For this blog post one of H&R Block Pro Cycling Team riders, Slovenian, Jure Rupnik (JR), talks to his teammate Stuart Wight (SW) about his adventures moving to Canada, an RV trip around the Western United States and why the sport of cycling.
SW: Jure, first of all, welcome to Canada and to the H&R Block Pro Cycling Team. You’ve had a lot of changes this past summer (2014) coming to a new country from your home in Slovenia. Tell me a little about what made you want to come to Canada and join the M1 Project.
JR: My parents moved to Canada two and a half years ago. I came after them, last year in May (2014). The main reason was, to make a better future for mine and my sister’s life… find better jobs, and so on. And of course to be successful in what you love, and for me that is cycling.
SW: When you first got to North America I heard stories that you went on a trip with an RV? How long did you spend touring the US and tell me about your favorite areas and the riding you did on your adventure?
JR: I started my journey south in November. From Saskatchewan through North Dakota, whole Montana, Utah and arrived in Arizona. For 2850km long trip, I spent 5 days… of course I stopped and cycled around, it was amazing. The start was certainly not great. Just on the border, between Dakota and Montana, I was caught in a snowstorm. It was stronger then in last 50 years they said. When I was driving my 28 foot long RV I was shaking, scared. The road was like ice, but I survived. Most of my nights I spent in RV parks, the other one in front of the Wal-Mart. I came in Utah and after 3 days I first saw a sunny day. From there to AZ was gorgeous, especially Red Rocks, Grand Canyon (I cycled on the top… amazing) and then safe came in Phoenix, Fountain Hills, where my friend from SK. has a house.
SW: Now that you have finished exploring, you’re making Weyburn, SK your home. I won’t lie; I had to look up where this place was… what made you and your parents settle there?
JR: My parents found Saskatchewan. I have no idea how, but I have to live with that. For cycling there is no hills, couple of valleys, no forests to hike… just flat. Too boring for my age. Haha, but we have new opportunity and thankful for this. You can imagine how it looks like, when you are riding a bike 60km straight, then you make a turn on right and another 50km straight. Unimaginable! That’s why we invested in a motor home. To go wherever you want and train.
SW: You switched over to cycling from alpine skiing when you were 17. Talk to me about your skiing career and what motivated the switch.
JR: My skiing carrier I started when I was 5. My dad was a coach and he was not gentle to me. All the time harder training than the others, waking up earlier than the average guys, and so on. We had fun… a lot of trophies in our family, for my sister too. I was quite good… around top 10 in SLO all the time. But then everything became too expensive. For both, every year 6 pairs of new skies, boots, waxing equipment and some other stuff. That is why we finished. For good winter preparation you need good summer training right. And for that I used my bike: endurance, sprints (for the 2min on downhill course). This become fun, I decided to start in a team like a junior (Team Radenska), I like cycling. You are outside… fresh air… I like speed, corners, descents.
SW: Since taking up cycling full time, what have been some of the highlights of your career?
JR: I really don’t have a highlight in career. The best still come. I was always a helper in the team, so I couldn’t compete for myself. The one of my first time was in Canada at Banff Bike Fest.
SW: As a final question, what do you look forward to most with the coming season?
JR: I expect that whole team will working like a team, stand beside each other, support them, too be good friends and honest. And the results will come. I know that.
SW: Thanks for your time Jure, and I only wish my Slovenian was half as good as your English and I look forward to joining you on the start line this year!
The M1 Project will be posting regularly on what it’s like to plan, prepare, and compete as a UCI Continental Professional Cycling Team.
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