Cyclist Black Humor


Tour de France 2012 – The route

Triathlon Training Program 26.6.2012 – 1.7.2012

Since we have no other major races this season, to keep our training until the end of July, I chose or created three events, one for each sport. On Sunday we will  race the  mountain run 15 km .This race is best suited for our purpose as a pleasant change from the rest of what we did this year.

Then we will reduce the run and put the emphasis on cycling, where Friday 6.7.2012 will go the long route i have planed, ie Nicosia-Limassol-Agros-Nicosia distance 150-170 km

After that, we will slow down on the run and bike and will emphasize swimming, until the  open sea, Bay to Bay Swim, 2 km distance race, which will probably be Friday 27.7.2012.




1) 5:45 English School. Those who run the mountain race 40 minutes running loose. The remaining warm up and 1 x 5000 zone  3.4 (approximately 19, 19:15). 5 minutes rest and 1×2000 the same pace.

2) 30 minutes swimming zone 2


1) 5:00 Agrotis parking  cycling Macheras-Gouri-Nicosia, around 3:30 hours, 2.3 zone

2) 40 minutes weight training


1) 40 minutes Running zone 2

2) 40 minutes swimming zone 2


1) Farmer 5:30 for 2 hours bike zone 2.3

2) 40 minutes weights training


1) Agrotis parking 5:15 for 1:20 running mountain belt 2.3

2) 30 minutes swimming zone 2


1) Agrotis parking  5:30 for 85 km bike (Larnaca). Last great.

Gino Bartali, Italian Cycling Legend, Saved Jews During WWII; Subject Of New Book: Road To Valor

Gino Bartali is best known as a cycling legend who holds the record for the longest time span between victories at the Tour de France – ten years – a feat made all the more impressive by the Tour’s status as one of most grueling endurance competitions in the world and the fact that Bartali was an old man (by cycling standards) when he made his comeback in 1948. Looking beyond the marvel of his athletic stamina, Bartali’s life provides a powerful lesson in how moral endurance can empower from within.

Born in a poor town near Florence in 1914, Bartali grew up in a world of grinding poverty. Day laborers like his father earned the modern equivalent of about a dollar an hour, and the average male life expectancy was forty years, due to diseases like malaria and pneumonia. With few career options, Bartali dedicated himself to cycling: from sunrise to sunset, he rode around the Tuscan hills and built up his physical endurance – his capacity to confront painful fatigue and pedal through it. Bartali’s relentless training paid off, and he made a meteoric rise in the cycling world, turning professional only a few years after his first race.

Then cycling took the one person dearest to him.

Bartali’s younger brother Giulio, also a gifted cyclist, was killed in a racing accident. This loss devastated Bartali, as he had encouraged Giulio to begin racing in the first place, and led him to quit the sport. Bartali, a devout Christian, turned to prayer as he wrestled with grief. When he finally made the difficult decision to return, Bartali funneled his sorrow and guilt into a new motivation to cycle: he would race to honor the memory of his brother.

With his innate ability to tire out rivals, particularly in the mountains, Bartali started winning races again. By his early twenties, his face had become a mainstay of newspapers. Fans hounded him for autographs everywhere, and writers penned long sonnets about him, hailing him as the king of cycling. In 1938, at the age of twenty-four, he won the Tour de France, his triumph heralded as the beginning of what was expected to be a long reign at the top of the most popular summer sport in Europe.

And then it all fell apart again.

Relations between Italy and France deteriorated, and Bartali was barred from returning to defend his title at the 1939 Tour. When war broke out in Europe, Bartali could no longer compete in the lucrative calendar of foreign races and was conscripted into military service, where he worked as a military bike messenger in Tuscany and Umbria.

When the German army took control of Italy in the fall of 1943 and Jews began to experience the full terror of the Holocaust, Bartali was asked by a friend to join a secret initiative to help save them. Few requests could have carried a heavier burden. With the collapse of his career as a top cyclist and the transformation of his beloved country into a nightmarish and dangerous place, he feared for his wife and two-year-old son. It would have been easier – and safer – not to get involved.

But he chose differently.

Risking his own life, he sheltered a local Jewish family in an apartment purchased with his cycling winnings. He also began to smuggle counterfeit identity documents around Tuscany and Umbria, enabling numerous Jews to conceal their true identities and avoid deportation to a concentration camp.

Bartali’s decision to act was heroic not because he felt no fear but rather because he did not let his fear prevent him from doing what he felt was ethically right. He demonstrated moral endurance, forged in a moment of danger that few of us could ever hope to fully understand.

Bartali returned to the Tour after the war and found that physical endurance alone would not bring him success in an event where most of his competitors were now ten years younger than he. It was his mental resilience that would power him through snow, sleet, and rain, to win not only for himself but for all of his Italian countrymen who still were reeling from the aftermath of WWII.

In the end, even as Bartali reached the peak of his sport, he never lost sight of the fact that it was his inner strength that carried him through the most difficult moments of his life. As he would tell his son Andrea, “If you’re good at a sport, they attach the medals to your shirts and then they shine in some museum. That which is earned by doing good deeds is attached to the soul and shines elsewhere.”

This essay is based on the book Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation by Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon.

AILI McCONNON is a Canadian journalist living in New York who has been a staff writer for BusinessWeek and has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian. She has appeared as a commentator on ABC, MSNBC, and CNN.

ANDRES McCONNON has been a historical researcher for several books. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. Aili and Andres are siblings, born in Toronto.


Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running- Julie Isphording (1990 L.A Marathon winner)

High Cliff Triathlon death came despite rescue efforts

SHERWOOD — Organizers say every precaution was taken Saturday 16.6.2012 to ensure the safety of competitors at the High Cliff Triathlon, where a competitor drowned.

