Heading in the right direction. Wait, is my compass working properly

It’s a wrap at the Continental Cycling Center Shuzenji. I did say that my time there passed slower than I expected, but that was only during the first week. As we moved into the second week, the days seemed to be on autopilot. We moved on to our aero bars and before I know it, we were told to prepare for our time trials. We did have a day off in the middle to take in the sights at Hakone, which us and the Hong Kong riders and Hiro (Female Pro Keirin rider!!) had badly needed at that time. The Kazhaks only arrived at the end of the first week. The training was systematic, the coaching was brilliant, and we were well fed. I might have to start learning Japanese if I plan to go back. The hotel, named Cytel (think cyclist hotel), had a few other guests attending a road race over the weekend, one of whom happened to be the famous pedal-strike.com (twitter). There was also a group of Pro Keirin riders and the Japan National futsal team came the second week we were there.

Photos courtesy of Izu Velodrome

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I came out of CCC Shuzenji with familiarity on the track. That might sound like a no-brainer but I can assure you it is not. I was an absolutely wrecked on the bike on my first days. The structured program, everything from warmup to working sets to cool down between sets, to cool down at the end was a routine which I really missed having and needed as there isn’t a track at home. Routine breeds familiarity which will help gain confidence and I needed that. I have to be honest, I wasn’t satisfied with my time trial results, especially the flying 200. I was mentally and most certainly physically prepared, but excitement got the better of me as I didn’t keep enough of my weight on the rear wheel and the wheel skipped on me, twice, when I came out of turn 2 going into the back straight. Process just went straight out the backdoor. Great.

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The 2-week training camp would be put to the test as we decided to head up to Kuala Lumpar for the 2nd Southeast Asian Grand Prix at the Cheras Velodrome. A little last minute, but we managed to get in on it. So it was a 3am arrival in Singapore for me, and off again at 6:30am as we drove our way up. As we had already missed the first day of the race (racing started on the 8th, we only flew into Singapore on the 9th), I wasn’t able to get in on the sprint qualification, another go at the flying 200. In the Keirin, it was a learning experience. With that familiarity on the track and on the bike, I was able to be in the mix, but I missed out on making the second round due to a lack of experience

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Photo courtesy of Josiah Ng

Things are certainly moving forward. Our coaches at CCC Shuzenji constantly remind us to take back what we have learn and continue to practice when we head back. There are limitations here at home in terms of the things which I need to work on, but there are also aspects which I can make sure I put in the 10,000-hour rule. Their school of thought is tried, tested and proven and I will take it with me where ever I go. Thank you Yajima-San, Kato-San, Hagihara-San, Nado-San, Koba-San and Fujii-San (I really hope I haven’t missed out anyone!!) for believing that age is not a determining factor. Though they don’t say much, I can sense their belief, attentiveness, eye-for-detail and eagerness to help us improve. I hope that they in turn have been able to take something back as well.

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Big shoutout to Maxinutrition, The Sufferfest (their kit was rockin it big time at the Izu Velodrome), Rudy Project Singapore, Compressport Singapore, G8 Performance, Athlete Lab and Wilier Triestina. Their unwavering support is what helps me to focus on putting in the hard yards. Thank you!

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