100 km rally is our cycling tradition these days It seems that no more towns or cities like Bila Tserkva (Kyiv, Ukraine) which prepare to the international annual cycling marathon “100 km for 10 hrs (except for Odessa, Ukraine of course). This year the marathon is planned for April, because it is a tribute to the day of Odessa being liberated from fascists during the Second World War. Today, among almost 700 registrated participants our town is prepresented by quite a number of the cyclist in the event. The participation of cyclists from Bila Tserkva was noticed even during the previous rallies: we have always worn a uniform designed especially for this event, this is why it is easy to recognise us among other cyclists. The number of participants from our town keeps growing every year. This serious preparation was appreciated by the marathon organizers and the other day Leonid Rzhepishevskiy, the creator of the marathon and the chief organizer of these events since 1982, himself vizited our town before the 33rd start occuring this year. “84 cyclists turned up for the very first start”, – says Leonid. – “The following year we had 250 cyclists with us and in 1986 there were 940 cyclists in the event and that marathon was the most popular in the U.S.S.R.” Today the marathon is able to get around 4,000 participants involved. Cyclists from different countries are coming to try their luck: thus this year the marathon is going to be visited by people from Russia and the United States of America. It is already a tradition for cyclists from Bila Tserkva to participate the 100 km marathon in Odessa. Every ride brings a certain military title to a participant: on having ridden the distance once the title is Common Soldier, riding the distance twice results in becoming a Lance Corporal, three times of cycling the distance makes you a Junior Sergeant etc. So, our local cycling community is going to participate for obtaining the titles of Junior Sergeants, though the newbies or the so-called “Common Soldiers” keep joining every year. Preparation for the marathon takes some of us a year: the cyclists do not stop riding even a year in order to keep fit. Every following year we want to gain a better result than the one gained a year ago. These results keep improving. Oleksandr Biryukov and Vitaliy Kyrychenko were the best in our team. This year they also do their best to be ready for the marathon. This year Bila Tserkva presents a special participant. A cycling sport vet Volodymyr Zyulkovskiy is going to be in the rally on the 4th of April, taking place in Odessa. Before this time he has invested time and efforts to improve the skills of our group: it was he to teach everything: riding position, organised group riding and this sort of things. This year he made up decision to participate the event personally! Leonid Rzhepishevskiy had stuff to deliver to Bila Tserkva. He brought number-plates for the registered par – ticipants and solemnly issued them to our sports – men with gratitudes for having been active all these years . Leonid is already a legendary person and our marathon cyclists were realy grateful for his individual approach and support. The 100 km rally in Odessa has always had peculiar atmosphere and bright spirit and the effort shown by the organizers is just the evidence of the fact.
Junior Sergeant Viktoria Biryukova, photograph by Junior Sergeant Oleh Ziglin
Sacrificed to the heroic city of Odessa. 10th of April 1944 is the day of liberation of Odessa from fascists.