Racing in Japan: Getting Started

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
This is a summary of the info we have about amateur road bike racing in Japan, including criteriums, time trials, enduros, and road races.

This is not about track racing (although there are a couple of JCRC and other races run on tracks, for road bikes or official track bikes). For information on keirin, try searching the forums. This thread is a good start.

We don't, as yet, have any info on mountain bike racing.

I tried to be inclusive but brief. If anyone has any additional info/links etc, feel free to add!

What are the categories? How do they correspond to the US/Australia/Europe?
See below, and also https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=1410

How much do the races cost?
4000 to 12000 yen for one-day events. I'd say 6000 yen is a rough median.

What kind of road bike races are there?
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=1410

Do I need a license?
Nope, not at the amateur level.

How do I sign up?
Follow instructions provided on the organizers' sites. In general, you will need to read Japanese or have a Japanese speaker help you out. 90% of the time you'll be signing up through JCRC or Sports Entry.

Where can I find out about upcoming races?
JCRC races are listed on their homepage:
http://www.jcrc-net.jp/

R&I also run a couple of race events:
http://sunday-sunday.net/event_index.html

Tsukuba Enduro organizers:
http://www.jccerc.info/

Bike Navi run a couple of hill climbs and enduros:
http://www.bikenavi.net/index.html

A series of races are run in Gunma and other hilly areas. Some information in English:
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/bicycle/race/

Cycle Sports magazine has listings of upcoming events, including races:
http://www.cyclesports.jp/

Sports Entry is an online event registration service. They have extensive cycling event listings:
http://www.sportsentry.ne.jp/search.php?ct=c

But what about information in English?
Very few of the races provide foreign-language info. These boards are one of the best places to learn about upcoming races in English.

You can browse back through the Bicycle Races sub-forum to get an idea of what is available throughout the year.

You can look through the blog archives of our friends at Positivo Espresso. They also do a lot of races:
http://positivo-espresso.blogspot.com/
 

lylen

Speeding Up
Apr 30, 2008
57
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Tokyo
#2
I can't speak for other countries, but rankings here don't work like US. Here, if you pay to get a license you can race "S" class, high level, with no previous experience. If you wish you can race "A" class, also high level, or any category you choose. In the US the levels from low to high are separated by skill and experience. You must actually earn your level by results. At older age categories those levels are generally neglected, but there is an assumption that older racers will be more experienced in any case. So I would say there is no comparison at least from the JCRC levels and what goes on in the states.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
I can't speak for other countries, but rankings here don't work like US. Here, if you pay to get a license you can race "S" class, high level, with no previous experience. If you wish you can race "A" class, also high level, or any category you choose. In the US the levels from low to high are separated by skill and experience. You must actually earn your level by results. At older age categories those levels are generally neglected, but there is an assumption that older racers will be more experienced in any case. So I would say there is no comparison at least from the JCRC levels and what goes on in the states.
Not entirely correct.
There is no license in a JCRC race and you can't pay to get your rank.
JCRC like people to earn their way up.
I've seen the odd gaijin jump into A or S class and do well and I've also see them make a fool of themsleves.
They are not following the rules.
What they should be doing is starting in X class to be ranked officially.
90% of X class riders will go into F, E or D class which is about Cat 5.

X class for starters... if you do extremely well they will put you up to about Cat 3. (C or B class).

People who jump up the rankings do so by themselves. True, there is little to stop them like a license...but those who follow the rules progress up the ranks by placing in the top 6 of a race.

Bike Navi sometimes grade by age.
Many races use the JCRC rankings as a rule of thumb.

People that jump rank are idiots as far as I'm concerned.

I've also seen the S class become slower over the last 2 or 3 years as a lot of the really good racers are not doing JCRC races but are going up to the next ranks..

ER, BR1 of which JCRC do not cater too. I'm not very conversant with those ranks but I think BR1 is good enough to get into a European pro team. (not top level pro).

We have an F ranked rider who will race in F but he is actually as fast as an A class rider. He needs to win his way up and get more experience. Which he is quite happy to do. He had a bad debut race in X class.

Great thread Phil.
Let's hope people actually read it first!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
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Yokohama
#4
Thank you guys for the wealth of information. Trying to get started her in Japan is a daunting task due to language barriers and not really knowing anyone who races, so this information has been a huge help.

Thank you
 

lylen

Speeding Up
Apr 30, 2008
57
0
26
Tokyo
#5
Thanks for the detailed information. Sorry, suppose I was not informed enough. My comments come from the experience of racing in both countries. I'm no fan of JCRC so I made assumptions that came from my experiences. Now I know there is a promotion system here the riders should follow. I still think it's very hard to match the category system in Japan to US, for example a typical Category 4 road race in California is about 50 to 65 km, which seems to be the top level distances here, unless you include enduro events. Thanks for setting me straight on it.
 

NisekoMTB

Warming-Up
Jul 13, 2009
2
0
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Niseko
#7
Just to add some info RE mtb racing in Japan:

- there is the national series known as the J series for DH and XC
- within the series they have two grades of races - J series races and J2 races
- You must hold a Japan Mountain Bike (JMA) license to race in Sport class and you need both a JMA and a JCF license to race Expert and Elite class.
- Entry to Expert and Elite class is based on merit - ie the previous years results - though exemptions are granted in special cases.
- If you haven't previously participated in a JCF sanctioned event you may end up racing Novice class!

There are plenty of other non sanctioned regional races that don't require any licenses but are subject to the organizers ranking system.
 

BabyPuke

Warming-Up
Aug 22, 2008
18
0
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Noborito, Kawasaki
#8
And I do this here every so often:

If anyone is interested in track racing, PM me. I've got the skinny. Tomity's info is great, but pretty short on how to actually DO it.

-Dave
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#13
Sorry I think Shuzenji Izu is the closest race in the JCRC series to you.

The best thing you can probably do is go to the largest Professional Bike store in the area and ask them about Crits and Stage racing in the area...or wider area. Also talk to local riders especailly the ones go up hills bloody fast as they should know about the race scene in your area.
 

Denilzon

Warming-Up
Nov 9, 2011
26
1
0
Eda
#15
Another question concerning racing an Japan. Safety pins for the numbers? Does one bring one's own, like e.g. in Belgium, or does the race organisation provide them and they get returned when returning the number, like e.g. in Germany?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#17
For JBCF if you are racing the season you are normally given the number for the year so you need to return the bike number to the officials. Jersey Numbers you normally keep - Got hundreds of the things.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
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Niigata
#18
I've always thought the leftover race numbers and pins is a real waste. They just go straight in the bin with the other junk you get as "sanka sho"...

You don't need pins but extra plastic ties (like the ones you use to attach a speed sensor to a fork) always come in handy for chips and number plates. Also nipper pliers to get them off afterwards...

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time