This episode continues the 60-kilometer Welcoming Race for the first-years in the bicycle racing club. At the end of Episode Seven, Sakamichi decides that he’s going to push on ahead to try and catch up with Shunsuke and Naruko, even if it means he ends up getting out of the race.
Sakamichi actually catches up to them, and Shunsuke and Naruko start a competition between the three of them. All of Episode Eight focuses on Shunsuke, Naruko, and Sakamichi racing against each other as they go up the steep road on the mountain.
As they race, Shunsuke notices that Sakamichi has gotten better at pedaling over the course of the race and that Sakamichi also has better control of his cadence. Naruko also realizes that Sakamichi’s strength in bicycling is climbing.
While they’re going up the slope, Naruko ends up slowing down because he’s a sprinter and can’t go as fast on the steep slope. Sakamichi pulls ahead, and he wants to become the King of the Mountains and make it to the top of the mountain before Shunsuke. The episode ends when Sakamichi and Shunsuke are only 500 meters away from the peak, so we won’t know who makes it to the top first until Episode Nine.
Well, I guess I was wrong again about the race ending in this episode. However, I would be shocked if the Welcoming Race doesn’t end in Episode Nine. From what information I’ve been able to gather, it appears that Yowamushi Pedal is only 12 episodes long, so that only leaves four more episodes remaining for the series. From the opening credits, it appears there’s a rival team they’re going to be up against. At this point, it appears there are only three episodes remaining where they could truly race this other team. I’m just afraid that so much time is being spent on the Welcoming Race that any other story arc will be have to rushed through at this point in order to fit into the 12 episodes.
To be honest, I hadn’t expected Sakamichi to do as well in the race as he has up to this point. However much I would like to root for him to win the race, I know that it’s not very realistic, since Shunsuke has a lot more experience and a lot more knowledge of bicycle racing than Sakamichi does. At this point, it looks like it’s down to these two, so I’m very interested to see which one of these characters ends up winning the Welcoming Race.
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