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The best race ever in Japan : Saiko 9.11.08

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
Often called the "Rund um den Henninger Turm" of the East, the JCRC race at Saiko is undoubtedly one of the more charming races of the season. An almost flat round course around one of the Fuji lakes [I hasten to add that nevertheless David and me experienced some problems at the hills in the past], beautiful autumn scenery with a splendid view on this big mountain which name just doesn't come to my mind, tasty mushroom pasta at Cafe M, a handy rotemburo and some racing can make a very nice weekend out there [which accidentally collides with the Cycle Mode Show].

POSITIVO ESPRESSO and it's associated teams and friends has a rich history of splendid appearances at Saiko, going back to the year 2003. I guess that nobody will ever forget the display of pure discipline and willpower of the now almost defunct IRISH ROVERS time trial team in 2006, as evidenced in this photo.

[please continue to read at the Positivo Espresso blog]

I am almost 100% sure I will see Peter at the race?
Calling MOB . . .

MOB, what is the JCRC race series? How frequently are the races staged each year? Have you completed all of these races this year? Have written about them? Do you have links to your wonderful memoirs?

I am almost 100% sure I will see Peter at the race?

Put my entry in not 30 minutes ago at the post office... See you at the finish line... :cool:

Also my favorite race. This will be my 6th. 4th time in D class. (Hopefully my last race in D class as well. :rolleyes:

I've had mixed luck here. Been dropped 3 times but came 3rd once. I've trained harder than ever this year so the plan is to not get dropped at all. I will try and drop everybody else in the last km though like I tried at Hitachinaka.
Escape Group


Will be my sixth time as well (2003:F, 2004-2007:E) plus 2007 D class as Jan-Ullrich Kraehe, doing two solo classes.

Got dropped once. Crashed once. Otherwise I always finished 18 - 32, mostly within 5 seconds of the winner. Always lost the sprint.

The name Jan-Ullrich went through but accidentally I noted the same birth date and got a call from the organizers at JCRC. I explained that we are of course twins and that settled the matter.

Jacques, who you met a Hitachi-Naka will also race in D Class, so perhaps we can form a three rider escape group. Then we escape from Jacques who scares everybody away by pure looks. I will ask him to put his triathlon suit on and fix a knife to his lower legs to fully display his tatoos.

But where the escape? I guess it must be rather early during the 2nd lap, app. between km 5 (or 15) and 8 (or 18 as total distance) where everybody is not yet suspicious. Once you are past the sharp bend and the little steep hill, everybody is nervous and will not let you go any longer. On the other hand you need too much energy if you start too early.

You are also welcome to join our POSITIVO ESPRESSO time trial team, start time is 7.20 AM, one lap, 10 km. We have one or two slots open in our four rider team, but I am afraid you will need to start under the name Ford Prefect.
I think the course is too fast for any successful breakaway, unless you can time trial at 42kph+. The last 2kms are uphill too.

There is a very slight down hill section around the 14km mark where it is easy to move up the right side of the road with little effort... if you timed to hit the lead (coming from the back of the pack) just as the leaders of the peloton exit that little stretch you'd be able to open up a nice break. I always use that section to move up to the front.

For me the vital section is just before the last km. The last 'S' bend. You must be in the top 10 near here and hold that position or also make a 3 or 4 man attack just before the gas station/just after the 'S' bend and then slow down to let people who have jumped on your back...force them to lead and just sit behind them... I've had lots of gas in the tank but no gaps to move through after the last km. Everybody fans out too much.

As our age is similar we are likely to be in the same D grade race. Sometimes they have 3 groups.
Escape from Saiko without Steve McQueen

Hm, you are the expert as you have videotaped everything. There is this corner between km 13 and 14 where the whole peloton slows down, but then there is first a slight uphill as I remember and everybody is frantically trying to accelerate.
To escape after that and still to ride 6 km is perhaps a little bit too long.

But it might be a good spot to assemble the escape group if everybody makes the right move there. Then stay in a group and attack some kilometers later.

You are right, the more conventional strategy to start from a good position has more chances of success. Perhaps it makes sense to be in the front group there stay on the left side of the road and start to sprint hoping for gaps on the left when everybody fans out to the right.

Normally we have dinner at Cafe M the night before the race. Please feel free to join us to discuss the race strategy.
I'm predicting a small turn out this year. A lot of our guys are going to Okinawa instead, plus you have Hotaka and the cycle show on the same weekend.
All the hill climbers will be in Hotaka. Our club also has dwindled down from over 5o attending 5 years ago to only about 10 last year.

Hopefully a smaller field will mean a slower pace and more gaps in the sprint.

That little down hill section I was talking about is after the sharp corner at the 4km mark and before the cafe you mentioned... maybe the 15km mark.

Can't find my DVD of the course either. If I do find it I'll upload it to the net and put a link here...
JCRC Series

Calling MOB . . .
MOB, what is the JCRC race series? How frequently are the races staged each year? Have you completed all of these races this year? Have written about them? Do you have links to your wonderful memoirs?



The JCRC series (Japan Cycle Racing Club) is a series of 12 races (in 2008) that is conducted in various classes (Men: S, A - F, over 50, over 60 Women). At each races you get points for attendance and finish. Depending on your result you can also be promoted to the next level or relegated to the lower one.

5 out of the 12 races are also Tour du Japon races, organized together with Nikkan Sports newspaper. There is a separate point rating for this races as well based on the same point system.

The number of races varies from year to year, tendency is to become more.

Out of the 12 races this year, 3 were held at Gunma CSC and 2 in Shuzenji, plus Yokkaichi, all of them hellish up and down round cycle tracks.

