Hill Climb Eco2012 Zao EcoLine (Miyagi)

Quicksilver

Maximum Pace
Jan 9, 2011
113
32
48
Tokyo
#1
I should have posted this before the event to see if there were any other takers. Instead here is a race report. The race took place on Sunday May 20 on the Zao Ecoline over a distance of 18.7Km with 1,334m elevation. The event website can be found at http://j-cycling.org/zao/index.html

Last year the event was cancelled because the roads were still damaged from the earthquake, but this year the event celebrated 50 years since the road was built. Despite pictures of walls of snow on the pamphlet (which were still there) the event was blessed with glorious (warm!) sunshine. Although the location is well over 300km from Tokyo getting there and back by car was much quicker and easier than some more local events. I went with my family and like many of the participants stayed at the hotel immediately at the foot of the startline. The hotel car park also served as the venue for the opening and closing ceremony and the departure for the bus which took spectators (like my family) to the top. I spent the week before lying low due to a dreadful cold which had me coughing a lot and unable to manage even a session on the trainer so I was really wondering how I would make it to the top. Due to the lack of post here I didn't realise that Alan and Naomi were also riding but caught Alan in his usual cheerful mood just before the start. Despite my dreadful condition, I lined up at the front of the 40+ class and took off with the first riders but this proved an amateurish mistake as my pace slackened and from then on it was all about survival. I must have looked in a bad way as several of the clusters of spectators by the way made a point of shouting "gaijin-san ganbare!" to encourage me. I was suprised to see a wide range of rider oufits beyond the usual lycra and carbon bikes including cross-bikes, jeans and rides without clip-in shoes and pedals. :eek: I even found myself battling against a guy on an MTB at one point:eek:uch: though I think it was the same rider I saw warming up on a trainer in the car park. By the time I got the summit Alan was there, camera in hand, looking cool and relaxed. I finished in 1:17:14. Alan was ten mins or so faster in Champion class and Naomi was also up in a twinkling though I haven't heard her time yet. Apparently there were even more insanely fast riders. Whatever, the ride that had remarkably turned by legs to aching piles of jelly in very short time earned us a clear view of the mountains around and the stunning green lake in the crater. There were still riders coming up the mountian when we finally made the descent controlled by lead cars, followed eventually by the broom wagon. The final rider was given a big cheer and smiled in response. As we rode down, the warm locals waved and bid us farewell. Back in the hotel car park I ate tonjiru in weather that was really too hot for it awaiting the closing ceremony. Alan and Naomi took a week off to explore the great cycling the area undoubtedly offers while I returned to Tokyo with my family. I've already pencilled in the event for next year. I wonder if any more TCCers will be interested?
 

Quicksilver

Maximum Pace
Jan 9, 2011
113
32
48
Tokyo
#3
Did you ride it fixed gear?
No, I am afraid I bought a new bike (Boardman SLR 9.4) for races this year:eek: It also makes most TCC rides seem more accessible. I haven't ruled out going back to the fixie for hill climbs but the new bike also means I have no excuses equipmentwise. Meanwhile, I still get more time on the fixie though a lot of that is commuting. Besides gears, my position on the bike is quite different, though (oddly?) both seem comfortable. BTW I have been reading your recent posts with awe, though I am a right slouch about posting comments.