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Ride gran fondo myoko

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
What was the TSS for the ride @andywood ? Well done on competing and completing. You certainly put your back into it.

Haven't used Training Peaks since my paid subscription ended!

The ride itself was similar in terms of distance, elevation gain and road surface, to what we have been simulating in training.

The only difference being that we had to go full gas 3 times for a total of 2h15.

To compensate for this I did a great taper. During the ride, we were strict to keep all non segment climbs, and there were lots of them, to zone 2.

So it was 80% zones 1 and 2 (5h), 25% zone 3 (2h) and 5% zone 4 (15mins).

Happy with the race prep and perfomance. Now it's time to start focusing on cyclocross!

Andy
 
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TokyoLiving

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2015
781
434
A great day of riding. Perfect weather. As Andy said, while epic is overused, it was epic and challenging is understating it.

@andywood nice to meet you face to face out there.

Only feedback I would say, add arrows to anywhere there might be questionable turns or directions.

I rode it with a gravel bike, size 30 tubeless tires and it was fine. Anything less would be difficult. We all determined 35s would be ideal.
And this is not for the faint of heart, so if they keep the route the same or similar, best you be ready for some pain and a little suffering.

Overall, had a great time!
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
159
231
Hi everyone.

The course goes past my house, it's in Hakuba at the top of that little dog-leg gravel climb between the paddies and the group of houses at the south end of the course. I helped set up Checkpoint 1, at the tunnel on the 406 climb. It's my bread and butter cycling route if I have an hour or so to get out. Two guys on the Fondo managed to beat my best ever time (fresh out of the house, full gas) and Tazaki san riding with Andy matched it. That's after 85km and lots of hard vert, so a completely unfair comparison.The KOM belongs to Riki, a young local XC mtb pro who has raced in Europe against van der Poel and Nino Schurter.

It was great to see everyone, some real hardcore riders but plenty of enthusiasts too who were happy to sit and chill at the checkpoint. The winner Yutaka was in and out in about three minutes. Lots of cool bikes on show. The 1980s steel Bottechia was my favourite, but there was lots of variety. Many gravel bikes, but also guys on regular road bikes on 25s and a few mountain bikes near the back. A couple of bikes with deep section aero wheels even. The first 61 size frame I've seen in Japan. We did have some riders struggle with tube/tyre changes and there is a tradeoff between resilience and ease of maintenance when out on rough roads like this. A less puncture-resistant combo may beat a stronger one (tubeless, but with tight rims) that needs six hands to change when something does go wrong.

There are a few of us in Hakuba, so that's why the course is the way it is. That tiny path past the fish farm and the graves and the gravel detour past the campsite are local knowledge at work. From talking to people, it sounds like there were some GPS problems at the campsite and some anti-boar electric fences had gone up where there were none previously.

If anyone has time, Otari Onsen should hit peak autumn colour around October 10-15. When it does, that area is completely stunning. The Gran Fondo course didn't go past it, but there is a gorgeous pond up there called Kamaike and a free onsen in the woods you can jump in before rolling back down. The route is an Otari Hill Climb, see their website for details, and has distance markers on the Hakuba side. The road is officially closed but it can also be climbed with 4-5km of gravel on the north side starting from Himekawa Onsen. Albert from Hakuba Santana has done it, so hit him up for the low-down if you want to do it that way.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
Hi everyone.

The course goes past my house, it's in Hakuba at the top of that little dog-leg gravel climb between the paddies and the group of houses at the south end of the course. I helped set up Checkpoint 1, at the tunnel on the 406 climb. It's my bread and butter cycling route if I have an hour or so to get out. Two guys on the Fondo managed to beat my best ever time (fresh out of the house, full gas) and Tazaki san riding with Andy matched it. That's after 85km and lots of hard vert, so a completely unfair comparison.The KOM belongs to Riki, a young local XC mtb pro who has raced in Europe against van der Poel and Nino Schurter.

