Berichten weergeven met het label Enduro. Alle berichten weergeven
Berichten weergeven met het label Enduro. Alle berichten weergeven

vrijdag 5 oktober 2007

THE GREAT “DID THE LAST LAP COUNT?” DEBATE to be continued…

Marek: if you closely looked at the results, 9th and 10th were only seconds apart being about 2 minutes in front of us, while 1st - 8th place must have been real pros as they were making an average of around 39k/h - truly insane! Tom was the last to go - he rode like an animal and caught team 75 (those ahead of us) already after his first lap making up 10 seconds - there were only 20 minutes left - not enough for 2 laps - we didnt know whether a last lap would count if crossing the finish/start line before the time was up - the team at 10th place were less than 2 minutes ahead and Tom could catch them if he had two laps to go...he almost caught them - there were 3 seconds apart in the end - however, the last lap did not count anyways - so we stayed at 11th!

Tom:…aah...those three seconds!!! Even though the last round may not have counted, I feel I've been beaten by that rider...I really got to improve and build up more explosive sprinting power in my legs.

Ryoko:…anway, i'm so sure they DID count the last lap. Otherwise we would have -4 laps from top and we would have dropped our score from 11th to 14th!!! i'm glad Tom didn't finish after his second lap.

Stephen: Now I DEFINITELY know what happened last Sunday without a doubt….As regards the last lap. This is a touchy subject. We (Marek, Stephen, Ryoko) instructed Tom to do 3 fast ones. I have the lap count which I think is right and this matches the total on the Motegi Results page. I would not dare to ask Tom to finish after only 2 laps in Rd4 as the rule was just too vague.

Tom: Thanks for finding out Stephen....I would have done the very last lap anyways even if it would have been one I knew would not count. That's how much I enjoyed it! Now my only "chagrin" are those 3 seconds I failed to make up! I suppose I have no other choice but to go again next year to get revenge....

Michael: yes, definitely the last (3rd lap) of Tom was counted. I remember I was counting the time to 15.30 hr (which was after 7 hours of racing) and that Tom completed our 35th lap well before 15.30hr. Our total race time is 7.06.47 hours, which would mean that we were timed after 15.30hr. What I do not understand is, that I remember checking the time on the keitai after lap #35 and Tom made up substantially to the team ranked in 10th place. They only were 1 minute something in front of Tom. I remember that I told Marek as well, as we were so surprised that Tom has taken over 11th place after one lap only and that he was making good so much time on the 10th placed team. But in the end after 36 laps the 10th place was 2.29 minutes ahead of us, which was much more than I remember after lap # 35. Why is that? Were the other guys so fast or did Tom wind down on his last lap? And where did Tom crossed the finish line after lap 36? Ok, perhaps we will never know, but in the end it also doesn't matter very much. We were very close to the the 10th place. Ok, that might then become the goal for the next year.

Tom:...yes, a mystery indeed!! Two things are for sure....I did not slow down on my last lap (or maybe I did unconsciously....) and I crossed the finish line on the main track (not the pit lane)...the only explanation would be that the 10th-placed team pulled out some secret weapon in the shape of a fresh-legged "keirin" specialist for their last lap....Now I really need to go back and get my revenge next year!!

Marek : i am equally puzzled ! but here another fact that might shed some light into it … team 10 overtook team 9 during the last lap (!) - i remember "Top Speed" was the team that we were chasing (at 10th place) , who finished 9th (!) - so this supports the idea that they must have sent out their secret weapon in the last lap (which must have counted ) as I remember Michael showing me that they [Top Speed] were only about 1 min ahead of us ... rather peculiar.

Tom: No doubt...it has got to be one of the Top Speed ace sprinters...check out the "Best Lap Top 30"...one of their riders clocked the 4th best time (although not for the very last lap). Since our team is not included in this "Best Lap Top 30," it is safe to say that our real strength is not speed but consistency and an unbeatable team spirit!

dinsdag 2 oktober 2007

MOTEGI 7h ENDURO 2007

Saturday, September 29, 18:00…got a call from Michael confirming departure time from his place and started my ride direction Marukobashi in the dark and a light drizzle which would fortunately stop halfway. Halfway is where I suddenly ran into a huge crowd on the Tamagawa Cycling Road. Near Tamagawa Station some huge fireworks display (the 26th Chōfu-shi Hanabi Taikai) was going on…quite unseasonable and forcing me to follow a heavy traffic road all the way to Futakotamagawa Station. Got lost somewhere close to my destination but Michael helped me navigate the last 700 meters left to his place over the phone. A couple hours later we arrived at “Wakaba” our place to stay and RdV point with Stephen and Ryoko-san in Motegi. Motegi-machi 茂木町 is a small town located in Haga District, Tochigi Prefecture with an estimated population of 16,400.


To our pleasant surprise and great relief “suketto rider” Marek from Germany had arrived as well. After one beer, I decided to hit the sack first. It was drizzling when we woke up and by the time we arrived at the “Twin Ring MOTEGI” venue, rain had started to come down in honburi fashion. There are two race circuits at Twin Ring MOTEGI; one is the 2.493k oval course "Super Speedway" which has satisfied international standards, and the other is the "Road Course" with a distance of over 4.8km. These circuits were built 10 years ago by Honda, as part of Honda’s effort to bring IndyCar racing to Japan. The road course is also a popular motorbike racing spot, with the MotoGP usually visiting once a year. The oval course is low-banked and egg-shaped with curves three and four being much tighter than curves one and two and is the only one of its kind in Japan. Although they are separate tracks, it is possible for races – such as this MOTEGI 7h ENDURO - to use both courses at the same time. To access the oval track, however, teams must cross the road-course pit and front straight. The road course also runs in the opposite direction from the oval; clockwise, rather than counter-clockwise. The course itself is built in a stop-start straight/hairpin style in a less than flowing arrangement. By Japanese standards the circuit is exceptionally flat, with only a slight elevation rise towards the hairpin turn.

