Louis Meintjes: A Time to be Thankful

Cycling has given me so many opportunities. I’m grateful for the amount of travel we get to do. Before I started cycling, Cape Town was the furthest I’d been. I was 17 when I got to go overseas for the first time. I raced in Holland as a junior. When I arrived, everything was just “woooow”. As professional cyclists, we get to see the world and it’s something I don’t take for granted.

Louis Meintjes.jpg

 

Every place we visit has something special. I love experiencing the different cultures. I love trying different restaurants. That’s the biggest advantage we’ve got as cyclists… we ride so much so we get to eat so much. During the off-season, I gained so much weight and thought it’s going to be so hard to lose it but as soon as training started, the weight disappeared.

 

During the racing season, I live in Andorra. I love the small town feeling as I come from a small town in South Africa. I could not live in a massive city like the centre of Rome or Barcelona. I don’t like not having the personal space. I just love the people in Andorra – they are the best. The culture is very open. A lot of people living there come from somewhere else so they know what it’s like to be an outsider. Thus, they are very welcoming. When I lived in Lucca, Italy, you had to make a big effort to integrate into the culture. In Andorra, they understand you are from somewhere else and welcome you. The Spanish people follow cycling, especially with the Vuelta going through there, so most of them know who I am but then there are also many people who don’t really know me, so that’s nice. I’ve lived there for two years now. If you told me today I could never go back there, the memories I would take with me is the scenery. I would miss the climbs and the mountains. When I don’t feel like training, only minutes into my ride, I get to take in the views and get inspired instantly. Half the time I stop at the top for no reason other than to take it all in.

 

I am still working on my Spanish but there are so many different dialects. With one person, I’ll understand 80% of what they’re saying then with the next guy I can’t identify a word. I’m better at listening. My speaking is at a very basic level. I have to pre-prepare a sentence when I go somewhere, haha. I can’t think on the spot and find it easier to listen when two people are speaking then I don’t feel intimidated. The problem with the open culture is everyone there wants to learn English, they just want to speak English to me when I want to speak Spanish.

 

As we start 2019, I want to take a moment to be grateful for what I get to do for a living. The bicycle has brought me so much. I was reminded of it during our training camp in Cape Town. We got to spend some time with the Qhubeka Charity. Just like me, the bike takes Qhubeka bicycle recipients places. I appreciated our time with the project. Any experience to give something back is nice. You see the impact first-hand and think you should do it more often. Supporting the charity and making a difference is a bonus of riding for the team. It’s a really good experience. It gives you perspective. We’re so far removed, living a different lifestyle that it’s easy to lose track of what others go through in life.

 

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Team Dimension Data distributing Qhubeka bicycles duirng a training camp in Cape Town. Photos by Carli Smith for www.zcmc.co.za

 

So before the year gets too crazy when the racing calendar takes off, this is a quick time to pause and be thankful.

 




10 Comments

Patchelicious, Jan 14 2019 10:17

Honestly I would also be thankful to still have a job.

stringbean, Jan 14 2019 10:57

Something most wannabe pros and those dreaming of a cycling career don’t understand. Even at the top level you still always 1 or 2 years away from been unemployed.

buckstopper, Jan 14 2019 12:42

Nice one, Louis. Have a healthy, crash-free 2019. You've come a long way from u16, and it's been great watching you develop into a world class cyclist

Squier, Jan 14 2019 01:31

He's been on the cusp of something big for a while now and everyone has been expecting it after that top 10 in the Tour. Let's hope 2019 is his year.

Thomo, Jan 14 2019 03:08

Hoping for a great 2019 season LM and the rest of DD team.

shaper, Jan 14 2019 04:07

Am just hoping he turns up this year!!

Shebeen, Jan 14 2019 05:37

Hoping for a great 2019 season LM and the rest of DD team.

Hope springs eternal.

He needs some results, otherwise who knows what next?

SwissVan, Jan 14 2019 09:11

Hope springs eternal.

He needs some results, otherwise who knows what next?

 

Yeah his results are just terrible....

How many Saffas can say they have 2 x TDF top ten GC and a Vuelta GC top ten at the age of 25?

 

Sometimes we give him flack for the wheel sucking and apparent lack of attack initiative, but still 3 x GT top tens...Hmmm 

Shebeen, Jan 15 2019 05:17

Very aware of his palmares, you left out the u23 silver.

He moved to DDD in 2018.
Results for that year not great.
If he doesn't perform this year then he will be looking for a new team, is that simple.

zuludog, Jan 15 2019 10:58

Yeah his results are just terrible....

How many Saffas can say they have 2 x TDF top ten GC and a Vuelta GC top ten at the age of 25?

 

Sometimes we give him flack for the wheel sucking and apparent lack of attack initiative, but still 3 x GT top tens...Hmmm 

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