Tuesday, February 18, 2014

10 Second Anime - Yowamushi Pedal - Episode 19

Yowamushi Pedal - Episode 19

It's time to catch up on classwork, and catch up on slice-of-life jokes. Onoda feels the weight of the team jersey, but realizes he doesn't carry it alone.

The cycling team spent a week away from school, so that means an even worse hell than 1,000 kilometers awaits them: make-up lectures. Before the classes start, they have time for Miki to notice that Imaizumi and Naruko have gotten stronger, maybe even grown a little. Naruko says that Miki has grown for sure... Smack! We haven't seen Naruko make a breast joke since the 5th Episode. It's been too long, too long *sniff*. Miki compliments Onoda too, and he gets really nervous like a good otaku should. Imaizumi and Naruko are still riding that train that they're not close, yet they're joined at the hip. Keep denying it, guys. Give the fujoshi some inspiration.

Their last period of the day is English, and their lecturer is Coach Pierre! Well, it's Mr. Pierre while they're sitting at their desks. Now we have his circumstances revealed, about some random gaijin hanging around a high school cycling team. That only took 19 episodes, but the payoff from the 1st-years' surprise was gold. He promptly tells them it's too nice of a Saturday to sit around; it's time to get on your bikes! Onoda lingers, because he's unsure if he made the inter-high team or not. Kinjou, back at training camp, had a conversation with him, and he was in the middle of rattling off all of Onoda's weak points, and then he got called away. You can't leave a socially inept otaku hanging like that.

It's up to Coach Pierre to finish the conversation. He tells Onoda, a safe strong team can get Kinjou on the podium, but to win, they need to be unpredictable. The course conditions themselves on race day are unpredictable enough, which is why you need a strong team, but if you have your own unpredictability, you can unleash that on the other teams. Onoda has already surprised Kinjou 3 times, by winning the mountain sprint at the Welcome Race, finishing 1,000 kilometers, and beating the 2nd-years in their sprint at the end of the 3rd night of training camp. With his climbing and fast-cadence chase, he can be their wildcard. Onoda's uncertainty evaporates, and he puts on the Sohoku team kit for their first training ride.

Unfortunately, socially inept otaku feelings quickly hit the backswing of the pendulum, and Onoda begins to feel the weight of his responsibilities for the team. Imaizumi is happy he can shift again, Naruko is happy he can get low in the drops again, but Onoda is not moving faster now that he has his regular light wheels again. The team jersey is weighing him down. The rest of the team makes it up to the top of their local climb way before Onoda does, and when they finally see him approaching, he looks totally bonked and about to crash in big gulley on the side of the road. Kinjou acts swiftly, pulls a radical maneuver employing countersteer and a pivot slide, and catches Onoda.

Kinjou tells Onoda how Team Sohoku works: if you fall, I'll catch you; but if I fall, you catch me. Road racing is a team sport, so you don't have to do it all by yourself. What you have to do is support your teammates with all your might, and they'll do the same for each other. This jibes well with Onoda's goal to ride with his friends, but now he's added riding for his friends too. Onoda, fight-o! And we end the episode with an embarrassing team huddle in a rest stop. Hot-blooded morale building, whether you like it or not!

Sohoku! Fight-o!

This week's cycling porn mainly features force vectors on the bike.

We've got some bikes waiting to be ridden, some happy pedaling, being pushed from behind, another stealth Calorie Mate product placement, and the fundamentals of countersteering. If you're having a hard time on a road bike, having someone else support the small of your back feels like angel wings have been stuck on you. A road bike is a very unstable machine, and you basically have to turn your entire body into a clenched muscle the entire time you ride it. But even having just a few pounds of force keeping that bike stable is a huge relief, and you can concentrate on just turning the pedals instead of putting most of your concentration on staying upright. On 20% grades when I'm pedaling only 35 rpm, I'm not concerned about making it to the top. I'm concerned about falling over. Having someone's hand on your back is one of the most consoling and comforting feelings a bike rider can experience on the road. It's also a huge sign of intimacy, so don't surprise strangers with it. Be polite, ask first.

Kinjou's radical pivot on 23 mm tires is some good bike handling, but he also shows how you have to use countersteer at high speeds to maintain your angular acceleration, to complete your turn. On a bike, if you're maintaining a turn, you don't keep pointing your handlebars to the left or right. Instead, once you've got the bike turning, you start leaning over, and let gravity and your center of gravity's position turn the bike. The tighter the turn, the more the lean, and this is when you see cyclists and motorcyclists start sticking their knees out. But at a certain point, depending on your speed, turning radius, and the bank of the turn, your wheels' friction with the road won't be able to keep your bike up. This is when you have to use countersteer, and point the front wheel in the opposite direction of your turn. What it does is add a little upward force to counterbalance the downward forces on your turn. It's only noticeable or advisable to countersteer when you're going fast, so don't use it doing right turns at a stop sign, m'kay?

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