I'm in D and may do the TTT and enduro. Will decide tonight at training.
It's an easy sprinters race....as you may know from running there....
Sprint points on some laps, so it goes from 38 kph into the wind down the back straight up to 50kph on the start line per lap... fun and easy... if oyu can position yourself in the last 500m and maintain your gaman... anybody can place.
I will be attending the four hours individual endurance race starting at 12 but try to be there before the start of the D class race to cheer you up. All this provided that the weather forecast looks OK. Otherwise I can offer you my entry to the 4 hours race, if somebody is interested.
This is the first serious race for me this year and I didn't want to do the rather hectic D class race with a half-broken hand, the endurance should be a little bit more relaxed. I mounted an 11-23 rear sprocket on my carbon wheels today to replace the standard 12-27 I normally ride. This should give me more possibilities in Hitachi Naka.
I am looking forward to see Phil and Peter there, it has been a while .... Will also sport the brand new Positivo Espresso 2009 jersey and bib shorts.
Seems like a lot of people were marking our 15 year old Ace who didn't finish well.
In D2 as well as my 3rd, Semas had a 1st and a 6th. S class, a Wed night training partner 2nd. A class, a Wed training partner came 3rd. B class Semas a 2nd. C class Semas a 5th, my Wed night training partner came 2nd.
We are going drinking tomorrow night to do damage to our livers...
First off, three cheers and chapeau to Pete for a fantastic result. Pete, you've paid your racing dues these last few years and more than deserved the result. With this and the Tsukuba result, you're having a good season.
Also great to meet Michael and Ludwig--unfortunately had to leave while Michael was still mid-enduro, but I watched a couple of laps after I finished my shorter race and he was looking very strong right up near the front. Michael, hope your race finished safely and you avoided the rain.
We got lucky with the weather, incidentally--not a drop of rain the whole day, but when I drove home, 30kms south of Hitachinaka it was pouring.
My races went okay; as expected, I did better in the 2-hr enduro than the circuit race in the morning, but had fun and learned a lot.
The course was a 5km oval, almost flat (though not perfectly so), and no technical corners.
Race 1: 30km, D2 Class
Pace seemed slowish, barely above 40km. Got a little bored just sitting in so launched a slightly comical attack on lap 2, mostly just to stretch the legs but also in the vague hope it would increase the pace. Probably not a good idea, as I spent the next 3 laps trying to recover.
Ludwig got in a nice 2-man group on the last lap that forced the bunch to chase. I was in an okay position going into the final corner, but then got caught in the inside down the home stretch. Not enough speed to go round the traffic. Did have a good view of Pete crossing the line up at the front. Finished 23rd, 1.95 secs off first, 41.41 ave.
Race 2: 2-hr Enduro
I was expecting this to split into a smaller fast group and a larger main peloton, so I was all gung-ho at the start, taking pulls and bridging up to a promising breakaway. But the lack of selection on the course meant the bunch stayed together, so after realizing I was just burning matches, I soon dropped back into the pack.
Michael caught up to me at this point (the 4-hr group was sent a few moments after the 2hr group) and we spent a lot of the time riding together. The pace was decent (40km+ most of the time), but the big bunch meant there was plenty of shelter and we found we could easily chat as we rode (HR about 140-145 most of the time). Michael was looking strong despite just coming back from his injury, and he very generously offered to give me a leadout at the 2-hr finish if circumstances went our way.
The second hour started to get a bit harder for me, the legs protesting the morning's efforts. I found the constant vigilance required to ride in such a large group mentally exhausting. Michael and I generally opted to stay on the outside line, trading some extra headwind for a little peace of mind...a decision for which I was to be very grateful later.
Our plans to work together were foiled by the motorbike marshals when they separated the 2hr & 4hr riders (by making the latter drop back) with about two laps to go in the 2-hr. This was probably a good move on the part of the organizers, especially considering what soon ensued...
Crash One Can't quite remember, but I think this happened after the two groups split. A rider ahead and to the right suddenly started swerving hard--left, right, and left again. Unbelievably, with feet unclipped, he managed to hold it together, stay upright AND not take out anyone on either side of him...but the people behind weren't so lucky. As the braking reactions rippled through the pack, I heard the distinctive plasticky sound of bikes hitting pavement. I looked back to see a pileup of at least 3 or 4 riders.
Crash Two This one happened about 3 km to the finish and was much too close to comfort. Suddenly and for no reason that I could see, a group of riders in front and just to the left of me collapsed into a pileup. Again, the sound of plastic hitting pavement. I swerved hard right, toward the outside of the course. A bike bounced through the air across my path. The rider in front of me hit it and started somersaulting across the road, still clipped into his pedals. Right here, I was convinced I was next: "Oh, ****, my turn..." But somehow I had time to swerve further right, off the road and into the thick grass just as the somersaulter came to a stop on the edge of the road, inches to my left. Next thing I know, I'm back on the road and clear of the pileup. If the road had had a curb, or a ditch, or if there were divots in the grass, I would have been on the ground, too.
About 5 or 6 of us had been slowed down, but we chased back to the front 15 or so who had been ahead of the mayhem. The rest of the bunch were either caught in or behind the crash.
For the last 2 km, two thoughts went over and over in my mind:
1. "That's it, last race I'm doing" and 2. "Hm, I'm still feeling strong, might finish well here..."
Didn't have as much speed in the sprint as I'd hoped though, and again got caught a little bit on the wrong side, but more or less held my ground. Will have to wait for online results to confirm, but maybe finished about 15th?
Anyway, a fun day out in the end. Great to hang out with and race with the TCC/Semas/Positivo guys, and of course to see Pete's great finish. Enjoy the beer, Pete! :beer:
With your attack, I thought you had gone into TT mode and at 41 average you probably would have won if you'd not stopped...
The slow pace is just the way I like these races. We went much faster last month in Tokyo, in the rain, on a bumpy course with tight corners and hairpins.
Will be interesting to look at the averages for all the races today. A class passed S class at one stage then S class passed them back. There should have been a 1 minute or more gap between them.... Our S class riders complained it was too slow... but there were a lot of breakaways.
You can win Hitachinaka next year Phil... don't give up!!! All great learning...
Thanks for the compliment, but there was 0% chance of that attack sticking--400 meters into the wind I was already completely gassed Should have stuck to my original plan and followed your wheel around.
Just read your blog account, by the way. Beautifully written. Sorry about the sad family news.
I was 13th in the 2hr enduro. As I suspected, the ave. for this was higher than the D2 race: 41.75. Going by the time differences, it looks like there were 20 of us in the front group that survived the crashes (14 dnfs out of 110 riders).
Oh, and I know it's really lame to sprint for positions out of the top six, but this is why you throw the bike:
13th place finish time: 2:02:08.491 14th place finish time: 2:02:08.494
Michael, nice ride, looks like you stayed in the front group to the end... 41+ ave over 4 hours is hardcore.
Pete, forgot to say congrats for the promotion to C! At least we got to ride one race together
It was a good race despite all the nervousness and the crashes and I wrote a long post about it at the Positivo Espresso blog.
It was a little bit a pity that Phil and me got separated by discriminating field marshals shortly before the end of the two hours race. But that race gave definitely hope to do some more exciting races together in the future.