It was great to see everyone, some real hardcore riders but plenty of enthusiasts too who were happy to sit and chill at the checkpoint. The winner Yutaka was in and out in about three minutes. Lots of cool bikes on show. The 1980s steel Bottechia was my favourite, but there was lots of variety. Many gravel bikes, but also guys on regular road bikes on 25s and a few mountain bikes near the back. A couple of bikes with deep section aero wheels even. The first 61 size frame I've seen in Japan. We did have some riders struggle with tube/tyre changes and there is a tradeoff between resilience and ease of maintenance when out on rough roads like this. A less puncture-resistant combo may beat a stronger one (tubeless, but with tight rims) that needs six hands to change when something does go wrong.

There are a few of us in Hakuba, so that's why the course is the way it is. That tiny path past the fish farm and the graves and the gravel detour past the campsite are local knowledge at work. From talking to people, it sounds like there were some GPS problems at the campsite and some anti-boar electric fences had gone up where there were none previously.

If anyone has time, Otari Onsen should hit peak autumn colour around October 10-15. When it does, that area is completely stunning. The Gran Fondo course didn't go past it, but there is a gorgeous pond up there called Kamaike and a free onsen in the woods you can jump in before rolling back down. The route is an Otari Hill Climb, see their website for details, and has distance markers on the Hakuba side. The road is officially closed but it can also be climbed with 4-5km of gravel on the north side starting from Himekawa Onsen. Albert from Hakuba Santana has done it, so hit him up for the low-down if you want to do it that way.

The race was supposed to be the net time of 3 segments.

Unfortunately only the first segment worked.

IMG_20200920_201600.jpg

Yutaka did the best solo time so he deserved to win. But it wasn't supposed to be a race from start to finish. Hopefully the segments will work next year.

Andy
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
159
231
Hi Andy
Nice to meet you and your team. You fellas were super strong on the gravel climbs. Its a shame about the segments not working. The route was only finalized very recently, so there was little time to actually test the segments to see if they would be detected properly by different devices in different conditions.

As you say, the event was a tour with enduro-like timed sections, but a few guys had clearly chosen to get round as quickly as possible and wanted to know time gaps on reaching the checkpoint. The biggest Gran Fondo around here, the Alps Azumino, also gets (Japanese) people unofficially racing it, some of them paying more for an early departure slot. That one has a flat route and is on main roads that get quite a lot of traffic.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
Hi Andy
Nice to meet you and your team. You fellas were super strong on the gravel climbs. Its a shame about the segments not working. The route was only finalized very recently, so there was little time to actually test the segments to see if they would be detected properly by different devices in different conditions.

As you say, the event was a tour with enduro-like timed sections, but a few guys had clearly chosen to get round as quickly as possible and wanted to know time gaps on reaching the checkpoint. The biggest Gran Fondo around here, the Alps Azumino, also gets (Japanese) people unofficially racing it, some of them paying more for an early departure slot. That one has a flat route and is on main roads that get quite a lot of traffic.

Yeah, I'm no stranger to that as 9 times winner of the 300km Tokyo-Itoigawa. Through the checkpoints faster than an F1 pit stop.

That is a start to finish timed event though. Yesterday was nice to chill out at the checkpoints. I really like the format and I talked to Adam a lot about it.

Shame the segments didn't work. Simpler segments like the first one, or even this one within the 3rd segment, will always work better.

IMG_20200921_135136.jpg IMG_20200921_135408.jpg

But it was a great event and I definitely recommend it for everyone next year.

Andy
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
159
231
That segment you've highlighted is itself only three months old, and only had a few logged rides by the usual suspects before yesterday. Probably just Adam himself and two others who need no introduction. As the screen grab shows, the segment was detected for most people in the Gran Fondo, but as of Sunday morning, it was actually just "n attempts by three people", so pretty much untested too. If you have any tips on getting more folks interested in pedaling up gravel roads with no mtb single track at the top, please pass them on! We don't have a big crew.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
That segment you've highlighted is itself only three months old, and only had a few logged rides by the usual suspects before yesterday. Probably just Adam himself and two others who need no introduction. As the screen grab shows, the segment was detected for most people in the Gran Fondo, but as of Sunday morning, it was actually just "n attempts by three people", so pretty much untested too. If you have any tips on getting more folks interested in pedaling up gravel roads with no mtb single track at the top, please pass them on! We don't have a big crew.

