Onoda gets his mojo back. Ashikiba reflects on his place at Hakone. Tadokoro and Kinjou celebrate their last season at Sohoku Cycling.
Ride.04 - "The Fastest Man on Minegayama"
This was really three episodes in one. We had the resolution of Onoda's race up Minegayama. Then we had Ashikiba's origin story with Fukutomi's usual laconic inspiration. And finally, we had the last race of the season with Sohoku's sprinters vying for the victory which turned into a retirement party for the remaining seniors. The time for the New Generation begins next episode.
It took two pushes for Onoda to cross the finish line first. One from Imaizumi to bridge up to the Ashikiba and Teshima and a second from Teshima to push him past Ashikiba's surge.
We hadn't seen that determined look on Onoda's face all season.
Teshima played it right. Onoda's initial blast of nakama power came from Teshima's inspirational performance. The second blast came from Teshima reminding him that Makishima was faster than Ashikiba and if Onoda could keep up with him, why couldn't he get past Ashikiba?
It also reminded me that Onoda is the type of rider that follows orders and Teshima ordered him to win. Yes sir!
Not only that, the title of the episode really referred to Makishima since he still held the record for the Minegayama climb by 34 seconds over Onoda.
It's not surprising that Teshima collapsed. He turned himself inside out for a kilometer and a half on the steepest part of the race.
Ashikiba's sulking on the train ride home was a good opportunity to see where he came from.
Almost all his problems on the bike came from not adjusting his seat height and stem length as he grew up. These are teenage men who are still growing. Onoda had a similar problem with his mamachari in his race against Imaizumi for the fate of his anime club.
Fukutomi always says the same thing for advice on the bike. "Face forward." That's what he told Arakita when he was all wobbly and looking down at his front wheel to steer. For Ashikiba it was advice to stop looking from side to side as he swung back and forth. His body type was unique so he needed to learn how to use it to be the best rider he could be.
Shinkai is so solid. He adjusted Ashikiba's bike for him and advised him to use his love of piano playing to focus his mind.
And that's the story of how Metronome Dancing came about.
I don't understand what Ashikiba's problem was in his first race. Panic attack from being so close to so many riders? That wasn't explained very well.
Riding the wrong direction in a race is instant disqualification for almost all levels of racing.
I like Hakone's tradition for aces: never lose to the same guy twice. If you're supposed to be that good, you should be able to figure out what you did wrong and what that guy did right so you can beat him the next time. That's what it takes to be Hakone's ace.
I don't know why Ashikiba should be so disappointed in losing to Onoda anyway. He was there just to see how he races. Winning was a secondary goal.
The Minegayama Race was supposed to be Makishima's farewell race. The critierium was Tadokoro's last hurrah.
Ha! Tadokoro was sweating so much, it was coming out of his eyes. Sure, we believe you.
Sugimoto was in there somewhere. He needs to step it up. At least he got into one race this year.
Aoyagi and Naruko are going to make a great sprinter tandem. They can speak to each other just by glances and they'll push each other by being rivals too.
I like how disappointed Aoyagi and Naruko look on the podium. They wanted to win!
The farewells weren't complete until the retirement party.
Naruko is pretty good at impressions too! Tadokoro didn't like this version of himself, though.
Imaizumi and Naruko set up some kind of dramatic cliffhanger about replacing the seniors as training partners. Gee, I wonder if we'll meet those two kids we keep seeing in the opening credits.
It's between November and March, so it's the cycling off-season. Will they be going into cyclo-cross or the velodrome? We'll have to see what the New Generation does next time.
In the omake, we had Naruko and Aoyagi having a ramen eating contest. And just like Onoda being unable to beat Makishima's record going up a hill, the two young sprinters couldn't beat Tadokoro's finishing time for a big bowl of deluxe ramen. Still much to learn and much to practice, young ones.
This week we saw the extreme pedaling styles of Ashikiba and Makishima, a good look at Onoda's BMC, a flashback with Ashikiba's huge Willier, the Sohoku sprinters' Specialized, Pinarello and Corratec, Naruko leading the last turn of a criterium next to sponsor logos and Naruko's spinning cassette showing he had a couple of cogs to go to max out his speed.
Apparently, we have four real sponsors in this show now. Subaru, Pocari Sweat, Megane Ichiba the eyeglass wear company and Kameda Seika the rice cracker company. Onoda is starring in a Subaru commercial nowadays, but the kids still can't ride a real name brand bike. I'm still hoping Teshima's Cannondale gets the branding treatment first since he did feature on a bike poster a year ago.