SUSU Professor First Russian Six-time Winner of Super-cyclist Title

Senior Professor at the SUSU Department of Electronic Computing Machines Sergey Syaskov became the first Russian athlete awarded the title of a super-cyclist for the sixth time within the period of two years. Moreover, he won over 80 medals in marathons held according to the rules of the French international cycling club ACP (Audax Club Parisien – “Parisian Club of the Audacious”), and was awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Minister of Education and Science for the Chelyabinsk Region. Sergey Syaskov tells about how he prepares himself for marathons, what he feels when he is competing, and about his achievements.

– What do marathon rules include, and how do you prepare for them?

– Not only elite top-class super-cyclists may take part in the marathons: all those willing are more than welcome to participate. According to the rules of ACP Parisian Club, you are given a certain limited time to pass the distance, and also pass all the interim check marks before they close. For instance to cover the distance of 600 km, you are given 40 hours. For your preparation for marathons to be successful, you must train in stages, without long rest breaks, to be in good shape all the time.

– How are the routes chosen?

– While choosing our routes, we pay attention to the beauty of the landscape, traffic load on the roads for the moment of our passing, and to whether the territory is sheltered from the wind. For instance, this year a unique mountain route “Mountain Kings” was developed and successfully passed – it elevated to 3.15 km over the distance of 200 km. A new mountain route has already been developed for the next year, it will elevate to 15 km over the distance of 1,200 km, will twice cross the border between Europe and Asia and twice cross the Ural Mountain Chain, will run in three geographical zones (wooded steppe, steppe, and mountains), and in two entities of the Russian Federation (the Chelyabinsk Region and Republic of Bashkortostan). Over the recent ten years the long-distance marathons have been becoming more difficult and longer.

– Are there many cyclists from Chelyabinsk participating in marathons?

– This year 15 participants were registered, among whom there was one representative per such cities as Yekaterinburg, Salavat, Orenburg and Omsk. Each cyclist and each marathon volunteer makes a great contribution into development of the Russian cycling movement. We appreciate that people from other cities come to participate. It is for a reason that they pick our routes since these run along the most picturesque landscapes of South Ural. It is very important that our work on entering the international level is recognized by the international sports community.

– Please, tell us of your impressions from the marathons. What are the most difficult, and the most pleasant things about them?

– Someone might think that we’re just cycling, but in truth we’re flying, not that high, of course, but fast enough, so that it takes our breath away. The main difficulty is passing this long distance, what becomes complicated due to unfavourable weather conditions, and that sometimes leaves you exhausted, but it’s compensated by a delightful opportunity to visit many interesting places not accessible by car or on foot, and also by unforgettable meetings with your fellow-thinkers from around the world. To fully enjoy our rides through foreign countries, we try to revel in everything: socializing, food, specifics of life and routines. Among this year’s most memorable marathons I could name: the 1,000 km ride through Kazakhstan under the scorching sun and the winds; the 1,200 km ride through Altai along one of the top five most picturesque roads of the world, Chuya Highway; and also the 1,200 km ride over the steep Ural Mountains under the rain.

– You have won the title of a super-cyclist for the sixth time within the period of two years, and that is the first such achievement in Russia. What inspired you, and how do you feel about it?

– You know, this year I’m planning to be among the top three Russian cyclists again. I take part in all our marathons. The registered distance that I have passed this year equals the distance from Chelyabinsk to Vladivostok. If you count all the elevations, that would be like I’ve climbed the height of seven mounts Everest, and if you sum all the slopes that I’ve descended, that would equal six Mariana Trenches. And if you calculate the total travel time, you could watch Santa Barbara TV series over that period of time. I visited three capital cities: Ufa, Astana and Gorno-Altaisk. My participating in all these marathons was inspired by the feeling of freedom that they give you, they have become by favourite pastime after my research work at my alma mater, SUSU.

Kuznetsova Ekaterina; photo: archive Sergey Syaskov
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