2018. január 8., hétfő

Behind Festive500

Dear Rapha,

I have been first experienced Festive500 challenge in the year of 2016. It was not easy. It was only some years before when I started cycling and the weather was not favorable either but these were not the reasons why getting on wheels were a burden at that times.
When it came to 24th December 2016 and I started the challenge I could hardly be in a worse shape. It has been a tough year. I had mourning feelings because of my Dad, our home has been robbed and I kept on scrolling all these heavy feelings. By the end of the year and the 500 kms I was out of myself, completely locked in. So Festive500 of 2016 was rather an escape from myself, my family and the world than excitement, joy or challenge. Naturally I have recognised all these long after the race.

I became 40 when I settled with a family. I am turning to 47. In 2012 we got married with Kata and in 2013 our daughter Anna has been born. I have never ever wanted a family, I used to have no desire or ambition like this. I had a torn family, most of us were suffering from addiction like me running after my destiny. At the age of 29 with kind help I could give it up and has developed a better new life than ever thought about. I have covered everything; love, travelling, friendship, work, existency, succes. I have never dreamed about having them rather to die before the age of 30. 

In 2009 I met Kata a girl from whom I received full acceptance, respect and understanding for the first time in my life and to whom I could requite all these. When we got married and decided to have a child the thought of having a family was still distant but being secure in our relationship gained over me. Together we figured out whatever could come we would try our best to face and solve it.
Our daughter, Anna has been born in October 2013 who was a great decision, she is happy and contented giving us much love.
Probably to maintain a relationship is much more difficult than to establish one. It is trite but it is true in my life. As I have mentioned by the end of 2016 I was locked in myself, felt distant and not caring enough for my family. I could find many reasons, my Dad died and there were other things happening in that year. By the time I finished the 500 kms during Christmas season we were way too distant with my wife a large gap was between us. My only self-obsessed aim was to win that Moots bike. I am happy now it didn’t happen, Ruth has a wonderful story she deserves it. 

After New Year’s Eve we both decided either we divorce or there should be drastical changes in our relationship. I was wondering to escape and move away but I couldn’t imagine my life without Anna and Kata. We started couple therapy instead. I didn’t believe it but finally it helped a lot. I haven’t become nicer, smarter or better but slowly and unperceivable revaluation has happened inside me. We got closer again and found the intimacy that hadn’t been ours for a while yet it was there at the beginning. 

In the meantime in 2017 cycling has become a part of me, another carbon bicycle came by after my former steel vintage one. I grew stronger, progressed more and more and ascendants are getting easier to fight with. When it came to Festive500 a bad feeling like anxiety occured since it was connected to one of my worst periods of life but also some positive glimpsed out of it that I had done it. I was sure not to enter the competition again I really didn’t want to experience the same again. Only until I read the terms of it in December. A Leica camera is the reward. As if it was for me since nearly two years ago my beloved Leica has been stolen from home. The burglar did not only take my camera but also my creativity my hobby I was almost perished in vain. So when I read the terms I felt that I needed to enter the race since both of my most important and loved hobbies were in there at the same time; cycling and Leica.
Finally I asked my wife how was our year together. A lot better - Kata replied. My answer was that Festive500 has put a period to our suffering and made us move to therapy and change. There was no doubt about it. So I started off again. The powers above helped with spring-like weather, which was extreme according to Hungary in December, that let me finish in four days. Being on the road and cutting down the kilometers was an astonishing experience how I have been a different man than last year. I felt a lot more positive, more open-minded, more joyful and more easy with myself and with others and with the world.

These were my experiences with Festive500 2016 and 2017 so I owe you for them. Thank you.

For half a year I have another Leica camera so I dare to show some favourite pics in the video about my family: https://vimeo.com/250018713

Best regards, Feri from Hungary


Ferenc Simicz

Phone: +36/30/331-9011

Addresse: Pecs, Buza ter 8., 7626-Hungary

Social Media:

2017. január 8., vasárnap

My Tour de Festive 2016

My Tour de Festive

My name is Ferenc Simicz and I am writing my Festive500 story from Hungary.

I bought my first road bicycle around two years ago and I started to use it regularly in 2016. My goal was initially 5000 km but at the end of the year it turned out to be 4000 km. At that time I read about Festive500. I thought of myself why not do it since it is as if I would cycle between the farthest parts of my country. Then my realistic thoughts came since it is festive time, I have family, work to do and I am not used to this kind of load. Meanwhile the question didn't let me leave how could I manage it. Being a 45 year-old guy am I fit enough with my old, classic steel bike?

So I was on the road the morning 24th. On the first two days I went on my routine rounds in the Mecsek Hills close to home. It was only one smaller accident to mention on the glazed road due to sleety rain. But 'no worries' as my young daughter would say I kept on.

The thrilling period started on the third day. My bike was up to take me to my original hometown for the Christmas visit not my car. More specifically my wife and my daughter left me alone on the road with my bike at halfway. I enjoyed cycling in the frozen but sunny cold weather, everything was perfect and I was thinking about Festive500 would have been easily achievable if it was like that the other days as well. 

I became too much self-confident so that after 100 kms when I arrived to my birthtown, Szeged I suffered a big fall in one curve. My bike was okay but my face had a date with the surfaced road. Blood, tears, pain in my teeth and I could guess that my weird outfit would intervene the festive feelings of my loved ones. By the evening my injury made me alike a boxer in the 10th round.

Naturally neither this nor my cracked biker clothes could not prevent me to continue. How could I stop when more than 80.000 people had entered the race?

Next day not giving up turned out to be a good idea. It has been a long time since I don't live in my town of birth so it was extraordinary in this festive period to ride around my old places where I lived, grew up, attended schools, started working, fell in love for the first time or had naughty teenage acts with my buddies. I tried to visit most of the places which are close to my heart.
I remembered my relatives especially my father who has been buried last year one day before Christmas. I considered the idea that he would have been proud of me cycling here especially in the light of my previous life at 16 years distance. I went to the places where I lived when I had a breakdown due to drugs, where I suffered as a homeless person. At that time I wouldn't dare to think about being alive the next Christmas, yet now I have a family, a life that I like, a job, friends and meaningful footing. When I saw those heartbreaking places I felt gratitude even with the 50 km/h wind of that day. I was grateful that with help I was able to change my life, that now I can live. Festive500 challenge gave me this feeling.

The next few days I continued cycling at home. At times it was bitter cold and at times it was the wind against me but I could finish the race. I was alone all the time but in the strained moments I was not lonely thinking about the myriads of other people who entered the competion cycling with me each day. For the sake of freedom that comes from riding a bike.

Last day I had a moment when there were no cars just a great silence and the only thing I listened to was the sound of my tyres on the road which gave me a feeling that everything is on its place in my life, it used to and it will be no matter what unsolved problems I have. I am alive, I am healthy, I have a chance for a full life... and a chance for more and more of kms on the road.
Thank you. 

Ferenc Simicz