JCRC Shuzenji Race Report

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#1
JCRC Shuzenji (B class) June 10th, 2012.

8 laps of the 5km hilly circuit = 40km of hell

This weekend the champion system team consisting of James, myself and 2 young Japanese riders made our way to the Japan Cycling Center in Shuzenji, Izu. For those of you who've never been there It's close to Yamabushi Toge on R80, which I've ridden over on some of my Izu tours. We rode the course clockwise, making for a thrilling race with some painful climbs and hair raising technical descents.

After meeting James at 2:30pm on Saturday the navi took us over Hakone and the Izu Skyline and as the weather cleared we were rewarded with some lovely ocean views. I found myself thinking this was a trip, not a race! Oh how wrong I was!

We arrived in good time and by 5pm we were already checking in and racking our bikes in the huge bike garage they have there. This was just one of the many things about the place that highly impressed me. Its now called the 日本サイクリングセンター and the new state of the art velodrome sure was impressive. Sitting in the tiered seating from where I took this photo made me itch to watch some racing.

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That night we drove over Yamabushi Toge down to East Izu and had dinner at a Gusto with a view and a half! Once again I had to remind myself that this was a race dammit!

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Then it was back to the hotel for a bath and a last minute leg shave, where James his usual helpful self kept giving me shaving advice, pulling poses that I'm sure scared the other patrons away! Bloody classic Mr. Machin! Just wish I'd had a camera so I could post some of your poses here:)

After the bath we were greeted by a very friendly group of Asian junior cyclists on a 2 week training camp who were preparing for the Asian games. Is that right James? They were mostly from India, Malaysia and Thailand. A real nice bunch and on Sunday we took some pics together.

Race Day

Sunday started at 5:30 even though my race didn't start until 10am as we wanted to get a lap of the course in before the other classes started racing. About halfway through we were stalked by an official on a motorbike clearing the course, so we sure cut it fine!

James and I then set up the Champion Systems base camp and cheered on our 2 Japanese team mates before it was time for our warm up and to the start line for the showdown!

I think there were about 50 riders in my B class race and looking around the start line I noticed a lot of slightly built guys with strong looking legs. That meant one thing, trouble for a rider of my build! Some of these guys had a 20kg advantage over me, and I don't mean they were packing beer guts:cool:

As A class and S class began we slowly moved to the line for the countdown. I could feel the nervous energy running through my body which is always a good sign. The starters gun fired and we were finally away heading for the first small climb. Luckily the pace wasn't too harsh but once we went over the top everyone began jostling for position before the technical descent.

The first lap was probably the scariest as riders were taking all kinds of risks overtaking on corners. I just knew there were going to be some accidents and sure enough on the second lap someone's front tyre blew and he took out another rider as he went down. I reckon we were doing about 60km/h and I just remember seeing the face of the guy behind him as he flew over the bars. It was one of shock and hope, hope that there was no one else about to hit him!

Then about 2 laps later a reckless rider went into a corner too fast, lost his line and crashed straight into the fence, again taking some poor guy out in the process. I saw it coming and knew as soon as he went past me he was gonna hit the dirt soon.

With those crashes done and dusted things began to settle down and after every lap the leading group became smaller and smaller until it was whittled down to about 15. On the penultimate lap I moved to the 3rd wheel on the climb where most attacks would likely come and got away with 2 other riders but it was quickly shut down. Wasted energy but it sure was fun:)

Another rider attacked on the next climb and with no one willing to bridge the gap I decided to sit in the safety of the group and hope we'd peg him back. The final lap was brutal, with attacks galore and with no one being able to pull back the lone escapee it was a race for second. It was no wonder really though, as no one was prepared to work together, something I'm finding quite common in races here. I really can't understand it, it must come with a lack of racing experience.

Anyway, back to the final lap...I managed to hold on to the attackers wheels with grim death but just had nothing left in the tank on the line and was beaten for 4th by a whisker. Just over 1 hours of racing at an average speed of 33km/h, with an ascent of 1000m, a max temp of 35 degrees and I was toast! But it sure was a blast, this kind of racing sure beats hill climbs and it seems to suit my style better. I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next race.

I've been really pleased with my results this season to date, 2 races and 2 podiums (luckily in Japan top 6 are podium).

JCRC Gunma, C Class- 6th
JCRC Shuzenji B Class- 5th

Next JCRC A class....4th???? Hmm that'd be nice!

Next race: JBCF Fuji Hillclimb this Sunday and look out Alan, I'm coming for you;)


Thanks to James for all the advice he's given me and introducing me the real race scene in Japan, not just the hill climbs that only go up....after all isn't the whole point of going up so we can enjoy the high speed descents:D

If anyone would like some info or advice on racing in Japan let me know and I'll try to help.

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Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#4
Mike, congrats! Great write up too.
Gotta say I'm not surprised, with your dedicated training and those rigorous recovery naps ;) England and Australia seem to be the strongest cycling nations this year.
Let's head out for a ride again soon. I will be the rider 20kg heavier than you then...
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#5
Mike, yep you arew spot on - Shuzenji is becoming the Manchester of Asia and the young juniors we met were from Hong Kong, Thailand, Maylasia, Taiwan and other Asian countries preparing for the Asia games and the UCI, JCF and Keirin Association are pumping some serious money in to the CCC. (Shuzenji UCI Continental Cycling Centre).

One of the riders I was taking about is the brother of one of the Champion System Conti Team who was out here for the TOJ.

Really glad you enjoyed the race, crashes are always par of the scene and add another element of risk you never get on HC races - one year at Hitachinaka the lead rider over cooked a corner and took the whole peloton with him in to the grass verge - no one crashed but he got a right grilling from the peloton.

These one day races are very unique - if the peloton is small you'll find that the only time you'll work together is to either escape or prevent being stopped by the SAG wagon and being awarded a DNF. Also do not be scared of getting verbal with these guys - I'm famous for it and if they realise they stand a good chance to get away with you they will work.

Also I just went over the result and 17 riders were awarded DNF, 1 poor guy on lap 7 which means you guys must have caught him and he was retired by the SAG probably either on the final climb or the finishing straight. :(
 

Mike

Maximum Pace
Sep 24, 2007
1,066
9
58
Kanagawa
#7
Cheers for the comments guys. Philip, great to see your still checking here occasionally. Hope to see you on the road sometime if you decide to get back into it. And Gunjira, I'm looking forward to meeting up at the KOM race, with your last time up there you'll be right up there;)