Life is beautiful - Cycling in a war zone!

These are some great pics from our friend Lev in Israel and his look at what cycling is like in a war zone.

'Training is never easy, whether you are a road cyclist, mountain biker, runner or a triathlete. In southern Israel these days, even the most dedicated athletes face one more problem: the missiles being shot.

Over 1,000,000 men and women are in a war zone they can't escape from.

Anyways, this is not about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, it's about training in Israel these days. We are a group of road cyclists and triathletes who live in the city Beer Sheva and the surrounding area. Beer Sheva is located about 40 km east from Gaza, and for the last two weeks rockets hit beer sheva nearly every day. There were even two rockets that landed 200 meters from my house.
On ordinary days in the past, we used to ride our bikes two times a week to the beautiful places that surround Gaza. It’s one of Israel's most interesting places. We used to stop at Beery Kibbutz, which located no more than five km from Gaza, to drink some coffee, take some pictures and get back on the bikes after a short rest.The Israeli road and time trial championships took place on the "Urim" circuit.

The area is a paradise for mountain biking and people from all across Israel used to come and ride there. Now that’s all just a memory, these places are being shot at by the missiles.Choosing a training place became really hard thing to do.

You can't run outside town, because there is no shelter. You can't go to the gym, because it's closed. We have only one direction to ride on our bike trainings, and it is a very crowded road. The beginning and the ending of the course is still not safe from the rockets.

On one of our training sessions, the air raid siren caught us and we had to stop and try to hide.
I hope that some day things will change. All we want is a normal life and to do what we love- train and race!
Lev Kholmer
Beer Sheva, Israel'