Race Toyko HC Series Nariki Stage

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#1
Another Sunday, another race! This time it was the Nariki stage of the Tokyo Hillclimb series. There are three races in the series; today's plus one from Hinohara up to Tomin-no-Mori and the final one from Okutama to Tomin-no-Mori.

The Nariki stage is short, only 9.5km and climbing from 200 to 700 metres, so not a big climb by any means. It's a race of two halves, with the first 5 kilometres rising gently at about a 2 or 3% gradient to a junction with a dead-end road. The course then follows this road to where it finishes in a small clearing in the forest. The second half of the course is where the meat of the climb is, with some really steep pitches and a final 500 metres that reduces legs to jelly!

@Naomi and I stayed at a cheap hotel in Hanno the night before, as our tolerance for getting up at stupid-o'clock to go racing had run out. We arrived at the course before registration had even opened, so decided to go to the parking area about halfway up the course and then ride to registration.

We picked up our number plates and rode back to the parking area, where Naomi-san warmed up on a turbo trainer and I made a few final checks to the bikes. Then back down towards the start of the course to complete the warm-up.

At the start line I had a surprise, for there was @echothree (Clay) back from Australia. We chatted and waited in the heat (although the heat was nowhere near as bad as 3 years ago, when this race was held in August).

We started, as usual for Japan, bang on time at 10am and the first group rolled out. The pace was incredibly relaxed along the flatter sections of the course. I was sitting second, behind rider no. 4, and neither I nor anyone else wanted to take the front! So were rolling along at about 70% effort, which has never happened to me in a hillclimb before. But nobody was attacking so I sat tight. Eventually a couple of riders passed so I jumped on their wheel, but again, the pace was pretty slow for a race. As we got close to the junction, I went to the front. We filed through the junction and immediately the road kicked up, and the usual strong guys (Shikuya-san and Inoue-san) came to the front, with another rider. I was fourth, with Clay right behind me. Despite his "Oh, I'm really out of shape" claims, he's still a very powerful rider!

About 2km into the steep section, Inoue-san lost his chain and I passed him, but it didn't take him long to fix it and blast past me again. A 15kg weight advantage can do that! Another km later and Clay attacked and left me. The steep section is really intense; I was at my maximum sustainable heart rate for pretty much the whole thing. So even though my mind was telling me to go, my body had nothing left in reserve. I barely saw anything except the road ahead and the numbers on my computer, telling me just how metres I had left to climb.

I managed to hang on to 6th place and pretty much collapsed as I crossed the finish line, with a time of 26 min 59 sec, much faster than my previous best time despite the slow-rolling first half. Clay ended up 4th and Naomi-san was 3rd overall in the Ladies, so it was a good day for TCC!

 
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xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
518
394
93
Japan
#4
@GrantT & @AlanW I think that is the right sight.

I haven't signed up yet but I think I will be signing up for the Okutama stage (7th Wiggle etc etc on 26 July 2015).

I did a test ride for Kazahari Pass (plus more in the area) the weekend just gone which was very tough (it was a route from someone on RideWithGPS called 'WhiteGiant').

Garmin had a 'brain fart' halfway through but the two Strava rides are linked.0

https://www.strava.com/activities/319992477/overview

https://www.strava.com/activities/319992485/overview

Also, @AlanW well done on the result. The 7th Wiggle etc etc will be my first ever hill climb so it's great to see others joining, enjoying and excelling.
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
518
394
93
Japan
#7
@GrantT - have you raced before? I am a little apprehensive (despite training fairly hard before entering into any races at all).

@Half-Fast Mike - It was following that up with two more big climbs. The total for the day (less feeder rides) came through at 6,685m of elevation gain in 120.4km...Definitely the hardest day in the saddle I've done in Japan.
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,620
1,199
143
Setagaya
#8
Haven't entered many and only one recently, and this would be my first hill climb. Nothing much to be apprehensive about I think, other than the ridiculously early start time and having somewhere to put valuables during the race. From the look of the podium arrangements, no need to take it very seriously.
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
518
394
93
Japan
#9
@GrantT - perhaps a good starting effort then. I was told that hill climbs are, predominantly, not so agro and that people tend to find their own space a little more perhaps. I am trying to persuade the missus to come with to look after stuff but fairly unconvinced she will be fussed about doing that!
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,620
1,199
143
Setagaya
#10
Thinking about it, my valuables amount to a few cards and some paper money, which can go in my back pocket without weighing me down too much (just enough to be an unreasonable excuse if I do badly).

I was actually looking for an Enduro race to begin with because my knee may still be a bit dodgy, but can't find many of those kinds of races happening nearby anytime soon. Hill climbs should definitely be a low risk type of race.
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
518
394
93
Japan
#13
Yeah the benefits (training wise) of only 45 minutes of smashy smashy (as opposed to a more tactial 3 hour solo effort) are not quite as clear to me as they are to my friends but I am up for the challenge, such as it is, anyway @GrantT
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
564
242
63
Hanno, Saitama
#14
I haven't signed up yet but I think I will be signing up for the Okutama stage (7th Wiggle etc etc on 26 July 2015).
I'm considering that as well, but registration at 5.30am means I'd have to leave the house at 4am. Which means waking up around 2am (or not going to sleep).