Javi Alonso: Unveiling two passions

There is no doubt that the city of Girona is nowadays the global epicenter of cycling and good cuisine. There is also no doubt that in order to become the best cyclist or cook in the world, you need to have a lot of love for what you do. This is Javi Alonso, one of the people with the most passion and dedication to cycling and good cuisine that I have ever met in Girona.

Castelli Store: Javi, what came first: the egg or the chicken? In other words, the kitchen or the bicycle?

Javi Alonso: They both came around the same time. My first bicycle was a BMX and I got it when I was 17. At that time, in my town in Galicia, there was a ‘skatepark’, where my friends and I spent hours practicing tricks. That was before YouTube. No one told you how to do things; you had to learn it yourself. So, we spent weekends looking for ‘skateparks’. We traveled a lot to Burgos because it was the only park with a foam pit. Gradually, we got better and some brands started sponsoring us, allowing us to enroll in competitions. Around that time, I hadn’t figured out my future career path yet, but my mother gave me very good advice: “Study cooking because, if it doesn’t serve you professionally, it will serve you at home”. That’s why I enrolled in a culinary program, which allowed me to do my internship at Casa Solla, a Michelin-starred restaurant.

CS: How do you manage to balance your professional and sporting life?

JA: I am very disciplined and self-demanding. I like to give 200% in everything I do, whether it is on the bike or in the kitchen. On one hand, professionally I have dedicated many hours and effort until achieving a Michelin star for the restaurant I worked. I am also a person who normalizes successes very quickly, so the day after achieving a goal, I already have another one. Ten months after getting the Michelin star, I was already starting the adventure in Girona, working for Celler de Can Roca, where seeking perfection is a daily requirement. On the other hand, the bike has always been my escape. It is the way I clear my mind from any pressure and stress of everyday life. I had a coach, but now I ride purely for enjoyment. I don’t use a power meter or look at any data. I prefer riding with a cycling group because of the good time and nice environment that is created.

CS: Would you say Girona is the best place in the world for cycling?

JA: Girona is a spectacular place for various cycling modalities. Gravel biking is currently thriving. In my hometown, I used to do mountain biking because the roads weren’t good, and the rain didn’t help; either you wore an Idro Jacket, or you could never go out. Here, the weather is perfect: with the right gear, you can ride all year round. With a Perfetto Jacket, I comfortably ride during winter nights after work. Furthermore, across the region and, especially in the city of Girona, there’s a huge cycling community. You can even find the world’s best cyclists drinking coffee before or after their training, in any of the town’s cafes. Both for cycling and the good food, Girona is one of the best places to live.

Photos: Oriol Batista and Sergi Romeu.

This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 9. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop, or buy yours at one of our 200 partner places.

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