As Stephen - a regular contestant at Motegi - noted correctly, this slight elevation would feel more like 20% towards the end of the race. Michael made an impressive start taking the first three laps of 7.2k each on his account. He even managed to almost pull our team, which had been for the occasion named “POSITIVO ROVERS,” in the top 20 whereas we had set ourselves a rather modest goal of a spot within the top 30. Michael really got each of us energized and, I must say, under pressure to give the race our very best. After each lapse and “pit in” stop, we steadily moved up ranks thanks also to Ryoko-san’s great assistance moving the velcro chips from one leg to another! All the time it was pouring and at some points the track had a small river running through it. The trick was to stay away far enough from the rear wheel of riders in front so as to avoid getting hosed right in the face. I saw a couple crashes at full speed with riders and bicycles sliding off the slippery circuit. The temperature at Motegi was only 16 degrees and 10 minutes or so after each pit stop, body heat would rapidly evaporate and give way to shivering & shaking. Stephen and Marek put in a tremendous effort taking turns during the break around noon when the 4h Endurance ended and pit stops were not allowed for half an hour. Their joint effort propelled the team into 16th place…wow! That meant even more pressure on my shoulders and I guess on those of Michael as well!

After enduring 7 hours of heavy rain, our team ended in 11th position...if we would have had another 30 minutes or so to ride, I’m positive we would have joined the Wada teams on the podium! We completed 36 laps at an average speed of 36.43k compared to 39 laps at 39.03k for the winning team made up of retired and semi-pros (to be taken with a little grain of salt). With such a team effort, we really deserved to be very proud of ourselves!

In spite of all the excitement, however, I don’t think I will cycle again at Motegi. Organizers of bicycle and other sports events here in Japan have a penchant for entertaining participants with so-called side-attractions. As long as they take place off the track this is perfectly all right with me (admittedly, they sometimes can be a real feast to the eye like when Ms. P Cup is parading her heavy artillery on the podium) but when drag queens, gorillas, mamacharins and other nuigurumis suddenly cut in front of you RIGHT ON THE TRACK, I say “I’m no clown…no more for me, thanks!”. I hope the organizers will realize that these side-attractions are simply irresponsible and too dangerous and therefore ought to be literally held on the side of the track!

Following the race, the plan was to celebrate with dinner at “Yokozuna” before hitting the expressway but somehow the obstinate (and at times very naughty!) navigator system in Michael’s car had led us onto a different country road. Thank you Michael for driving me all the way back home…really appreciated everything you did…stepping forward like you did to take care of the application, payment & other cumbersome procedures. Once home I ate about everything left in the refrigerator and took a long hot bath.

donderdag 26 juli 2007

Perfect finish

TROPHY FOR THIRD PLACE FINISH AMONG THE 4-MEMBER TEAMS
Just how did we end up winning it?
....here's the story:
Dear All,

While all of us are constantly engaged in a series of hard trainings and even harder race events, we have all failed to miss the best result so far this season. I must admit that the same is true for me, I also have not noticed what has happened. But last week a trophy was delivered by mail to my house from the organizer of the Shuzenji race, beautiful in design and made out of precious materials so that it will definitely qualify for "non burnable garbage" as per Japanese municipal waste collection stipulations. Please take a look at the attached photo.

So how did we end up in third place despite being 19th in the results? Ok easy : Almost all teams better placed than us consisted of groups of 2, 3 or 5 riders, only THREE teams where ahead of us which consisted of groups of four riders. That,s why we made the third place in the Team-with-4-riders category. Ah, wait a moment, if there are three teams ahead of us, why did we make the 3rd place and not the 4th place? To be honest: no idea, perhaps one team was disqualified because of doping?

Anyway, the trophy is now with me, but I would be more than willing to rent it out to any of our team members who want to put it on his desk in the office.

Cheers

Michael


Shuzenji in the rain














The 5-hour Endurance at Shuzenji turned out to be a real thriller! Our 4-member team (POSITIVO ESPRESSO with David L., David J. & Michael) ended 19th out of a pack of 119 teams...not bad! There was a constant drizzle of fine misty rain which rendered the surface slippery...quite a few falls but nothing serious. The Shuzenji 5km-long course was designed specifically for cyclists and their training needs. It is just ups & downs with plenty of curves (wide road) and max inclination of 12%...very tough!! I was particularly thrilled because I was given the "honor" of also riding the final two lapses with less than 20 minutes left on the 5-hour clock and I managed to add the final lapse just on the very last second!! I could hear the count-down from 200 meters or so from the finish line...never felt my heart pounding that much...what pressure and what joy after crossing the line! Will try to add this race to my schedule for next year...

woensdag 25 juli 2007

Hitachi-Naka...first-time experience in a peloton!





With "Sir" Alain...ex-Road Amateur Champion of France and member of CLUB NFCC.
Alain took the first place in his category but almost missed his gold medal on the podium (as an obedient team member, I was more than happy to take his place & receive the medal from no one less than Miss P-Cup! - not to be featured on this blogsite...sorry). On the podium's very left is our lonely hero from the DDR (Michael of TEAM POSITIVO ESPRESSO).
Zelf nam ik deel aan de 4-uur durende "Enduro" waarin ik op de 23ste plaats eindigde met een ongelooflijke gemiddelde snelheid van 39.07 (dank zij het "drafting effect" van het peloton)!!