Sports - August 5, 2009

Novitsky, Levenson take top spots in national masters cycling trials

by Amanda Young

Woodside resident John Novitsky recently won the 2009 USA Cycling Masters Road national title in the men's age 50-54 individual time trials. In winning the competition, held June 28-July 4 in Louisville, Kentucky, he successfully defended his first-place finish in 2008.

Menlo Park resident Mary Ann Levenson came in second in the women's 50-54 category, an extraordinary achievement considering she was seriously injured in a 2006 accident on Sand Hill Road when she was struck, while biking, by a drunken driver.

Woodside resident Dawn Neisser finished sixth in the women's 50-54 group.

According to the USA Cycling Web site, Novitsky had a time of 31 minutes, 27.80 seconds in the 14.39-mile race, which involved about 750 feet of up-hill cycling.

About 55 cyclists participated in the men's 50-54 category and 20 in the women's 50-54 category.

The masters road race is for cyclists over age 30. It differs from a track race, where cyclists have a fixed bike gear and race on the track.

The individual time trials differ from team racing in that the cyclists cannot draft, a cycling techniques where the team of cyclists line up in a single file to block the wind for the riders behind them, minimizing the energy that cyclists in back need to use.

Levenson and Neisser had times of 35:22.70 and 36:35.90, respectively.

As for Levenson's comeback from her serious accident, she says: "I knew I would cycle again because it's what I love to do. But I never thought that I'd be able to compete at the level I'm at now and do as well. This is such a blessing."

Levenson's injuries still cause her pain, especially her legs, hip, and foot. "If the pain gets too hard, I just ride harder," she said.

She broke her hip in August 2008 and was not able to qualify for the 2009 Summer National Senior Games, taking place at Stanford from Aug. 1-15. Novitsky and Neisser are participating in the Senior Games.


Posted by Shawn M., a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Interesting parallels between Mary Ann and Lance Armstrong. Both went through near death experiences and came out fierce competitors able to withstand the suffering that's part of a bicycle time trial.

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