It was mentioned that two years before the start of the series, Tadokoro had to drop out on the second day. One year previously, Kinjou, Tadokoro and Makishima all made the Inter-High team as second-years and therefore completed training camp, while all four first-years that would stay with the club as second-years, namely Aoyagi, Teshima, Koga, and Taniguchi, did not finish.
Year 1 EventEdit
The training camp that takes place during Onoda's first year of high school begins in Ride 40 and ends in Ride 62. In the anime, it begins in Episode 12 and ends in Episode 18. On a bus to the camp with the club, Onoda gets carsick and Kinjou decides to leave him behind at a rest stop for Kanzaki Tooji's van to pick up, so that he gets the time he needs to recover. While he is waiting, Onoda wants to buy some water from one of the stop's vending machine, but discovers that he left his wallet in the bus. Manami appears and gives Onoda his water bottle before continuing on his way to school. Once everyone arrives at the CSP, the first-years have 20 minutes to check out the course. During this time, Onoda thinks that he really does love slopes, as he told Manami earlier without thinking about it much.
Kinjou assembles all the members to announce the schedule for the camp. He also explains why certain members are absent; Sakurai has a cold, and second-years Koga and Taniguchi chose not to participate, because they experienced the camp as first-years and knew they could not complete it. Kinjou tells the members that the schedule is simple because all they have to do is cycle 1000km in four days (equivalent to cycling from Chiba to the Northern end of Kyushu). He then explains the sensors on the bike and the display board that will track everyone's progress. Kinjou calls Imaizumi and Naruko aside to explain the special conditions they will be cycling under. Tooji altered Imaizumi and Naruko's bikes; Naruko's Pinarello had its drop handlebar replaced with a mountain bike straight bar, and Imaizumi's Scott had its gear shifter levers replaced with just standard brakes, with no shifters. Use of the lower handlebars on a drop style is an important part of Naruko's sprinting technique, and Imaizumi's calculating use of gear changes is an integral part of his racing strategy, so these limitation make cycling more difficult for them. Kinjou told them that these modifications were made in order to help them become stronger.
Once they have started the course, Makishima asks Kinjou why he didn't have Onoda's bike altered as well. He knows Kinjou hasn't finalized the Inter-High Team roster because of high hopes that Onoda could become strong enough to qualify, but that he needs more training and riding experience to get that far, much like Imaizumi and Naruko. Kinjou reveals that he actually did, but just chose not to tell him about it and informs Makishima in detail. Onoda immediately notices the effects of the secret changes to his bicycle and becomes confused. He is disheartened because the climbing he usually enjoys has become difficult to endure. Sugimoto passes Imaizumi, Naruko and Onoda, as they are struggling with the limitations placed on their best skills. On his fifth lap, Onoda questions his love of slopes and ability as a climber until Makishima pulls up. He tries to hint Onoda to the problem but it doesn't work, so as he's forbidden to tell him more, he decides that he's "just talking to himself" and Onoda just happens to be standing there. As a simple demonstration, he takes off his front wheel and hands it to Onoda to show how light it is, then does the same with Onoda's, which in comparison is like a lead weight. He reveals that the wheels on Onoda's bike have been replaced with old, heavy ones that are also unbalanced, unsuited for climbing. Makishima recognizes the wheels being from an old bike in the club room. Makishima explains that for climbers, heavy wheels are like binding the rider's limbs. He briefly describes his past, in which he practiced hard to prove those who mocked his style wrong, and then tells Onoda that when you can't do the one thing you're good at, you must overcome that disadvantage if you want to accomplish something. As Makishima rides off, he gives Onoda a final piece of advice, telling him to lower his gear by two. Onoda finds that while he must pedal faster this way, the strain on him is considerably less.
