I’m here in my ‘office’ about to horse into a bit of work, plate of risotto on my left, dirty gear strewn everywhere, the final of Paris-Nice can wait, as can the overflowing laundry basket.
I guided for a good, hard 4-hour, 1,550m of elevation spin today with a group from Ireland and for most of the spin my thoughts have been on what I will put in this blog.
Here’s what I came up with…
I got a message from my Rocacorba Racing teammate Rutger during the ride. He delivered the news that he managed a top 10 and 2nd U23 in the third Grand Classic of the year in Sabadell.
I almost crashed the bike with excitement as I relayed the news to the guys with me today. None of them know anything about our team or indeed, who on earth Rutger is.
It was ninth in a bicycle race in a town outside Barcelona. No big deal, some would say. But it is a big deal and here’s why…
Rutger puts his heart and soul into cycling and more to the point, this team he set up.
He set the team up from nothing, designed the kit, ordered it after weighing up a string of offers, had it for the first race, he sourced incredible bikes from Italy, custom-built carbon wheels from the UK, helmets, photoshoots, a fully kitted out van to take us to races. The list goes on.
He gave us an incredible online media presence through Instagram (rocacorbaracing) where we have over 11,000 followers. He took flak along the way – yes, he was criticised for setting the team up.
His reaction? Nothing. A lesser, more mature man would have bitten back. Not Rutger. Way too much class for that.
He is a 19-year old kid from The Hague with maturity years beyond bickering.
When he came to me and Lee with this idea for a team last last year we liked him instantly. He wanted to set up a team which would take on – and beat the best domestic riders in Spain.
So you can imagine how he felt when he was dropped in the first Grand Classic two weeks ago. He cited a sore back.
Or you can imagine how he felt yesterday after he was dropped in the second Grand Classic. He pointed to a lack of a warm-up for getting blown out the back.
I rode with him a little after I was also dropped yesterday and I saw an unhappy young man, riding back to his van on a scorched Spanish road, getting the odd jeer from people enjoying beers outside bars.
The race was going one way. Rutger was going the other. That’s hard for a young guy to take.
So in today’s Grand Classic, Rutger went in an angry man. With venom in his veins and fire in his belly he went straight up the road from the gun, dragged a few more with him…and he stayed there all day!
He rode in the break all afternoon and came home ninth on a truly punishing circuit against the best elite riders in Catalunya.
When he crossed the line he was six minutes waiting for the peloton….enough time to relay the message to our team.
Carl Pasio hooped. Paul Kneppers hollered. Niklas sent his best, as did everyone else. All three couldn’t make it because of work or sickness…but they’ve vowed to make the next one.
‘Close, but no cigar’ were Rutger’s words to me when I passed on my congratulations.
’My reply: ‘We’ll have cigars very soon. I promise.’
He helped us MASSIVELY at Eat Sleep Cycle last Saturday when he hosted our 3 Peaks Challenge. Rutger wanted to train but didn’t say no when he asked him to drive the broom wagon.
What did he do? He sent a message to the WHatsApp chat, ‘Who wants to do a full gas Rupit Loop tomorrow’….Nobody replied.
Rutger rode for 8 hours to be ready for today. When he goes from the gun at the next race, expect 100 guys fighting for his wheel.
If you fancy a race in Spain…give us a shout here and we will get right back to you!