|If you can’t read this email, view it in your browser|
April 1st 2012 was the second stage of the JCRC Tour of Japan. Set at the Shuzenji cycling center on the Izu peninsula, it was one of the hardest tracks our riders have ever ridden before.
The weather was perfect with no clouds and a slight breeze. The course was packed with many riders of all skill levels, but our rider Stefano stood out above the rest (literally). He was by far the tallest competitor in the race.
Eric and Stefano were to race together in the B-class event which started at 8:30 am. The plan was to stick together and dominate the downhills and flats while allowing other riders to pull them up the steep hills.
From the start however, things went wrong quickly as Stefano dropped his chain in the first corner. Within a few seconds he was dropped from the main pack and would have to fight hard to make his come back.
Eric started off with good position and was able to maintain it through the first few laps. It was during the 3rd lap however, the lighter riders who had an advantage on the climbs started to make their attacks. One by one the riders started to pull away from Eric, who struggled the rest of the race to keep on pace.
At the end of the race, Eric came in 14th position only 5 minutes behind the leader and Stefano came in 32nd place 14 minutes behind. For the both of them however this was a great experience. It was Stefano’s first race ever and with that said, he preformed to the top of his abilities even after his mechanical problem. Eric had pushed himself to the max and never held back. With more training and conditioning our riders will be able to keep up with the lighter riders on the hills. The flat races still belong to our boys!
Sunday, March 18th was the opening stage of the JCRC Tour of Japan.
The stage took place in the port city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. Weather conditions were touch and go for the whole day as it was raining lightly all day with few breaks in between. Luckily for the C class race in which Eric raced in, the weather let up just long enough to have a clean race. The course, which was originally set to be 10 laps of a 1.2 kilometer loop, turned into a nasty 2.2 kilometer narrow course with 6 turns including 2 hairpin turns.
“The key was to make your move at the finial hairpin turn” explains Eric. “All the racing before that last turn was to stay on pace in a good position. The road was still wet so the farther back you were in the peleton(main body of riders), the more dirt, sand and water you ate. I stayed near the front usually in about 3rd to 5th position. Any farther back than that and chances of getting back up were slim. Once you reached that last hairpin turn however, anyone in the top 5 positions had a chance at sprinting to win the lap. This was a points race so every lap was important to me.”
Eric was looking for a first place finish on the last lap when he was over taken in the last few meters and took second place. The last lap of this criterium race was worth more points than any other lap, making it the most important. In the end Eric took second place with 32 points, just 1 point back from the leader with 33 points.