Road race season summary: my first year as category E3 in Japan

I finished what will probably be my last race for the year last weekend, and wanted to share my experience with TrainerRoad. I’m a life long mountain biker, 38, who switched to road riding May last year, so that I could join group rides. Got hooked and joined a team, and (social and sports) life is pretty awesome at the moment. Got a trainer in March and started training in May.

Although I only got through mid-volume SSB1 + 2, I managed to increase my FTP from 277 W (3.8 W/kg at 73 kg) to 308 W (4.3 W/kg at 72 kg). So far I have only participated in three races so far, two rolling road races with plenty of climbing and one hill climb. Even though I am in the lowest category in Japan, E3, competition is tough. I thought with my fitness levels I’d have an easier time, but not really. (American expats who are in the know claimed the level is more akin to Cat 3 in the US.)

Despite the stiff competition, I got bitten by the racing bug. The community here in Japan is awesome, I have great team mates, and I am fit enough to participate. After losing to another racer in the sprint for the finish during my last race, we fist bumped and said it was a great race — how awesome is that :smile: I didn’t get how much of a group sport road racing is: you spontaneously need to self-organize as a group during a race, because you are faster as a group than alone (doh!). And I found out I am a natural born instigator …

With the help of TrainerRoad, the podcast and the youtube videos, I tried to grok things like nutrition and race strategy. Over time my placement steadily improved from the top of the bottom third to the bottom of the top third (21st out of 59). In fact, all three amateur categories started together during my last race, and I overtook plenty of E1s and E2s. In the flatter parts, I even rode with the lead group for a while, which felt pretty awesome.

Big thanks to the TrainerRoad team for making this possible, you guys keep me in shape and I can hang longer and longer with the big guys. I can’t wait for the next season.


Great post and congrats on your season! Are you going to race cyclocross? What area of Japan by the way?

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I live in Sendai, in the Tohoku region to the North of Tokyo. I’ve already asked a team mate who races cyclocross if I can try a few races with a mountain bike. And it seems I can :smile:

Are you also living in Japan?

I’m in Tokyo about 3km from Shibuya :sweat_smile: So when it comes to cycling almost the exact opposite of your area. Luckily it doesn’t take much room to put on a cyclocross race. Are you aware of

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I wasn’t until now, thanks!