlike, for example, Italy where every baker, tire dealer and cafe would be considered a community outcast if they were NOT sponsoring a local VC, GS or providing primes for local events.

Totally agree with DJ, coming from Seattle and then racing in EU, even though 20yrs ago, the scene here is vastly different, small, and largely unsupported by community corporations. Nearly EVERY LBS sponsored and supported a team or even 2 or 3.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#9
Also on another not there is nothing to stop the TCC or PE from becoming a proper road club, organising evening time trials of weekend hill climb events all you need are the following:
Interesting you mention this, as I've actually thought about doing just this (the time trials) on a very low-key basis out here in Chiba... Between the Kujukuri coast and the Inbanuma/Tone bike paths and surrounding roads, there many spots that would work for flat time trials, short or long.

What with one thing or another, it's not something I would be able to do this summer or fall, but perhaps something to think about for the future...
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#10
The hardest thing, perhaps, in Japan is getting corporate (Japanese) sponsors. Cause typically Japanese Corporations do not have this written into their budget or planning. The idea of charitable contributions or sponsorship-as-marketing is very immature in Japan, especially among mid-tier and smaller companies. Unlike, for example, Italy where every baker, tire dealer and cafe would be considered a community outcast if they were NOT sponsoring a local VC, GS or providing primes for local events.
.
Why do we need a coperate sponsorship? Worthing Excelsior a British Road Club that i raced for many moons ago has been around since 19887 and have never had a coperate sponsor.

Road clubs operate on club membership fees and race entrace fees to operate as well as fund raisers and club kit and dinners.

A lot of events in the UK are also hosted by clubs.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#11
You don't really need sponsorship if you have members with enough $$. But the sponsorship really helps. There are alot of costs into producing and running even a small event. And, to build community awareness and growth, reaching to the local businesses for support is a win-win combination. Besides, who doesn't wanna win a climb prime from 'Hiro's Ramen' ?? Also - sponsorship can be quite indepenedent of the 'club'. If you put on an event, then you can sell sponsorship based on the media of just that event - not the club.
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
215
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118
Kobe
#12
FarEast, I hear you, but honestly I am at events almost every weekend.

Between the JCRC (we generally dont attend), Jitsugyoudan, J1 MTB, Enduros, HCs, and private dealer demo shows, we are maxed out. We (SJ) are on the large size for companies in Japan. There are several times where I worked 3-4 weeks straight, no days off to attend events and work weekdays....but thats another story altogether:)

From my side, its like all the associations are fighting each other are basically putting an event on a specific day to F with another associations/event companies event. This year, another Fuji HC is (was?) planned on the same freakin day as the major Fuji HC race! Ridiculous. Also, its like organizers plan from the top down or "astro-turf". Unnecessary full rider lists for each event (even small ones), radio chips, etc. etc., all add unnecessary costs. Back in Oregon, (not sure now) people were against radio chips due to the cost and trust me, fields were larger in Oregon and we never had problems with results. Finish line camera is a lot cheaper than full radio chip sets.

It would be great to get a cool, legit, training series going. Can you guys think of a closeable course near Tokyo? If a well organized grass-roots event came along that looked stable and promising, believe me, I am all ears.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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193
Yokohama
#13
Specialized DJ,

Say no more.......Shinagawa has an awesome Crit course that several clubs, teams and individuals use on a Sunday. Also there is an excellent course at Yokoahama Docks near Costco/Bayside Marina.

I already have a set of two way radios to use if the starts and finish for the TT's are in different locations as well as being able to get my hands on a good set of time peices for timing races, although two syncronised watches would work as well.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#14
You don't really need sponsorship if you have members with enough $$. But the sponsorship really helps. There are alot of costs into producing and running even a small event. And, to build community awareness and growth, reaching to the local businesses for support is a win-win combination. Besides, who doesn't wanna win a climb prime from 'Hiro's Ramen' ?? Also - sponsorship can be quite indepenedent of the 'club'. If you put on an event, then you can sell sponsorship based on the media of just that event - not the club.
Understood, But having organised TT's before you can run them at minimum costs that can be covered with entry fee's you don't need members with mega $$$. Just a dedicated group that want it to succeed.

With something like this we need to start small, club sizes events such as 10,25,50 mile TT's with open invites to some other teams/riders to take part. Get a grass roots regular event or series going that is flexible enough that people actually show up.

Something like a 500 Yen entry fee to cover the costs of printing out time sheets, numbers and stop watches/timers. With 10 riders attending you already have enough to cover those costs and then if you hold a 10 race series over the summer you have enough for prizes at an award dinner and some in the kitty for launching other events, if more turn up even better!

I think the biggest stumbling block is thinking too big from the start.

