By Christoffer Eriksson
Cycling on the Bjäre Peninsula on a beautiful summer day is perhaps the best thing there is. When I am on my bike out there, it is like the feeling I have when swapping out my off-road bike to the road bike in the springtime. I get a sense of freedom that I rarely get anywhere else. At Bjäre there are plenty of paved roads with little traffic, which means that I can spontaneously cycle a bit wherever I want without risking it suddenly becoming a dirt road or highway. The landscape is expansive so you can see far ahead and never get lost; it is varied and scenic. There, you can choose to cycle in the countryside through open farmlands, through thick forest, or along the coastal road through small ports and villages. This kind of environment means it is not hard to find inspiration and develop the mental toughness needed to train and push your limits.
It is great now that Swedish international team MEMIL Pro cycling has established their base in the area as well. Now every time the team gets together to ride, they can begin to understand my passion for this beautiful landscape.
Inspired by Dad to be a racing cyclist
My interest to be a racing cyclist came from my dad. It started at the Vätternrundan in 2009. The Vättenrundan is the world's largest sport event in Sweden. I was running around and taking photos of things that I thought were interesting. While snapping shots of bikes and riders, an unexpected seed was growing inside me. I didn´t know if anyone my age was riding like this, but I wanted to do it anyway. I started cycling with my dad and dreamed of becoming one of the professional cyclists I saw on TV.
I began to train more and more on my own bike, which was a very simple mountain bike. I started cycling in the forest but my bike was not really made for that. I repaired it again and again and coming up with at home repair ideas before I was able to get a better mountain bike. My parents initially saw that I cycled in the woods because there I could escape from all the cars. I did that when I couldn't follow my dad on the roads. I dreamed of racing. In 2011, I began to race competitively with local cycling groups on country roads and off-roading.
In 2014, I raced in my first competition, SMACK. It was a 10km long TT race that I finished in 16 minutes, 7 seconds. I came in second place and was a full two minutes faster than the third-placed competitor. I became more confident that this was what I wanted to do. I started to learn everything about exercise and diet in order for my training to be as optimal as possible.
My biggest goal as a cyclist has always been to live off of what I love. I have always wanted to have my training as my work day so that I can focus on it 100% and avoid compromises in training and competition. What will raise my game from here is to take part in more races internationally and compete in bigger competitions more often. This way I can grow to a level where I can fulfill my goals and live my dream life.
Nordic Champion - Team Sprint, Junior 2018
2nd Nordic Championships - Madison, Junior 2018
2nd Swedish Championships - Individual Pursuit, Men Junior 2018
2nd Swedish Championships - 1km, Men Elite 2019
3rd Swedish Championships - Individual Pursuit, Men Elite 2019
2nd Swedish Championships - Individual Team Time Trial, Men Elite 2019