Kinjou notices the change in Onoda's cycling and approaches Makishima, telling him not to give Onoda any unnecessary help. He wants Onoda to develop experience in puzzling out such things for himself. Makishima agrees that Onoda is terrible at that, but responds that he seems like the type that does better with support. When Kinjou goes on ahead, Makishima scoffs with a smile and says that Kinjou knew that when he told Makishima to not say anything that he would in fact tell Onoda eventually. Later that evening, when everyone is going to sleep, Kinjou remarks that Onoda is doing better than he expected. After the first day of the training camp, the positions were
- Tadokoro - 280km
- Kinjou - 250km
- Makishima - 245km
- Aoyagi - 230km
- Teshima - 220km
- Naruko - 200km
- Imaizumi - 200km
- Sugimoto - 200km
- Onoda- 165km
Second DayEditThe second day of the training camp began at breakfast with the first and second-years gawking at Tadokoro's eating habits, scooping masses of honey onto sandwiches, giving the impression that he's actually a bear. Tadokoro notices that Onoda is only eating a plain sandwich, and approaches him with his (pretty frightening) "Tadokoro Deluxe Special Burger." He points out that cycling is a sport that takes a lot of energy, physical strength, stamina, and concentration, which is why Onoda needs to eat a bigger breakfast. When the members prepare to begin their day of cycling, Kinjou reminds them to plan intervals according to their abilities and stay hydrated, as it's going to be a scorcher that day. On Sugimoto's observation that Kinjou is not on his bike, Imaizumi and Naruko are frustrated by Kinjou explaining that he will begin 30 minutes after everyone else, as that is an interval that fits his "condition." Kinjou is 50km ahead of both of them, so they feel that he is looking down on them. Imaizumi and Naruko notice each other's frustration and exchange banter about it. Imaizumi irritates Naruko by mentioning that Tadokoro is even farther ahead than Kinjou and saying that Naruko can't catch up.
Once Onoda reaches 250km, he stops to take his second interval. Sugimoto is also resting at this time, and he offers Onoda some energy jelly drinks and water. Tadokoro has stopped as well, and he notices that Onoda and Sugimoto are both on their second interval, Aoyagi and Teshima have taken one each, but Imaizumi and Naruko have not stopped at all since they began. Even in the scorching heat, Imaizumi and Naruko continue to pick at each other. Imaizumi suggests that Naruko is reaching his limit and should take a break, but when he reaches for his water bottle, he drops it. He stops to pick it up, but is suddenly hit with fatigue. Naruko stops as well and retrieves Imaizumi's water bottle, telling Imaizumi to swallow his pride and just take the water bottle from him. He adds that they should focus on completing the 1000km instead of competing with the upperclassmen.Imaizumi, Naruko, and Onoda continue cycling after sunset, when at least it is cooler outside. Onoda thinks about how riding with Imaizumi and Naruko motivates him to do his best to keep up with them. Once the three have finished for the night, they go inside to bathe. Naruko momentarily falls asleep (or passes out...) in the bath, lowering his face into the water. Imaizumi doesn't make a move to help him, but he didn't really need to because Naruko pops back up saying it would be "uncool" if he drowned in the bath. Still, Naruko accuses Imaizumi of just watching when he could have been helping. Imaizumi retorted that it would have been better if Naruko just died, but his thoughts reveal that he just doesn't have the energy to help. Naruko inquires after Onoda's whereabouts, and it turns out that Onoda also fell asleep and went underwater.
After the trio exits the bath (luckily still alive), Imaizumi, who is a few steps ahead, overhears Kinjou talking to Kanzaki Miki on his cell phone and hangs up just as Naruko and Onoda come in range. It turns out that two magazines, Cycle Time and Asada News, wanted to interview Sohoku since they are representing Chiba and one of the teams competing at the Inter High. Although Kinjou already instructed Miki to tell them that they can't do so while at camp, he asks Naruko if he wants to be interviewed for the magazines, since he is known for liking to stand out. To Kinjou's quiet approval, Naruko declines the offer, stating that he wants to focus on the camp and surpassing Tadokoro.
