Riders in Tour de Tama fight off rain
November 1, 2004
TAMA HILLS RECREATION CENTER, Japan — The sky was gray and rain dampened the course and, while there were no serious injuries, there were a number of bruised egos resulting from spills in the Tour de Tama XV mountain bike race Saturday.
The course was shortened for safety reasons, from 12.4 miles to 9.3 for men’s expert-elite and women’s open competitors and 6.2 miles for all others. But even with the shorter course, the race was challenging and fast, with spills that satisfied even the most hardcore mountain bikers.
“It really started raining about halfway through the first lap, and that turned the course into a mudfest, with bikers sliding out in corners and doing ‘endos’ on the steep descents,” said men’s open winner Scott Martin, a teacher at American School In Japan. “But it was a blast.”
Besides Martin, one other American competitor took home a placement trophy: Christopher Looney, an airman with the 374th Maintenance Detachment at Yokota Air Base, took third in the men’s rookie class with a time of 47 minutes, 49 seconds.
All other trophies went to Japanese competitors in the only mountain bicycle race staged on a U.S. military installation in Japan. The event is co-sponsored by Yokota’s Outdoor Recreation and R&R Cycles.
The next edition of the twice-a-year event is scheduled for May 16 at Tama.