Thursday, January 14, 2010

Honoring WWII American Soldiers: Coast To Coast Italia

audaxitalia has announced a new 600 km brevet, the Coast To Coast Italia in honor of the American soldiers that lost their lives during WWII. The event will begin in Nettuno on May 29th.

The explanation for the creation of the event was given as follows (in Italian):

"Important enterprises have been created by simple men with ideas and goals without limits, perhaps not conceived by ordinary men.

In 1978, John Collins, former U.S. Navy commander, and his wife Judy after a discussion about which was stronger, a swimmer, cyclist or runner, created the Iron Man of Hawaii.

In 1982, four runners competed at the Great American Bike Race from Santa Monica Pier, CA to the Empire State Building in NY. From that day it has become an international event, the RAAM, the hardest athletic event to do in the world.

Great ideas, ordinary men with no limits and above all without fear of failure to make an attempt. Self motivated, or to overcome an illness, every athlete has his own motivation and makes his own choice to compete, to test his limits which normal men may not attempt.

On January 22, 1944 between Anzio and Nettuno fifty thousand men landed with all their equipment without the "choice" of going to war, having left their homes, their wives, their children to give us the opportunity to live freely, leaving us the choice.

Today, at the "Sicily-Rome American Cemetery" cemetery in Nettuno are buried 7,861 Americans who died on the beaches of Nettuno, Anzio, Monte Cassino and Sicily, never to return home. They gave their lives to give us the opportunity to live freely. Many young enough to have have never had a girlfriend. Those that died had no choice.

Great men, great efforts to respect these men who never returned home. The "Ride to Finish" team has created the first Coast to Coast Italia in order to remember these men. 600km starting from Nettuno, arriving in Silvi Marina, and returning to Nettuno. The departure will be a special moment. At 9:30 on May 29, we will start all together from the Sports Hall of Nettuno and be escorted by police up to the first control at one kilometer at the American cemetery.

Monday, May 31st is Memorial Day in America and is a national holiday. Americans remember the dead of all wars. Here too the cemetery at Nettuno every cross or gravestone is decorated with a flag and a flower. Thanks to an agreement with the Americans, we at Team Ride To Finish will be able to honor these men by putting a flower and a flag on the crosses without a name.

Those boys who died, those nameless boys, who by no choice made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned home. To my fellow randonneurs, for this Coast To Coast Italia, I ask you to ride for those unnamed boys that were buried in Nettuno sixty-six years ago. He has done his duty for us with no choice. Give him a name, give him a name."

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  1. It's nice to see the D-day dodgers get the respect they deserve. We had members of our goverments calling the US & Canadians that went to Sicily and main land Italy the "D-day Dodgers" saying that they were missing all the real fighting that was going on in France etc. It's estimated that the allies (USA, Britian, Canada, etc. etc.) suffered 320,955 casualties. The U.S. with 7,861 dead, the Canadian's with 5,399 dead. So it may be a ride to Honour the American soldiers, but my hat goes off to the American, Canadian, British, Polish etc. soldiers. All of whom fought and died for freedom in Italy. Who ever was the main driving force behind this, Grazie Molto!!!

  2. I truly hope that the above commenter is not speaking for himself when using the term "D-Day Dodgers"! My grandfather fought is N. Africa and went on the beach in Anzio.
    You sir, may not think that the Americans did all of the fighting, but w/o them, you'd be speaking German and goose-stepping to your Auto-Union to get to work every morning!

  3. "MM", if you truly believe I meant any disrespect to the U.S. soldiers that died in Sicily and the main land you are mistaken. I was totaly ashamed of our governments when I read about the "D-Day Dodgers" comment. It was the U.S. history books we read in school about the nasty slaughter of Americans that took place in places like Anzio, and Cassino that had me digging for more information. I lost my uncle who was shot down over Hannover. So my mother told me of the loss of her brother and how it affected them. At least she had her older brother come home.

    So thank you to the U.S. military. I only wish we had a Canadian with the means to organize a ride such as this for us as well. Cheers "MM" Happy riding

  4. MM, I think you misunderstood.

  5. How many days would I have to complete this ride?

  6. These events are normally held under international rukes...which are: Overall time limits vary for each brevet according to the distance. These are: (in hours and minutes, HH:MM) 13:30 for 200 KM, 20:00 for 300 KM, 27:00 for 400 KM, 40:00 for 600 KM, and 75:00 for 1000 KM. Additionally, riders must arrive at each checkpoint between the opening and closing time for the checkpoint. These times are noted on the brevet card with the information for the checkpoints.

    If a rider arrives at a checkpoint after it has closed and the ride organizer is satisfied that the rider's lateness is due to the occurrence of something unforeseen and beyond the control of the rider (such as a road closure or stopping to help at a traffic accident), then the ride organizer may waive the fact that the rider arrived at the control late and allow the rider to continue. Poor bicycle or equipment maintenance, fatigue, lack of fitness, hunger, etc. are not unforeseen and beyond the control of the rider and therefore will not serve as a valid reason for being late. Subject to the foregoing, failure to make all checkpoints, even if the brevet is done within the overall time limit, will result in disqualification.

    I will check to see if 40 hours is the limit for this one...

  7. The time limit is indeed 40 hours.

    Be strong!