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"Dragon" father and son committed to the pedals
Targeting becoming a professional cyclist

Mr. Ryu Sasaki

At the All Japan Student Tournament held in June 2011, Ryu Sasaki ("Ryu" means dragon) won the Individual Road Time Trial category! He achieved this with a backache from a fall in a race one month previously. "I'm honestly glad to have won. During the Team Road Race category, I retired due to the backache, causing trouble for the others, so I wanted to compensate for this by winning the championship," Sasaki said calmly.

A strongly clenched fist shows his confidence in victory.

The race is divided into team and individual races. Each has road races that use public roads and track races using racing tracks with a wide variety of racing categories. During the race, they sprint at about 60km per hour, or as fast as a car on a public road. When leading the team, you feel the wind "dashing against you" at enormous speed.

fter a race when the competition is finished, they can feel relaxed.

"In the team competition, we don't race for the total time of the team by running individually like a relay race, and instead, we basically run as a group of a predetermined number of members. For example, in the team road time trial in which four racers run in single file, changing the lead, it cannot be done unless changes are made every 30 to 60 seconds."

Tatsuya (again "Tatsu" means dragon,) the father of Ryu is a professional cyclist and is still active. As Ryu saw his father practice since he was a small kid, he has always felt familiar with bike races. He began to hope to ride when he was about to graduate from elementary school, but Tatsuya who at the time was achieving things as a professional didn't fully recommend Ryu to the sport.

Explosive driving force coming from these strong muscular thighs.

He listened to his father's advice of "Do whatever you want." In every sport, basic strength is of primary importance, and he belonged to a baseball team in junior high school, and fully started to do cycle after entering high school. In addition to training at school, he would also do special practice with his father. "We used to cycle right behind a car traveling at a speed of 80km per hour and just keep pushing the pedals. This was practice to go beyond our limits and get speed." This special training by the two dragons steadily led to good results. Ryu made splendid achievements including gold medal in the Inter-High School Championship and silver medal at the Asian Championship.

After graduating from high school, many universities offered opportunities for a recommended entrance, but Ryu wanted to enter a keirin school to become a professional racer. His father was against it. "My father said to me, 'Go to university, make lots of friends and broaden your horizons. If you enter a large-scale university like WASEDA, you will experience many different things.' With the thought that I could become a professional after graduating, I decided to enter WASEDA."

As his father said, WASEDA has many unique schoolmates who have provided him with plenty of stimulation. Listening to sports people in other genres positively acted on him to increase his motivation. "When I see WASEDA students achieving things in other sports, I feel tension and determination that I will also be successful. I have a lot to learn from the members of racing teams who lead a stoic life for the sake of the sport."

Since entering WASEDA, he has been active both at home in Japan and abroad, and especially at the Asian Cup when he was in second year, he won gold medals for the two team races, Omnium and Team Pursuit. Training of the cycling team is mainly high-mileage training, and at training camp, they run about 200km a day. As he is completely absorbed in cycling, he says a bit enviously, "On days off, I often spend time watching DVDs and relaxing. Well, guys with girlfriends have a nice time."

After retiring from club activities, of course he hopes to become a professional racer. "Every time I go to a race course, I feel it's a tough world. But I'll do my best so I can achieve results in the future like my father whom I respect." We can hardly wait for the days when the two dragons compete against each other at some big race.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Ryu Sasaki

Born in Osaka in 1989. Graduated from Osaka Meisei High School. Fourth year in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The (first) Rookie of the Year at the 2008 All Japan University Students Championship in Japan. 3rd place in Choken category of the 2009 All Japan University Students Championship. Champion of the 2010 Kanto University Students Championship. His fond memory of his university days is philosophical discussions over coffee at the milk hall. His (unexpected) interest is cooking. "I used to bake chiffon cake every day, so I must be good at it."