15 March 2010

Brevet 3/14 200 km - No Photos

No time for a long post, but wanted to offer a brief report of yesterday's Utsunomiya Audax group's 200 km Brevet (actually, 210+ km).  A few notes:

1.  The start/finish at Utsunomiya Forest Park (rinshinkouen) is where the Japan Cup pro race  is held each autumn -- the only time "known" European pros from Pro Tour/Continental teams race in Japan each year.  Looks like a nice place for a criterium-style race.  Plenty of up and down!

2.   Utsunomiya is a long way away from Tokyo -- I somehow think of it as a suburb like Saitama, but it is further than Saiko on empty roads at 4-6AM.  And yes, they have traffic jams getting back to Tokyo on the Tohoku Expressway on Sunday night, with all the skiers.

3.   For some reason, the trucks stay on the roads even on Sunday in Tochigi/Ibaraki.  The Brevet's route was typical Japanese countryside, with mixed dry fields, forests, hills, long flat stretches with rice or vegetable plots, lots and lots of scattered houses and little factories, and some (but not much) pachinko/car dealer sprawl.  Traffic was heavier than I would have liked, especially in the afternoon coming back from Tsukuba area on the flat.  If not for this event, I would not recommend the "return" part of this course, though the Northern "outbound" part and the many rollers of the "Beef Line" heading South through some hills, had some nicer sections.

4.    I went out (too) fast all the way to the first checkpoint at 70 km. Then I flatted (and struggled with my tubeless tire for a 15 minute repair, giving up on the "self sealing" goo I had inside the tire that I hoped would plug the leak, and inserting a tube instead).  Then I close-to-bonked on a hill a few kilometers after that, and the rest of the ride was one long hard slog.

5.    There were several "mountains", which involved starting a climb at 50 meters above sea level, going up at an average 8-10% grade to 300 or 350 meters elevation, then right back down.  These and the many steeper "rollers" were extremely painful for me, at 8 kgs over my "fighting weight" from last year and not having done any serious riding since November.

6.  The Utsunomiya Audax group is incredibly organized.  They had multiple types of queue sheets, maps, GPS data sets, a thick downloadable rule book.  They prepared an updated report on every pothole.  I managed to download their GPS history of each of the 4 legs of the ride, and used this during the event -- it took me from start to finish without any need to pull out map or cue sheet.

 David T. from TCC (who was on the Boso ride with Michael K. last month) joined, as did another foreigner (Simon P.) who lives in Hitachi.


TOM said...

Thank you for this report David...I think I might end up as a convert to these Audax burube events too.

Queue sheets always seemed cumbersome to me and the availability of GPS data sets should make these events more attractive... I 'm still looking for Itoigawa GPS data that is uploadable to my Garmin 500!

The tubeless tires have not served you very well on the more crucial rides. I keep reading excellent reviews on them though.

This coming long WE might be a good occasion for some decent long distance riding in preparation for Itoigawa... How about a mock ride (with stay?)

mob said...

Well done, David. I think it takes a lot of courage to enter a 200km brevet more or less shortly after rehabilitation and without too much training. That you start very fast is a well known phenomea, I usuallt struggle to keep up with your speed along Tanagawa and Asagawa as well. Perhaps you take a closer look at your HRM and adjust to a sustainable level for the whole of the ride.

David T. was one of the Davids at the Bozo ride, older,nice guy with beard and strong legs. He wasn't that fast but I could see that he had a lot of stamina and he was very consistant in his riding.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Congratulations, David, on finishing what seemed to have been quite a hard ride, both in the physical sense (especially considering all the injury required rest) and in the mental sense.

I have to admit I prefer to do my private 200km brevets, where I can select the route entirely to my liking and/or cycle with friends... But for you clearly the qualification is important to stand a chance to make the ultimate ride next year! Good luck with that!

Anonymous said...


Excuse me for abruptly running off Sunday. My wife was at Kanuma station, promised she would be home in time for Ameri Idol. Getting lost at Cue 46 made things girigiri. Wanted to hear more about your shoulder, compare notes on my dislocated ankle, and as an ex-Portlander, compare notes on that too.

Send me a PM on TCC (TrufflesEater) if you're ever interested in riding a Boso route.