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Tinsel Triathlon new ownership guarantees the longevity of a favorite cycling event

 

Last updated 8/9/2018 at 1:18am



Dear Editor,

In “32nd annual Tinsel Triathlon gets new owner and race director,” the Valley News article July 26 identifies Connie Hall as the new owner of the long-running Tinsel Triathlon held in Hemet. Despite the paralyzing loss of her husband coupled with retirement, Hall rediscovered her passion for life by purchasing ownership of this race after having been its director for 17 years. Her ownership guarantees the longevity of a favorite cycling event for years to come.

Hall’s selection of Ronnie Toth to be the new race director is also to be lauded. Toth, a former Temecula resident, is not only an accomplished cyclist and triathlete, but a true profile in courage. His story is one of personal tragedy, perseverance and the triumph of the human spirit.

During the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Pro race in 2014, Toth was involved in a terrifying crash when his cycle struck a metal barrier and his face took the brunt of the impact. He was comatose for four days, suffered several facial fractures, had his jaw was wired shut and had a tracheostomy tube placed in his neck. Reconstructive surgeries would soon follow.

Remarkably, Toth was out of the hospital in less than a month. With his jaw still wired and the tracheostomy tube protruding from his neck, Toth got back on his bike and kick-started his courageous effort toward recovery and a resumption of his cycling career. Obviously, there is no self-pity or quit in this young man.

Toth’s story has special meaning for me. Many years ago, it was my privilege to have him as one of my students at Temecula Middle School. I recall his kind and respectful nature. When I knew him, he was a distance runner and a good one at that. But I also remember his fondness for cycling and triathlons, which is where he found his greatest success.

Toth’s inspirational story is one which I plan to share with my students this coming year. With all of the tragedy, violence and divisiveness young people witness in today’s world, it is imperative that they experience stories that serve to inspire, motivate and give hope.

Sincerely,

Robert Eilek

Teacher at Temecula Middle School

Temecula, California

 

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