Hoping to do my first race

#1
Hello all!

I just got back from Seattle. It was a blast! I rode on some of the San Juan Islands, around lake Washington, up Mt. Rainier and many other places. This was all to rehabilitate myself from a accident that left me with a broken collar bone. After missing all of July, I spent all my time this month riding and getting back into form. Now that I am back in Japan I am looking to do my first road race. I know its getting late in the season but I need help getting registered. I saw on the JCRC site that there is a race in chichibu September 18th. I would like to try that but I dont know how to register. If its too late to do that, I would like to try for the november race in Saiko around the lake. I need help! (And a coach)
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#3
You can normally get away with an Obi Wan Kenobi... 'I'm not late...it's OK...I'm a gaijin'... and wave your hand from left to right... They let gaijin join late usually.

Always worked for me.

You need to practice riding in a group of beginners... it is very scary. Best to stay near the top of the race sitting in about 5th all the way if you can and not letting yourself drop back further than 10th. If you are fit, you can do that.
If not you will have to sit further back and run the risk of people crashing in front of you. :eek: You will ride faster if you hear crashes behind you...you may lose your nerve or more if you see them in front of you. :warau:

Whatever happens in your first race..don't worry about it. You learn so much the first time that it makes a bigger difference in your second race.
Keep your eyes in front of you...hold your line.... communicate with riders if you have to... 'Oiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii' is a universal word that helps in every situation. At Saiko...it's easy to get trapped on the left side...that's OK for the first lap especially if you can hold your spot up the front..but the left side is often like a conveyor belt that will spit you out the back. I always try and stay on the right shoulder of the peleton.. you can chase down breakaways or jump in behind people moving to the front...get a free ride off them. Don't lead unless you feel totally in control of yourself, your bike and everybody else. If you find yourself at the front take it easy if the pace is too high and get back in about 5th asap...

If you do the Sep race in X class and do well you could be promoted up to C class... C class with only one race under your belt is hard...but much safer than racing F, E, D classes...

Good luck... practice your sprints if you can with a group of people.
 

FarEast

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#5
You'll be racing X-class which is the sorting race.

It will happen one of two ways.

1st..... You'll be racing with extremely good riders that are probably E2-E3 riders in the JBCF. They will go off the front and you will never see them again. You'll ride hard and end up in a group of about 10 riders (if you are fit) and cross the line around 10 place.

2nd...... you''ll be racing with a bunch of people that have no clue and of seriously mixed riding ability. You'll go off the front and never see them again.

Saiko isn't a typical race.... its a criterium on an extended course. Its narrow and needs your head to be in the game at all times.

The sprint finish at the end actually will kick off on the second Junction turn and although its not a major climb trying doing it at a sprint. :D

Elbows and knees - if someone gets too close don't be scared to use your hands, a friendly tap on the shoulder will tell them its a no go.

I had some young skally tried to force and cut my line at Kawagoe and a friendly tap and bit of international profanity goes a long way. Don't let riders force you off your line.
 
#6
Thank you everyone for the support! I will give them a call (actually my Japanese friend will) and try to coax them into letting me join. If that doesn't work out I will register for Saiko as soon as they open registration for it. The JCRC site doesn't give any details except for a route map.

Edogawakikkoman, thank you for the detailed advice! I have never gone against a semi-pro cyclist in Japan so I don't know what typ of pace they go at. I am pretty sure that they are faster then the guys that clog up the River cycling roads with the fancy bikes, clothes and slow pace, so I don't know what to expect and a little nervous. I think if its possible I will make a trip out there in the following weeks to check out the course and get a little familiar with it.

Tim, I would be grateful to ride with you again. I know you can get me race ready (or kill me) in no time. I wanted to tell you that when I was in Seattle I saw some amazing track racing at Marymore Park in Redmond. They have races every night in the summer! Also I climbed up Sunrise next to Mt. Rainier in 1 hour 15 minutes. I had a Helmet cam to record my climb so I will try and post it later after I edit it.

I am going to try and force myself to get up early before work and school and train on the Arakawa. When I have a day off I will try to join you guys for a long ride!
 

GSAstuto

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#8
Ahhh, Marymore! I love that track. Used to race there alot. Back in the day we could ride out on the Samammish trail, rent a track bike, race, then ride back. Was a great day. Later on, of course, stopping at St. Michelle for a tipple - got so wasted once that I ended up crashing off the trail into the slough! Our standard training route was around Lake Washington - if you look close on the roads you should see the chalk arrows marking most of the turns. It was a great 3hr early AM ride.

