Daniel, 17, with El Grupo since 2010
Superpower: Control electromagnetics
Hidden Talent: Plays the piano
Favorite Style of Riding: Road Races | Pack riding | Sprinting | Tactics
Favorite Trip: Durango and Gila | “We really got close with our friends!”
Favorite Hobby outside of bikes: Machining with metal
Favorite Tucson Ride: The Shoot-out
Favorite Dessert: Rocky Road Ice Cream
What do you like about riding bikes?
I like the freedom of riding bikes, and that everything that happens is up to you.
Who were you then and now?
When I joined, we did skills in the park once a week. It was really fun. There was a guy named Donovan who saw me and maybe saw himself in me. He would always push me to the edge of what I could do on the bike and also anger-wise, but he was a good friend. I was slow, everyone is when they start, and now I’m quite skilled. I like pack riding, fighting in the pack, and now I’m going to l’Abitibi!
What are your hopes for l’Abitibi?
Personally, I’d like to do well. For my team, we will have to decide the tactics.
How has the coaching staff prepared you for l’Abitibi?
Everything I’m doing and have done has prepared me for l’Abitibi. Coaches David and Ignacio set training plans and everything that they’ve put forward in time and commitment for us to get ready physically. It’s also going to be a test of my independence as well of supporting myself in flying and finding food.
What advice would you give to 13-year old Daniel?
You’ll get there. You need commitment. (I’ve only missed a handful of practices in the past 4 years and I’ve been going 5 days a week.)
How would you describe El Grupo?
It’s more than a team- it’s a lifestyle. Everything you do, directly affects you on the bike: whether you sleep, what you eat, when you eat, when you sleep, when you train, how hard you train. How committed you are will show.
How do the older kids influence younger kids?
I remember when I was younger, I looked up to the older guys and thought they were super cool and even though I’m faster now, they still seem light-years ahead. I would imagine that the older kids influence on the younger kids is pretty great, from my experience.
What would you be doing if you were not with Team El Grupo?
Not a whole lot. I was making a lot of bad decisions before I joined El Grupo, so I probably would have continued going down that road. A difference with El Grupo is that Ignacio won’t put up with less than your best. He knows who you are and what you’re capable of, he knows when you’re doing something wrong and he’ll call you out and help you through it.
El Grupo’s become my life. I’m very much a cyclist in everything I do, including the tan lines.