Rider Interview: The keirin will be some of the thrilling occasions on the velodrome – ‘It’s very similar to chess however with head butts and shoulder fees!’ So mentioned British keirin rider Joe Truman when Ed Hood requested him about his Japanese expertise.
Keirin, love or hate it; even the present ‘UCi decaffeinated’ model can nonetheless produce spectacular racing. I like it, having grown up through the self-discipline’s early Worlds days the place ‘no quarter requested or given,’ laborious males like Danny Clark, Urs Freuler, Guido Bontempi and Ottavio Dazzan offered the proverbial ‘thrills and spills.’
Again within the day – Worlds’80 Keirin: Nils Fredborg, Urs Freuler and Danny Clark
Once I listened to a podcast that includes ‘Englishman in Japan’ Justin McCurry, who wrote a e-book about keirin referred to as, ‘Warfare on Wheels,’ I believed, ‘I finest have a learn of that!’ A person who featured within the e-book was British observe specialist Joe Truman, who ‘guested’ on two events on the profitable however powerful Japanese keirin circuit.
He’s a extremely profitable observe man with a raft of medals at Nationwide, Commonwealth and European ranges throughout dash, workforce dash, kilometre and keirin disciplines. I caught up with Joe and he very kindly gave his recollections of his days within the extremely specialised and interesting world of keirin.
PEZ: Remind us which GB programme you’re on – how did GB administration really feel about your Japanese adventures?
Joe Truman: I’ve been on the British Biking ‘Podium’ programme since 2017 and it was really my dash coach, Jan Van Eiden who helped get me the invite, it was early in my profession and going to Japan didn’t minimize throughout what I used to be doing with the GB programme – in actual fact Jan felt that it will be good coaching and the expertise would breed independence and self-sufficiency.
PEZ: What’s your favorite ‘Euro’ self-discipline – keirin, kilometre or workforce dash?
I spend quite a lot of time coaching for the workforce dash, that’s what’s vital to British Biking however I most look ahead to the keirin, albeit the principles are stricter than they’re in Japan – but it surely’s nonetheless, ‘all weapons blazing!’
PEZ: How did your Japanese adventures come about?
As I mentioned, Jan Van Eiden’s connection was very useful however I’d been in finals at World Cups and Europeans and I used to be approached by the Japanese.
PEZ: Do you need to do the 2 weeks on the well-known keirin coaching faculty every time you go or simply as soon as?
Each years however the first yr was extra intensive, stuff like stripping down and rebuilding your bike to a set, very methodical protocol; the field spanner has to return in precisely the precise place! The second yr was simpler and glided by quicker.
PEZ: Inform us concerning the faculty.
There are 4 velodromes, two gyms, dormitories, cafeteria, 5 kilometre highway circuit, media rooms and naturally that loopy steep ‘wall’ you need to dash up.
PEZ: You had to purchase an accepted metal body to compete – inform us about that.
There are solely a sure variety of body builders accepted by the NJS, ‘Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai,’ the physique which approves every thing – each body and particular person part have to be accepted by the NJS. A few of the body builders are legends, guys like Yoshiaka Nagasawa and Yoshi Konni; however I went for a Bridgestone – it’s nonetheless on the market! It’s loopy totally different from my GB carbon bike, the identical geometry however actually versatile, its clean, quiet and good to experience.
PEZ: What’s the scenario with gear choice, is that dictated too?
I experience 55 x 14, that’s 106” – however in UCi races in Europe I’d be on 120”, though you need to keep in mind that keirin tracks are all outdoor. However gearing additionally is dependent upon which means you’re going to race, you need to declare your ways earlier than you stand up and race – ‘Senko’ goes lengthy 400 to 800 metres out, ‘Makuri’ goes inside the final 300 metres while ‘Oikomi’ goes very late, inside the remaining 150 metres.
PEZ: How does Japanese keirin examine to UCi keirin?
You solely have one race per day, there are 12 races with half-hour between them over six hours to provide the punters time to get their bets down. It’s quiet between races however erupts when the races begin. A gathering lasts 4 days with the highest three going via to finals and the lesser ranked riders racing in opposition to one another. It’s far more bodily than UCi keirin; however keep in mind you might have 9 riders in every warmth, not six. And races are by no means referred to as off attributable to climate, you race within the wind and rain – the velodrome floor is gritted so that you get grip, even within the moist but it surely’s nonetheless scary the primary time you see the bankings wanting like waterfalls!
PEZ: Are you continue to not allowed to compete in opposition to the highest ranked Japanese riders?
No, we are able to’t compete in opposition to the 9 ‘F1’ riders they compete in Grand Prix contests with as much as $1,000,000 in prizes.
PEZ: Inform us concerning the ‘isolation’ side.
To forestall any risk of fixing races, you’re not permitted any contact in any way with the skin world – no wi-fi, no Bluetooth, no telephone all through the assembly. I’d take laborious wired earphones and books – it means you work together with the opposite riders, socialise with them, I didn’t thoughts it a lot.
PEZ: Clarify, ‘The Line’ to us.
You might have 9 riders in three traces of three after which there’s all of the ways I discussed earlier – it’s very similar to chess however with head butts and shoulder fees!
PEZ: I imagine that the Japanese guys do their finest to work you over?
Sure, the traces are by ‘prefecture’ – we’d say ‘district,’ I’d be within the keirin faculty line so generally it will find yourself eight Japanese guys in opposition to me !
PEZ: How typically did you go over and the way lengthy did you keep?
I went for six months in 2018 and 5 months in 2019, I’d like to return however Covid has put paid to worldwide invitations to the keirin circuit.
PEZ: And eventually Joe; how had been your ‘stats’ – begins – wins – seconds – thirds.
I feel that is fairly correct – 70 wins, 85 prime two and 92 prime three.
# Secure to say that he’s not a foul keirin rider then? With because of Joe for an entertaining interview. And due to all of the photographers. #