Watching My First Cycling Road Race
Race -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Race

I saw my first cycling road race yesterday, a small local affair. Road racing is quite a bit different than the only other kind of bicycle racing I've seen, cyclocross, so it was a great experience.

The races yesterday were 「第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム」, the fifth Moriyama City Yasugawa River Criterium, with short races all day over a loop on closed-off public roads.

It was a 32km (20mi) ride to get there, so I left with some friends from Kyoto early, to arrive in time to watch some other friends race.

En Route photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/5500 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
En Route
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 21mm — 1/1700 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

I brought my Nikon D4 and big Nikkor 70-200/2.8, schlepped in a backpack, so I don't have shots of the uneventful-anyway ride there.

I had researched the event the previous day, and taking into account the course, what roads would be closed, good vantage for photography, etc. I picked a spot that gave me easy access to riders at two opposite sides of the loop.

We arrived while the first race was going on, and so I used the opportunity to practice with the camera...

Break-Away Leader -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Break-Away Leader
Pack Follows Behind -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Pack Follows Behind
Me in Action photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/2800 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Me in Action
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
Huge Lead -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Huge Lead

This particular race was 12 laps around the 2.2km (1.4mi) loop, so I had plenty of opportunity to try different approaches.

第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/500 sec, f/7.1, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos

I think this guy went on to win by a 20-second margin.

The second race of the day was the one I came to watch, a pairs time trial where teams of two riders start at 15-second intervals, racing against the clock for three laps (taking about 11~12 minutes).

Ionut and Stephanie in orange photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 21mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Ionut and Stephanie
in orange
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

We've seen both Ionut (pronounce yo-notes) and Stephanie on my blog in the past, Stephanie here, here, and here, and Ionut here and here.

They were to be the second team to start, so I was down at my spot waiting with the camera.

First Team husband and wife -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
First Team
husband and wife
Second Team -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Second Team
Fourth Team Higuchi-san and Oyama-san -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fourth Team
Higuchi-san and Oyama-san

I also knew that Higuchi-san (the lady in the shot above) would be riding this race. Manseki and I did a ride with her last year, and I often stop by a cafe where she works on the way home from a ride.

Higuchi-san had mentioned that the sixth team was strong, so I watched out for them as well...

Sixth Team -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Sixth Team

It's much easier to ride directly in the slipstream behind someone, rather than being forced to push through the air all by yourself. When both riders in the team are of comparable strength, they'll take turns at the front, but in these male/female pairs, generally the man rides in front the whole time, allowing the woman to go much faster than she would on her own, thereby allowing the team as whole to finish more quickly.

Half a Lap Done -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Half a Lap Done
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

The difference in posture among the three pairs is striking, with the final pair in a much more aero posture. They clearly had experience doing this.

Not only is the individual position of each rider on the bike important, but even more-so how closely tucked in the second rider is to the first, to take maximum advantage of the draft. In my limited experience, it's difficult to stay tucked in closely, especially on a course like this where the road rises and falls and turns. If the front rider is too strong out of a turn or up an incline, the second rider is dropped and draft is destroyed. If the first rider is not strong enough, the whole team goes slower than they need to. I suppose they need a lot of communication and experience to stay tightly in sync.

Not Quite Tight but still getting a benefit of the draft -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite Tight
but still getting a benefit of the draft
Tight this pair worked as one -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Tight
this pair worked as one
One of the Male-Male Teams a different race, but running at the same time -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
One of the Male-Male Teams
a different race, but running at the same time
Very Aero it's as uncomfortable as it look, but is fast -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 90mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Aero
it's as uncomfortable as it look, but is fast
Not so Areo but having a grand time -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Not so Areo
but having a grand time

One more comparison of the three teams I was watching:

第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos

She's so far back in that last photo that she's not getting any benefit from the draft.

It seems clear who's in their first race and who seems to have a lot of experience. I shudder to think what I'd look like. Maybe next year I'll enter and we'll find out.

Consistently Tight Formation -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Consistently Tight Formation
Final Sprint -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Sprint
All Done -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
All Done
Stephanie and Ionut win eggs for third place photo by Manseki Kanemitsu -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Copyright 2017 Manseki Kanemitsu
SC-02H at an effective 26mm — 1/1400 sec, f/1.7, ISO 50 — image data
Stephanie and Ionut
win eggs for third place
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Stephanie and Ionut got third place, which is pretty darn good for their first race. (Stephanie has a long history of solo triathlons, but I think this was her first pair time trial.) Their prize was a dozen eggs each.

The pair whose form I liked came in second place and won gyoza. Amazingly, for all their better form, their time was only two seconds faster per lap (6 seconds overall) than Ionut and Stephanie, which just goes to show how strong Ionut and Stephanie are to begin with.

I never saw the team that won, probably because they started in a slot that put them opposite the teams I was watching. They won by a 35-second margin.

While milling around after the race, I noticed (and immediately respected) this guy:

Man of the Year little girl is so happy because she has the world's most cool daddy -- 第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Man of the Year
little girl is so happy because she has the world's most cool daddy

There were still races all day, but I'd seen what I came for, so I headed off to explore some nearby mountains, but I'll leave that for another post.

Continued here...


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Really nice photos of the race. Just had to comment to say that the last photo brought a smile to my face, and I loved your caption.

— comment by David K. on March 21st, 2017 at 5:17pm JST (3 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

Oh boy
You folk do really put a lot into your sport and reap the benefits in many ways. The onboard video is great in action, commentary a day the real friendship some of you enjoy.Do you run special leak resistant tyre,tube combos? Brian Harris in Queensland Australia (age 78) oops!

— comment by Brian(Lofty) Harris on March 22nd, 2017 at 9:53pm JST (3 months, 5 days ago) comment permalink
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