Onoda wakes up and sets out early on the third day of camp before anyone else. He recognizes that he is in last place at 390km, and that he has only two days to complete the remaining 610km. In order to catch up at his slower speed, he has to put in more time than everyone else. Kinjou watches him from above for at least one full lap and notes he's getting faster. Onoda notices that cycling seems easier than it did over the past two days. He realizes that he is probably adapting to the situation, so he decides to try climbing with a heavier gear. He finds the ascent to be much easier than it was before, so he regains some confidence. Onoda notices a bicycle ahead of him, and tries to catch up thinking that it may be Kinjou or Makishima. However, it turns out to be Manami, sent by Makishima's rival Toudou Jinpachi to scout for 'a third-year climber that climbs funny' at Sohoku's training camp, expecting that he'd only find Makishima. This is when Onoda finds out that Manami is a member of Hakone Academy's cycling club. Manami asks Onoda if he will be competing in the Inter High, but Onoda replies that he probably will not make the team. Manami is disappointed because he wanted to meet Onoda at the Inter High, so Onoda suggests that they have a short race. Manami excitedly agrees. Onoda also offers to return the water bottle Manami previously lent him, but Manami is fine with letting Onoda keep it. When Onoda continues to protest, Manami compromises; if Onoda wins this race, Manami will take the bottle back. He also asks Onoda what his name is, and thinks that "Sakamichi" is the perfect name (as it means 'slope') and that it matches his name, Sangaku (which means 'mountain').
When the race begins, Manami pulls ahead, but Onoda catches up and keeps up with him. The race is an exciting and fun experience for both of them. Manami notices the issue with Onoda's wheels and his impressive cadence. During the race, Onoda says he will return Manami's water bottle if he wins, but Manami says he can have it and pulls ahead again. Onoda uses the dancing technique and pushes forward to ride side-by-side with Manami, who notices that Onoda is only wearing sneakers. Manami then accelerates and wins the race.
After the race, Manami reflects on how Onoda managed to keep up with him even though he wasn't wearing cycling cleats that link a cyclist's feet with their bike's pedals, which transfer energy at least two times more efficiently. After noticing the age of the wheels, while Onoda is distracted by Manami's bike he gives Onoda's Kuromori an experimental heft and is surprised to find how heavy they are. Onoda's performance in spite of the disadvantages amazes Manami. After this, Manami prepares to leave, but tells Onoda he wants his bottle back... when they meet at the summer's Inter High. Manami cheerfully cycles away, waving and looking back over his shoulder to tell Onoda "it's a promise." Onoda had previously thought a beginner like him going to the Inter High was impossible, but after considering his teammates' determination to go and Manami's promise, his mindset seems to be changing.
It turns out that Imaizumi and Naruko both had similar ideas about waking up early to get some extra laps in the day, but note that Onoda got up way earlier than either of them. The two reach Onoda on the course, bickering along the way. They wish Onoda good luck in catching up and start to go ahead, but Onoda stops them to ask how he should go about getting on the Inter High team. Naruko says that he doesn't know all the requirements either, but that Onoda definitely needs to complete the 1000km if he wants to be considered. This sparks Naruko and Imaizumi to think about their own Inter High dreams; while Naruko just wants to beat whoever's there, Imaizumi's focus is getting revenge on Midousuji. The three pass Sugimoto, determined to finish the 1000km and make it to the Inter High. Meanwhile, Kinjou changes the electronic display board setting from order of seniority to order by number of laps completed. When Onoda, Naruko, and Imaizumi pass by, they take note of this change. Naruko and Imaizumi, like Onoda, are getting used to cycling with the limitations placed on their bikes.
The first-year trio is speeding up, and after a while Imaizumi and Naruko get to the point where they are only two laps (10km) behind Aoyagi, who is riding with Teshima and keeping a steady pace. Tadokoro remarks that, before the day is over, the first-years and second-years will have a showdown. The first-years pass the second-years on the course, though Imaizumi points out they are still two laps behind; a 10km gap in a real race would be impossible to close, but the difference here is the pacing between the two groups. Imaizumi says that his goal is to overtake everyone, so if the second-years try to get in his way, he will defeat them. Elsewhere, Kinjou and Makishima discuss the first-years growing accustomed to the alterations Kinjou made to their bikes. Kinjou talks about how much Teshima and Aoyagi have improved over the past year, and that if the first-years underestimate them, they will not be able to win. Teshima and Aoyagi are seen cycling very close to each other at high speeds, even taking a sharp curve under these conditions.