There are some nice sprint type flat races at Kawagoe, NATS (Narita), Hitachi-Naka and Saiko.

In addition there is a pure hill climb race (Shiobara) and the special event at Miyakejima. This is too hard to describe and you wouldn't believe me anyway if you don't see the pics, see check out here.

All information in Japanese are on the JCRC website.

I have written about most of the races and other tours on the Positivo Espresso website since November 2007. Before that I have posted on my family home page, however mainly in the German language.

I guess it needs some time to find the posts, but thank you for your kind comment and I hope you find something interesting.

The report about the last JCRC race in Yokkaichi is again on the Positivo Espresso Blog.
Thank you . . .


Thank you for your excellent summary. Looks fun. I am now working through your write-ups :) Good luck for the Group D win in Saiko.

I decided not to sleep in the car for this after all. Going to head down on Friday night and stay in Kawaguchi-ko (hotel). My brother may be working in Tokyo that week so easy for him to get the train to Kawaguchiko station and join me if he wants.

Staying 2 nights will make it much easier to relax and the hotel was half price too, so 2 for 1.

Hope the weather is going to be kind. Last year was miserable.
Question for mob:
Is this true?
If you were to place in the top 6 at Saiko that would elevate you to C class and you would not be in the running for the D class championship?
Or, is there a cut off date and possibly the Saiko race does not count for the Championship?

Worth finding out if you're not sure. You may have already sealed the championship. Or, you may need to place 7th or worse? Or You can still win (1st to 6th) and not be penalised?

I know my friend was winning B class a few years ago and he went up to A in Gunma and then lost his chance to get the B class Championship.

Are you prepared to forfeit the championship and go up to C class instead?

Good question. What I can see from the JCRC rules is, that one is promoted to the next level, i.e. C class, in case one finishes within the top three. Position 4 to 6 gives the right for promotion, but it is a voluntary one.

I could ask JCRC. Which I have phoned many times these days in order to confirm this or that rule. I am probably known there as the nervous German. Or I could just rely on my luck not to finish within the top three. My results so far give me every confidence that this will not be the case.

Don't worry, stay behind me and overtake me shortly before the finish.

This is one moer pecularity of the JCRC point system: In order to become champion, you should not win a race.
Glad you aware of most of the rules...

The course map:


Just going over the map... the little down hill spurt is closer to the 5km mark than the 4km mark.

The 'S' bend is exactly 1km from the finish and this is a good spot to get up near the front... just as you enter the S bend fly up the right hand side of the road if you are not up near the front already... after this point anything can happen and it normally does.

I'm going to spend a lot of time Saturday morning at the 9km mark memorizing every tree between there and the finish line.

And yes, thanks, I decided a while back that you may be a good person to draft behind. (being the tallest guy in the pack). I know all my team mates will be looking to draft behind me as well. (being the widest guy in the pack).

I uploaded my video of the course to YOUTUBE but it may be too long as they haven't let it process. I'll try a different site to upload it to. Anybody know a site it can upload too for free? I may upload it to one of my dotcoms but it may eat up a lot of bandwidth if word gets around.
Group Breakdown


JCRC has just released the class breakdowns into groups, this year it is sorted by family names in Katakana. Result: I am in D1, Jacques and you are in D2 - here goes our escape plan. And your draft.

I will be there on Saturday by noon to do some training laps. Did 130 km yesterday (Wada, Otarumi) and another 110 km (Otarumi, Yabitsu) today plus one mid week ride planned so I should be in good shape.

We can do some sprint trainings.
Too bad we are not in the same group. Just looking at the ages both D1 & D2 have a lot of oldies. We have 2 X 21 yo and a 16 yo who I will be watching very closely. Like Hitachinaka I'll probably follow Jacques when he makes his yelling
maneuvers up the side of the field. Was really easy following him back in June.
Like he was parting the Red Sea.

If you still need a TT rider my brother may be available. He's up from Singapore for the week and he shattered my Hakuba hill climb record today by close to 5 minutes. 27:43 v my 32:40
Time Trial

See you there on Saturday during the training ride, I will give you a call.
So far the weather looks acceptable:

Positivo Espresso will have five (adult) riders out: David (E), Jerome (?), Jacques (D), Ludwig (E?, F?) and me (D). Plus three kids (Augustine, Henri, Karen).

I am not sure about the time trial. Jacques and me are fixed; but all others are not. So we should make a decision on Saturday night who likes to ride. In any case we will not take it too serious.
mob, did you notice how the S class race will be coming up the final hill as we start? I have a feeling that they will pass us too.


mob, did you notice how the S class race will be coming up the final hill as we start? I have a feeling that they will pass us too.

Just as we start our sprint for the finish line..... :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

14th D2-19 4591 MCENTYRE PETER 45 千葉県 セマス新松戸 2 0:30:26.142 00:02.936 39.43kph

Details on my Blog

Congratulations to MOB on achieving success for the 'D' Class Championship.
D as in Done

D class championship is now secured with a 14th place finish in Saiko.
This is the first time I have ever won a sports event. So far the best result was forth place in school chessturnament '73/'74.

I also finished second in the Tour du Japon D class championship, which brought me a bag of goodies today from Nikkan Sports.

Plus a four and a half hour travel home to Tokyo on the Chuo highway.

Will write tomorrow more on the blog.
Our club faired well over all, even though we had only 6 riders there this year.

S class. 2nd and 16th The guy who came 2nd is only 17 and will most likely turn pro...
B class 9th
D class 14th
Kids class 6th and 25th.

1st to 6th being podium placings.
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