If you create segments, it is best to do them on single roads with no splits or turn offs. Easy markers like a sign or bridge to start and the peak of a climb or sign etc to finish make it easy for riders to follow and also be followed by strava.

But yeah, testing a segment a few times is the only way to know it will work.

Andy
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
Team mate Tazaki san's blog below with my English translation. I'm still knackered!

Andy

Gran Fondo Myoko!

Tomoyasu Tazaki's race report, English version!

Get up at 330am. I woke up many times in the middle of the night, probably because the bedroom was hot. The next time I come, I'll try to circulate the air with a fan.

The course starts with a hill climb that suddenly climbs up to Sasagamine, so I used the onsen hot spring at the inn to relax my body so that I could be ready to go immediately.

One of the points when choosing an inn is whether there is a bath for warming up in the morning!

Breakfast is rice balls with pickled plums, 2 slices of toast, and hot mochi.

From the inn in Akakura to the race venue in Ikenodaira, I rode my bike and carried my bags containing kit to be sent to the CPs and a change of clothes for after the race.

The weight of the bag is quite heavy and the climbing has me breathing heavily from the morning.

I arrived at the venue at 0530, left the bags for the two CPs, checked the supplies, and was ready to roll.

I waited for the start gun in the start area, but my two teammates were nowhere to be seen!

Noguchi came about 1 minute before the start, and Andy about 20 seconds before the start!

■ Today's equipment

Bike: Toyo Frame HYBRID CX-D
Wheel: imeZi 650B tubeless ready
Tires: Schwalbe G-One Allround 27.5 x 1.50 around 2.0bar
Gear: F38 x R11-30
Helmet: KASK PROTONE
Eyewear RUDY PROJECT DEFENDER x dimming lens produced by eyecue

■ Start [0k] -Otari Village [51k]

We rode in the group behind the leading car to Suginohara. It was free running after entering the climb.

It's a long climb of about 600m. I rode here in the Myoko Hill Climb about 15 years ago, but I don't remember the scenery at all.

Sasagamine is located at the end of the climb and is a pleasant plateau with an extensive ranch. There is a campsite so you can come and camp with your family. There seems to be bears too!

Before we knew it, we entered the dirt road of Sector 1. In the early stages, it was a downward slope and Noguchi flew away in the blink of the eye.

Shortly afterwards, a group of road bikes had stopped were the road surface condition was quite severe. My bottle fell out too. I jumped off, picked it up, but when I jumped back on the bike, in full cyclocross mode, the saddle buckled. I aimed for the goal of sector 1 while the tip of the saddle was firmly implanted in my ass!

Rattling roads, loose stones, bikes treading water. The presence or absence of riding skills such as a center of gravity and following a good line becomes apparent and is directly linked to speed!

Cleared Sector 1 safely with Andy, just one minute behind Noguchi. It seems that our pace was good as we also overtook the team of Ride Japan.

On the descent, I had a little trouble with the dirt at the beginning, but after that I thought that I could go down comfortably as we hit the asphalt. But the grip of the front wheel was lacking and I got stuck in a corner.

I noticed that I had a slow puncture, but Noguchi and Andy repaired the puncture in no time.

We followed local minor roads and went down to Route 148.

■ Otari Village [51k] -Hakuba Shirasawa Cave (CP1) [90k]

From Otari Village to Hakuba Village, the route traverses the slopes on the side of Mt. Shirouma, which is dotted with ski resorts.

Descending from Iwatake to Route 148, we reached an area resembling a post town where houses with thatched roofs remain. I am really happy to ride a route that showcases the scenery of Japan.

Soon we rushed into the dirt along the river bank, and jumped over electric fences to keep out wild beasts! Like a cyclocross chicane. It's too wild!

Sector 2 will start from this point.

We should follow the forest road that goes out from a dirt road to a paved road, but we get lost in the Wasabi Farm Auto Campsite in Hakuba Forest.

To kids at the campsite, “How do we get out of here?!”

We managed to return to the route. I think it was a time loss of about 5 minutes.

For events that rely on GPS routes to run the course, a cyclocomputer with excellent navigation functions is a must. Pioneer's navigation function is excellent, but I feel that the GPS is a little weak. I heard that wahoo's cyclocomputer is good, but how does it compare?

