03 June 2019

From Riding Without Tires To Leaving The Competition In His Tracks

Some of us have ridden bikes with mismatched or missing parts.  We may have ridden such bikes because we didn’t know any better.  Or we may have been too poor for a “proper” machine.

Such was the case for Richard Carapaz.  His father brought home a blue BMX he found in a junkyard.  That bike was missing a seat, pedals or brakes.  He rode that bike—without tires on the dusty roads near his home.

That home was in the Ecuadorean village of Playa Alta, near the border with Colombia.  “Alta” means “high”, and that’s no exaggeration:  It’s in the Andes.

Riding in such conditions surely helped him during the past couple of weeks, when conquered climbs on the Alps and

Dolomites.  Those ascents, and strong time trials, helped  him to win the Giro d’Italia.

That victory made him the first Ecuadorean winner of one of the Grand Tours.  While racers in neighboring Colombia are among the sport’s best, cycling has been relatively unknown in Carapaz’s native country.

Whatever else happens, Carapaz is unlikely to forget his roots:  His family has saved that bike he rode without tires.

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