Greetings from Barcelona!
This summer was all about the bike. I could ride, breathe, talk and film about cycling.
A dream has come true!
After quitting my job in December and moving to Spain in January, I wanted to pursue my passion for cycling. But I not only wanted to ride a bike, but wanted to get fully immersed into the cycling industry and be involved in the cycling community.
First, I stayed near Malaga for four months and rode solo with nothing but a super tiny backpack through half of Spain. In June, I packed my suitcase and bike-bag travelling through Europe for cycling challenges, bike tours, photo-shoots, conferences and endurance races – anything that was related to cycling and sounded like fun. I never thought that this summer would be like that. Here are the highlights:
- “The Ride”, the 1300km challenge: 8 days, 8 countries from Italy to the Netherlands
- Orbea photo-shoot in the Basque Country Spain for the Orbea Orca Aero
- Cycling tour in the Dolomites as a semi-tour guide with the tour company Velodrom Studio
- 3-day Invitational cycling weekend with the RAW Cycling Magazine “Among The Giants” in Slovenia
- 330km/ 8000m Tour du Mont Blanc Cyclsportive, France
- 3 day Tour de France camp with Sierra Sports and Tours
- A week in Madrid to meet the custom-bike brand The Draft
- Haute Route Pyrenees: 7-day stage race from Biarritz to Toulouse: 910km/19300m of climbing
- Haute Route Alps: 7-day stage race from Nice to Geneva: 896km/22000km climbing
- Shimano Media camp in Au, Austria connecting with 20 cycling journalists and photographers
- Eurobike in Friedrichshafen, Germany
- Haute Route Dolomites: 7-day stage race from Innsbruck to Venice: 852km/21000m of climbing
- Move to Spain, finding the best cycling location in Europe to stay for the winter
All routes of the events above are on Strava.
But I not only like riding a bike I also like talking about it – especially about the experience. If there is any doubt whether I like to talk about it, come visit me in Girona and we go for a 7 hours ride. That will give me enough time to tell you the highlights of my adventure cycling stories (with intermediate test questions ) I can think of a few people at Haute Route and The Ride who got the full “Monika-tells-hours-of-stories treatment already. 🙂 (You might wonder now how I do it during the solo cycling adventures…)
Some adventure stories and thought articles are published in magazines like the Australian Cyclingtips, German Gran Fondo Cycling Magazine, Australian Huffington Post, American Executive Athletes, Dutch Cyclosportive and Spanish Raw Cycling Magazine. Sometimes I let others talk too, like during the interview with Fabian Cancellara. I also started my “raw and real” vlog and had the opportunity to share my thoughts about Haute Route during an interview. And now also the very exciting partnership with Shimano.
Holla….what a summer! There is no other way to say this but it was awesome, with a lot of o’s:
A summer being surrounded by so many like-minded yet different people, discovering new places, seeing stunning scenery and pushing my mental and physical limits. And that all on my bike….Dont pinch me. If this is a dream, I dont want to wake up.
Life lesson: Go for it. 100%
The biggest life lesson I learned from it is to really go 100% to pursue a passion, not being scared to fail because if you are 100% committed, you have a totally different motivation and drive. You are basically on turbo drive. Plus, opportunities will arise you never think were possible before making the big step of “following your dream”. The saying “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius) is true.
After an amazing summer constantly travelling with all my belongings fitting into my bike bag my plan is to stay for the winter in one place….well…I use the word “plan” very loosely because things can change tomorrow. However, my intention is to have a place in the most ideal European location for riding while being able to connect with the cycling industry. In the last four months having had the chance to chat with people around the world, Girona/Barcelona was always a suggestion. Thus, a ticket was booked and here I am – two days fresh from the plane.
Now it is time to let everything sink in and look towards 2018. A plan full of cycling – riding, talking, filming, inspiring!
Next year is going to be awesome (as per pronunciation above)! In addition to exciting cycling projects next year, my aim is to inspire and encourage others that anything is possible while creating their own path on and off the bike. That could mean to pursue a dream or ride solo through a foreign country. Everyone can do it!
In the next days, I will be writing more about the experience of the Haute Route Triple Crown and about Girona and Barcelona. (If there are any specific questions about these topics, please comment below and I will answer them as well) One thing I can say already after one ride in Girona and one ride in Barcelona….loving it here already. I love the smell of the pine trees in this area. I love the exciting terrain and architecture around.
And so much to see!
So stay tuned, positive and upright.
Oh….and just something for the soul ….if you have a fire in your heart wanting to do something very strongly, don’t throw a blanket over it, pour oil on it!