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Point Criterium 2008 at Friendly Park Apr 6th


Maximum Pace
Sep 1, 2007
Another one for the crowded April calendar:

Race: Point Criterium 2008
Place: Friendly Park cycling course in Shimofusa (along the Tone River near Narita). 1.5 km circuit.
Date: April 6th

A "points-style" crit race, with Beginner's, Ladies, and categories D to A. You enter as many "heats" as you like (up to a max of 6, or 3 for beginners), and points are awarded to all those who finish on the lead lap, based on finishing position. Final standings are determined by total points over all the heats.

Pete, is this on your race schedule for this year? Have you done it previously?
Have done it 3 times. It's a killer....
If you have good fitness it's good. After about the 4th heat I find it hard. I usually have a chance in the 1st 3 heats for a top five placing.
Last time I did it I think it was raining....riding with shoes and socks weighed down with a tonne of water was hard. There are 100yen hot showers there so easy to warm up.

Great sprint training. I think you do about 7.5kms a heat. plus or minus a few for different classes.

If you don't plan on riding every heat it is a good idea to not do some of the earlier ones and then have a go later on in the day when most of the oter riders are tired.

I usually do the 1st 4 then give up....on the 4th I'm usually out of any energy and can7t hang on to the pack. I'm pretty much well warmed up for the 3rd heat and if you can keep a good position in the front of the field you can do well.

Never ever try and come from behind on this course as it's too narrow and impossible to pass on the last 200m in the final sprints.

You have to be in the top 3 on the last corner to have a chance of winning.
Hm. Hadn't thought about the "enduro" aspect of doing so many races in one day. If the weather's good I'm going to go for all 6--it's a great opportunity to build experience, if nothing else... I had thought I'd be lucky to get 6 races in all year...

And yeah, thanks for the reminder about the narrow course. I'm going to raise my sights and ride much more aggressively this time around, trying to be at or near the front going into the curve around the baseball diamond. Whether that's possible is another story...will have to find out!
Glad you're going to be there Pete--perhaps some cooperation if you're not tied down by team duties? ...Actually, forget that, I wouldn't have a clue how to help or hinder anyone in a race. Better focus on just not crashing into anyone :D

I signed up for D class and I'll see how that goes. Do you know how the laps work, by the way? I'm guessing all classes go together in each race, but everyone has different lap numbers. Once you complete your own set of laps (3 in my case), do you just pull off the track and the computer sorts you all out?
They usually run two races at the same time a minute a part. Very very rarely do they catch up with each other as the distance is short and its full blast from the start. You just get off the course at the top of the hill as you go around the bend.

The start line will be there about 40m past the finish line.

The classes will all ride separately.

The computer will prevent you from cheating unless you slip your chip into the back pocket of the fastest rider.


4 laps so it only takes about 11 minutes....

Technically I should be in this grade...


But seeing as though I've never lasted thru 6 heats I'm going to go in ③
Ah, naruhodo. Thanks for the info.

This is me:


Better work on the 5km sprints...
Got my entry in.
C class.

I think you should find it easy in yours...don't hold back Phil...go for it...
Great, looking forward to seeing you there, then. Thanks for the encouragement, and good look with the training... :bike:
Received the confirmation and schedule yesterday in the mail. D races start at 9:45 and then one about every hour. Points distribution is weighted more than I thought for top three finishes. These are going to be all-out wild sprints for the big points. Better start lining up for each race early, huh? :warau:

1st > 20 pts
2nd > 15 pts
3rd > 12 pts
4th > 10 pts
5th > 6 pts

Also, Pete (and anyone else familiar with JCRC racing): I was reading the fine print on the Saitama Time Trial and they seem to require:

(a) doctor checkup w/ certificate
(b) and very specific helmets certified by the 日本自転車競技連盟, with sticker to that effect inside.

Are these standard requirements for JCRC races? If so, how strict are they about them? I'd rather not buy yet another helmet if I don't have to...
Not strict at all as far as I've found.

To win the over all prize the winner usually finishes in the top 3 places in each heat.... Just surviving 6 races is somthing I've yet to achieve.
I'm going to try and win one heat. That is my goal for the day. (and it will have to be the 1st or 2nd attempt as after that I'll be struggling to hold on to the pack.
Yeah, only 33 in my class, even less in yours. Seems like a really good number to me, especially on that tight course.

