To properly capture the RHC Racer’s POV we’ve partnered with Specialized’s
five-man five-person RHC super team: Specialized/Rocket Espresso. We’re talking about Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slovenia), Eamon Lucas (USA), Alec Briggs (UK), Stefan Schäfer (Germany), Carla Nafría (Spain); an international hit squad of RHC specialists with the express goal of taking the overall championship. To better understand their individual and team motivations, hopes, dreams, wants, needs and desires, as they relate (and don’t relate) to the RHC, MFS is going DEEP. We will live with them, sleep with them, follow them, eat with them, race with them, talk with them, video them, photograph them, write about them, etc etc etc. If we can mind meld with them, we’ll do it.
II Twenty-and-Twelve Questions with Carla Nafría
My name is Carla Nafría. I am 24 years old and I live in Madrid, although I spent my childhood in a small town in the north of Spain, Autol (La Rioja), where almost my whole family lives.
From a very young age I liked to ride bikes. I loved chasing my dog Fuyur through the nearby parks. I also liked to run and I would spend all day running around the neighborhood. At 12 or 13 years I bought nice bike and started participating in duathlons, but then we moved and I had to give it up. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and moved to Madrid and met a group of friends who introduced me to riding fixies that I really started riding again. I spent the next four years riding and racing through the city with friends, and then two years ago I started seriously training and competing on the road as well.
From a young age I knew I was born for competition, and I hope to put together a long record of races and achievements. But things don’t always work out the way you hope, and due to certain circumstances in my life I have not been able to achieve everything that I had hoped for so far—but better late than never! I am fulfilling one of my dreams right now! I get to ride a bike, travel, compete… and I hope that it is only a matter of time before I start seeing the results I’ve been working towards.
LOL, I am the girl in the peloton who always falls… but I always get back up and carry on! As for istakes? Many! The most! I admit that I am at times a little bit of a disaster, doing things like not checking in on whats going on with the qualifying, not paying attention to course conditions, not messing with my tire pressure when it rains, etc, etc.
Not exactly. I am a student studying sports medicine, although I am close to graduating and am in the process of setting up my own personal training business.
I totally agree, I think RHC will end up being a truly great series of races in a new form, unlike any other.
I cannot imagine my life without competition. From the time I was little, I have looked for any excuse to compete against someone or something. I’m a pretty nervous person and I think that racing calms my nerves and gives me a peace of mind. Of course I am also addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes from competition, but I think that’s what makes me an athlete!
Just because a person is a strong rider does not mean they can win RHC. RHC requires technique, finesse, and fearlessness. It is a completely different type of racing.
Hahah no! Despite how I may give off an image of being crazy, I recognize that you need to maintain a degree of sanity on the street, or else!
I would like them to know that RHCs are the best fixed gear races and that the competitors are the best racers from all over the world!
Every year the RHC makes huge improvements! The only thing I can think of that perhaps could change is the schedule: the dates are so spread out, and even now the last one in Milan feels so far away.
I have not seen it! And, like Alec, I’m also late delivering this interview so I don’t think I’ll have time to watch it.
Yes, two years ago I started to race normal road races as well and they are so different, completely different. I don’t think it takes nearly the same amount of skill, or at least the same type of skill. Team strategy seems to be much more important in geared road races. But most importantly, the environment, the people, and the friendships I have found racing the RHCs are not comparable.
When you give everything in a race there isa chance you’ll discover that you can push past your limits, past what you even thought was possible. When this happens, and it all clicks, and you find yourself standing on the podium, it really is the best feeling!
It’s the whole thing. All of it. The pre-party, racing without brakes, the other racers, the fans, it’s a huge family, and then when its all over you all head to the after party! The RHCs are so completely different from any other type of racing.
As I said before, in the RHCs having good bike handling skills is just as important as being fit.
Of course, I’m always there! In fact I think I am always one of the last ones that goes to bed HAHA. I love to dance and party with my friends before, during, and after the races. It’s an essential part of racing the RHCs.
I’ve been thinking about this for days and I cannot think of any metaphor lives up to the feelings I have during a race.
It’s like the movie 300: you have to be smart, strategic and patient for the perfect moment to attack.
Any Jason Statham movie!
I prefer not to think about anything that could distract me from fulfilling my dreams.
My great hope is to start getting good results in the big races!
Last year was the first time I traveled to Brooklyn. I trained super hard for the race but I didn’t change my cleats and they were totally worn out! By the final they were just gone. I started in seventh place, but I could not pull up with out pulling out of my pedals so I fell all the way back to last. I almost fell three times during the race because I kept pulling out of my pedal when coming into a corner. I threw the whole race just by not changing out my cleats. It was the most frustrating race I have ever had.
Speaking of problems with cleats, last year at the RadRace #lastmanstanding, I was in first place when I fell in the final corner, with less than 50m to go. After the crash my bike wouldn’t pedal and I couldn’t get my shoe out of the cleat, so I took it off and left it hanging, picked up my bike, and finished the race on foot. The only thing going through my mind was the need to just finish the race!
My desire to compete is greater than any fear. In spite of the many falls I’ve had, I’m not afraid of racing.
Probably duathlons or triathlons.
I just want to compete at the highest level possible, and get on as many RHC podiums as I can.
My life revolves around the sport—almost exclusively—but I enjoy the cinema, cooking and eating.
I have always adored monkeys, and as a child I hung from anywhere. I still would, but I have to act a little more normally now.
The shape of the frame, the colors and the design are my favorite.
I love having a Rocket Espresso coffee while I’m on the roller, warming up.
I can’t think of anything specifically, but according to my mother I do strange things every day.
III Fun Facts with Carla Nafría
WHOOSH is made possible by:
Artwork by Michiel Schuurman.