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Yokohama Stadium Endurance Race Oct 11

m o b

Speeding Up
Jun 22, 2008
Is anyone from the TCC attending this race in Yokohama, organized by bikenavi? It is not the best race in the world, but the location is pretty close ao it is easy to go there and ride back on the bike.
I signed up for "King of Enduro Solo", so 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, but one can also register for either 2 or 3 hours only and teams up to 4 riders are possible as well. The track is not so easy, some sharp turns, a lot of inexperiences and slow riders out there as well.
One short but really steep climb up a ramp into the stadium.

Would be nice to have some company. So far only Jacques from NFCC and me are in.

Deadline for registration is Sept 23rd. Online registration by sports entry possible.

Come on guys, is there really nobody interested to race in Yokohama?
The track layout has changed; in 2006 it wasn't very good, but 2008 is the same as 2007 and that one is OK (although I admit, it is not great).
Most suitable for Edogawakikoman and mob type of riders. Not all of us are natural born hill climbers.

It's not so far from home and you will be back early.

More racing please!
I'm also always on the lookout for the flatter races, but this one clashes with the reverse Tour de Chiba we're doing that weekend.

Good luck with the race--looking forward to reading your report.
That's strange, I thought I posted a reply earlier today.

Anyway, I just found out I'm free that day, so I'll see if I can get signed up. Sounds like fun!

No luck, all the entry slots are filled already.

Race Report Yokohama

Jacques Daumont from NFCC and me started on Saturday at the Bike Navi Nissan Stadium Race in Yokohama. The category we have chosen consisted of a three hours solo endurance race in the morning, followed by a two hours solo endurance race in the afternoon, followed by a week in the intensive care unit of a Japanese hospital of your own choice. Only 62 riders choose this "King of Enduro" category, otherwise they opted for either 3 or 2 hours, or riding as a team. Wise guys and girls.

The race course starts on the field track inside the stadium and follows a mostly flat lay-out in the park area around the stadium with a length of 3.2km. The course was peppered with "virages en épingles", this is at least how Jacques described it in French. There is also one brutal ramp leading from park level to stadium level. Although it is only 40 meters long and has an inclination of perhaps 15%, this proved to be the location where riders fell off their bikes later during the race in a state of complete exhaustion.

Of course it started to rain when I was on the way to the stadium and that was the running theme for the whole afternoon. Not a hard rain, but steadily small drops. I met Jacques at the parking lot and he was in good mood nevertheless. He is always in good mood and he is one of the funniest guys that I know. Of course I do not include all the funny guys working in the company in this comparison. Perhaps he is also so funny because he speaks French (which I do hardly), almost no English (can) and almost no Japanese (can too), so our conversation is a mix of three languages. He also speaks some German, or one sentence to be precise: "Warum bist du nicht meine Mama?"

So we had long conversations about the state of the world, pro biking and the new French embassy in Tokyo which is equipped according to Jacques with "vegetable lighting". I am not sure what this is, perhaps "les legumes lumieres" in French?

Anyway, then we did a test lap and found out that there are a lot of metal gratings and one cannot be careful enough to maneuver them well. The course is not easy because it is very hard to find a rhythm. There is constant acceleration and deceleration and that makes one very tired over the course of five hours. So an average of 30 km/hr doesn't seem much but even good riders don't do more than 34 or 35 km/hr.

We proceeded to the start area and watched the cheerleaders, who were not half as good as the ones in Tsukuba. If you look carefully, you can see them in the picture of Jacques on the monitor in the upper right corner. I asked the guy in front of us to take some pictures and he turned out to be a JCRC A class rider who knows Goro-san. Being one of the very few foreigners in JCRC races and the only one who attended every single race this year, everybody seems to know me but I don't know anybody. Shinji was very kind and he actually finished in third place of the morning race.During the start countdown Jacques made many, many noises like the horn of a big truck, or a bicycle bell which brought all around us to laugh and gave us the chance to overtake our immediate surrounding even before the countdown was finished. The course was then full of riders, following the pace making motorcycle. I maneuvered myself to the front, not as skillful as Alain but nevertheless I was able to ride the first 4 laps with the fast group. My problem was that I lost too much time on the ramp and then it was hard for me to close the gap again on the straight parts.