Imaizumi and Naruko catch up to Aoyagi at 735km, and Imaizumi tries to pass him, but Teshima blocks his way. Aoyagi then pulls ahead, and Teshima tells the first-years that he won't let them get ahead of him. Naruko explains their strategy to Onoda; they may have caught up to Aoyagi, but Teshima is still one lap ahead of them, so he is letting Aoyagi "escape" with a breakaway, which is when one rider pulls ahead of the pack to ride alone. Unless they can pass Aoyagi, they will be behind both of the second-years once again. Teshima tells them that he knew they would catch up at some point, so they devised this strategy against them. Naruko thinks it was unwise of them to try to pull ahead of him on a flat road because he is a sprinter, and he prepares to catch up to Aoyagi quickly. However, Teshima cuts him off, and Naruko rides into the grass on the side of the road. This worries Onoda, but Naruko assures him that such tactics are common in road races. Teshima insists that the whole thing is just a "game of tag," but it is clearly a serious strategy to prevent the first-years from passing him and Aoyagi.
It also becomes clear that Teshima has an issue with Imaizumi being an "elite" cyclist, as he jokingly talks about how Imaizumi probably prefers expensive tea over cocoa. He also points out some of Imaizumi and Naruko's accomplishments as cyclists. Teshima reveals that he even competed against Imaizumi in races back when they were in middle school. While Imaizumi was always winning races, Teshima was desperately trying to make it to the top too. He couldn't even make it into the top 30, let alone first place, so he realized that he is just an average cyclist. Naruko interrupts Teshima and speeds ahead, but the group made it to the start of the slope portion of the course, which Naruko is weak on. Since Teshima has no natural talent for cycling, he decided to make up for this by using strategies, which includes stalling.
Teshima taunts the first-years, telling them that they will give up after three laps and take a break for "tea time." Naruko responds to Teshima's goading by using his sprint climbing technique even though his bike currently lacks lower handlebars. Naruko is surprised when Teshima easily catches up, but Teshima says that this is the obvious outcome since he has been saving his energy. Once they reach the summit, they see how far ahead Aoyagi is. This is also part of the second-years' strategy to beat the first-years, as it is demoralizing.
Teshima then launches into a flashback to when he decided to give up road races in high school. However, he encountered Aoyagi on his first day of high school, and approached him thinking that they shared the same spirit and dream of reaching the top. The pair joined the Sohoku high cycling club, but struggled to keep up with the other members. They did not complete the 1000km course, and were therefore not considered for the Inter High team. Teshima had resigned himself to being an average cyclist, but after seeing the intensity of the Inter High, he decided to do his best to make the next Inter High team. Aoyagi sees Teshima's intense desire to compete at the Inter High and proposes that they work together to reach this goal. With Aoyagi's growing skills and Teshima's strategies to take advantage of that, the pair's hard work ended up paying off when Teshima helped bring Aoyagi to victory in five out of six races. While Aoyagi felt a little guilty over being the only one who earned any prize and recognition, Teshima gets a sense of accomplishment from defeating "elite" cyclists.
