Today I am in touch again from distant Japan. Surely you want to know how I've been doing in the last few days and weeks and what I've experienced in the long time.
At the end of school there were final exams. First I had to take my practical exam. That means disassembling and reassembling a track bike. The time limit for this was 20 minutes.
The next step was a written test in which 35 questions on the topic of keirin had to be answered. Finally, a one-on-one interview was held with each of us six foreign drivers. Apparently we all proved ourselves worthy and proudly received our racing licenses at the end of the day.
In addition to the school days, of course, the training must not be neglected! Because good form doesn't come by itself. To do this, I complete a lot of training sessions on one of the five cycle tracks available at the Keirin School. You won't find such a range of lifts in one place anywhere else in the world!
So that the training sessions don't get so boring, we often train international drivers together. For me it is very interesting and exciting to see the training of other top drivers. It's amazing how different the training sessions look.
I also train several times a week in the weight room. I mainly do squats there. This exercise offers the ideal conditions for strength development for me and is the main training tool for a track cyclist in the strength area.
In between, there are usually units on the road bike for regeneration. But so far my rides in Japan have been very limited because the mountainous terrain does not offer the best conditions for a sprinter. Otherwise, I have to say that there are hardly any more ideal training conditions than at the Keirin School.
Besides training, I've already had my first two races. On my debut in Seibuen, I was able to qualify for the grand final with two wins on the first two days. In the final I had to pay tribute to my little experience and only finished seventh.
However, just reaching the grand finale is a real achievement. Because the differences between the international and the Japanese keirin are quite big.
My Russian comrade-in-arms Denis Dmitriev quickly realized that, too, as he didn't make it to the next round on the first day.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see much of the country yet, as the schedule is always quite tight. I hope that there will be some time in the near future and that I won't just see the landmarks of Japan, like Mount Fuji, from the train.
I learned a lot from my mistake in the finale at Seibuen and was able to top it off in my second race in Wakayama. I was able to win the grand finale and left all my competitors behind. Plenty of gifts were given for the victory and the local newspapers were full of pictures and articles.
I can't wait to see how my next race in Chiba in early June will fare.