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RACE CONCLUDED 6 SEPTNEXT ROVING RACE ECUADOR - JULY 2015
First work and then a holiday

First work and then a holiday

Words: Melanie Ho

 

Having arguably the most fun, the Spaniards take to Namibia

 

It’s not often that, two days into a seven day, 250-km stage race, you’ll find a group of people of busy sun-tanning outside their tents.  But you haven’t met the eight Spaniards in RacingThePlanet: Namibia 2009, a group of seven men and one woman who have a pre-race evening party, a flag waving outside their tent and, seemingly, plenty of time to sit and work on a tan. 

 

Bare-chested (mostly because the afternoon was hot, but certainly also because they don’t want tan lines), Francisco Teres described RacingThePlanet: Namibia 2009 as a “holiday”.  Javier Gomez said that the reason why they are so relaxed and have the most fun is because they are doing what they love to do best. 

 

Then again, it is a little bit like an idyllic life.  A little bit of hard work, a lot of pleasure.  Even as Teres rested bruised and battered feet, he pointed to them, smiling, and asked: “Well what can I do about it?”

 

With the except of race-leader Salvador Calvo Redondo, the rest of the Spanish contingent are focused on running, having a great holiday and creating the camp’s own Spanish concession.  It started with a Saturday night party in the tent before Stage 1 on Sunday.  Each member of the concession brought an item – prosciutto, cheese, salami, chorizo.  The group hung a flag outside their tent (carried daily by Fernando Guardiola) and ate as if they were at home in Spain. 

 

Josep Maria Cabanas Coma said that they come for the experience.  Cabanas Coma, Teres, Gomez and Martin Ruz all kept in contact with each other and knew they would be seeing each other in Namibia.  The others, Guardiola, Isidoro Aznar Vielsa, Calvo Redondo and Ana Sebastian Vendrell all became part of the group, part of the festivities. 

 

The group does not all run together.  Calvo Redondo is by far the fastest in the group, describing himself as the “lone wolf” and saying that, unlike some of the others, his focus is much more on the race than on the travel aspect.  Still, he sits with the group and absorbs the sun and eats the cured meats and cheese.

 

“It is like Dr.  Jekyll and Mr.  Hyde,” Calvo Redondo said.  “I am one way in the race and another after it.”

 

According to Calvo Redondo’s tentmates, those qualities make him an even greater champion. 

 

“I have raced many times before where the champions don’t speak to other people,” Andres Martin Ruz said.  “Calvo does all of this with us.  It makes him more human, more normal.”

 

Vendrell is the only woman of the group and Martin Ruz describes her as the “best”, in part because she’s the one who carries the Parmesan and the Nutella.  There are myriad ways to describe the feeling in the tent – jovial, amusement, cheery, happy.  Whatever the adjective, Gomez says it’s really just a choice on having the right perspective. 

 

“You choose to be happy,” Gomez said. 

 

“The Spanish are always happy,” Calvo Redondo added. 

 

Whatever the reason for the tent’s infectiously happy nature, the Spaniards are able to agree that this camp and these trails are exactly where they all want to be. 

 

Said Teres: “One minute here is two days of happiness at home in Spain.”

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