Morne in Spain Update #1
“To start this blog off, I need to explain how I got here.
It is thanks to the initiative by Barry Austin who created LEADout to help young cyclist in SA chase their dreams of becoming professionals. Combining with the business mind of Malcolm Lange (my boss at Team Telkom in SA) and his company, Lange Sports they build the bridge for us youngsters where we learn, develop and grow as athletes AND members of the society.
It is through this great setup that we have come into contact with VeloFutur, a cycling agency, who helped me and riders such as Jacques Janse van Rensburg find the RIGHT spot in Europe to chase our dreams.
It is thanks to all of these passionate people that I know find myself in Alsasua, Spain.
It is a beautiful town in Navarra in among the mountains of the Basque country with stunning roads that are like strings of spaghetti, perfectly tossed, forming the best place to train that I’ve ever been to.
I’m riding for the Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi – EDP team, formerly WorldTour team Euskatel Euskadi. The everyone is very nice and has welcomed me with open arms. They understand and support young riders superbly as they know what it takes to be at the highest of levels.
With the who, what and where done and dusted. It’s story time.
My first experience of Spain and it’s people is that everyone is very friendly and extremely helpful. Always willing to lend a hand or assist with directions. That is important. Why? Because sometimes you set out for a 4 hour ride to a race nearby that you’re team is racing and you never make it there, you get lost in the woods in the mountains, cell phone battery about to die and you almost don’t make it back. But luckily after 7.5 hours of riding, 9-10 hours out for the day and about 3500m of climbing of which some where on . You get home. Cold. Wet. Tired. Full of mud from the accidental MTB riding. You then shower for half an hour, eat like an animal, chow some biscuits with your hot chocolate and pass out in your nice comfy bed. Luckily knowing that tomorrow is your rest day and that you have this story to tell. It sounds strange, but without an experience like this you miss out on a lot. It’s almost a must when you’re in Europe on your bike as a youngster. Builds character and knowledge of the area. And when you look back. It was pretty fun, funny and an adventure.
My first race was in Natxitua. 118km. 2200m climbing. The scenery was stunning. I first have to say that. The racing is full gas. Up and down climbs the whole time. Attack after attack and everyone rides. It’s really positive and really fun. I had very good sensations and was active in the front from the start. Eventually I was in the selection of about 30 guys and then started working for our leader, Egoitz Fernandez, who placed 10th at the end of the day. I came in, on a brutally steep climb after a hard day, in 24th. Muy contento.
Everyone in the team seemed happy with my performance and it looks positive for the next couple of races.
The next one will be Vuelta a Navarra. A 3 day stage race.