Tag Archives: Izu Velodrome

Japan Track Cup rundown

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.

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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.

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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.

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Photos by MakotoAYANO

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4 weeks on

It’s been one heck of a roller coaster the past 4 weeks. I have had time to reflect on my time back at the CCC Shuzenji training camp but recently I find myself trying to keep my mind free of anything training related when I have any bit of downtime. Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been any exciting developments to talk about, just plenty of what-ifs.

I definitely kicked some goals at the end of my two weeks at Shuzenji. We were fortunate enough to be allowed by the JBCF to do a flying 200 and kilo time trial in an actual race setting. Having to go through the proper race proceedings was good practice for me. The result however left me quite deflated. I was all over the place in the kilo and couldn’t hold my line. My flying 200 was just as disappointing. I made used of that second week to nail those key aspects of my riding that really needed to be addressed: posture, leg speed, handling. I stuck at it, and my training times consistently went down as well. At the end of it, I definitely came out a better rider and I have the coaches at CCC Shuzenji to thank for that.

Coming back to Perth was a good test to see how far I have come. I started out at the Speed Dome, and the locals will be able to see if there is any improvement, or not. The first thing that hit me was that the pace has definitely stepped up a lot from the last time I was here. I had a quick catch up with Travis the first few nights at the track and he mentioned it as well. It took me about a week to find my race legs as well as get used to bunch riding on the track again, which meant I didn’t do too well in the Keirin at the State Championships. Disappointed yes, but I knew I had focus on the coming couple of weeks. I started the week really well, kicked plenty of goals at track sessions and was looking forward to the weekend to finish up state champs with something to cheer about. But my luck ran out and I had to wake up in the middle of a Thursday night scrambling for lacteol fort and panadol. Friday was a complete wipe off as I slept the entire day, waking up at 3 hour intervals just to eat and take meds. Fortunately, all was not lost. I still rode the sprint and the kilo. Though I was still a little woozy on Saturday.

I’ve got another week of track sessions and a Wattbike test with Andrew on Wednesday which I’m really looking forward to. Apologies for the lack of photos. When you travel to train and race solo, it’s not quite as convenient to go around snapping pictures with my phone. But I’ll try to get some cool visuals up.

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Konichiwa

I’m glad I’ve made it back to Izu Velodrome for CCC Shuzenji’s second training camp for the year. The past few weeks have been a little crazy. There was certainly no resting after a less than satisfying display at the Track Asia Cup. I’m still looking for that breakthrough on the bike I need to mix it up with the big boys. I remember my time at Mercantile with Sandy, when I finally started to feel some blade work and actually move the boat properly. Not quite the same equipment, but I’m determined to find that same element which will get me the speed I need on the bike

The sessions with Louis on the road definitely helped upped my game. Working on acceleration on the road with a racing track bike isn’t exactly the easiest thing to put together, in particular the logistics, considering I do not own a 4-door vehicle. With the recent videos of cyclists circulating around the Facebook hemisphere, location was our main concern. Huge thanks to Louis for taking time out to put it together. I owe him heaps.

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The CCC Shuzenji training camp was initially a no-go for me. I just haven’t been working enough to save up moolah for it. I decided to move on and I’m looking elsewhere for a more supportive work environment. Fortunately I managed to pull together enough in the nick of time and so here I am.

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One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a cold two weeks.

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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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