Maccabiah Games Individual Time Trial, 26km
The 19th Maccabiah games, held every four years in Israel, and essentially known as the ‘Jewish Olympics’, kicked off with the opening ceremony on Thursday evening in Jerusalem. Some nine thousand athletes from 72 countries were present to represent their various countries and delegations, and the opening was a huge success with the president of Israel, Peres present to give a talk, as well as messages from the US President and UK Prime Minister, began sending waves of nervous energy around the stadium.
After a fair bit of traveling around the country, I arrived safely in Rosh Pina, the small town up north close to the Golan Heights. The individual Time Trial took place yesterday, and the elites would set off in the heat of the day. I had seen the course over the past two days, and the rolling 26km, with 160m of climbing would be a fast course, yet favor a powerful rider with so much flat and windy open roads.
I went through my normal warm up routine, and was fairly nervous yet excited to finally arrive on the start ramp, healthy, fit and ready to compete for the medals.
I had planned how I was going to pace myself, but being the forth rider off, I had no elite times to go by, and rode my own tempo as I had practiced. It was important not to go too hard too early but also, you couldn’t finish with any energy left in the tank. I kept my rhythm, stayed relaxed, and focused. The far side of the course had some drags up to the turn around point, and this was where I began to go as hard as I could. I knew I could recover on the descend after the turn around, and again settled into a tempo at my threshold. Once I hit my last 4km marker, I began to open up what I had left, and powered into the finish up the last climb with everything I had left.
I crossed the line with the fastest time of the day, and then it was the horrible part of waiting half an hour for the remainder of the riders to come in, anxiously checking there times.
The previous medalist, Israel’s Yoav Bear was closest to me around 52seconds behind me, but I knew the Ukrainian, and 2005 under/23 World Champion who rode for the ProTour team, Quickstep was the favorite and as expected, came flying in at an incredible average speed of 49,7km/hr. This was a super impressive ride from a pedigreed rider.
I was happy with my performance and although a gold medal was first goal, I was content with silver for our country.
I wasn’t the only silver medal for SA, as Benjy Stock also took second place in the 40-49 age category.
Now we look forward to Thursdays road race. Issy and I rode up to the road race course today, and it seems it will be an honest race, 11laps of a 10km circuit with 220m of short sharp climbs per lap, and a few fast and technical corners, plus the heat, will be a tough day.
The cycling team will be hoping for a few more medals then!
Till then, cheers.
1st Dmytro Grobovskyy (Ukraine) 31min47
2nd Kevin Evans (South Africa) 33min12
3rd Yoav Bear (Israel) 34min02