I need to be more prompt in penning down these race experiences, even though its still rather fresh in my mind, like it was just last week. Those psych sessions with John from way back certainly did me some good.
International teams didn’t stay at Cytel. We were put up at a cottage-like hotel, Olive no Ki, 30 mins by bus away from the track. Better facilities and amenities, but I would have preferred convenience over comfort. Of course, Cytel would be meant for local teams and technical officials.
There were reasonable expectations going in. In a country where the keirin is professionally raced, you can only expect a huge depth of really strong riders. I started out conservatively with regards to gearing. Bad decision. After the first lap, I knew I was in trouble as I was already running out of leg speed. So I kinda threw that one away. Shucks. Then I rode big but it was clear I still didn’t have enough horsepower to ride side-by-side with the big guns yet. Leading up to this, bulk of the work has been focused on strength gains. My 200m time was nothing to cheer about either. There is still quite a long way to go.
Apart from that, it is the familiarity I have with my bike at high speeds. At 60km/h and above, the slightest twitch gets magnified. I followed for as long as I could, but it felt like I was fighting the bike as soon as everyone throttled. I kept losing momentum in my legs as I fought to stay in.
The coaches at CCC Shuzenji could see improvement. The standard of the race was simply too high. In spite of that, I still took plenty of lessons back home. I’ve gained some first-hand knowledge on what is physically required to race at that level and that is something I can work on on the road. One thing’s for sure, motorpacing sessions are vital for me. So if anyone knows of anyone who does it, give me shout. I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks to Noda-san and CCC Shuzenji for the support. It definitely made a difference knowing that I was looked after. I envy teams that go to races with an army of support staff. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a race with even just a coach/manager. Big shout-out to MSTI for the entry and race kit, as well as the continuous and unwavering support of Maximuscle, Rudy Project, The Sufferfest, Compressport, G8 Performance and Solitude of Strength.
Photos by MakotoAYANO