Go for something like a 10 mille TT which take on average 19-30 minutes to complete for a rider in a central location start at 6:30pm with last rider 7:30pm 1 minute interval starts and your on to an event that is competitive enough to bring riders in and also small enough to be manged by a handful of dedicated people who can also race.

Do it on a Wednesday or Thursday so not to conflict with other events or family obligations and you have the makings of a popular event.

Oh and yes I am volunteering myself to help organise something.
 

TimKendall

Speeding Up
Dec 28, 2009
129
0
36
Nagoya
#15
Solutions

damn.... seems I stired a bit of a hornet's nest here.

Reading the comments, it seems that there is fairly good impetus for us to actually try and do something about the current situation!

Think we need a meeting of somekind?.... not on the bike, but a sit down, and a chat.
 

lylen

Speeding Up
Apr 30, 2008
57
0
26
Tokyo
#16
This is one of the best threads I've read on TCC. Thanks for the conversation about a topic that I've been dealing with as well. Not really much to add to the excellent comments. However I'd like to let readers know that I ran a weekly 10k tt series at Oi last November and plan on doing it again this May as a run up to the Oi circuit race. However, these are low key, informal and on an open course. I tried to encourage my group to all pitch in some cash and award the series winner a prize but instead we just went out and did the course, matched our times and went on with the day. In the future I'd like to do some scoring system to add up for an overall winner to the series (usually 3 to 4 tt's) and give a prize of some sort (bike related). I will post information about the tt (location, meeting time and rough course outline) in a couple weeks.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#17
Think we need a meeting of somekind?.... not on the bike, but a sit down, and a chat.
Tim.... that idea is already in the motions and I think someone will post the dates or an announcement soon.

lylen,

Good work!

As for race fees its always hard its always easy to do it from the onset though. But I think if you expalin what the money is used for and that there will be a prize at the end of a series I think people are more likely to cough up....500 Yen isn't a lot and compared to the coing Im shelling out right now for races I'd be more than happy to cough up that for a TT.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,712
1,358
133
Niigata
#18
If you look at some of the big hill climb races that go on in Japan (Norikura, Utsukushigahara, Yatsugatake, Kusatsu etc) they were all started small scale by Kodama san (who organized the Hotaka HC and Giro).

If you find a community that wants to hold a race and the financial benefits it has to offer, I think that is the way in. The obvious one is ski resorts which have the infrastructure for dealing with large volumes of traffic and places to accommodate people, and are looking for ways to bring in money during the summer. The access roads to the top of the ski run are your hill climb course. These roads are much easier to close down for a few hours than large open roads that lead somewhere. If the volume of traffic is sparse (as was the case with some of Kodama san’s races) you can even get away without closing the roads although I believe this is always a contentious point with the local police.

Just around Niigata I can think of many potentially great hill climb courses and as you head into Nagano even more still.

The speed that some of these events get huge (think Sado long ride, Fuji Hill Climb) really amazes me.

As for Kodama san, sadly he can’t take care of building new races anymore so Japan is waiting on a pioneer to fill his shoes….

Andy
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
215
78
48
118
Kobe
#19
How about meeting for up for a beer sometime over the next few weeks to talk about this? We all are on the same wave length....

One thing to make sure is, if you are an organizer and want sponsors (which help) you will need to have rider insurance. From what I have heard, it isnt too expensive, something like Y500 per rider at most. I will talk to some of our guides to get more info.

Regards to entry fee, aim for something like Y1500-Y3000. Super cheap for Jpns races, and should allow you to cover your costs and even make a bit. No crime in making a little cash for putting on a good event.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#20
How about meeting for up for a beer sometime over the next few weeks to talk about this? We all are on the same wave length....

One thing to make sure is, if you are an organizer and want sponsors (which help) you will need to have rider insurance. From what I have heard, it isnt too expensive, something like Y500 per rider at most. I will talk to some of our guides to get more info.

Regards to entry fee, aim for something like Y1500-Y3000. Super cheap for Jpns races, and should allow you to cover your costs and even make a bit. No crime in making a little cash for putting on a good event.
Agreed but I’m thinking more club level at the moment and then let it naturally grow you'll get more people willing to invest in 10 races at Y500-Y1000 yen a race (5-6 quid is actually a lot for a TT in the UK!) than you would at Y1500 - Y3000 over 10 weeks it would be rather expensive!

It’s great to have grand plans but when only 3 or 4 people show up that kind of event due to bad weather or the likes they flop and all the people involved in organising get demotivated. Start small and if it grows then accommodate for that and plan bigger badder events.

I’m waiting for Thomas to get back to me and when he does then we should arrange to meet up and sit down... maybe actually have an agenda laid out first so something constructive comes from it rather than just being a free for all as everyone has their own very good ideas and we need to set some clear goals.

More importantly find out who is prepared to actually organise things because at the end of the day it’s the volunteers that make it all happen rather than the committee!