The ride up to Paradise was a standard hill training route. Love to see your vid of Sunrise - remember those roads well, it will cause me a moment of meloncholy. Now you see where I cut my teeth on the hills - I basically lived on those mountains every weekend when I wasn't racing or riding elsewhere. I hope you brought back a 'bag' from Big Time Brewery! Cheers!
 
#9
I did the Lake Washington loop too! They are repaving the Burke-Gillman Trail between Bothell and Matthews Beach, so they made an annoying detour through the neighborhood streets adding a few miles and hills.

It's a shame they don't have some roads like that here though... Well not in Tokyo at least.

Hope to catch up on a ride sometime while the weather stays nice. Maybe I'll see about joining you if you decide on another Tomin no Mori ride or the Green Line (haven't rode it yet).
 

GSAstuto

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#10
Wow! Repaving a bicycle trail! Imagine that ever happening in Japan .... FYI for those who don't know - Seattle Metro created a series of cycle paths based on old railway thoroughfares back in the early 70's. These were extended by local cities and communities and now include several hundreds of miles of connecting cycling paths. Combining that with actual 'planned parks' like Seward, the Arboretum , Lake Washington Blvd, etc, it's no wonder that the Seattle area is synonymous with great cycling (and of course, great cycling innovators like Klein, R&E, Davidson, etc)
 

andywood

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#11
Just to add to the excellent advice already posted:

You need to be ready to go from the gun. Races in Japan almost always start fast. A good warm up is essential. As is a good spot on the starting line.

Also be prepared to to go harder than you think you can sustain in the first part of the race. Once splits have been made, it should get easier.

Tactics are few and far between in Japan. Even amongst riders on the same team. If you know anyone in the race or even get chatting before the race, it may be worth trying to get some kind of plan together.

Good luck and enjoy it!

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

GSAstuto

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#12
As my old coach told me - 'First through the first corner' and 'First through the last'. In other words - set the pace and own the sprint. Fight for those 2 corners as if your life depended on it. You will find who can hang early (and of course your own condition) and you'll finish feeling like you gave your 110% whether you win or come hacking in at the tail end. Also - those 2 goal points give you a tangible GOAL at the start of the race AND the end. So, you will be GOAL MINDED during the race - which will help to keep your head straight DURING the race.
 

FarEast

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#13
JCRC Races are all about Cardio.

So basically cut the long rides and start doing sprint intervals and high HR workouts.

You need to be explosive and then quick to recover then explosive again.

Like I said this race is basically a criterium on anextended course, in fact anything below B-class I would consider a crit due to the distance and the size of the courses.

But really JCRC X-class. Get to the front ASAP and stay within the top 10. Don't do anywork unless you are in a break away and if you find yourself doing all the work don't be scared to either tell them what a butch of lazy gits they are or sit up and pull to the side and force them to take a pull or get eaten by the main group.
 
Dec 31, 2009
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Matsumoto
#14
Drops

Get used to riding in the drops of your handlebars. The advantages are huge. You dont need to be in them all the time just when the pace starts to pick up. What can happen is someone will pass to close and get there handlebars stuck inside yours causing a crash. Happened right in front of me and I have seen it happen other times as well. Also there is the Aerodynamic advantage, saving you energy and making you faster. Having your hands in the drops is also safer when you hit some unexpected pothole or object verses being on the levers. If you are uncomfortable in your drops its simple you need to raise your handlebar or HTFU! My handlebars are set so I can ride a full hour long criterium in the drops.
Also, always hit the waterbottle. Never bunyhop them. I did a skills class put on by some local pros and they did a drill where you ride your bike through about 50 full water bottles. your weight literally crushes the bottles and absolutely nothing happens. What happens when you try to hop over it is your wheel lands on it and rolls over like your doing the log roll on the river, thus taking out everyone around you. Try it fill up a water bottle and run it over. cuts through it like butter.

If some on goes down in front of you, never ever ever try to jump them either. slide out, preferably on your non drive side (opposite side of the chain) saving your dearailleur hanger from bending. Being in position, like Tim says is where the race is one, cause after the last corner usually not much passing is going on. Also before this corner is when the tension is high so many crashes occur. Get up there early if you can and hold your spot like you own the place.

Unlike a hill climb the best guy doesnt always win. In a crit, its usually the smartest/ luckiest / scrappyest.

