Words by Lynn
Jasmin from the SfiDARE Crit Team Japan invited me to race both in Korea for King of Track and to race the Crit in Japan his team organized called the SfiDARE Crit. This trip was my first time racing internationally. While in Japan I went to Nagoya, Gifu, & Tokyo.
The SfiDARE Crit team were super cool, friendly, and a lot of fun to spend time with. While on the trip one of their team members Pro Keirin racer Toshifumi Kodama set up a few fun and special activities for us to do. He arranged for us to train at the most beautiful track I have ever seen in Gifu.
The velodrome was surrounded by water and had a garden and bridge going over the water in the center of the velodrome. He also arranged for us to go to spectate a Pro Keirin race as special guests with VIP passes.
The SfiDARE Crit is a Fixed Crit series held in the countryside of Japan. The race I participated in was located at Kiso Sansen Park in Gifu. The race was to be held rain or shine and it was definitely raining that day! The park reminded me of a CX course, because the rest of the park was wet and muddy. And my road shoes and cleats were completely covered in thick sticky mud. It turns out a lot of the race volunteers are also part of Japan’s CX community. ️ The course was mostly on the paved narrow windy walkway of the park and also through a parking lot where they created a hairpin turn. The course was very wet and even had large puddles we raced through. The woman who placed first in the race is a pro road and track racer Yasue Nakahara, she was really pushing the pace. In this race my front tire lost traction on the hairpin turn with 3 laps to go. I ended up crashing on my left arm, hip, and head. The crash felt like I was in slow motion while hitting the ground and sliding. Nothing too bad just road rash and ripped skinsuit. As soon as I realized that I had not broken anything I got up to finish the 3 laps, but at this point completely lost the pack.
I ended up getting 4th place and accumulating points towards the Fixed Nations Cup. After these races moving up to 5th overall for US Women. Fixed Nations Cup is a fixed crit series that is being held in Dijon, France in 2019.
After podiums for the race I met Pro Keirin racer Theo Bos. This was his first time participating in a fixed crit! It was interesting to hear that participating in a fixed crit is out of his comfort level and that he wants to try to race more of them. He is a 5x World Champion and Silver Medalist for the 2004 Olympics.
The next few days after the race I went to Tokyo to hangout and stayed with Junpei Nakata, Japan’s Director of Tracklocross. He was an amazing host and rad guy.
The race trip was an experience that I will never forget. Looking forward to traveling more for races. Next destination Dijon, France