Onoda is intimidated by Teshima's ability to block Imaizumi and Naruko's advances, as if there were a "wall" between them. He decides that he has to do something to help, but cannot think of anything. By the time they make it to Teshima's promised third lap (in which the first-years will give up), the sun has set. The darkness makes it dangerous to pass, and furthermore Kinjou will place a yellow signboard at the start of the circuit to indicate that overtaking is prohibited at night. Teshima tells the first-years that they only have 900m left of the lap, so if they can't overtake him by then, they will be stuck behind him according to the rules. According to Teshima's plan, Aoyagi should catch up soon, meaning that the first-years would be 5km behind both of them. The idea of Imaizumi and Naruko not making it to the Inter High distresses Onoda, and he voices his desire for them both to make it to the Inter High. He tells them that he looks up to them and enjoys cycling with them, and that if they pass Teshima, he will do his best to catch up with them. While Onoda worries about not having a plan, Imaizumi and Naruko reassure him by saying they don't need a plan because Onoda's strength simply lies in his cadence.Imaizumi and Naruko give Onoda a push, sending him ahead to face off with Teshima on the slope, and follow after him. Initially, it seems that Teshima is surprised by Onoda's advance, but it turns out that he also predicted this development. Teshima says that he will shut down Onoda's attack in only 60 seconds. Onoda does his best to keep up with Teshima, but Teshima remains confident that he has enough energy saved up to beat Onoda, who appears to be tiring. His confidence also stems from the fact that he studied footage of Onoda's cycling in the First-Year Welcome Race, as well as his practice with Makishima, and discovered that Onoda's limit for using his full power is 40 seconds. However, when Teshima reaches the end of his count and believes he has beaten Onoda, Onoda speeds past him. Stunned, Teshima thinks it over and realizes that during the past three days of training, Onoda's strength and stamina improved beyond his expectations. Greatly encouraged, Imaizumi and Naruko speed ahead, leaving Teshima behind in a state of shock. When the two catch up to Onoda, they quickly support him on either side and prevent him from falling over until he can recover from the climb. Imaizumi tells Onoda that he can't give up now because Onoda said he wanted to catch up and make it to the Inter High too. Onoda's desire to make it to the Inter High together with Imaizumi and Naruko has been solidified at this point.
In the meantime, Aoyagi catches up with Teshima, who apologizes for not being able to hold the first-years back. Aoyagi tells Teshima that they can still make it, and when Teshima objects, further emphasizes that they will go to the Inter High together because it's meaningless otherwise. The second-years renew their attack and chase the first-years; Imaizumi notices the noise of crankshafts turning and can see their lights bearing down on them and warns the others to start pedaling. At the starting line, Kinjou and Tadokoro are waiting to see the results of the race they know must be going on. Kinjou says that the person with the best luck will win, while Tadokoro proclaims his confidence in the second-years he trained. The two practiced synchronizing their breathing and movements together, resulting in extremely efficient teamwork and a technique Tadokoro calls the "synchronized straight twin." The first-years reach the downhill portion of the course, so Naruko and Imaizumi encourage Onoda to speed up despite the darkness.
Tadokoro reflects on the hard work Aoyagi and Teshima have put in under his guidance. He told them that willpower and dedication is important when aiming for the goal. In the last 350m, Onoda hits a bump and is overtaken by the second-year pair. Naruko plans to go back for Onoda, but Imaizumi discourages him, pointing out that the second-years are right on their heels. Naruko angrily protests, but Imaizumi tells him that Onoda wants them to win, and that if Onoda still has the willpower, he will catch up. Imaizumi cites Onoda's performance in the First-Year Welcome race as proof of Onoda's persistence when it comes to chasing others. The second-years are tiring, and Onoda has managed to sneak up and stay right behind them; the other first-years can see three headlights behind them, and Imaizumi notes with a smile that once Onoda "catches you, he never lets go." Aoyagi reminds Teshima of their promise to compete in the Inter High with Tadokoro, and tells him to think only of the goal ahead. With the gap closed between the two groups, Onoda notices that the others have switched to using their lower handlebars (except Naruko, since his have been removed) and the dancing technique. In a panic because he is being left behind, Onoda decides to try using the lower handlebars for the first time. He also uses the dancing technique and manages to catch up with the other four as the last 100m of the course turns into a flat-out sprint. All five competitors fervently aim for victory, and remain neck-to-neck even with only 30m left. However, in the last 5m, Aoyagi and Teshima fall behind the three first-years. Naruko crosses the finish line first, followed by Imaizumi and Onoda, while the second-years coast to a stop and fall off their bikes in exhaustion and pain; they've blown out their thigh muscles, so their legs are simply refusing to move anymore. Ignorant of this the first-years continue on, thinking that the second-years are following behind, but this is not the case.
