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Race The Training Thread

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
3,296
3,550
I want to do the Sado Long Ride, for sure. I did a loop of the north half with a friend years ago, and it was probably the best cycling route I have ever done.

I have made it through the first week on my diet and I am.... almost 4 kg down from my peak holiday weight.
The math doesn't make any sense, but I'll take it.

The north is the most spectacular. But the whole island is worth it. If you take the first ferry out and last ferry back to Niigata city. You can do it in a day.

Better still, spend 2 or 3 days and explore the mountain skyline passes.

Although hot, combining it with camping on the beach at Ogi for the Earth Celebration in August is a dream getaway.

Andy
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,598
3,620
I want to do the Sado Long Ride, for sure. I did a loop of the north half with a friend years ago, and it was probably the best cycling route I have ever done.
I think Sado Longride is still the only mass cycling event organised by someone other than myself that I've ever done. I've done it three times. I like it. (Take your best waterproofs though!) I really should try the island at another time of year, as Andy suggests.
 
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Tsuga

Warming-Up
Jan 17, 2023
9
6
I forgot to say, I made a list of events here, these are mostly fun rides and localish to Niigata, but something may interest you.

Cheers, Andy

Thanks for the link. And thanks to everyone for providing information about the variety of events. It has given me a lot to think about for goals during 2023.

A little unfortunate to find that the race scene is so limited and that it's mostly participation events. I've ridden all over the US and Europe and think that the riding here in Japan is some of the best I have done. So many of these roads would be perfect for races like what I had back home. And I thought bike racing in the US was a niche sport, haha. On almost any given weekend I could find a sanctioned race within a 4-5 hour drive from my home.

Oh well, maybe it will be a year mostly of self-made "events".

On the topic of training, here's what I got up to last Thursday: ThursdayWorkout.png

On January 10th I resumed structured training after nearly a year's break. Kind of ditched structure and raced myself fit during 2022. In the chaos of moving to Japan my motivation to follow a plan was low. After arriving here from September - December I just cruised around finding good roads and getting in some nice endurance rides. Feels really nice to get back to some loose structure, ticking the boxes is always fun.
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
1,440
1,075
The reason there are so few actual races on public roads (other than hill climbs) is that road closures are *extremely* difficult.
If you can't close the roads, an event can't be a race.

We have actually lost a few of the road races close to me in the last few years, in part due to the pandemic.

One good thing about Japan is that its such a small country with such good transportation infrastructure that you could conceivably do most or all of the races, depending on where you live.

There are a decent number of circuit races (which are called "enduros" here) and park criteriums, though.
 

Tsuga

Warming-Up
Jan 17, 2023
9
6
The reason there are so few actual races on public roads (other than hill climbs) is that road closures are *extremely* difficult.
If you can't close the roads, an event can't be a race.
That's interesting. In the US, you don't need to close the roads. A majority of the races are held on open roads with a small rolling enclosure of lead and follow motorcycles / cars. At intersections you will have staff that stop traffic to allow the race through, but otherwise cars are free to drive on the same road.

Gravel racing is catching a lot of flak because most of these events don't even have the rolling enclosure or staff at intersections and simply tell racers to follow the "rules of the road" after the neutralized start. If you're in the lead group sometimes there will be one moto with you that simply tells you if traffic is coming or not, and you roll the stop.

The only time I have participated in races with true road closures were downtown criteriums or national championships. These are particularly fun, because you can race in both lanes. Typically you're stuck to the one lane, as the other has traffic and you'll get DQ'd by the following moto official for crossing the double yellow. It's a bit tight but it does help you with learning how to move through a pack.
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,852
1,557
A little unfortunate to find that the race scene is so limited and that it's mostly participation events. I've ridden all over the US and Europe and think that the riding here in Japan is some of the best I have done. So many of these roads would be perfect for races like what I had back home. And I thought bike racing in the US was a niche sport, haha. On almost any given weekend I could find a sanctioned race within a 4-5 hour drive from my home.

There's a lot of participation events for sure, but the competitive scene is not nearly as sparse as the impression given by many people on this board. I'll post specific details of some higher level racing.

JBCF organizes the main national road race series. It runs elite and pro-level racing throughout the country. Most of the races are on closed roads, and the circuit courses are not boring.
This is the event calendar for this year: https://static.jbcfroad.jp/file/season_schedule_files2/2023racecalendar_1228_63abdb072c32f.pdf
This is the web site: https://jbcfroad.jp/

Le Tour de Fukushima organizes road races in the Fukushima region. So maybe 6 hours from you. They don't have a calendar up yet (last year's calendar is here: https://tour-de-fukushima.jp/special/2022-sch/), but their Tour de Katsurao race is a two-day stage race on closed roads normally in the first half of the year. Pros often ride in the highest category.

2 Days Race in Kisomura is a one-off stage race on closed roads in Niigata not far from you. Big pro/Cat 1 level field. Normally in May.
Web site is sparse but here it is: http://kisomura2days.com/

Niseko Classic is a UCI Grand Fondo series event ridden on closed roads in June. Andy already mentioned it, but I think it deserves another mention as it ranks alongside Okinawa as one of the main amateur level road races in Japan. Pros don't enter since it's not a real UCI event, but it's targeted by a lot of strong riders including those who ride in the pro ranks.

For some of these races, like the JBCF ones and the 2 Days Race in Kisomura, riders need to be part of a team to participate. That's easy enough to do though, as Balba Racing are a big presence in both. Also, entry for these higher level races tends to be via the competition web site. They do not appear on aggregate entry web sites that tend to specialize on the participation side of things.

