SoCalCycling.com Team Director, Frank Sarate caught up with SoCalCycling.com Team member Osvaldo Mora where they discuss Osvaldo’s cycling roots, future cycling goals and how he stayed motivated during a tough pandemic year without cycling events to compete at.
Osvaldo is a young up-and-coming rider that began racing as a young junior rider in the 10-12 year age category. In 2020, as a first-year Senior rider, he began racing for the SoCalCycling.com Team where he got off to a great start with a win and a podium finish in the early season before the pandemic hit. As we look forward, we are excited to watch Osvaldo’s progression in the sport of cycling and watching him achieve his goals!
Osvaldo Mora’s Race Highlights
1st Madera County Stage Race – Criterium
2nd Madera County Stage Race – Road Race
1st Rosena Ranch Circuit Race
1st Barrio Logan Grand Prix (Junior 17-18)
2nd Victorville Junior State Championships (Junior 17-18)
Video – Watch the Interview
SoCalCycling.com: Thanks for coming in and doing this video shoot with SoCalCycling.com and sitting down for an interview with SoCalCycling.com.
When did you get into cycling?
Osvaldo Mora: Well, first of all, thank you for having me, thank you for the help and the support. You know, when I got into cycling. I got in at a young age, I was like five or six years old, mainly because of my dad, who was also a cyclist, then he always trained and raced also. He influenced me to start riding a bike as well, and from there on out, I just got hooked. So here I am today.
SoCalCycling.com: Awesome. So who was your biggest influence? Besides your parents, getting into cycling?
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah, well, in the first part, it was mainly my Dad, who really influenced me and I always looked up to, and also my Grandpa, who, who was mainly the first person to start cycling, passing it to my Dad, and my Dad passed that on to me. So I usually looked up to both of them, my dad and my grandpa.
SoCalCycling.com: Awesome. Who motivates you? Or who’s currently a big influence for you right now in cycling?
Osvaldo Mora: A perfect influence for me, it’s a good friend of mine, Orlando Garibay, who is a Mexican racer (a former National Champion), who also raced here in the United States, as well. I had an opportunity to train and race with him. He has always motivated me to push further and further, you know, taking me to the limits that I didn’t know I could go to. And to this day, I still see him the same way. And he’s still the reason why I keep pushing myself to become a pro like him.
SoCalCycling.com: How did you guys meet?
Osvaldo Mora: Well, we met here, when Orlando raced in local races here, when I think it was around 1999. I was just a junior. From there we just kept talking and talking. And then as I kept progressing, he was also progressing, as well. And even though he was stronger than me and everything, I still kept pushing myself because I wanted to be just like him just to be on the same level. And to this day, I’m still pushing further and further.
SoCalCycling.com: Cool. Yeah, I know, he’s a pretty studly rider.
With the pandemic going on and everything, what are you doing to stay motivated and focused? I know, it’s, going to be hard with no races going on right now. You know, with the COVID numbers being really high. What are you doing to stay motivated and focused as we’ll be heading into next year?
SoCalCycling.com: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to stay motivated. Like you said, there are no races currently, there’s nothing going on, so that makes it kind of hard to train, with motivation. But I found that you know, instead of finding this sport, as an obligation, or as a job. I’m trying to find the fun in it. So every time I go out a ride, I don’t feel forced. I just feel like, I have to have fun. So I always ride with a group of friends or the peloton, anywhere, and just try to have fun. And while I’m having fun, I’m getting fit. So you know, two birds one stone. And that’s how I’m finding my motivation this year, and see how far it goes on until next year.
SoCalCycling.com: Yeah, so you’re keeping up with your base, which I’m sure it’s probably going to help you out.
As long as you have a key group of friends that you can ride with.
You’re young, how old are you right now?
Osvaldo Mora: 19
SoCalCycling.com: Wow! That’s pretty young. So, coming off of being a junior, what are the biggest races you’ve done as a junior?
What’s your transition been like heading into the senior ranks? How did you, you know, how did you find that?
