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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Here is an article about my husband that was in our local newspaper recently:


Werling is not fazed by his slower times



His race times are slower, but senior Don Werling isn’t slowing down in his cycling pursuits.

The 84-year-old has been competing in multiple sports in multiple states since his retirement from the Navy in the early 1970s. He splits time between Englewood and Connecticut and has regularly competed in each state’s Senior Games. Among the sports in which he has competed are archery, triathlon and cycling.

He competed in cycling at the Florida Senior Games during December. He finished second in the 5K and 10K time trials, second in the 40K road race and fourth in the 20K road race.

“I’m probably better at the time trials,” said Werling, who won gold in those four events during the 2009 through 2011 Florida Senior Games. “You go as hard as you can for as long as you can. The time trials are fairly short.”

The fourth place shocked him, he said.

“I can’t remember the last time I came in fourth,” he said. “I could pretty much count on first or second.”

A bad start cost him in the 20K, though he said he also was competing against cyclists younger than him in the age group. He turns 85 in April and a move up the 85-89 age group will make him among the younger in that bracket.

Werling has participated in cycling at national events, including the National Senior Games Association nationals in Syracuse, N.Y., and Baton Rouge, La. He was second in the 80 and older road race at the 2010 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships in Kentucky.

He said he has amassed at least 50 medals each from the Florida and Connecticut competitions. He keeps three bicycles here, three there and hauls one back and forth. Here he rides at least six days and about 150 miles a week, although he rode 168 miles two weeks ago. He said he rides with a group that averages 18.5 mph. In Connecticut, he participates in two weekly time trial series that run for 12 weeks.

At his age, Werling sees his times slipping. “You lose a higher percentage every year the older you get,” he said, adding that now his times worsen by 2 percent to 3 percent as opposed to the 1 percent when he was in his 50s.

Still, he plans to keep riding. His next big event is cycling at the Gulf Coast Senior Games during February in Manatee County.

“I feel I’ve been very successful,” said Werling, whose grandson competed for the University of Connecticut cycling team and then turned pro. “The people who are successful keep showing up every year.”
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