The final (third) stage of 'Konavle 100KM' bikeathon finished in the late afternoon hours on Sunday, May 12, 2013.
The enthusiastic (and intrepid, no doubt) cyclists had to wait out a downpour that postponed the start of the final stage scheduled at 4pm to then, without trouble or hesitation, pedal off toward the demanding Konavle hills route fairly soon after.
The final stage, startline in Cavtat. Courtesy of Agroturizam Konavle (click to enlarge).
Luka Čupić (fastest overall after stage two), Ivan Banović (fastest after stage one), and Adrian Bokarica spearheaded the bunch of cyclers for most of the three-day race to, as expected, clock in at the top three positions.
Luka Čupić, Ivan Banović, Adrian Bokarica. Courtesy of Agroturizam Konavle (click to enlarge).
More than just a showcase of endurance and sportsmanship, this, the second edition of the demanding annual bikeathon 'Konavle 100KM', was again all throughout imbued with the robust enthusiasm overtly emanating from each of the amateur cyclists, and so much so that even someone like myself, who hadn't touched the bike since the third grade, was moved to giving a serious thought about joining them next year.
The obvious thrill and dedication of each of the huffing-and-puffing competitors aside, one could easily discern that, that which for years, decades and centuries underlined an athlete's worldview. That, the sometimes unspoken of but always understood notion, though perhaps in times passed called differently (or not at all), is what we moderns dub 'the true spirit of olympism'.
The laurels may be reserved for winners but, in my mind, they all become winners the instant they showed up at the startline and undertook this endeavor. And we ought to honor them as such.
Though a far cry from an organized urban cycling network of venues (designated street lanes, traffic signals and bike maps, underground sheds and outside racks, which hold thousands of bikes under guardrouter, etc.), and even further (read: light years) away from biking becoming the core to the transportation infrastructure, Cavtat and the region of Konavle have been making great strides toward incorporating bicycle in its already eco-friendly culture and healthy lifestyle.
There is no question that Dubrovnik is the omphalos of the Planet Earth's sport of water polo.
The ambiance at one of Jug's games.
Any doubters of this assertion are invited to calculate the ratio of the number of polo players in the area (1 First A League team, 1 1B League team, 2 2nd League teams, 40+ beach teams organized in four so called 'Wild Leagues') to the number of inhabitants (around 50 thousand) and compare it with that of any other human inhabitat on Earth.
'Wild League' finals in the Old port (Dubrovnik)
And tomorrow (Wednesday, May 8), the pool in Gruz (Dubrovnik) will be an arena featuring the clash of Titans as "Primorje" from Rijeka swims out against Dubrovnik's "Jug".
Be that as it may, how many polo lovers are aware of the town of Cavtat's contribution to the game of water polo as such? Or, even that there are players from Cavtat on the teams of said Titans?
Waterpolo game in Cavtat
Notwithstanding the splendid 90-year history of the sport in the town of Cavtat which has thus far yielded eight olympians (Luko Vezilić, Goran Sukno, Maro Balić, Ivo Ivaniš, Elvis Fatović, Miho Bošković, Paulo Obradović, Sandro Sukno) and other great players (i.e. Josip Vezjak who has competed for the Croatian, Slovenian and Yugoslav national teams), of which we'll say a word or two at another time, let us briefly introduce the Cavtat's own who will participate in the tomorrow's game.
Playing for "Primorje":
Sandro Sukno, winner of the Olympic gold (2012) and so many MVP and other trophies listing of which would neatly fill the pages of a decent sized book. Many believe he is the best player of the game today.
Paulo Obradović, winner of the Olympic gold (2012), an excellent whole defender and one of the best and most powerful waterpolo canons today. Very few - if any - goalies would disagree. Most would probably just dive for cover.
Playing for "Jug":
Miho Bošković, winner of the Olympic gold (2012), voted Europe's MVP 2007 and 2012, and an all-around amazing player, clearheaded and at his best when the team needs him most.
True, "Jug" won the first match in the series the other day in Rijeka (albeit by a single goal), but tomorrow's rematch can tip in either direction.
Since both "Jug" and "Primorje" in their lineup have some of the game's top players, it goes without particular pointing out that the waterpolo afficionados worldwide can rightully expect the rematch (2nd game in the series for the title of the Croatian Champion for 2012) to be a showcase of the top skill and, at the very least, a game turbocharged-to-the-nth-degree.
Spectacularity given, let us proclaim in the spirit of the ancients: let the better team win!
April 14, 2013 is a significant date for the cycling sport in southern Croatia, for today - with the establishment of the Cycling Club Konavle - the first cycling collective was formed in Konavle.
The initial assembly was held in Cavtat's cafe bar Mihael. Vlaho Bošković was elected president while Lukša Čupić and Marin Perković were elected as first vicepresidents. Đivo Krilanović i Adrian Bokarica were voted as the board membership.
The club's goal is to enhance awareness of the benefits of cycling as sport and recreational activity, as well as to promote Konavle as cycling-lovers destination. Many interesting and fun cycling happenings are to ensue in the coming season. Announcements will, of course, be made public.
It's noteworthy that the club is open to all newcomers. Namely, all cyclers are welcome to (associate) membership, regardless of their place of residence.