This was the first time you have taken part in the Istria Granfondo cycling marathon. What is it like being a part of this kind of event?
It’s a great feeling. I am used to sporting events – I have done ultra-marathons, tennis tournaments, and more than 400 international snowboard races, but this was my first cycling event. The feeling of how the competitors fight together to finish in their planned time is such fun.
Did something in particular draw your attention to this race? Is this Granfondo somehow different from other sporting events you’ve taken part in?
What I liked the most about the Granfondo was that there were a great deal of amateurs. Some sporting events are becoming more and more like professional events, and they’ve lost their character of being something for everyone. At the Granfondo, it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or not. It’s all about finishing.
While riding the Granfondo, you surely had the chance to enjoy Istria’s beautiful nature. Did any part of the route strike you as particularly beautiful?
I have travelled through Istria quite a bit, and mostly the north, so I already feel at home there. It’s like a yearly routine for me to go there and enjoy the region. There is one part I like the most – the area around Grožnjan. The cycling trails are amazing, the olives are delicious, and the people are wonderful. I think it’s a really unique area.
We all know you love sports and recreation. What do you think about the sporting amenities in this destination in general?
I have been visiting since my early childhood. We spent one week a year of tennis training in Umag or Novigrad, and we still do today. Every year around the middle of April, I hit my first tennis balls in Istria. Over the past few years, I have been visiting more and more for climbing. It’s a great love of mine, and there are some incredible rocks. All of them are well protected and in great locations. I think this is a big market for Istria. The road cycling is also amazing there. My girlfriend and I did our first endurance training camp of the Olympic season in Istria to get back in shape. My favourite loop is close to Buzet, but I will keep it a secret. It’s too cool to share…:)
Is there an activity you would especially like to try in NW Istria, but haven’t yet had the chance?
I have never been camping in Istria. But I bought a roof-top tent last spring, so this year I want to come for camping, and maybe paragliding.
Generally, how do you like northwestern Istria – the sea, the towns, the culture, the food? Do you have a favourite place to visit here?
I’ve already said that Istria has become like a second home to me. I don’t know what I like the most about it – perhaps the culture in the interior. It’s amazing to stay in fancy towns like Rovinj or Novigrad, but for activities, I prefer the backcountry.
Are you planning to visit us again soon? Are you thinking about riding the Granfondo again next year?
I am sure to come back very soon. I already booked the tennis camp and I signed up for the 100 miles of Istria trail race.