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Tour Du Japan Hitachinaka Stage 6/29


Maximum Pace
Jan 14, 2007

Nice flat 5km oval circuit course.

Do it!

1 S 7:40 8:45 8周 40km 100名
2 A 7:42 8:45 8周 40km 100名
3 B 7:44 8:45 8周 40km 100名

4 小高 8:50 9:05 1周 5km 50名
5 小低 8:50 9:05 1周 5km 50名
6 C 9:10 10:05 6周 30km 100名
7 D 9:12 10:05 6周 30km 70名 <--- Me
8 E 9:14 10:05 6周 30km 70名

9 O 10:10 10:45 4周 20km 70名
10 F 10:12 10:45 4周 20km 70名
11 X 10:14 10:45 4周 20km 70名
12 G 10:15 10:45 4周 20km 70名
13 W 10:15 10:45 4周 20km 70名

14 ミルキ 10:50 10:55 1km 1km 50名
15 親子 10:50 11:10 2周 10km 50組
16 チームTT 11:20 11:35 2周 10km 50組
◎ ママチャリリレー 11:30 11:55
Good luck with this, Pete. I remember reading your account from one of the previous years; it was one of the posts that got me interested in doing a bit of racing.

Would have liked to try it myself, but signed up for the Gran Fondo before realizing what else was going on that weekend.

Seems like a good course for you... Is the training on schedule?
Last year's thread. https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=381

Training is not on schedule due to rain...but I think I'm in better shape than I was last year. Really need to do a lot of riding in the next 2 weeks...

This course is easy for any kind of rider too. Even hill climb specialists can sit in and do higher than imagined average speeds and still feel good at the end.

One of our hill climbers last year just sat in behind everybody till the last 50m and with good positioning/ drafting and a small burst at the end he won by a tube's width surprising himself more than anybody else. (A class).

The course is safe. The straights are long. The course is wide. The curves are fun. The sprint points at every lap keep the pace high.

Just hope the weather is nice with no wind or rain. (was quite windy last year).

There is an enduro as well after the criterium races which I should force myself to go in too, just for fitness.

17 2時間エンデューロ(個人) 12:00 14:00 350名
18 4時間エンデューロ(個人) 12:00 16:00 350名
19 4時間エンデューロ(チーム) 12:00 16:00 100組

Our club will have at least 10 riders going this year. Would like to see TCC there as well.

M O B san, check your private messgae box. I think we are in the same race (class) on Sunday...
Good luck to Pete and Dave (and possibly m o b?)! With one thing and another I'm done with racing until the fall, so virtual saddle pushing duties for me. :) Weatherman says partial rain for Sunday right now, but it's a long way off so who knows. Have safe one, and I'll look forward to the results and accounts.
63 riders is a pretty big peloton.

Let's hope for good weather. In any case I will attend the D class race. If it starts to rain heavily I might consider to drop out of the 2 hours endurance race in the afternoon.
Saturday night.
Trucksan [C class race] (Dave) came and stayed the night and after a Saizeria spaghetti and garlic bread we sat down in front of the TV to watch the Tour of Japan highlights and talked tactics.
Hit the sack around 11pm and after a restless, nervous night's sleep awoke at 4:10 a.m to the sound of heavy rain drowning out my alarm.
I had said when enrolling in this race that I'd not do it if it was raining...:mad:

After a wake up apple juice we got in the car at 5:00 a.m , hit the 7/11 for supplies and onto the Joban express-way to Hitachinaka with an ETA at the track for 6:30 which was check in time.

Cold, wet, rainy, dark, grey and gloomy sums up the day so far and to the day to come.

Warming up? Dave and I squeezed in a 5km lap of the course just in time before they closed it off for the 1st race. Soaked and cold we asked each other if it was too late to pull out. Nowhere else to go to get out of the rain and my roller trainer was too slippery to even contemplate warming up on, so I decided to get used to this rain. Arm warmers on, socks off, round and round I went near the finish line getting colder and wetter. By start time I was a shivering mess. 12.74kms of attempted warm up.
Lining up for the start I see Mr. mob and his Boonen like thigh machines. Wow! Think I will sit behind him for the whole race.

We're off. I'm up near the front, pace is nice and easy, a breeze blowing into our faces in the back straight just like last year. 60 odd riders all up and the leaders seem to be a long way out in front.

