The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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Road bicycle racing is life itself!
Turn that never-give-up attitude into drive and race!

Yumiko Goda

11 laps and then some around a 9 kilometer course filled with dips and hills. Racing through some 100 kilometers over approximately 3 hours, the All-Japan Intercollegiate Individual Road Race was truly a dramatic curtain fall for Yumiko Goda. Amidst rain, Goda was neck-and-neck on the last hill with the winner of last year’s race, passing the goal line in a tangle. The difference between her and the next contestant was just a handful of centimeters. It was the moment a new queen of the university bicycle racing world was born.

Goda being awarded after winning the All-Japan Intercollegiate Individual Road Race. Her slender, slightly less than 160 cm physique is surprising.

Goda began participating in bicycle racing in her second year in high school. Originally, she enjoyed running, and participated in track and field in junior high school. It was a recommendation from her father, who was also her coach, which led Goda to bicycle racing. “I spent my days immersed in studying, and I didn’t want my time as a high school student to end having only done that. My father telling me that there were few people participating in the sport and that I might be able to win the national championship if I tried, which was also a big influence to me,” says Goda, looking back.

There was a reason why Goda spent her high school days dedicated to study. Since the time she was able to understand such things, Goda had unconsciously become set on following the same path as those of her elder sister, who went to Kyoto University, and her elder brother, who went to the University of Tokyo. Naturally, Goda also intended to attend a national junior high school like her older siblings had done, but somehow she failed the entrance exams. In an attempt to reclaim this failure, Goda attended an integrated junior high school and high school program oriented on preparing students to get into high-level universities, diving into study to prepare herself for the university entrance exams. Something in her life, however, was missing... Her encounter with bicycle racing came at the perfect time.

Having obtained a new dream to pursue, for the first time Goda had found her own path that did not mimic anyone else’s. After steadily building up her abilities, Goda placed third in the last national championship of her high school career. Goda had intended to achieve her goal of a national championship win and then make a clean break from cycling. “When I first began participating in cycling competitions, I made a promise to give my undivided attention on preparing for university entrance exams in my final year of high school. When I came face to face with a Junior Olympics-level athlete, however, I found it really frustrating to quit then.” When she fearfully reveled this to her father, after discussing the matter, Goda made the decision to enter Waseda University, which has one of the top teams in the student cycling world.

Although Goda successfully entered Waseda, at that time Goda was the only female member in the cycling team. Goda had to struggle with all her might just to keep up in practices. “Even if I practiced much more than the guys, I would still lose easily to them. That was particularly frustrating.” Her repeated and steady training with the male members of the club, however, unwittingly endowed Goda with solid cycling abilities.

“To be honest, my win at the All-Japan Intercollegiate was unexpected. During the race, I got separated from the other competitors several times and I thought my heart would burst, but when I took a look around on the last lap, I was in third place. I thought to myself, if this is the way things are, the only thing to do is go forward. I peddled recklessly and managed to take first place at the very last second. I refuse to lose if it’s a right at the last goal. That’s because I’m always getting tempered by my training with the guys,” says Goda with a laugh.

Now Goda is in her last year at university. Although she considered quitting bicycle racing at the same time she graduated, the desire to win has begun to wax again. “Recently, I participated in my first overseas race, but I didn’t achieve practically anything at all. But I felt I still have a lot of room to grow. My dream now is to appear in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.” Having grandly proclaimed her goal for six years hence, Goda will continue to travel her own path together with her partner, her bicycle.

At an international event held in Vietnam. Goda experienced a stage race spanning eight days.

Friends in the Cycle Club respect each other. During road race training, they sometimes go as far as Okutama.

Goda’s partner, a Colnago cycle, shares in Goda’s strict training and the joys of victory.


Yumiko Goda
Fourth Year, School of Sport Sciences

Originally from Okayama, Yumiko Goda graduated from Asahijuku Junior High School. She began participating in bicycle racing in high school. Goda was the Waseda University Cycle Club’s first female member in over 20 years. She achieved victory in the 29th All-Japan Intercollegiate Individual Road Race. She loves anko (azuki bean paste), is traditional Japanese confectionary.