Janesville51.4°

Dolin teaches crash course

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KENNETH M. VELOSKEY
August 3, 2010
— Mark Dolin of Janesville is nobody’s crash-test dummy.

Whether he’s competing in a bicycle race or on the job as a trooper for the Wisconsin State Patrol, Dolin preaches staying alert gripping the handlebars and behind the steering wheel.


An ardent bicycle racer, Dolin, 41, rides for Lakes Area Physical Therapy. He won a 30-mile criterion race at the International Cycling Classic in Lake Geneva last month.


A semi-truck hit Dolin at 55 mph in 2004. He survived the crash and returned to cycling two months later.


“Being in good shape,” Dolin said was the reason he survived the crash, which left him with a broken arm.


Dolin knows he was lucky.


“I love to talk about inattentive drivers,” Dolin said. “A few cyclists have been hit and killed. You can’t be texting and driving and paying attention.’’


Dolin maintains caution on the cycle race courses, too.


“I’m gun-shy of crashes,” Dolin said. “I can’t get into a break and get caught up in a crash.


“I can’t go to work with abrasions on my arms,” Dolin said. “I have to be 100 percent all the time.’’


Because he must avoid calamity at all cost, Dolin has to race smart.


“Racing is a lot of luck, and playing the right cards at the right time,” Dolin said. “I’m pretty strong, and people watch my wheels and chase after me.”


Dolin waits for his openings.


The Lake Geneva race was in its last laps when Dolin played his cards right.


Dolin remained within striking distance of a pack of seven riders before playing his hand.


“I stayed away on the last lap, and coming out of a turn, I attacked seven guys and caught them off guard,” Dolin said. “I got a gap and made a decision.’’


Dolin claimed a victory by playing it smart.


This Saturday, Dolin will compete in the state time trial championships in Kansasville.


“It’s just you against the clock,” Dolin said. “You’ve just got to go fast.’’


Dolin has been riding since he was a teenager in Cherry Hill, N.J. He majored in law enforcement at Trenton State College and worked at a bike shop.


Winning a gold medal at the 2007 World Police and Fire Games in Australia, and a three-week trip to Europe in 2006 that included riding the Tour of Italy road course and standing on Champs Elysees for the final day of the Tour de France, are highlights in Dolin’s amateur cycling career.


“You just have no idea how steep something is when you climb for 13 or 14 miles and start going down the hill at 55 mph,” Dolin said. “You are passing cars. It’s crazy.’’


Dolin has a lot of respect for cyclists who compete in the Tour de France and other major European cycle races.


“These guys are just phenomenal,” Dolin said. “They are on a bike for six hours climbing 14,000 vertical feet.’’


Dolin said he has been “pretty serious” about his training this year.


“I train in the morning by myself,” said Dolin, who has carried a USA Bicycle license for 24 years. “I maybe have ridden 4,000 miles this year.’’


Dolin plans to attend the 2011 World Police and Fire Games, Aug. 26 through Sept. 5. in New York City, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.


“I’m not missing that,” Dolin said.


And it’s a sure thing Dolin will stay alert and play it smart.



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