Well folks, here we are again. Back in an all too familiar, far too uncomfortable and unfortunate predicament. Those of you who know me or follow the cycling world closely, know what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, a bit of background.
My name is Larry Warbasse, I’m a professional cyclist, and I just lost my job. How’s that for a Tinder profile? I think I know which direction they’re swiping…
Monday morning we received an email informing us that our team would no longer exist. Tuesday, we received an email to inform us that our last opportunity to show ourselves in front of potential future employers at a race, the Ovo Tour of Britain (and my main goal for the entire second half of my season), would no longer be a race in which the team was participating. All other races on the team’s calendar would also be cancelled. Wednesday I woke up at my lightest race weight of the year (a somewhat irrelevant point, but I was so proud that I had to share it with the world… ha!). But actually, what I really meant to tell you, was that on Wednesday we had an idea.
When I say we, I’m talking about my team-mate Conor Dunne and myself. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Conor is the gentle green giant, the Irish National Road Race champion, the tallest professional cyclist in the world at two metres four, or six-foot-eight and a half for those Americans or British folk…
He’s one of the kindest guys you could meet, my neighbour here in Nice, my team-mate (I think we could still consider each other that?) and my friend. The last few days we have been spending quite a lot of time together – for company, support, encouragement. Also, his girlfriend Stacey has been kind enough to put up with me tagging along with them almost anywhere they go… thanks Stacey! We have been planning and plotting the future, reaching out to teams and managers, brainstorming solutions. And in the midst of it all, Conor had an idea.
Why don’t we just go on a bike tour?
What?? It seems like an odd suggestion at a time when the sole thought of a bicycle should make our veins pulse with rage – it’s part of what put us in this situation in the first place. But then the wheels started to turn, the gears began to click, and they weren’t the ones on our 1x bikes.
It may be what put us here, but it’s the only thing that can get us out.
You see, what we realised is our jobs and our livelihoods can fall out from under us, our security can disappear, we can lose our races and our opportunities, but no matter what anyone else does, no one can touch our souls.
We have one passion. We love to ride bikes. Simple as that, and job or not, it’s what we do.
A bike tour would take us off of our phones, constantly awaiting the next call or email from team manager or agent, and back on the road, in the environment that we know best. It would clear our minds from this shitty situation and get us back to our roots, riding our bikes just for… fun. Plus we need to get Conor fit for the World Championships, and what better way to do it than have him chase a twenty-kilo lighter me through the mountains day after day?
So we set out a plan: if we can’t do The Ovo Tour, why not do The NoGo Tour? Same days, same length (ish), but in the mountains of Southern Europe, instead of the hills and dales of the UK. Eight days, September 2nd – 9th, 1140 kilometres (or so), two dudes, no destination. We don’t know what direction our futures might go and we don’t know where this Tour will take us. It’s just about exploring and enjoying the ride.
You may no longer be able to watch us on television or support us at The Ovo Tour, but we want to bring you along for our ride. We’ll bring you daily stage updates via video, photos, and journals here on Rouleur. We’ll let you into our hearts and souls, how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking; insight into the journey and where we think this ride of our lives might take us.
We’re just two friends who want to share what it’s like to be in a shitty situation too many of us have come to know too well. And we want to share our journey out. We hope you’ll follow us here and on social media at #NoGoTour, but even if you don’t, we’ll do it anyway.