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Bikers brave elements at Tama Hills race

TAMA HILLS RECREATION CENTER, Japan — A constant downpour of rain, muddy trails and the impending arrival of Typhoon Chaba weren’t enough to keep 18 hardcore mountain bikers off the trails Saturday for the 26th Tour de Tama.

“I thought it was really good,” said participant Johnny Guiliani, a civilian worker at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo. “It was a simpler course than normal, but considering the weather it was still pretty safe and slippery.“

With the conditions as they were, the weather certainly affected the race. Racers slowed on turns and were cautious throughout. But that didn’t keep many of them from falling into the sloppy mess.

Ethan Odom, a 10-year-old dependant at Yokota Air Base, fell three times during the race. Even though he shared some quality time with the mud, he biked his way to a hard fought third-place finish in the 2-mile course.

Those who showed up were glad they did.

“I’m surprised more people didn’t show up,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kelly Morast from 374th Maintenance Squadron at Yokota. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot more challenging riding during a typhoon.”

Top riders for the men’s and Children’s 2-mile course: 1. Yuji Hosoyama; 2. Masahiko Sukegawa; 3. Ethan Odom. Women’s 2-mile course: 1. Masaaki Fukushima; Men’s 4-mile course: 1. Masaaki Fukushima 2. Johnny Guiliani; 3. Katsuya Takatani. Men’s 6-mile course: 1. Makio Ito; 2. Kyle Odom; Junji Ichieda.

okubog@pstripes.osd.mil

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