Lake Highlands’ Zoltan (please call him “Z”) rides. PHOTO BY Can Türkyilmaz

Uphill climbs, heavy winds and Texas summer heat won’t hold this 60-something back

Lake Highlands’ Zoltan (please call him “Z”) Zsohar rides most mornings preparing for the June 2011 National Senior Games in Houston where he will race the 5- and 10-kilometer time trials and a 20- and 40-kilometer road race. But that’s just a precursor the really exciting part: The following month, the avid cyclist is off to tackle the Tour de France. OK, so he’s not actually racing in the world’s most famous bicycling event, but he will be there during the final two weeks of the 21-day tour. “This is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I started riding,” Zsohar says. “A bucket list item, you could say.” Post college, Zsohar began running to knock off a few pounds and improve his health. He eventually ran 10 marathons (and lost 50 pounds), but gradually decided that riding in the Texas summer was far more enjoyable than running — and he was good at it, too. His wife, Shirley, a former Lake Highlands High School teacher, won’t join Z on his European vacation because she’s not an experienced cyclist, but she encouraged her husband to follow his heart. He will join a tour group just outside the Pyrenees Mountains. Each day he and his group will ride 20-60 miles along often-challenging mountainous terrain, and at least once a day, they will stop to watch the professionals pass. “I am very excited. I even splurged and got a seat at the finish podium. It cost extra, but it will be worth it.” On the topic of cost (which Z says he wishes we hadn’t asked about), it can run as much as $10,000, all told, to mark this item off your bucket list. How does his better half feel about the expense? “She’s got a pricey hobby of her own, quilting, so we just don’t discuss the expenses of either,” he says through a smile. “We only have ourselves to support these days. Our kids are on their own, so why not?”