Wednesday, October 19, 2016

10 Second Anime - Long Riders! - Episode 2

Ami and Aoi join new cycling buddies Hinako and Yayoi on a long ride along the coast.

Episode 2 - "Cycling on the Beach"


Ami's cycling world grew wider this episode when she got to know the junior year college students Hinako and Yayoi. Their little conversation after visiting the Alpaca Cycle shop let us know what the whole season will be building towards.

But first, we need to collect all those nice looking girls in those nice looking jerseys in the opening credits. That's what idol scout, ahem, brevet enthusiast Hinako is all about.

Hinako and Yayoi want to do a type of brevet called a fléche, where a group of 5 riders travel 360 km in 24 hours. She's got her sights on Ami and Aoi here, so there's at least one more girl we need to meet, not counting the alpaca-hooded girl in the bike shop.

These girls are crazy! I understand that some recreational cyclists like these touring events, but sheesh. I get impatient going longer than 8 hours and my training rides these days are only about 4 hours at the most. That's a lot of sitting down and eating and drinking to go 220 miles.

There's a lot of positive reinforcement for the conventional plot elements in this show. First, this is Japan, so everyone's a foodie. Second, these are girls, so every outing needs to include food of some sort. Third, this is recreational cycling. The whole point is that the middle of the ride is the rest and food stop. Lucky for Ami, she gets to burn the calories of all that good food.

Girls will be girls.

This is cute girls doing cute things, so there was plenty of that going on. We had jokes about expensive bikes, buying gear to look like a cyclist and funny facial expressions. Ami sure had it rough on the rolling terrain of a coastal ride.

Yes! We got an "Umi da!" shout from Ami.

Hah! "Ami's butt has reached its limit!" Oh, so wrong out of context.

Cycling Porn.

This week in cycling porn, we had helmets from Bell, Catlike, Specialized, Giro and POC. Hinako noticed Aoi had put Mavic wheels on her hybrid. The Japanese called it a "cross" bike, but Aoi's handlebars and mountain bike brakes tell me there's a slight difference in language. Aoi is apparently slowly converting changing her components into their road versions. She's got a nice frame (the bike I mean, heh), so that's nice economical planning. Hinako rides a Pinarello while Yayoi is on some kind of lugged steel custom frame.

Aoi put her wheels back on from being packed for the train ride with her bike upside down. This is a common technique, but I have a slight variation on it. I put the back wheel on first, but don't lock it down. I turn the bike over to seat the front fork on its wheel, then I tighten both wheels up. This lets gravity assist in putting the wheels in its slots and find their final positions before rolling out. It's not fun to start rolling, hit a bump, and feel your wheel hub smack the frame. When things aren't tight and locked down on a bike, bad things happen.

Ami's first experience on a coastal hill as she learned about proper shifting and gearing had me laughing. I've been on both sides of this exchange. When I was just starting out and not fit, these efforts took forever and it felt worse that someone was waiting on your slow sore butt. Not only that, those fit dudes got all the rest they needed waiting for you, but you get less because everyone needs to get started again. Cycling is not fair like that...

On the flip side, that pain of the effort Ami felt will always be there. One of the hardest things to accept as a cyclist is that the pain never goes away. The hills do not get easier. Riding against the wind does not get easier. You only go faster. The great pro Stuart O'Grady coined a phrase that's less motivational than one of dogged determination: "It doesn't get easier. You just go faster." Which is the point. The sooner you're done with that hill, the sooner the pain goes away.

We got to see Ponta-kun all folded up and some close looks at Ami and Aoi's Bell helmets and the backs of Hinako's Specialized helmet and Yayoi's Giro helmet.

And then there was all that furious pedaling action! Okay, not as furious as Yowamushi Pedal, but there was pedaling. The CG versions of the girls look like a really cute videogame. Also, up at the top, you can see the experience Hinako and Yayoi have over Ami and Aoi by how much lower and more aerodynamically tucked in they are on the bike.

Ami needs to get some real bike shorts with padding to help with that soreness. Also, I notice the Japanese women are opting for modesty with these skirt coverings. I suppose it's something the recreational women riders wear so they feel less self-conscious going into restaurants and such. I'm used to seeing all sorts of things just hang out in coffee shops. Riders in America aren't always the most fit-looking even if they ride dozens of miles. Some end up looking like over-stuffed sausages in all that lycra, but at least they're out on the road doing something physical and fun.

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