Valentí Sanjuan is a Spanish mountain biking personality, having turned his life around 10 years ago, he went from a couch potato to an ultra-endurance athlete. Having completed IRONMAN triathlons and numerous other Stage Races the Actitú Or Die rider is now taking on the Swiss Epic.
“A decade ago, I was 20 kilograms heavier and one day I decided I had to get off the couch” Sanjuan explained. “Well, to be exact, life decided it for me. In about 8 months, my mother died of sudden cancer, I was fired from work and my girlfriend left me. Being completely broke and owing 10 months’ mortgage to the bank, I woke up at three in the morning with anxiety attacks. The only thing that helped me was to go for a run. First three kilometres. Then six. And then IRONMANS, Ultramans, and non-stop races of up to 55 hours and 770 kilometres.”
Having turned his life around, Sanjaun now focuses on inspiring others to do the same. He and fellow Spanish mountain biker Eva Garrido are taking on the Swiss Epic, in Graubunden, and loving every minute of it. “We are enjoying this crazy, amazing, beautiful Swiss Epic” Sanjaun enthused with a grin, on the finish line of the Queen Stage. “We’re riding each stage as hard as we can. But most of all we’re making sure we enjoy it like crazy!”
“I’d like to say thank you and congratulations to the crew” they continued. “The crew, the organisation, the supporters… everything is amazing!”
As one of a large contingent of Spanish riders having made the journey to Graubünden, he is well placed to comment on the popularity of the sport in his home country. “Spain, like Switzerland, is perfect for mountain biking” Sanjaun pointed out. “There are lots of amazing places for ride and we’re lucking in that we have lots of charismatic professional riders who have increased the popularity of the sport too. Mountain biking isn’t football, but it’s hardly a secondary sport. Kids race mountain bikes at school and there’s a growing trend for people to travel outside of Spain for races.”
“For sure, the Swiss Epic is one of the races that Spanish mountain bikers have to know. Have to take part in” he added. “They need to come experience it for the climbs, for the downhills, for the people, and for the amazing organisation. The Swiss Epic is absolutely amazing, unbelievable, incredible!”