Volunteering at the Tour of Japan Pro Cycling Race
Peloton Flying By Stage 2 (Kyoto) of the Tour of Japan -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 50mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Peloton Flying By
Stage 2 (Kyoto) of the Tour of Japan

The second stage of the eight-stage Tour of Japan was held yesterday in southern Kyoto Prefecture, a ways south of Kyoto City. I was a volunteer to help in crowd management, as part of an effort to supplement the various civic and government groups with cycling-specific knowledge (e.g. to be able to foresee what lines the cyclists would take, to predict where spectators would be especially dangerous, etc.)

I wasn't there to spectate or take photos, but I could do both when I wasn't otherwise occupied. It's my second cycling race to see live, the first having been amateur races in March. This time the racers were professional.

Preparation -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — image data
Preparation
Starting Area quiet, an hour and a half before the start -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting Area
quiet, an hour and a half before the start
Chance Meeting Noriko Okabe, whom we last saw on this post , rode by -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chance Meeting
Noriko Okabe, whom we last saw on this post, rode by
Practicing Their Routine their shirts spell “ Allez! ” (cycling for “ Go! ” ) -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Practicing Their Routine
their shirts spell Allez! (cycling for Go!)

There's a preschool right next to the start line, and the kids were to perform for the racers just prior to the start.

“ Welcome to the TOJ Kyoto Stage ” -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Welcome to the TOJ Kyoto Stage

Among the various cars and motorcycles lining up for the start ahead of the athletes is this signboard motorcycle. If a cyclist or a small group breaks away ahead of the pack, she lets them know how far ahead they are (in seconds) via the signboard.

Celebrity this UCI staff with a German accent was popular -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Celebrity
this UCI staff with a German accent was popular
Photo Op -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 54mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Photo Op
Pre-Start Performance the cyclists are all lined up in front of the kids -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pre-Start Performance
the cyclists are all lined up in front of the kids

The race was 6½ times around a 15km (9mi) loop, though actual racing didn't start until a few miles after they left the starting area. Prior to that, everyone just rolls along behind the race-commissioner's car, until he replaces a red flag with a green one and zooms ahead out of the way.

Eventually the cyclists completed the loop and raced by for the first of six times they would pass the general area where I was stationed.

Where I was stationed was at the end of a long, lovely descent during which they fly at impressive speeds, but that's petered out quite a bit by the time they get to where I was standing, just before a sharp 90° bend.

The first time they came by, I took a short video via Facebook Live, but it came out sideways because I held the camera properly and Facebook requires it to be held in the wrong orientation. Converting to YouTube, I could rotate the low-quality Facebook video:


low-quality video (30 seconds)

I'd expected to be blown away by their speed, but at this flat-ish area just before a 90-degree bend, they seemed positively pedestrian. The video above matches the lack of zoom feeling I had. Heck, I felt that I had gone just as fast when I test-rode the course last month. I suppose it makes sense, since safety dictates slowing considerably for the turn.

How silly of me. The data tells a different story.

These guys passed the camera at 50kph (31mph), while I had passed that spot at 30kph (19mph). The sense of speed is quite different on the bike vs. off, I guess, and my own sense of grandeur differs substantially from reality. 🙂

To be fair, they're riding in different conditions. The road was closed to traffic for the race, and the road surface had been cleaned the night before. It had been strewn with debris from recent storms when I rode it. I'm fast on descents, but both conditions (road open to traffic, and dangerous road surface) contributed to a fairly slow time for the long fun descent. It took me just shy of four minutes (3:58). Removing those restrictions, on my best day I imagine that I could do it in 3:30.

But on my best day, I'm not even in the same universe as these guys. During the race, one guy with a very appropriate Strava name did it in 3:00, a feat that, having ridden the road, I can't comprehend. And these guys are entry-level professionals; I imagine that world-class Tour-du-France level athletes would blow these guys away.

Second Lap -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 50mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Second Lap
Bike Change -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bike Change
Could Have Been Lovely next year, I'll bring a real camera -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Could Have Been Lovely
next year, I'll bring a real camera
seems to be Cheating Yudai Arashiro (新城 雄大) -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos seems to beCheating
Yudai Arashiro (新城 雄大)
seems to be Cheating Tomoyuki Iino (飯野 智行) -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos seems to beCheating
Tomoyuki Iino (飯野 智行)

Drafting behind the team car is clearly cheating if done for more than a few moments, but there were no UCI race officials around, so they could apparently get away with it. The lack of integrity pisses me off.

Not Cheating Kenji Takubo (田窪 賢次) -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Cheating
Kenji Takubo (田窪 賢次)
Bloody Face no idea how Australian Jai Crawford ended up with a bloody face... maybe an unfortunate encounter with a low -hanging branch? -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bloody Face
no idea how Australian Jai Crawford ended up with a bloody face...
maybe an unfortunate encounter with a low-hanging branch?

As can be seen in these photos, I've moved to the 90° bend for this lap. Here's a 30-second clip of the peloton coming through:

Another “ Could Have Been Lovely ” -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Could Have Been Lovely
Farther Upstream from the 90° bend -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Farther Upstream
from the 90° bend

For the last two laps I moved farther upstream to the curve at the end of the aforementioned long fun descent, just before they enter the areas I was at first. They've slowed down from the descent, but not quite so much, so it felt much more zippy here, just a few seconds upstream from the first place:

seems to be Another Cheater Dadi Suryadi , from Indonesia spectators just looked at each other and said “ I thought that was illegal ” -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos seems to beAnother Cheater
Dadi Suryadi, from Indonesia
spectators just looked at each other and said I thought that was illegal
Not Cheating -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Cheating

I tried some panning shots with a slow shutter, but I guess I don't know how to use the controls on my mini camera well, because setting the shutter-speed dial to 30 didn't actually change the shutter speed, so I didn't get much background blur...

Bloody Elbow Slovakian David Per probably had a minor crash -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bloody Elbow
Slovakian David Per probably had a minor crash
大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Marco Canola the Italian was the eventual winner of the stage -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Marco Canola
the Italian was the eventual winner of the stage
大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
seems to be Too. Much. Cheating Maral-Erdene Batmunkh from Mongolia -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 56mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos seems to be Too. Much. Cheating
Maral-Erdene Batmunkh from Mongolia
All Muscle Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki , from Malaysia -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- 東倉治5丁目, Kinki Region, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
All Muscle
Nur Amirull Fakhruddin Mazuki, from Malaysia
Spokes? If they're spokes, it's difficult to imagine how they came to be scattered around the course. -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Spokes?
If they're spokes, it's difficult to imagine how they came to be scattered around the course.
Tools of the Trade -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tools of the Trade
Volunteer Group with our leader, Koshi Hosokawa, standing rear center -- 大阪府道・京都府道71号枚方山城線 -- Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Volunteer Group
with our leader, Koshi Hosokawa, standing rear center

All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Jeffrey-

I fall victim to the same feeling of speed. I wrongly assume if I am doing a 100% effort that I am going fast. What I should be thinking is ‘fast for me’. My top speed on flats is less then the average speed for a stage in the Tour De France.

Those aren’t spokes but the broken individual bristles for the street cleaner brushes.

Aaaaah, street-cleaner brushes! I would have never guessed. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rick H. on May 24th, 2017 at 1:09am JST (6 months, 22 days ago) comment permalink

Sometimes using the team cars to catch up to the field is overlooked by the race officials if the rider had a mechanical or accident and his reason for being dropped was not his fault.

— comment by Philip on June 7th, 2017 at 5:14am JST (6 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink
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