Lap 1:
Easy. But like last year my POLAR heart rate monitor decides to stop working at about the 200m mark.
Lap 2:
Easy, but I'm about 3rd last. After repeated attempts to reset the POLAR I give up on it.
Lap 3:
Hmm, can't sit at the back much longer although it is very easy here...Make a move up the right hand side and find a nice pocket behind mob to sit in for about 4km.
Lap 4:
The serious part of the race begins and there is some nervous shuffling at the front. Lots of yelling, lots of swerving, this is getting scary.
Lap 5:
Ok, it's do or die on this lap. Get too far back or in trouble and it's all over. I move up the right, I move to the center, I move to the back I move to the left, to the back to the left again, up the inside, down the back again.
Lap 6:
The bell starts to ring....
I'm at the back again. Up the left.
Back down the left, up the center, back again. There's mob's friend the triathlete...making a move up the inside...I jump on his wheel and he takes me up the front line. If there is a Karma Sutra of Peloton positions I just tried every page in the book over the last 2 laps.
More nervous movement, yelling, braking & swerving. I yell at a guy on my right who almost took me out and for the next 100m he is apologizing to me.
This is real scary.... 3km to go and I make a break to the lead up the left side and find some safe ground. No intention of leading though and I let 6 guys pass me and jump on their behinds.... I then find everybody moving up past me on the right and I have nowhere to go but to the back again. 2km to go and mob's triathlon mate goes up the left side again and I follow him doing my best Robbie McEwen impersonation. More dangerous moves everywhere. I want to be on the right side not the left so I shuffle across behind about a 10 wide wall in front of me. 2 guys in front of me are leaning on each other head butting and pushing and I was sure they were going to crash right in front of me. I move more to the right. When I find myself on the far right side both of my team mates are there & I think, great we can work together, these guys are faster than me.... If I go they will follow me and I should be able to hang on when they pass me for a place somehow. I go for it..... I'm guessing we are in the last 500 to 800m but visibility is poor and I have no idea really where the finish line is. Too busy thinking of not crashing at that moment.. I can't read my speedo due to water drops all over it, I can barely see out my left eye, as it is full of water.... I sense that nobody is coming with me and I look back & I'm a good 30 to 40m out in front, maybe more.... shit. What do I do now?....still 300 or 400m or 500m to go.... Head down and I plant down the accelerator (Cancellara/Bettini impression)...feeling strong but too far to go.... I'm maybe within the last 100m and I glance under my armpit and see what looks like a Braveheart scene.... angry mob (not you mob) coming for me...

I'm running out of gas fast... I'm shot. 30 to 40 m to go and I'm swamped by too many to count. I blew it.... Angry at myself but happy just the same. My thighs felt like a pair of Hindenburgs at the end. No idea what position I finished. I'm happy. I rode strong. I took a chance. I lost. Next year! (again).

Time for a beer a bath and a bed.

Similar mistakes to last year. Totally misjudging the last sprint distance. The whole course looks the same and there are only a few markers on the course to tell you were you are. Visibility was poor with the rain. I really need to learn to WAIT. Too impatient.

I came, (too early) I saw, ( a little)... I conked....

Can we say swear on this site?
Argh, I was holding my breath reading that last paragraph. I thought you were going to win it with a Cancellera-style run off the front...damn.

As you say, this does sound similar to your account of last year's race... Still, glad you got the race in despite the conditions (have you raced *without* rain this year yet??), although the results weren't what you wanted. Experience, experience, right?

Besides, if all the race produced was this quote, then the whole thing was well worth it...

If there is a Karma Sutra of Peloton positions I just tried every page in the book
Hitachi Naka viewed by mob

I will later write more about the philosophical aspects of his race on our team blog, but here are some thoughts and comments about the race.

It was cold and raining, similar to the Tokyo Tour of Japan race on May 25th. The difference is, that Hitachi Naka is a very simple course with no corners just like a a NASCAR track. And no metal manhole covers, poor road surface and other surprises. However, there are 56 nervous guys just about to start.

Met Peter and Truck at the start, also another guy from the Miyake race and Ishii from the Space team. I am with Alain and Jacques from the NFCC. Alain used to be French university cycling champion in the eighties usually finishes in the front positions when it comes to a sprint. It is always a good bet to stay on his wheel the last kilometer. Jacques has his NFCC triathlon suit on and one can see the myriad of tatoos on his body. He looks quite scary but is a nice guy who helped me out when I crashed on Shomaru Toge.

