Olympics 2021: A tour of Tokyo from the women of Team USA

Coryn Rivera, Amber Neben, Ruth Winder, and Leah Thomas give us snapshots from the road cyclists' Olympic village.

Photo: OYAMA, JAPAN - JULY 20: A rider takes part in a cycling training session at the Fuji International Speedway ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 20, 2021 in Oyama, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

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They might not be mingling with weight lifters or distance runners, but the cyclists of the 2021 Olympics are finding plenty of ways to make memories at the Tokyo games.

Read also: Olympic road race: What you need to know

From hotel rooms with a view of Mt. Fuji to the daily delivery of Team USA swag to the village-within-a-village infrastructure meant to lessen the impact of COVID-19, here are some snapshots of life in Tokyo from the women of Team USA’s road cycling squad.

On the weather (Coryn Rivera) — We just came from the Giro, and it was hot. So, nothing can stop us, we’re on the way up.

On the course (Coryn Rivera) — It’s hard. We don’t go up Mt. Fuji but we will do 2,600 meters of climbing and that’s a lot. The weather conditions will also prove to be a big factor. For the first 60km it trends slightly uphill at an average of three percent, but it’s kind of these groups of climbs that keep going up cumulatively. Eventually, there’s a big plateau on top and then one more climb before you descend into the speedway.

On the “village” (Leah Thomas) — We are staying in a hotel up on a hill that is full of all the road cyclists, both men and women. There are bikes everywhere, and every country has their own little cubicle for the mechanics to work in. Rooms vary in size: Amber and I are roommates, and our room happens to be smaller than Coryn and Ruth’s, for example, especially when you add in all the Team USA swag!

On the food (Leah Thomas) — It’s yummy!  Let me start by saying it is so great to be in a place where the rice is always delicious!  When in Italy, eat pasta, and when in Japan make sure you get the rice! I could just eat it plain all day, it is that good and one of the things I miss most when I am in Europe.

Other than that I try to sample all the various things. For example, at breakfast, they had some fermented bean salad thing. It didn’t look the most appetizing, but I figured I should try it. In the end that wasn’t my thing, but now I know. For lunch, I tried some stewed cabbage, a cabbage roll, some boiled veggies (with things I didn’t recognize), and some seaweed salad. Then some baked fish or chicken to go with my rice.

On COVID testing (Leah Thomas) — Every morning we spit in a tube and turn it in to be processed. We also take our temperature and log it into an app.

On the overall vibe (Leah Thomas) — I think for some people who have been to previous Olympics not being in the village can feel like a letdown. It’s all cyclists here, so it feels a little like getting ready for any other bike race. But I am so happy to have made it to Japan, am grateful for everything they are doing to hold these Olympics, excited to participate and give it my all, and really just eager to soak up this experience as much as I can!

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