Monday, April 2, 2012
LIVING MY DREAM
I started riding a bike at a pretty young age, I really don't remember if I ever thought of being a cyclist at a young age, for me it was more about having fun and spending time with my dad and visiting our ranch. As I got older me and my parents really tried to get me into sports such as: gymnastics, basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis. I didn't like sports that much because although I was good and had potential in most of them It wasn't really something I liked, I would just do it because I loved the sensation of winning. I would cry if I lost. I was a very sore looser. A couple of seasons in those sports went by until I found a sport I was actually interested in - cycling. I started in a small team in what I believe is the 3rd smallest state in Mexico. Team Colima in Colima, Mexico. I still remember when I went to meet the coach on the first day. "Leader" is what we would all call him although his name was Arturo Courtney, we never called him that. He is a man with lots of knowledge about mountain bike, he also knows lots of history behind cycling. The first thing he told me was "se ve que pintas a ser bueno" which translates to "you seem to be good". He told me to ride the course we were about to race. We were about 25 kids in a 1 mile course all taking turns and racing our peers, forgot to mention this is a mountain course and the kids go from 4 - 16.
I lined myself up with the big kids (12-16). At the time I was 13, and the coach said "you're racing with the younger kids. Your peers will smash you". I ended up racing with the 8-12 year olds and they gave me the nickname "Gulliver" they were all looking at me thinking "who is this kid in tennis and shorts?" Our coach told us we would start in 1 min for 3 laps around the baby coarse only 700m long, I sprinted all the way then crashed and got back on to still win but I was very embarrassed I was all covered in dirt. From then on I bought myself gear and jumped with my peers it took me a while but after 4 months I was one of the best of our squad. which still wasn't very big since it was recreational, even though we would race every class and compete once a month. From that team I moved to the US, with hope of becoming a "star". I looked up phones and contacts to call or join a team. I thought I was great so I decided to look for big teams, and first team I called was Specialized. I called Larry's house and I can't remember who picked up but it was not Larry, he was racing the 2010 giro di San Fransisco, which i think he won. To make a long story shorter the person explained how the team worked and how certain results could get you on the team.
I had a goal for 2011. I was going to get on a team, win, and get called up to Team Specialized. 2011 was a great year of learning for me. I started off on Team Fremont a team which Larry coaches on Thursday's. My teammates and Larry taught me so much and got me up to a good level. My first road races were the early birds which came with early success, followed by other races which together made a decent season:
highlights of 2011:
3rd cherry pie (first real race)
5th state championship crit
Now in 2012 I was blessed to find out I was starting a new era with the best team in the nation, and also blessed to start to work with a great coach in Larry. And so far we are having a pretty good season and it only will get better, all thanks to are awesome team and sponsors who care for us.
- Oliver Barajas
Posted by Oliver Barajas at Monday, April 02, 2012