Start. Completely soaked within seconds as could be expected. I tried to stay in the front group on the outside in order to avoid crashes. The pace is fast but varying, the track is pretty crowded. But I can keep easily the pace of 40+ in the peloton, preferring to stay on the outside even if there is no wheel in front of me.

After the 2. lap I come in in first place over the finishline. Then I let it go a little bit slower (checking my lap times later almost all are very similar, with the exception of the first and lthe last one). I fell back in the peloton but don't care so much as long as I stay clear of crashes and I am still in the main field. Despite the high speed all riders still stay together.

Jacques is making moves in the front. Sometimes he moves from the very left to the very right and everybody is following him, expecting to find some obstacles on the road, but there is nothing. This continues for the first 5 laps, then a bell rings for the last one, still 5 km to go. I feel no exhaustion at all. Just like with the Positivo Espresso team on the Tamagawa except for the old ladies with dogs.

Now the field is becoming nervous. Shouting and yelling. More and more riders overtake from behind because they are afraid to be dropped. The whole width of the wide road is now taken by the peloton. Still three km to the goal, but it seems like the sprint will start any minute. Then I hear the sound of a crash in front of mean. It starts on the very left but more and more riders are dropping also on the right and they come closer and closer. I can make a move to the right and ride on the grass, loosing speed, but at least I stay on the bike. The main field is gone but I start to accelerate and can close the gap. For some reason the speed is now a little bit slower and even have time to recover a little bit. I see Alain in front and think it is a good idea to move to his rear wheel which works out fine. I see another crazy guy from Hot Cross team who crashed at the NATS race early this month.

The speed is picking up now. I can easily follow and overtake some guys but Alain is moving in the middle of the road and it is getting very crowded there. In the end I even have to brake.

Later, when I printed out the results at the JCRC booth, I find out that Alain finished in 29th, me in 32nd, Peter in 38th and Jacques in 49th position. 47 of the 56 riders started finished within 10 seconds of the winner. It seems that about 7 riders crashed, but some of them were able to finish the race. Ishii from SPACE did not finish, hope he will make it to the next one.

I was happy to arrive without crashing under the circumstances. Again, just like in Tokyo somebody crashed right in front of me and I lost contact to the peloton for a while. A little bit disappointing after 6th place in E class last year, but anyway.

I decide not to test my luck and skipped the two hours endurance event at 12. Went home, reflected on what I am doing: Skipping a perfect Saturday for riding out in the mountains of Okutama because I wanted to stay fit for a 30 km rain race on a NASCAR track. I really should stop to this kind of stupid stuff.

Anyway, somebody up for Gunma CSC on July 20th, the next JCRC race?

Thanks for your point of view mob. I didn't know there was a crash till after the race. Whereabouts did it happen?
Also, Alain was trying to talk to me after the race but I was probably not in a very friendly mood. Next time you see him, tell him I'd like to talk to him. He seems like a really nice guy and he helped bring me up the inside at least twice.
I'm tempted to go to Gunma. Will think about it this week.

Results just in...


00:03.692 seconds away .... damn that hurts.

The rest of the guys in our team did alright.
Our 17 year old TDF protegy came 2nd in the S class and won the 2 hour enduro. That's a hard day out.
We came 2nd in E class as well.
Hitachi Naka Crash

The crash was on the straight part where there is a very little slope downwards for about 100 meters, so perhaps 2 to 3 km before the finish. It was scary and I still can't believe my luck that I could escape (again). The same thing happened to me in Tokyo this year (the rider on the inner side next to me slipped in a curve) and in Tokyo 2007 (crash in front of me). I always managed to stay on my bike. I did not in Saiko last year, but I was tempting fate by starting under the name of Jan-Ulrich Kraehe.

Gunma CSC JCRC race is on July 20th. I like the race track there despite the fact that I have no chances of making a decent place in D class. 5 km round track including lot of climbing, a kind of Shuzenji CSC light version but still hard.

Maybe we should start a new threat for this one?
Tom, think about this, there is no big peloton and the track should suit your climbing skills.
OK....I'll give it some thought! You guys are featured on the JCRC website...I copied it in the gallery.

Here is the link with the JCRC pic: http://www.jcrc-net.jp/

...a closer look clearly shows Philip about to carry all before one with Thomas watching on the sidelines...
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