Hotaka: Course, Strategy and Team Tactics

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
So this comment by Travis from the other thread got me thinking:

But here's something to think about;
When we were heading down "Doushi-michi - R413" at speed, there were 3 of us (Sergey, Lee, and myself) riding down hard! But I did think, "...if we were all working together, instead of fighting each other, we could all go a lot faster as a group" - we'll have to work on that, eh!
We're going to have a big TCC contigent this time. Although it's not a real mass-start road race, it does seem like groups come together over the course, which makes team tactics a viable option. It would be great if we could have the club working together.

The most obvious example I can think of is for the, er, hill-challenged among us to pull the goats through the flats so they're fresh for the hills (espcially the last two). Speaking personally, I'm not going to be doing anything other than surviving on those climbs, so I'd have no problem knocking myself out on the flat/downhill-ish sections to pull clubmates who have an actual chance of getting up the hills in good times. Then maybe the climbers could help each other on the climbs. Oh, and Thomas could discard bits of his bike on the road (chain, spokes, etc) to puncture the tires of competitors. :)

I suppose a lot depends on which groups we start in and how we all come together, but it's kind of fun to think about even if on the day it all falls apart... :D

Also, any second-year riders with course advice? How steep is that penultimate hill? (According to the elevation map it looks about 15% average, but that can't be right...can it?) And of course, where exactly is the notorious "fork of death"? Sempais, bless us with your wisdom...
 

chazzer

Speeding Up
Nov 23, 2006
449
0
36
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire
#2
Jam sandwiches

I volunteer to be the domestique par excellence zooming from the back of the peleton laden with jam sandwiches and fig rolls to press into everyone's sweaty gloved palm.....I have every chance of performing this duty for the first two kms at least....

After that then I will need all the help I can get plus an invisible piece of elastic strung from the back of Thomas' seatpost.

Actually if we could arrange for all the flat stuff to be at the start then I would be very willing to be at the front and pull you all along. Not bad downhill either....

chazzer
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#3
Nice call Phil!

Do you mean like this Phil? Where everyone is around me protecting the team leader:)

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Seriously though, that's an excellent idea and I'm sure if we all worked together on the flats it would help the whole team. I don't think any of the mountain goats would feel comfortable getting pulled a long by the others anyway, and would want to take their turn at the front.

As Travis mentioned in the other thread, we should probably start practicing rotations every time we ride. I don't know why but when someone is out front we often let them sit there and pull us all along. I'm as guilty as anyone else.

As for the course itself, once we made that turn where Thomas and Tom's group kept going straight, that was pretty much the end of the bunch I was riding in anyway. And from that point on I was pretty much alone the whole race. Hotaka isn't ideal for bunches working together because of the amount of climbing and descending. But, after descending there may be possibilities for groups of 2-3 to get back together and work as a unit. Last year I was pretty much isolated the whole race...

And as for the fork of death, it's about 15km into the race. If you look at the map you'll see the big red arrow pointing left! I can't read that kanji, something obashi. Maybe Tom can help here. And those last 2 climbs are hideously hard. Not long, but last year I was suffering really badly on them.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#4
Ha, I like the photoshop job you've done on that...looks like a screenshot from that Tour de France video game.

Thanks for the various advice. Good point on the taking turns on the pulls...a good rotating paceline in that middle 30 km or relative flats could really boost the pace, assuming anyone was still together.

Hill warning is noted. I've already decided I'm taking the triple. It's a heavier bike, but the bailout gears could be the difference between riding and walking to the finish. You who tackle lengthy 15%+ hills on standard cranks boggle my mind and aged knees... :eek:
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#9
The Deejinator

"Listen, and understand. That Deejinator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."

I'm glad you brought this up, Phil, because I've been wondering about the strategy for Hotaka myself.

I've never raced before, so I don't really know what to expect. Is the basic idea for the Giro to find the fast group and hold on for dear life?

Or will the hills string the peloton out, leaving everyone to fend for themselves, as Mike said? Also, for those of you who rode it last year, how often did you stop for drinks, food, etc?

I'm excited, but I'm a little nervous, too, as I know this is going to hurt.

BTW, I think Tom tweaked the photo a little to give it a slightly ethereal look.

Deej
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#11
Team Tactics

My tuppence worth on strategy
1. Hillclimb: Go as fast as possible!!!!