If you get a flat hold your line and wait till everyone passes you before moving to the side. Yell "Flat" or "stopping" or anything to let people know not to run into you.

Dont drink so much that you have to pee during the race. LIVE BY THIS
If the race is short dont eat 2 hours before. Hungry dog wins the fight.

Read Joe Friels Cycling training bible and blog, but dont take his advice on cleat fit, unless your feeling riskay

Tire pressure Tire pressure Tire Pressure
 
#15
Wow, This is a goldmine of information! I will take everything you guys advise and try to put it into practice!

One thing I want to ask about is how can I make the Saiko race fit my style. I know I am not a sprinter and I don't think I could win a bunch sprint. I fancy myself a better time trial rider and can ride a fast pace for a long time. Do you think it is worth my while to try and get in a break from the start and just try my best to gain time? Or do you think no matter how hard I ride the main group will catch me in the end? I have never been in a bunch sprint and I am nervous with sprinting with a bunch of other novices because I am sure we will make mistakes.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#16
The only breakaways that succeed in Saiko are usually only in S class. (and the over 50 and over 60 races where there are a few freaks who could still do well in S class.

X class will be very hard for a break away to succeed as it's only 20km...

If you're not a sprinter just draft as close to the lead as possible and go for the last second pip at the post... all you have to do is sit behind the best 3 or 4 sprinters and stay with them...
I've seen guys outsmart the sprinters on the line at Saiko....they will be going hard as individuals....you just have to stay with them... You only need to finish in the top six to podium..

Sometimes the sprinters go too hard too early at Saiko and you can sling shot past them on the line...providing you remained calm...

Don't panic... and just wait till the last 150m to give it your 150% last ditch... leave it later than that if you are sitting 3rd to 10th...
The road is kind of narrow on the sprint line and sometimes the first 10 guys will span out and make a wall so that nobody can pass... you have to be in that wall if that happens...



I wouldn't bother chasing a breakaway or going with one unless you are not going to waste energy... You need to stay fresh for the first 18km of the race...then try and stay calm till there is 1km to go... then just hold a safe position and watch for attempted breakaways on your right.... anybody that flies off to the right... just slot in behind them and let them deliver you...
 

FarEast

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#17
Wow, This is a goldmine of information! I will take everything you guys advise and try to put it into practice!

One thing I want to ask about is how can I make the Saiko race fit my style. I know I am not a sprinter and I don't think I could win a bunch sprint. I fancy myself a better time trial rider and can ride a fast pace for a long time. Do you think it is worth my while to try and get in a break from the start and just try my best to gain time? Or do you think no matter how hard I ride the main group will catch me in the end? I have never been in a bunch sprint and I am nervous with sprinting with a bunch of other novices because I am sure we will make mistakes.
Ok last years X-Class winner rode the 20km race at an average speed of 41km/h If you can ride at an average faster than that solo then you have the race in the bag.

S-Class averaged the 60km at 45km/h with a lot of attacks through out the race and several teams breaking away but then getting pulled back in by either Anchor, Fuji or Milano and it ended up in a bunch sprint.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#18
We'll get you out for a few training sessions. You will be able to dramatically improve your sprinting and recovery by just - DOING THAT. Nothing more than systematic interval training will help you more. I don't know if there's time - but also a couple of track sessions would really help. When you're running a 45kph paceline with no brakes and 2cm from the guys around you, you learn bike handling and awareness skills very quickly. Plus - there's nothing like a few sets of 200m flying TT to tune-up your out of the pocket game.

Above all - KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid). Only train a couple of things at one time and work hard to commit it to your reflex memory. On the course you will not remember anything, get tunnelvision from the adrenalin and have to basically rely on your core reflex training, luck and the Madonna del Ghisallo. After about 5 or 6 races - you can being to expand your reflex core and ride 'smarter' with more responsive actions.

Wow, This is a goldmine of information! I will take everything you guys advise and try to put it into practice!

One thing I want to ask about is how can I make the Saiko race fit my style. I know I am not a sprinter and I don't think I could win a bunch sprint. I fancy myself a better time trial rider and can ride a fast pace for a long time. Do you think it is worth my while to try and get in a break from the start and just try my best to gain time? Or do you think no matter how hard I ride the main group will catch me in the end? I have never been in a bunch sprint and I am nervous with sprinting with a bunch of other novices because I am sure we will make mistakes.