Guest Blog Post by Alejandro Fernandez, Colombian race car driver, Fuji Athlete, and Performance sponsored cyclist.
First, thank you for making your way to my first blog entry. I hope you enjoy it and hopefully, make a connection with what I am writing.
My name is Alejandro Fernandez, or as most people call me: Alejo. I am a 22-year-old Colombian race car driver. I’m currently competing in the Red Bull Global Rallycross. For those of you who are not familiar with that type of racing, it is action-packed, door-to-door racing on both tarmac and gravel. And there’s a jump!
To learn a little bit more about Red Bull Global Rallycross, watch this video:
As of 2017, I started cycling, and around August of last year, became a Fuji Bikes Sponsored Athlete. I received an awesome new SL 1.3 Disc Road Bike from Fuji, and with help from Performance Bicycle, got the bike fitted, tuned up, and equipped with all the gear I needed for this new venture.
Why I love cycling
Cycling is awesome. It reminds me a lot of racing cars. When you’re out riding your bike, be it on the road, in the mountains, or even commuting to your job, it feels as if you have a certain type of freedom. That childlike feeling of being able to maneuver in any fashion you like. It is very addicting! When you feel like sprinting on a segment or launching an attack on your friend, you just do it. There is no right or wrong way, in a sense. The simplicity to that is what makes it so fun, rewarding, and dare I say: masochistic. Everyone I’ve talked to about this would agree with me on the last one for sure.
So why do we do it? Some people have told me they like the pain. Some have told me they love the feeling of gratification after they challenge themselves. For me, it’s a little bit of everything I just mentioned mixed up with the addition of the post-ride brownie or cookie!
Why I train with cycling
For me, it is a great way to challenge my mind and body at the same time. When you’re doing an all-out effort, you need to concentrate on giving it everything you got. Simple, right?
However, I’ve learned that, even when I feel like I can’t go any further or any faster, there’s something inside me that makes me want to keep going. I’m sure some of you can relate to this as well. It is also challenging to keep yourself in check when doing a recovery ride. This happens to me often, but I just roll with it and have fun. Another reason why I’m cross training with cycling is it requires you to be very aware of “feel”. I don’t really know how to explain this, but bear with me as I try. On a descent, do you ever feel like you might be going into a corner too fast? Do you ever feel like the front of the bike is not turning enough, or that the rear tire is losing traction? All of the above directly correlates to racing cars! When I’m driving, I need to feel what the car is doing, and most importantly, I need to decipher why the car is not turning enough on corner entry or why the rear is losing traction on corner exit. For me cycling is another way where I can practice this.
Your mental game
Cycling also allows me to train in other aspects that I also use in motorsports.
There are many attributes that make your “mental game”. To name a few: your concentration, your will to endure pain (mind over matter), believing in yourself, and keeping your word (integrity). They sort of correlate with each other, but they all have their niche and can be applied to your daily life. That’s what is so amazing about cycling – it can be a way of life! The community around the sport has led me to new friendships and some of the greatest people I have ever met!
For me and my training, it is an opportunity to focus on concentration. It is very difficult to concentrate on your form, or anything else, when you’re in pain from doing an all-out effort.
I can relate this to the amount of concentration I need to have in a car. In a race scenario, I might be in a situation where I have at least two other cars near me. You have the noise of a race car engine right next to your ear, the heat inside the cockpit, and most importantly, hitting your marks every time.
In short, there are a lot of things happening all at once. Concentration plays a significant role in my success and I believe cycling has allowed me to practice and focus on those mental aspects that are so crucial to it.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me and have been able to make a connection with this blog post. I will be blogging more; however, I need your help on deciding what topics I should talk about. So, please let me know what kind of questions or topics you’d like me cover.
Until then, hop on your bike and have fun!
We were also able to catch up with Alejo on our weekly Facebook Bike Scoop Show. Watch below for our interview with him, and be sure to stay tuned to hear and learn more about Alejo and his cycling and racing season. We’ll be catching up with him all year.