2. Giro: Assuming we all start in the same group (which we did not last year) then I expect we would be towards the front of the pack and might be able to form a group. This could be to our advantage on the flatter section before the first climb. The first climb is so long that our group would have to be very closely matched in speed to all get to the top at the same time, but if we could do this, I think we'd have a big advantage on the first downhill and the flatter section that follows (50 km to 80 km-ish). I was caught on this section by a group that I had droppped on the first climb, as they were working together and I was all by myself. If we could get a paceline going on this section (and successfully drop any non-TCC hangers-on) we could have a reasonable lead going into the second hill at 80km. From that point there's probably less advantage in rolling as a team as it's all either up or down to the finish.

Should be fun anyway :)

AW.
 
#12
foggy ethereal look

I would guess the camera lens was a little fogged from Tom's sweaty pocket :)
I've always liked David Hamilton pictures and his subject matter too of course. Rather than resorting to soft focus lenses, he's known to breathe onto the lens right before shooting...

Truth is, my sweaty back indeed caused the lens to fog up so I have tried to tweak it with photoshop. Nice guesswork! I also use the same software to make myself look 15 years younger.... :D I know, I'm a narushisuto but aren't (most) hobby racers?

How many stops there were? I remember 3 stops but maybe there were 4....just bananas, VAAM and water. I also remember seeing a couple riders skipping the first rest point at the summit of the first climb. These little pit stops can be very decisive!
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#16
The odds?

Is there a clear favorite? Last weekend Deej stamped his authority on Mikuni. However, it is clear Mike is just getting into his training and is formidable when in form. Tom cycled over 300 hard km in the days before the Mikuni ride - and cycled out to Hon Atsugi - making his performance on the day remarkable. Thomas is racking up huge commuting / touring km and still able to display his power on the weekend - a few recovery days off the bike before the race could turn Thomas into the race winner. And this weekend TRAVIS IS BACK! demolishing everyone on Karabazaki. This is getting exciting :D And don't forget the dark horses waiting in the wings who have not yet shown their true colors . . . and Alan - the first TCC'er last year is back in town! Roll on Hotaka!
 
#17
Travis is back indeed...

...not on Karibazaka actually but on Kazahari-rindo...amazing if you consider the fact that this was his first Kazahari via the rindo! I've seen that yellow giant on his long legs escape on the Oo-toge...he's simply unstoppable...and now - after the Mikuni awakening - he's back!! Otherwise Sergey could be one of them dark horses! He stayed right behind Travis & Thomas seemingly effortless. Thomas and Deej are displaying them constantly but surely some TCC riders must be hiding their true colors :eek: ! Could it be you Philip, or you Mike, or could it even be me perhaps :cool: ??

Is there a clear favorite? Last weekend Deej stamped his authority on Mikuni. However, it is clear Mike is just getting into his training and is formidable when in form. Tom cycled over 300 hard km in the days before the Mikuni ride - and cycled out to Hon Atsugi - making his performance on the day remarkable. Thomas is racking up huge commuting / touring km and still able to display his power on the weekend - a few recovery days off the bike before the race could turn Thomas into the race winner. And this weekend TRAVIS IS BACK! demolishing everyone on Karabazaki. This is getting exciting :D And don't forget the dark horses waiting in the wings who have not yet shown their true colors . . . roll on Hotaka!
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#18
Exciting times...

Wow, well done on Kazahari-rindo, Travis! Did you time your ride from the base of the climb? Looks like everyone is starting to find their form.

Today, Simon and I hit the same rindo a little earlier than you guys. Let me just say this: After a pretty satisfying run up that hill, I went on to Wada and shattered my best time by over a minute. Baby!

Deej
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#19
Thanks for the kind words Philip. I heard on the grapevine that you're riding very well at the moment. Any chance of seeing you at one of the HT rides? Are you getting in some secret rides with Christoph or something?
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#20
Thanks for the kind words Philip. I heard on the grapevine that you're riding very well at the moment. Any chance of seeing you at one of the HT rides? Are you getting in some secret rides with Christoph or something?
An honest "no". I did a long distance triathlon 3 weeks ago and am still recovering from sore legs and fatigue. I went for a ride last weekend with Tom and struggled all day. This week I have been forced to do nothing but rest. I went for a couple of easy runs in the park this weekend which went OK. So Monday I start training again and should be out Saturday.

At present, Christoph is working 24/7 and rarely gets the chance to ride his bike :(

I did have an unexpected run of success against the big-guns during the summer, beating Deej, Thomas and Travis over some worthwhile climbs. However, the reality was I was in great shape preparing for my triathlon races whilst for different reasons they were were not; Deej was returning from injury, Travis had finished his season (post KT rides) and Thomas literally killed himself by attempting to ride up Matsuhime at 40kph - he was as white as a ghost when I finally passed him 1km from the top :D

I will be back in form for Hotaka and have no excuses - but no need to worry, I ain't in their league - or yours Mike.