This week’s episode is a continuation of the Azumi Autumn Ride. Because the girls have been told that they’re running close to the time limit, Ami is really worried that they’re not going to be able to make it in time so she won’t be able to officially finish the event, but fortunately Hinako has a plan.
This to be honest is something I’m surprised that the girls haven’t done before. Intentionally riding in someone’s slipstream makes your ride a lot easier, and it’s also less work for everyone (as long as you change up who is at the front often and don’t just leave someone up there). It’s basically the using the same principle as birds flying in formation, the one at the front acts as a windbreak, so the others have to do less work to maintain the speed. This is one of the advantages of working as a team! There are some risks associated with riding this close to another cyclist, because you’re so close it gives you very little time to react if something unexpected comes up or there’s a bump in the road, so you can create multi-bike pileups, but serious road cyclists do this all the time so I think that the rewards must outweigh the risks when you’re wanting to get somewhere as fast as you can.
It is actually possible to come behind another cyclist and give them a bit of a push up the hill, but no-one offered to do this for Ami. Hinako, I may let you pass on this one though as you probably weigh about 40kg and I don’t know that you’d have a lot of pushing power. Everyone else, you should maybe be nicer to your team mate.
The weather in the series up until this point has been weirdly kind to the girls. Riding into a headwind is not fun, especially if you’re very small. A side wind can also blow you all over the road and make it really hard to stay on course. I guess the girls’ string of weirdly good weather-related luck had to end at some point. If you’re serious about riding, you’ll end up going out on some windy or wet days eventually.
The bad weather weirdly seems to have disappeared as everyone makes it to the end of the ride! Ami’s clock on her bike computer was fast so she thought that they’d miss the cut off, but they actually just scraped in. This felt rather predictable or contrived to me, there didn’t seem to be any real character growth or revelations from this occurrence, but everyone was happy they made it to the end as a team!
At dinner, Ami is so exhausted that she falls asleep, but fear not, Saki is prepared to take up the slack and make sure no food goes to waste! It was a very big and stressful day so I’m not surprised Ami was nodding off during her meal.
After she’d returned from the big ride, it was really nice to see Ami help Emi out with her puncture. Firstly, she did a pretty good job; we see her remove the inner tube, find the hole by submerging the inner tube, check the area for anything stuck in there, clean the area, apply the patch, let it dry, and then reseat and reinflate the tyre. Secondly, it was good to see the girls interact in a way which wasn’t just jokes about how spacey Ami is. It’s the sort of personal and human touches which I’ve been hoping to see the show have since it’s started. It’s about bikes, but it’s also about friendships and personal interaction, so I think seeing Ami do something for her younger sister was a nice touch.
The animation this week seems to be of a higher standard than the previous few weeks. Everyone seemed to have a pretty consistent appearance and there was more shading visible on the characters. The bikes looked great as usual! I guess that as this was the final airing episode, a bit more time was able to be spent on getting everything looking sharp.
This is the last episode which will be airing for the moment. The last two episodes of Long Riders will be available in February, when I’ll watch and write about them, and also plan to do a review of the series overall! There won’t be any more episodic posts on my blog until the new season starts and I work out which show I’d like to cover on a weekly basis.