After half an hour I wanted to give up as usual. But then I found some rhythm, jumped from group to group and drafted and felt the strong sensation that I was leading the race. This was of course completely untrue and some faster riders constantly overtook me, but somehow I felt like the king of the road and that motivated me to continue to go fast. After two hours I overtook Jacques. He was having fun with the other riders next to him and enjoying himself. I almost slipped two times on the metal gratings and rode the corners extremely carefully, loosing perhaps some time. But there were some crashes, one even inside the stadium and the riders involved didn't look good at all. In particular the ramp was a place where the suffering of mankind was displayed on small scale.

After 2 and a half hours I felt better as I knew that the race would come to an end. I was riding very constantly lap times of 6 minutes and it would be possible to cross the finish line after a little bit less than three hours with 30 laps and add one more lap (this year the rule who finished the most laps with the last lap starting before the three hours deadline, last year it was within three hours time).
So I gave even more but in the end I didn't made it and the result was

* mob 30 laps 3:00:26 hours 31.92 km/hr 34th place
* Jacques 29 laps 3:05:41 hours 29.98 km/hr 76th place
* out of 209 riders in the morning 3 hours race.

As we rode in the rain for almost the whole race my bike and me were unbelievable dirty. Jacques was laughing and said that I looked with my dirty face like a coal miner, but I didn't took it too serious.

We retired, had some noodle soup and I slept in Jacques car. The weather was now much better and it seemed possible the road would be dry for the start of the afternoon race. I tried not to think about the fact that I had to add another two hours.

We came to late to the start so we needed to start from the very end of the better group. Jacques faked a start in the opposite direction before the countdown was over, bringing our neighbors to tears. Yes, Jacques, he can make you laugh and he can make you dead [Secret note: Jacques is employed as chief assassin of the French embassy in Tokyo. His road to cycling is littered with dead bodies. He never talks about work. Ever. Only about vegetable lighting.].

So I never had the chance to move up to the fast group from the start. But there were a lot of fresh riders who skipped the morning race and concentrated on the two hours only, so I felt that the general speed was a little bit higher compared to the morning. And I was also definitely slower, I thought.

After half an hour I wanted to give up as usual. But then I found some rhythm, jumped from group to group and drafted and felt the strong sensation that I was leading the race. This was of course completely untrue and some faster riders constantly overtook me, but somehow I felt like the king of the road and that motivated me to continue to go fast [I copied this part from the description of the morning race - but it was exactly the same].

After a while I started to stop thinking and everything went automatically. But what I like about endurance races is, that you one is constantly motivated to close the gap to riders in front and that there are constantly some good riders in front. This is very much different, from, say hill climbs, where I am in last position almost immediately after the start, only the motorcycle of the organizer behind me and the gap to the rider in front of me is ever increasing.

Anyway, I was riding 6 minutes lap times plus a little bit more and after 90 minutes it was pretty much clear that I would finish with 20 laps. I didn't overtook Jacques this time, as he secretly sneaked out of the race to pee somewhere.

Then the final countdown, one more effort and the race was over. The result of the afternoon race was

* mob 20 laps 2:00:55 hours 31.75 km/hr 59th place
* Jacques 19 laps 2:04:27 hours 29.31 km/hr 129th place
* out of 238 riders in the afternoon 2 hours race.

I was surprised that I could keep my average speed in the afternoon, I thought I would have been slower. And here is the end result for the the KING OF ENDURO:

* mob 50 laps 5:01:21 hours 31.85 km/hr 14th place
* Jacques 48 laps 5:10:09 hours 29.71 km/hr 27th place
* out of 62 riders that finished the race.

I think we did a pretty good job, riding solo faster than many of the teams attending. And we were competing against S and A class cracks and anyway only the hardcore riders start in the King of Enduro class. Actually last year I did only the three hours race in the morning and I was slightly faster, but the weather was much better than. So we were tired, but also proud of us.

[continue to read the funny part at the Positivo Espresso Blog]
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