Also looks like we're going to be a day ahead of the rain--sunny skies for Sunday.

Ambitious goal: Top 6 in points at the end of the day.
Secondary goal: At least one top 3 finish.

Don't know if those are do-able; on the one hand, I don't have much experience, on the other hand, it is F-class equivalent, so the other guys won't either. Just hope there's not too many future A's in the field. :)

Guess I'll see you tomorrow, Pete. Hope the leg is feeling better from the ski lift accident. Good luck!
Got the car half packed.
Got barium leaking out.:warau:
Got 2 bikes on the roof.
Going to toss a coin in a minute to see if I should shave my legs.
(every race I've had shaved legs in I've done well in....you just make sure that nobody with hairy legs beats/passes you).
My calf muscle is a bit sore but that won't come into play unless I'm pulling hard up the last section....:warau:

Wind: There may be some wind and it usually blows along the side of the soccer ground where the road is at it's widest. If there is little wind this is one of the few places on the course where you can move from last place to first easily. If you're really keen you can sprint away for the last km here.

That same wind also runs along the baseball ground (2nd base to 3rd base). Which is also another good place to break away and hold everybody off as they curve around the baseball course.

With the wind blowing up the finish line at the top of the hill people often make a break here as well. (on any lap).

With the races spread out over the whole day there will be some wind to battle with. Use the peleton as a shield where it is most windy. I normally like to sit on the right hand side of the pack...especially for the last 2 laps. But being stuck up the front on the left sometimes forces you to stay near the front as you can't get out of the pack easily on that side.

One problem I've had here in the past is getting to the front and like a conveyer belt people keep popping up on the right side to the front and before you know it you've been shuffled back down the left hand side to the back again. If you're in the top 5 don't let people pass you if possible or quickly jump on their behinds so they take you to the front as well.

If you find yourself at the front and want to slip back in to 4th or 5th place be aggressive and yell at the person in 4th and 5th... 'IRETE KUDASAI' and move in on the front of their wheel. (don't forget to use the Obi-Wan Kenobi hand gesture that Japanese use when entering traffic illegally). They will have no choice but to let you in.
If you don't be aggressive you get ignored.

Good luck....
Phil, you did well. Overall you were near the high points in almost every race.
The last km is where it's won or lost of which I learnt the hard way. Maybe you did as well.

My results were fair.

Race one. 2nd (personal best). A guy who broke away and won this race won 4 out of the 5 races for the day. I wasn't going to catch him but I tried and I made ground on him. I made my big break away with about 600m to go and the rest of the pack were quite far back. I think I went too hard though.

Race two: Don't know my position but I'd spent all my energy in race one and was happy to finish and collect a point near the tail and play it safe. This race sent my overall position from 2nd to 3rd place. As I crossed the finish line two guys had crashed in the sprint; one guy looked half dead and we had to wait for an ambulance to cart him away. I also noticed his fork had snapped in half on one side.
There were about 3 ambulance calls within 30 minutes and delays meant that a race would be cut from the days schedule.
The team mates of the yellow cap wearer had their eye on me as they protected their leader. Would be nice to have drones, I guess.

Race 3. The wind had picked up a bit, I'd had a long break and lunch and felt great. I decided to switch to my training bike which is heavier and the wheels carve through the wind a bit better. The down hills were where the wind was strongest so extra weight helped me (I think). After 40m into this race I felt so fresh I decided to see what would happen if I made a break away. I soon found out. I sprinted away and looked back and nobody was following me. I led for a lap but knew I was kidding myself and let them catch me again. I finished near the end of the peleton and picked up another bonus point for competing.
I now slipped from 3rd to 4th place overall. Breaking away was fun and I was hoping to break up the field, scare the yellow cap wearer and just to see what would happen. A disaster but was fun to pretend for a bit.

Race 4. I was energy depleted so just tried to stay with the pack. I managed to accomplish that and finished in the group but still not good enough to get more than the 1 point. I dropped to 8th position overall. I'd need a 2nd place finish now to be in contention for a podium result. ( I was almost ready to call it a day as the wind was picking up again).

Race 5. The wind was strong and the other fat guy (besides myself) that I was using as a shield didn't ride hard enough and I got dropped again. One more bonus point. (Phil, tell me I wasn't as fat as that guy please...).

Held my 8th position overall and didn't feel too bad.
Only regret was not putting any fresh air in my 2nd bike. The front wheel felt very soft at the end of the day. (don't think I had the gas anyway to have made some extra points).