I guess it’s a two-part question. But like, yeah, you know the transition from becoming a Junior Cat 2 to a Cat 1 this year. How did you find that transition?
Osvaldo Mora: A couple of big races that I’ve done, were Nationals and I’ve done the Tour of Dairyland. And mainly, I’ve done a couple of big races in Mexico. I’ve done some Classic races down there and some Stage Races. And that’s usually towards the end of the year. And, you know, the transition from being a Junior to a Cat 1 was fairly difficult, because obviously, it’s a major change. But I was able to find it right away. So it wasn’t that difficult, like halfway through the year. So, you know, it was hard in the beginning. But I found I got the grasp of it early on. So I was able to stay on and, you know, it was, it was a good transition. And long story short, it was a good start.
SoCalCycling.com: Yeah, Junior and you were racing as a Cat 1, two races as a Junior, and then you were able to make that transition?
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah, the only transition was the gears practically at that stage of my life.
SoCalCycling.com: There’s always a power, then finding that that strength and power that you need to race? Yeah, that’s, that’s always kind of difficult. I know that with working with one of the SoCalCycling.com Team riders, Abner Gonzalez, that we had last year.
And with you going to college? How are you able to balance college and racing bikes and if you’re working on top of that?
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah, I mean, especially now, since everything has to be done online. But before, I was able to do classes, either in the afternoon, so I can go riding in the morning, or vice versa. And I was able to balance both my school and riding my bike. But, since this whole pandemic arrived, everything was done online. And now I have more time on my bike. But I found that I needed something else. So, I even got a part-time job, something to keep me busy throughout the day. So, I balanced the three things, riding my bike in the morning, doing my schoolwork in the afternoon, and going off to my job, later in the afternoon. And, it’s been keeping me busy. But, I feel motivated every day to do something.
SoCalCycling.com: Heading into next year, How much more school do you have to complete?
What are your long-term goals for cycling?
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah, for the school, for the most part, I still want to continue my education, so I may tone it down a bit with classes. So I can dedicate myself more on the bike, and racing, if there is gonna be, which I hope there is. And, you know, my long, long term goal is, practically almost like every cyclist that comes into the sport is to become a pro, in any type of way, either a Pro Conti Team, or a Conti Level Team, even if the biggest dream of all is to make a World Tour Team, you know, that would be a dream of mine.
SoCalCycling.com: Right. Working with Abner Gonzalez last year, that was big news for us. I knew working with Abner, he was just laser-focused. He was a really successful Junior and he was in the same position you were, where he was making that transition with the gears, and probably the distance was a big thing for him. But, I’ve worked with a lot of riders over the years and I saw his transition was going to be complete. I knew having him come over here and racing in the United States from Puerto Rico and then racing in Spain as a Junior. I think this was a good experience for him to get to race our highest level races, and then also do the different styles of racing that we have here versus like in Europe. So I think it kind of exposed him to something a little bit different, maybe speed and the technical courses. And for him, you know, I see a lot of similarities in terms of your youth and everything. I think our team is a good platform. To develop the riders to a Pro level, whether it’s on a Continental level, Pro Continental or even Pro Tour. So, to have Abner just land a three-year contract with the Movistar Team, was pretty awesome. I mean, that’s the first time that we’ve had one of our riders, especially at such a young age, with so much promise, get offered a three-year deal with a Pro Tour team. So essentially, I mean, we could see him in one of the Pro Tour races next year. I don’t think we’ll see him in the Tour de France right away. It’ll be a year or two down the road, given his age, but that’s pretty awesome for him to be able to land a three-year deal. Not just like a one-year deal, but three years, so they see the potential with Abner. I think it’s good, that our Team is there to build a platform for young guys like yourself to be able to land a pro contract and see where you can take it. And that’s what our team’s really been about. This is our 17th year in the peloton. Christy and I, we’ve raced professionally, both of us ourselves. So we wanted to be able to kind of, it’s a way for us to give back to the sport and kind of help develop riders, but it also allows us to have a marketing tool to use for the SoCalCycling.com website and pros with the sponsors that we have that in a couple, two or three years, is that something that you can see yourself getting into?
