The Maccabi Games or The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. The Maccabiah takes place every four years in Israel – “the Jewish Olympics” as they are often called, are Maccabi World Union’s largest and most famous enterprise. Naked Women’s Racing competitor Sharon Madison is representing the USA (the sole female to do so in cycling)!
The time has arrived I’m on my way to Israel to race in the 19th World Maccabi Games known as the Jewish Olympics. These games are Olympic style competitions for Jewish athletes around the world. 8500 athletes from 80 different countries including Cuba, India and Chile will be showing up in Israel for 2 weeks of competition with 1200 being from the United States. This will be the biggest games so far. The Maccabi games are held every 4 years.
The day started with us having to be taken to the airport in 2 vehicles. Yes, 2 not one. I have 2 bike boxes, a wheel box, and a bag full of bike gear and my personal bag. My husband and both boys each have one bag.
We got to the airport 3 hours ahead of time because that’s how I operate. Race day I’m always there 2 hours before the race starts so why should I be any different flying out. A little OCD but it works for me.
After checking in, they tell me they want $200 per bike. I gave them my certified letter from the Maccabi committee and they looked at me like I was crazy. United does not fly anything or anybody for free no matter who you are. So I suck it up and pay the $400. United should be glad they didn’t have to deal with Mean Mama Madison though!
Since we had 3 hours to kill we decided to go to the United lounge. We show our ticket to get in and then I see a 12:30 departure. We were supposed to leave at 2. It was 12:00. I guess they changed our flight but didn’t contact us. Off we ran to the gate to make the flight. Luckily, we arrived at Newark, but then find out our flight is now leaving at 1:00 AM instead of 10:30 PM. What’s up with that? They needed an extra seat on our last flight so I could have had one of the boys give up their seat for $500. That would have at least covered the bike fees.
We arrived in Israel at 7:30 PM on Wednesday. I have a training ride on the TT course at 6 AM on Thursday so it will be a late night getting the bikes built up and unpacked. I never sleep anyways so I guess I’ll be okay:)
Opening Ceremonies are on July 18th. 32,000 people are expected for the opening ceremonies. More people then my hometown of 70. If you go to www.JLTV.TV you can watch the opening ceremonies live. Keep in mind Israel is 9 hours later than Denver.
My first race is on Sunday the 21st and it’s a 16 miles Time Trial. If you want to follow my adventures you can go to www.maccabiusa.com for racing updates, www.nakedwomensracing.com or Colorado Women’s Cycling Project on Facebook for my blogs.
Thanks for all the good wishes and thank you to all my friends and great teammates who have trained with me all year long for this adventure.