Doug Witmer, 42, of La Grange, Ill., who was competing in the 1.2-mile swim portion of the half-iron triathlon at High Cliff State Park, drowned at 7:49 a.m.

It was the first death in the nine-year history of the event, according to Gloria West, executive director of Midwest Sports Events, the De Pere-based sponsor of the annual event.

“Our staff dealt with it very professionally,” she said.

As soon as Witmer went underwater, West said, “there was a tremendous amount of medical help with the safety patrol boat, rescue divers and other medical personnel, who brought Witmer to the shore.”

That’s where the Harrison First Responders, Calumet County Sheriff’s Department, High Cliff State Park ranger, paid lifeguards staffing the event and Gold Cross Ambulance took over.

West does not know whether Witmer was pronounced dead at the scene, or after he was transported to the hospital.

Dr. Alan Cherkasky of Kaukauna has competed in many triathlons, including the High Cliff Triathlon, where on Saturday he finished the half-iron race that Witmer also had entered. It entailed a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

“Each race has its own challenges,” Cherkasky said. “High Cliff is no easier or harder; it’s a pretty standard triathlon. I think what sets High Cliff apart is that it is very well-organized — some races aren’t — and has lots of volunteers. I know for a fact that the medical care was right on the spot yesterday. (West) dots all her i’s and crosses all her t’s.”

The swimming portion of any triathlon also can be the most intimidating for any triathlete, beginner or experienced, he said.

“The water holds special challenges — temperature, waves, weather,” said Cherkasky, a member of the Fox Cities Triathlon Club. “And, I think for some people, that’s where they get the most nervous. I’ve known very experienced triathletes who sometimes get a panic (attack) when they get in the water.”

To combat that locally, the triathlon club holds beginner swim sessions at High Cliff so people can get comfortable in the water and in swimming with other people.

That Witmer chose to swim with the wave of slower swimmers could suggest someone who is new to the event or uncertain about their ability, Cherkasky said.

“Any event has inherent risks, whether it’s somebody power-walking, somebody in a running race or in a triathlon,” Cherkasky said. “People should not go into any of these events without being properly trained, and if there is any hint of a bad family history or a bad medical history, certainly someone should be medically evaluated prior to one of these events.”

London 2012: The Modern Pentathlon Just Got Even More … Modern

Dennis Bowsher with the laser pistol that will be used in the pentathlon at the Olympics in London.Lucas Jackson/ReutersDennis Bowsher with the laser pistol that will be used in the pentathlon at the Olympics in London.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — You may have missed it, but there is something big going on in the world of modern pentathlon.

The Games this year in London will not only be the first to use laser pistols instead of pistols that shoot pellets, but will also mark the debut of the combination running-shooting event. Instead of shooting and running being separate, athletes will now do both in one event. They will shoot five targets with a laser pistol, then run 1,000 meters– and they will do that three times. It is one of the more bizarre and challenging Olympic events.

“It was a difficult transition,” said Dennis Bowsher, a pentathlete for the United States who trains here. Bowsher became involved with the sport in 2003, five years before the combined event was announced. “It took me a few years to get that motion down,” he said.

Modern pentathlon is a sport in which athletes must complete four events in one day: swimming, fencing, show jumping on a horse they have not ridden before (called an unknown horse) and the combined shooting and running event. After the Beijing Summer Games in 2008, in an effort to increase the interest of fans, the sport’s organizers combined shooting and running, reducing the number of separate events to four from five. Yet the name “pentathlon” stayed, even though “penta-“ is a prefix for five. Linguists are baffled.

But for Olympic hopefuls in the ahem, technically, tetrathon, the changes have made for some new challenges in preparation.

Now, for example, Bowsher uses a treadmill that was moved into the laser shooting range here so he can practice shooting with his heart rate up.

“When shooting was an individual event by itself,” Bowsher said, “each shot would take me about 15 seconds from the time I shot the gun to when I squeezed the shot off. Now I’m looking to get all five shots off in 15 seconds.”

Bowsher is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, training full time for his sport, which is considered active duty in the army. Pentathlon has a lengthy history with the military; General George S. Patton was a member of the U.S. pentathlon team a century ago at the Games in Stockholm. (He finished fifth overall.)

And now, there’s the laser pistol. More reminiscent of “Star Trek” than whatever the sport’s founder, Pierre de Coubertin, probably had in mind when he formally introduced it at the 1912 Games, the pistol has also changed pentathlon preparation for medal hopefuls like Bowsher.

Bowsher said that in general, his results are better with the laser gun than with shooting pellets. Pentathletes shoot 10 meters away from the target and during practice can track how far their shots hit from the target.

In the combined running-shooting event, there is no penalty for missing a target, other than losing time in the event. “I want to be as fast as possible,” Bowsher said.

“It’s better to learn to shoot with a high heart rate,” he said. “You want to get up there and start shooting right away.”

Bowsher said audiences should like the change.

“For me, it’s more exciting,” he said. “People can move up places in the shooting. If you have two guys running into the range together, you can see, ‘Oh, this guy hit two, this guy missed one.’ You’re on edge. Is he going to hit it? Or is he going to miss it?”

In addition to mastering the new running-shooting event, competitors have intensive training with horses for the riding segment, time in the pool for swimming, and practice with an epee for the fencing portion.

Although modern pentathlon will celebrate its 100-year anniversary at the Games this summer, the United States has yet to produce a gold medalist, a situation Bowsher hopes to change, even if it requires conquering the new running and shooting event.

“I have respect for every kind of sport,” he said. “It takes dedication.”

From The New York Times