Osvaldo Mora: I feel like those things are motivations for someone, especially, if you see the more you raced against them, always thinking like that. If they can make it any anybody else can make it. But you just got to put in the time, that effort and you got to sacrifice a whole lot, and I feel like anyone can make it. Me as well.
SoCalCycling.com: As far as a coach, you mentioned Orlando. Is Orlando coaching you or just mentoring you?
Osvaldo Mora: He’s still racing, he’s still training, sometimes here and there. I’ll ask him a question or two and he will answer me and I take it on from there. But mainly, for the most part, I train on my own. So everything I’ve, accomplished I prepared myself for. I’ve done it all on my own.
SoCalCycling.com: Cool, so he just kind of gives you some pointers.
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah, he gives me a few pointers here and there.
SoCalCycling.com: Yeah, Kind of like what I like to try to do with riders not get to involved with the coaching, cause if I have to do that for every rider, then I can’t take care of other things in life like for myself. But that’s cool. It’s always good to have somebody at that level, that’s raced as good Pro at a high Pro level throughout the years. It’s good motivation, for sure.
What has cycling taught you that you can carry in your life everyday life? Whether it’s training or racing.
Osvaldo Mora: Cycling has taught me a lot, especially that if you want to become better at something, you had to put in the time, effort, and a lot of sacrifice goes into a person to reach your goal. Because sometimes you have to cancel a lot of stuff, So you can go ride. You got to treat yourself perfectly, so you can arrive at the race in perfect conditions. So, that’s taught me a lot about life as well. You know, sacrificing yourself to do the homework, put in the time to do the work. So cycling has taught me a lot about the sport, on and off the bike.
SoCalCycling.com: Cool. That’s good. I mean, it.
Yeah, it’s been a lot for me over the years, from when I raced and started racing BMX at 13. It kept me off the street. I’m able to give back to the sport and that’s what’s cool about it so, yeah, it’s done a lot for me and to be able to pass on, what I can to help young riders come through the sport.
So, as far as what race is next year, you want to be able to do what, what, what are the reasons that you, you know, you want to try to focus on as long as we can get past the pandemic and it looks like we’re heading in that direction. It looks like we’ll be probably starting like mid-season, and probably carrying a little bit later into the season than normal.
Osvaldo Mora: For the most part, my big goal is to do the Redlands Classic. That’s always been my dream, just to do the Redlands Classic, and finish the race. And any big stage races further out, is also going to be a goal of mine. And before the main part, Redlands is the goal that I’m reaching right now. And hopefully, if there are any other opportunities for any other stage race, that will also be my goal, no matter what.
SoCalCycling.com: I know, Redlands and Gila are big for you, stage races are hard to come by these days.
Yeah, it’s nice that we have one in our own backyard and not too far away. Being able to do those kinds of big races like that and racing with maybe some of the bigger teams that show up, I think will be a good, valuable experience.
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah.
SoCalCycling.com: Hopefully we get to race next year and be competitive. I’m working on the team this year for next year already.
There’s gonna be a change some changes in the lineup because we had a lot of foreign riders. But, I just want to say, thanks for riding with us and sorry we didn’t get to compete like we were supposed to compete due to the pandemic.
Osvaldo Mora: Hey, there’s always next year.
SoCalCycling.com: Exactly. Well, hopefully, next year, we can pick up the pieces.
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah.
SoCalCycling.com: We’ll probably add some more domestic riders to the program. Hopefully, we can get you back to some of those big races.
Osvaldo Mora: Yeah.
SoCalCycling.com: That pretty much wraps it up for the interview here. Hopefully, we can connect on a training ride.
Osvaldo Mora: Thank you for everything. Thank you very much.
SoCalCycling.com: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.