Last year around this time, I was posted up in Gotemba and Izu as a part of TOCOG (Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games). I’ve been a broken record about it for a year now, but those three months were some of the toughest, most stressful months I've worked in sports. Time and time again, it was my colleagues, leadership, and NOC/NPC personnel who picked me back up and helped me rise above.
But then the games ended and we all moved on. I hadn’t seen most of the FSW (Fuji Speedway) SPT (Sport) dream team for a year - and while we were missing several key team members – seeing familiar faces for this event made my heart so full. It was just really good to see the dream team in one place again To top it off, I was already familiar with Taro-san from my work in sports events, as well as the other Suzuki-san from a cycling tour in Susono last year, and Yamaguchi-san, the photographer from FunRide, was part of a cycling tour in Nagano I did two years ago. This world, it's small.
A snowball of events led me to show up at MSP (Musashinono Mori Park) on Saturday, July 30 with about 30 other former Olympians, current pro-cyclists, cycling/triathlon industry folks and TOCOG-related people. The main purpose of the day was to hype (safe) cycling in Japan and encourage cyclists to ride the Olympics courses. It was an eventful morning, as the start arch collapsed, I missed my start, and it was wildly hot. Somehow, the ragtag bunch of somehow managed to roll out for the 2020 Cycle Road Race Anniversary: Legacy Cycling.
There were just four women riding – and one of them was Seiko Hashimoto (the biggest boss of them all– the President of TOCOG, and a seven-time Olympian herself). Throughout the day, I had the pleasure of riding behind Nakamura-san, a young high-level cyclist who rides with a team that is attempting to become the first women’s UCI Continental team in Japan. It was nice to have someone to chat with and go to the bathroom with – she was definitely a bright addition to the day and I wish I had told her that.
For the better part of the day, we rode most of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Women’s Cycling Road course through Tokyo, Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. We were split in about 5 groups and throughout the day, we made numerous stops for media events involving a lot of speeches and photos. At some point on the Doshi Michi, we encountered the most torrential squall – but considering how humid the day had already been, it was a welcome reprieve. In fact, we had more SAG vans than normal since we weren’t sure if everyone would complete the 115km course in the brutal heat of a Japanese summer.
We finally arrived at FSW about an hour behind schedule, but we came through in one piece, and the arch was fully inflated this time. More speeches, more photos, and more nostalgia followed. Most people know I don't ride outside much, but I enjoyed being outside cycling amidst the screeching cicadas, sticky humidity, and vivid greenery. It was a unique experience and a ride to remember, thank you for the memories!
The professional write-up in Japanese is available at https://funride.jp/report/legacy-cycling2022/,