«My first girlfriend told me" cycling or me "and I have not released the bike»
With a million views per month Ibon Zugasti is the reference youtuber of Spanish cycling, although as he clarifies, «First of all I am a cyclist ». A nomad by bicycle, who lives between a garage and a suitcase and has not even thought about taking out his car card. At 47, he continues to compete at the highest level in the toughest mountain biking events in the world, in the Elite category and for the Orbea team, for which the former "Purito" Rodríguez has just signed.
After growing up in Lezo (Guipúzcoa) he moved to Barcelona to train in his first profession, graphic designer, who in a few years granted him, as director of an editorial, the comfort and sedentary lifestyle that everyone pursues at some point. Everyone but him. In that same city the bike crossed his path to change his life forever. There he began to train daily in any gap of his workday, until one day he decided to leave everything to devote himself to pedaling. "I've always liked to do things one hundred percent, who covers a lot of tightness, and sleeping just four or five hours is impossible to be happy," says Zugasti. It was then, in 2004 and with 32 years, when the dream of trying to be "a pro" begins. «No one supported me. My parents wanted to kill me. I went from living in Pedralbes to sharing a flat ». In addition he, who until then had only competed in «Mountain Bike», decides to try the road. "I had never been to a cycling school, I didn't even know what to do," says Ibon.
Even so, among his honors he has achieved the Tour of Salamanca, Cantabria, Castellón, Ávila and Toledo, although he was always aware that running the Tour of Spain would be impossible: «He was aware that with 36 years it is impossible to make the leap to the elite. People only see your age. At the time I was sorry for not having started before, but today I would not change anything I did. In the beginning he charged 50 euros per race, but "the real madness" began when he signed for a continental team (third division of professional cycling) with a Paraguayan license. A very limited budget team that opted for him with 40 years: «I stopped being an amateur and enjoying cycling to become" professional ", without charging and competing against better people and with many more resources than me. The pace of life was unbearable. I would travel from Barcelona to London to run a classic, get up at six with only three hours of sleep, take a shower at a fountain and get into a car of a Polish team to go from Nottingham to Brussels between road and ferry. And so, almost all of Europe to the globetrotters ».
In spite of everything, he remains eternally grateful for that experience that allowed him to compete in up to 28 countries. From that time he keeps one of his best memories: his debut in the Tour of San Luis (Argentina), in which the best cyclists of the moment competed, including Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.
Ibon recognizes that he "lost his head on the bike" and made sacrifices that he would not repeat today: "My first girlfriend could not stand the life of a cyclist monk that I led and asked me the question of" cycling or me ", and Since then I have not released the bike. Of psychiatric ». His "sick obsession" for training did not leave him when he traveled to South America as a graphic designer. The bike was taken everywhere. «I've come to miss a Boca-River and even the Iguazu Falls for cycling. What a stone he had.
But beyond two wheels his other great passion is to communicate, he has been doing it for four years on YouTube and for even more in a blog where he left his comments to Luis Enrique, the current national soccer coach. "That yes, he is in love with the bike," Ibon laughs. “He makes the toughest races in the world and then he goes to sleep at the campsite as one more. I identify a lot with people of a radical nature like him.
Zugasti has found his ideal medium on YouTube: «I own my own content and it allows me to show myself as I am, without pretending to be an example to anyone». With that authenticity that characterizes him, he does not shy away from the question of whether he would do an interview for his channel to Lance Armstrong, convicted of doping. «I would make ten. In spite of everything, its history is still important and a reference. Cycling has changed a lot. Right now I am more concerned with doping in social networks (purchase of visualizations) than in cycling ».