If you feel like visiting a Balba shop and showing them your level, they will probably be happy to fill you in on a bunch of other competitive events.:tup
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,426
2,063
JBCF organizes the main national road race series. It runs elite and pro-level racing throughout the country. Most of the races are on closed roads, and the circuit courses are not boring.
I can confirm that. Our team recently rode a course that was used for the junior national champs a few years back, and the course was excellent. It contained one more gradual and one steep climb, the descents were safe (wide and no difficult corners) and most corners were 90 degree corners. Very well chosen for juniors. Whoever picked the course deserves kudos.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
3,296
3,550
The reason there are so few actual races on public roads (other than hill climbs) is that road closures are *extremely* difficult.
If you can't close the roads, an event can't be a race.

We have actually lost a few of the road races close to me in the last few years, in part due to the pandemic.

One good thing about Japan is that its such a small country with such good transportation infrastructure that you could conceivably do most or all of the races, depending on where you live.

There are a decent number of circuit races (which are called "enduros" here) and park criteriums, though.
Enduros are actually usually based on time. ie. how many laps you can do in say 3h. Most have solo, pair, team, family categories etc.

If Tsuga is into gravel, I can recommend the 4h (3h) offorad enduro at Akagi in Gunma.


Arguably a MTB course but we won the team category on a CX and gravel bike last year.

Andy
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
3,296
3,550
There's a lot of participation events for sure, but the competitive scene is not nearly as sparse as the impression given by many people on this board. I'll post specific details of some higher level racing.

JBCF organizes the main national road race series. It runs elite and pro-level racing throughout the country. Most of the races are on closed roads, and the circuit courses are not boring.
This is the event calendar for this year: https://static.jbcfroad.jp/file/season_schedule_files2/2023racecalendar_1228_63abdb072c32f.pdf
This is the web site: https://jbcfroad.jp/

Le Tour de Fukushima organizes road races in the Fukushima region. So maybe 6 hours from you. They don't have a calendar up yet (last year's calendar is here: https://tour-de-fukushima.jp/special/2022-sch/), but their Tour de Katsurao race is a two-day stage race on closed roads normally in the first half of the year. Pros often ride in the highest category.

2 Days Race in Kisomura is a one-off stage race on closed roads in Niigata not far from you. Big pro/Cat 1 level field. Normally in May.
Web site is sparse but here it is: http://kisomura2days.com/

Niseko Classic is a UCI Grand Fondo series event ridden on closed roads in June. Andy already mentioned it, but I think it deserves another mention as it ranks alongside Okinawa as one of the main amateur level road races in Japan. Pros don't enter since it's not a real UCI event, but it's targeted by a lot of strong riders including those who ride in the pro ranks.

For some of these races, like the JBCF ones and the 2 Days Race in Kisomura, riders need to be part of a team to participate. That's easy enough to do though, as Balba Racing are a big presence in both. Also, entry for these higher level races tends to be via the competition web site. They do not appear on aggregate entry web sites that tend to specialize on the participation side of things.

If you feel like visiting a Balba shop and showing them your level, they will probably be happy to fill you in on a bunch of other competitive events.:tup
Agreed, there is lots to be had. Before we had kids I raced almost every week. After kids, once a month.

Kiso is in Nagano by the way. It usually clashes with Tokyo-Itoigawa so I've never eneterd but heard many good things about it.

The races on Car circuits are also worth a mention. Paricularly if you are interested in the endurance challenge. Thinking Fuji Speedway 200km


which was also used in the Olympic RR and Motegi 7h


Andy
 

Tsuga

Warming-Up
Jan 17, 2023
9
6
There's a lot of participation events for sure, but the competitive scene is not nearly as sparse as the impression given by many people on this board. I'll post specific details of some higher level racing.
Hey, this is actually just about exactly what I was looking for. Something akin to the United State's USA Cycling organization.
Enduros are actually usually based on time. ie. how many laps you can do in say 3h. Most have solo, pair, team, family categories etc.

If Tsuga is into gravel, I can recommend the 4h (3h) offorad enduro at Akagi in Gunma.


Arguably a MTB course but we won the team category on a CX and gravel bike last year.

Andy
This description of an Enduro is somewhat more enticing! Thanks! When my wife and I were still dating we often raced duo 6 hour mountain bike events for fun. We even took the overall win at a couple, beating out some male only teams. Similar format, you get 6 hours and see how many laps you can do.

I think I need to reach out to some teams and see if they have room, I'd love to get involved with something like the JBCF Tour.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,426
2,063
I think enduros first came up as a mountain bike thing where you need to ride a course (including uphill), but you are only timed downhill (or on certain sections). There was a time cut off, but as far as I understood, the point was not to chase you up, but to simply make you pedal hard and create some fatigue in legs and arms.

I like the idea, this way I could ride with friends and team mates of varying abilities.
 

Tsuga

Warming-Up
Jan 17, 2023
9
6
I think enduros first came up as a mountain bike thing where you need to ride a course (including uphill), but you are only timed downhill (or on certain sections). There was a time cut off, but as far as I understood, the point was not to chase you up, but to simply make you pedal hard and create some fatigue in legs and arms.

I like the idea, this way I could ride with friends and team mates of varying abilities.
Yeah, they're very popular where my family lives back home. Some of the 2022 Enduro World Series events weren't too far away. So it was funny for me to see the term being used here for something totally different.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
2,426
2,063
Yeah, if you remove the name from the context, it seems very weird. But I really like the idea. Races can be lonely, especially longer ones and if your friends and team mates have very different abilities than yours. So events with timed and non-timed segments seems like a whole lot of fun.
 
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