Teshima is desperate to complete the training camp and make it to the Inter High, but Tadokoro embraces the fallen second-years and tells them that they have already done enough. He asks them to retire because it they continue on, they could seriously injure themselves. Tadokoro praises Aoyagi and Teshima for a job well done, and the three share a tearful moment at not being able to share Tadokoro's last Inter High. Later, after the first-years have finished riding for the night, Kinjou approaches and informs them that the second-years have dropped out of the camp. When the trio goes off to find the second-years, they see that Aoyagi and Teshima's thighs are bandaged; they both pulled leg muscles and can't possibly finish now. He tells Onoda that injuries that prevent you from riding for a while are also part of the sport. The younger members begin to be concerned that they are at fault for Aoyagi and Teshima's situation, but Teshima reminds them that they are the ones that challenged the first-years in the first place. Teshima admires the first-years' skills, but admits that losing to them was tough. He places his fist on Naruko's chest, telling him that they must support the seniors and win at the Inter High for their and Sohoku's sake. He repeats this motion for Imaizumi and Onoda as well.
The rain on the fourth day of training camp makes conditions hazardous for the Sohoku cyclists. Kinjou notices that Imaizumi is struggling, both in terms of grip and with wet brakes, but since road races take place no matter what inclement weather may come, he considers it a part of the test. Kinjou and Tadokoro are the first to complete the 1000km required of the camp, finishing while Imaizumi and Naruko are still 90km behind. Kinjou says that the hardships of the training camp will help prepare the first-years for the battlefield that is the Inter High. He reflects on his encounter with Hakone Academy's Fukutomi during the last competition, and mentions that Hakone Academy is known as a team of six aces. However, Kinjou plans to surpass Hakone Academy and win the Inter High.
Makishima completes the 1000km goal after Kinjou and Tadokoro, saying that unexpected things like rain are actually a little enjoyable for an "irregular" like him. At this point, Imaizumi and Naruko are 50km behind Makishima. Imaizumi and Naruko are frustrated at how difficult the camp was for them, but seem pretty confident in their ability to finish before it is over. Onoda, on the other hand, is struggling a bit more. When Imaizumi and Naruko only have 30km left, Onoda still has 160km left to complete in the eight hours before midnight. Onoda is determined to complete the 1000km, but the rain, with wet tires and slippery pedals makes it difficult for him to ride. After another fall, he notices that one of his pedals is broken (which caused the fall when it failed). He thinks of calling out to Imaizumi and Naruko as they pass by, but then recognizes that they are competing individually and he shouldn't rely on others. He continues on with pushing uphill and coasting the slopes, but naturally his pace falls drastically. After two laps, by sheer coincidence as no one knew about the pedal, Teshima approaches Onoda on the course to supply him with his cleats: shoes that connect a cyclist's feet to their pedals, and the matching clipless pedals. He notes that considering Onoda's high cadence, it's no wonder a plastic pedal would break.
Imaizumi and Naruko complete their 1000km while Teshima and Onoda talk as Teshima replaces the pedals. Onoda asks why he would give him the supplies, and Teshima replies that while he was resting, he contemplated how Onoda exceeded his expectations despite studying him and began to wonder: if Onoda had actual racing equipment, how fast could he really climb? Teshima explains that the cycling shoes both push and pull the pedals, resulting in double the energy being applied to each revolution. Onoda immediately feels the effects of the shoes; his bike feels lighter and he accelerates to speeds upwards of 40km/h. His spirits are lifted as well, and he thinks about the new paths he has opened up by meeting new people and becoming a cyclist. Onoda manages to complete the 1000km nine minutes before midnight, to the excitement of the other first-years who are waiting for him at the finish line. After Onoda finishes, it is revealed that Sugimoto dropped out at 650km because he thought cycling in the rain would be too dangerous.
- Final Position Board
Year 2 EventEdit
The training camp that takes place during Onoda's second year of high school starts in Ride 280 and ends in Ride 294.