Special Tokyo Edition: Keirin Racing Photo Essay

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Trying something new here, folks: During recent travels I had the great fortune to get a behind-the scenes look at the Urban Bank Kawasaki keirin track in the outskirts of Tokyo. I’ll mostly let the images speak for themselves, but I will say that kierin racing is a fascinating track cycling spectacle: for instance, there are mascots who perform to a virtually empty stadium in between races, which the “spectators” mostly watch on video monitors indoors. In the racers’ waiting/training area, I found some truly beautiful track bikes with chainrings that had diameters almost as impressive as those of the athletes’ tree trunk legs. I also found it especially fascinating to learn that the racers stay onsite at the velodrome for the three days leading to the race to prevent any effect they might have over the odds-making. (If someone starts the rumor that a racer is getting over a cold, for instance…)  As far as the races themselves—which, yes, I did place at least one bet on—what can I say? Those dudes are fast.

 

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