Ben, 17, with El Grupo Since 2011
Superpower: Stop, Play, or Pause Life
Hidden Talent: Can Ride a Unicycle
Favorite Race Trip: San Demas
Favorite Style of Riding: Road Racing | Time Trials
Riding Strength: Going uphill
Favorite Hobby: Welding, Working on Bikes
Favorite Ignacio Quote: “It never gets easier, you just get faster.”
Favorite Dessert: Coconut Cream Pie or Cheese Pie
What are your hopes for l’Abitibi?
I can definitely compete there. It’s going to be really interesting to race people from around the world for the first time. We’ve raced locally and nationally and know that we can compete at that level, so internationally will be interesting to see how well we do. It’d be great if I could finish pretty high up. It would be nice to do well in a couple stages if not overall. It will be nice to see how I stack up.
How has El Grupo prepared you for this race?
El Grupo’s coaching staff, like David and Ignacio, have really helped out. Ignacio has a great understanding of what working together looks like and being a good teammate. It was also really cool that David helped us out to get ready for l’Abitibi because he brought an element of professionalism to see what it’s like to race at that level.
Describe what you were like when you first started with El Grupo.
I was definitely a lot less confident in myself when I started. How I acted around other people, I was completely reserved but through the past three years with El Grupo, I’ve gained so much confidence and ability to navigate better in the world. Totally committing to something for so long has a big effect on you.
Describe the commitment to Team El Grupo.
With the commitment I’ve made to El Grupo, I’ve taken on a lot more responsibilities that I wouldn’t have before. There’s a lot of trust and honesty in El Grupo- it’s been a good experience to learn what that kind of professional environment is like.
Would you say that El Grupo has had an impact on your identity?
Definitely. My life revolves around bikes now. I’ve always tried to stay the same person before taking into consideration all things. El Grupo is a good influence on changing my identity.
What has been your biggest moment?
The last two years, we’ve focused more on racing and I’ve gotten a lot better this past year. It’s been fun to actually compete, which I’ve never really been able to do in anything I’ve done before. This whole past season of having a team to compete with, and seeing the incredible role of teamwork has been the coolest thing that I’ve experienced.
What would you say about the older kids’ influence on the younger kids?
Having someone as a young person to imagine being in the future or imagine adopting the same qualities that they have is a huge part of the whole team. When I joined, there were older kids that I looked up to and admired and wanted to be/act how they did. The interaction between the two age groups is important because almost everything the older kids do, the younger kids take into account. It’s important for the older kids to set a good example.
What would your advice be to 14 year-old Ben?
Keep working hard. In the sport of cycling, in order to see progression of improvement, it’s important to have consistency and word hard. Ignacio’s always stressed that and I think that’s a really big aspect of doing well. When I first joined, I was hesitant to always show up. It wasn’t always enjoyable for me to come to practice at 5:30 in the morning for no reason. It takes awhile, after 2-3 years to get it down and learn a way of living. Consistency can be applied not only to training, but to school work and just being successful in life.
How would you explain El Grupo?
El Grupo is a way to race, to compete in a sport that anyone can do. It’s also something that helps you grow up and see what the world is like outside of being a teenager or kid. It gives a perspective into what growing up is like and just really helps with that.