08 June 2008

JCRC Narita Automobile University Race

After preparing myself yesterday with David and James on a hard 137 km ride with 1.000m plus of climbing plus attending the start of the soccer European Championship festival at the German school afterwards, I rode out to Narita in the early morning to attend another JCRC race. My personal goal was to achieve a top 30 finish. With 31 registered starters plus the odd guys not coming despite registration that seemed to be a somewhat feasible target. The roads were empty and luckily it didn't started to rain so I was there well before the start of the race and I used all the time I had to practice on the track. The race schedule for my (D) class was 12 laps on this 1 km course. The course itself was flat with the exception of one tiny hill, however a lot of tricky curves to maneuver, so it wasn't boring at all.

The usual strong teams were there: Cicli Hide, Ravanello, Maid School, Yukirin ... you name it. I sported my Positivo Espresso jersey plus the NFCC bib shorts to show my heart (above) and my duty (below).
Nagai-San was so kind to repair my Gravity Zero wheels the evening before, so I could take full advantage of advanced cycling technology to compensate for the state-of-the-art body of myself. I watched some of the other races, like kids and women and over50 and slowly got excited. Then I went away from the venue to do some more training on a normal road in order to get warmed-up. Chiba can be so ugly I thought, then I looked at my watch - only 10 minutes to the start! So I made a fast u-turn and arrived just in time for the start of the C and D start races. As usual I was very nervous and I wished I would suddenly become blind, break my leg or get pregnant in the 9. month so that I had a good reason to abandon the race. Of course nothing happened but only the start signal. As usual the race was fast. There were also some idiots from the bicycle club of Yokohama Kokuritsu Daigaku who constantly cutted the lines and subsequently crashed in lap10 to my full satisfaction. I was able to keep the pace of the main field. My strategy was as usual to be very careful in the curves so I lost always some places during the curvy part of the track. But then I sprinted up the small hill and added to the pace when going down again so I found myself back in the front group. That strategy worked out well for the first 6 laps, then I got tired and I thought that I would skip the hill sprint once. Also for some strange reason the organizers hat the D class started first and then 30 seconds later the stronger C class. In lap 6 they caught up and it got a little bit messy. So I lost the overview and I found myself trailing with some other D and C class guys in a second group behind the main group. Now the track was not as crowded as before and I felt better. I kept almost the same lap time for all 12 laps (except the first of course), the fastest one being 1:37 (lap 3) and the slowest one being 1:42 (lap 10). Two laps before the finish I was in a group with 7 D-class and about 5 C-Class riders. I sprinted up the hill in lap 11 to get into a good position and finally I was in the front of the group. I didn't want to do all the drafting work but I had no choice. In the last lap the C-class riders started the sprint at the hill and I had no power to keep up with them. But I controlled almost all D-class riders, only one guy was sprinting ahead. I tried to stay in his wheel but I couldn't in the end. Result : 15th out of 22 riders reaching the finish with an average of 38.6 km/hr (acc. to my ciclo and 35.7 km/hr according to JCRC). Managed to stay 2nd in the second group of 7 riders. I lost about 48 seconds on the winner, so the speed was definitely picking up in the second half of the race. Would I have reached a better result if I hadn't rode out to Wada yesterday? Perhaps, I was feeling tired especially on the climbs. But cycling is not only about racing and not only about touring for me and I wouldn't like to miss the fun part with David and James.

Anyway, this was a much nicer race than expected. I woke up at 6 AM and was home at 12.30, not too much time and effort lost indeed. Will go there next year again with my kids perhaps.

When I tried to dismount the Gravity Zero wheels from my frame, the lever on the tensioners got sheared off. Ups, I had to admit that I also turned it into the wrong direction ... Anyway, again a problem with these wheels. I guess I am going to mount some standard Champagnolo tensioners instead.
In the end I am pretty happy with the results of this weekend. I went to the local expat-supermarket next to my house and bought my a lot of good food as reward. Miyakejima can come.

3 comments:

mob said...

Just for your info, I received this morning the following message from Todd Grave from F2P concerning the delivery of the team jerseys:

"Michael,

My apologies for this delay!! Our factory is overwhelmed with orders at the moment.

The goods will unfortunately only be shipped on Monday or Tuesday. I know this is unacceptable as you have now been waiting a long time. Therefore, in addition to the extra 3 jerseys I will apply a 10% discount to your total order invoice – to at least financially compensate your members for this failure on our behalf!

I understand this delays put you in a difficult position with your members who are relying on you. And that financial compensation is not really good enough as you have missed races and training sessions in your team gear.

I will get back to ASAP once a tracking number is issued."

It is a little bit sad that the production took that long, on the other hand the cost will be substantially reduced, I think now we are looking at 7.000 JPY/jersey.

Will let you know once jerseys and invoice have arrived.

TOM said...

Super job in Narita Michael! Most interesting speed/altitude curves...what a difference with the hills!

Todd of Finisher has shown his earnest repentance for the delay and I believe we should appreciate that. This is after all a start-up company. BTW, have you been able to fix the seams? My own jersey is just fine. As to the bib, I wish I had more of them...so comfortable the padding!

Anonymous said...

Well done on the race MOB!! perfect preparation for our blitzkrieg strike next weekend... I was concentrating on the nutritional side of my preparations!

Night boat to Miyakejima...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIHwIoqTPhU ;-) david