After getting onto the paved road, we climbed a further 300m to CP1 of Shirasawa Pass.

At last, I'm climbing today. Andy was getting tired of climbing already, so I gave him countdown times to reach the peak and encouraged him!

We arrived at the peak and CP1 without too much time lost. Well done Andy!

At the CP, you can replenish and change your clothes because your bags are here waiting for you.

I replenished with dried plum rice balls, bananas, cola, and coffee. As the temperature was rising, I changed the inner layers from wool and took off the knee warmers.

■ Hakuba Shirasawa Cave [90k] -Kinasa Daibo Pass (CP2) [121k]

First is a winding downhill.

After the descent, we entered the local route where dirt and concrete pavement interweave, and sector 3 starts.

The initial hill climb is about 350m. In the gravel section, choose a good line and concentrate on advancing the bike.

This climb took me a little ahead of Andy and Noguchi, but I thought they could catch up with the ups and downs after the climb.

On the way, the forest road was almost collapsed due to an avalanche. The feeling of wildness is irresistible! Lol!

After finishing the dirt section, I ran a little on the paved road and arrived at CP2 Kinasa Daibo Pass at the finish of Sector 3.

Andy and Noguchi arrived about 4 minutes later due to a slight route mistake.

Here, we replenished with castella cake, coffee, and chocolates from Andy. I had umeboshi rice balls here as well, but I was so full that I couldn't eat them all.

■ Kinasa Daibo Pass [121k] -Goal [156k]

The organizer in charge of CP2 gave me nice advice,

"All Downhill ne!".

I feel I'm already at the goal. Lol!

After going down a little, we are climbing back up.

Passing through Nakanoin on the Togakushi plateau, climbing the forest road leading to Kagamiike, and finally descending through Okuin. After all, I climbed about 400m ... Today was a day for climbers!

Togakushi Plateau is full of people, so many people. The number of tourists is returning.

The descent from here is a transcendental downhill. We increase the speed with Super Aero positioning to 75kmph, even with gravel tires set at 2 bar.

When the speed slowed down a little, Noguchi pushed and pushed Andy's ass, so I pushed Noguchi's ass too!

When you go to Kurohime Snow Park, you will find yourself in a vast open area. Impressed by the scenery like overseas, I want to come back.

From here we returned to Suginohara, where we started in the morning, and immediately Ikenodaira.

It was a long and rich trip, and all three of us were able to reach the goal safely.

It wasn't a sports drink, but a beer that greeted us with the crowd at the goal! !! !!

After all this is an overseas race! Lol! Of course I drink it up on the spot!

■ Award Ceremony

Initially, it was said that the award would be based on the total time of the three sectors, but there were many cases where the data of Strava did not record well.

So the award was given in the order of finish.
This might cause mayhem in a Japanese race, but there was no such atmosphere at the venue. As each rider finished there was an atmosphere of praise for each other. It was refreshing.

Team imeZi was first in the sector times (according to Andy's data), but was awarded second by finish order. I don't care about the ranking, and I was very satisfied with the finish.

So, here comes the beer !! !! Beer Fight, Saiko!

Thank you to Andy and Noguchi for inviting me! !!

Next year too!

■ Result

[Pioneer cyclocomputer data]
Actual running time 7h28m
Elapsed time 8h34m
Distance 154km
Obtained altitude 3549m
Tss 342
Energy consumption 4045kj
AP 186w
NP 190w

Tomoyasu Tazaki

 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,697
2,695
Wrote a blog here about our bike & tyre set up for Myoko.

Cheers, Andy

 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
159
231
I didn't realize your team-mates were on 650B. My daughter has a 650B mountain bike that's QR, so I'll have to nab her wheels and try my disc bike for size.

I rode the Otari to Hakuba part yesterday, starting with the "Lactic Acid" climb. That one and the climb up the backside of Hakuba Cortina are pretty rampy, so hats off to everyone who got up them with lots of climbing already in the legs. Load of roadworks have sprung up everywhere, so its good the event was when it was. Some parts of the course now have barriers and keep out signs up.
 
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