One of the most famous bicycle endurance race for armature cyclist is this race. There are two races in a year and longest length is 8 hours. I heard attendee is more than ten thousands. Pit area is fully packed of people even though this venue is prepared for Auto racing and have enough space. There are serious racers to hobby racers, even some of them has special costume like kitty the cat.
Our team entried 8 hours for the first time and we formed 5 riders. On the last attempt, we finished at 5th on man/women mixed team category in 6 hours, so our target is go to podium. Our strategy was to keep in proton for the first two riders then keep two or three laps attack by each ones until the finish.
I was assigned as first rider. When I went to the start line, I noticed I was late. There was already thousand of riders and I was forced to be lined at the end.
When the race started, I pushes hard to catch the first group. However, there are so many slow riders like rocks never give others a way. After the first lap, way become a little clear then even pushed hard. I passed so many others but I can't reach to the first group, so back to pit after 4 laps to change next rider. We are at 12th position in the category at this time.
At the race, there are so many riders on the track, traffic is always the challenge. If you are pro level rider and capable to ride in proton, you are lucky. Motorcycle lead you all the time and those slower riders are notified by beeping and give you a clear way. For us, we have to continually shout slower riders "faster riders on back" all the time. Race organizer put sign to keep right side of track for faster cyclists, but there are so many people do not care this. This is very annoying.
My team mates did their job and we are at 11th position when I go out second time. I was very lucky since proton came behind me and I was able to work as one of the member in that group. There're Japan's famous pro team guys in front/behind me. This is pretty amazing moment for me. I continued ride in the proton 2 laps then left for the rider change. Another good thing was we could gain three positions, so we are at 9th.
On my third out, our position is still 9th. It looks like ride in the good group is only the key to gain position, otherwise going really fast. Since I didn't see any good group, I decided to give 100% since only myself succeeded to gain position. I thought I could gain at least one without proton. I needed to show this to my team mate that even I am still pushing.
I pushed very hard and keeping lower handle bar position and pushed even on down hill. Then suddenly, I don't remember after this. I was in hospital and doctor and nurse puts pipes to my lungs, cleaning many scratches and I screamed.
I noticed I dropped and my team did not finish the race. What a bummer. I wanted to go on podium but I made the reason of DNF. I am not qualified to do this type of race if I don't change my mind.
My lungs got big pressure by having air around them. This also give unwanted pressure to the heart. I was lucky sine the doctor at racing track knew how to treat this situation. Air duct/drain pipes were removed in few days in the hospital.
The other problem is collar bone become in three pieces. I needed to take operation but I wanted to do that in my home town since it involves after care. It took a week to find hospital in Hamamatsu to accept me so I will be moving to my home town at the end of this month. Now for the surgery....