My new Gold bar tape helped in race one but it's magic powers disappeared after that. (and I didn't get around to shaving my legs either).

A good day of training....

1st time for me to finish every race in the day at this event. First time to finish better than 3rd place in a race. My sore leg muscles held together with no noticeable strains....

time for a hot bath. (will upload some pics later tonight).
The rest of my team did ok.
4th & 8th in A grade.
4th in B Grade.
8th in C Grade.

Phil, I think you got a lot of valuable experience today...it will pay off later.
Many congrats Pete on your 2nd place...you really do have a serious kick. You would have won it if it wasn't for that breakaway. I was lining up for my first race so I didn't actually see the finish line, but when you guys wheeled around the corner you were way ahead of the pack. Glad you rode all the races too--I really thought you'd got the extra point or two on the last race.

For the record, I was 10th at the end of the day, and never really a contender for the sixth position that was my goal. This is how it went...

Race 1
The pace was fast right from the gun, and by half a lap I was puffing like a bellows. Never really recovered, but stayed in touch with the front just long enough to finish 10th, good for 2 points and a little separation from the 1 point group. Actually, I might not have got 10th except that coming up the hill a guy two riders to the left suddenly swerved hard left, then right, then left again and then went into the trees. I heard him go into the bushes then another bike go down too... Think they were okay though.

Race 2
Again, the pace was fast from the outset, and somewhere around the second turn it all seemed like way too much hard work. I tagged along at the back of the group, made a couple of half-hearted attempts to move up, but when we got to the hill sprint and I saw I was well out of the top ten, I just sat up and rolled slowly over the line. 2+1=3 points.

Somewhere around this point there was a big crash in the B race... One ambulance had already been called for the crash in Pete's race, and this one required two more + a fire truck. They actually brought the ambulances onto the track and treated the rider(s) where they were. This took at least half an hour, and eventually they announced that one round of heats would be cancelled. I don't mind admitting that at this point I starting to wonder if I shouldn't pack it in and go home...but then, finally, it was time for...

Race 3
I honestly don't remember this race at all. I finished 8th. Finally involved in the sprint, sort of. 3+4=7 points.

Race 4
This was my silly race. I'd promised myself in the morning that I'd attempt a break. Which I did, on the second lap, from the back of the group, into the wind, at only 2 kms faster than the pace of the group. Which meant it was less of a break and more a helpful pull for the pack. I blew up on the hill at the end of the second lap, and everyone in the race and their grandmother flowed by me as if I was a rock in a stream. 7+1=8 points.

Race 5
This one went quite well. I stayed at the back for the first lap or so, then started to move up on the outside, but always behind another wheel. With half a lap to go, I was about fourth or fifth back, on the outside, and more importantly still feeling somewhat fresh. A guy on the right broke, and then miracle of miracles the guy I was wheel-sucking went with him, pulling me along for the ride. Into the hill I was fourth; I was passed by two in the sprint and ended up sixth. 8+6=14 points.

Phil, I think you got a lot of valuable experience today...it will pay off later.

Definitely. It was great to do so many races in one day; a real opportunity to try (and fail) multiple times. I was initially disappointed with the results, but looking back now I realize what a great learning experience this was. To wit...

1. If you're going to go for a "break", create some distance between yourself and the group, duh.
2. Warm up. The two morning races were killers at least in part because the short distance meant the lungs never had a chance to get going properly. I felt much stronger in the afternoon.
3. Stay out of the wind, duh. Too often I would try to make up positions on the outside directly into the wind. In the last race I followed other riders instead, which meant I was much fresher for the last lap surge.
4. The pack will surge on the last lap, at least twice. Don't know why it took 4 races to figure that one out.
5. Blue bar tape slows you down, big time. Better get some of that gold stuff.

Anyways, a great day in the end. It was good to hang out again with you, Pete, and as always many many thanks for all the advice and encouragement. Congrats again on the 2nd!

Okay, almost time for Ronde van Vlaanderen on J-Sports...
Cheers for those Pete. I think those pink gnome hats are a really good incentive to grade up. But hey, they match the sakura at least...

Sorry, no pics from me. I dropped my camera on the way out of the door and I'm still trying to put it back together again :( Have to wait for Allsports for more.
great job!

great job guys! and thanks for the detailed posts, was fun reading through them :)
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