HERE is an inspiring story of a cyclist who has risen from the ranks - thanks to hard work.
Beejay Nojara, a late bloomer who started out as a domestique (pacesetter and helper) in executive races, has made quite an impact in the recently concluded LBC Ronda Pilipinas.
Nojara finished 34th in his debut in the big stage, not bad for someone who only got into cyling on the prodding of his father, who was also an executive rider.
“Tatay ko po nag-engganyo sa akin kasi mahirap lang po kami, taga-alaga lang po ng manok ang tatay, kaya pag may mga karera, sumasali siya,” said Nojara.
The soft-spoken Taguig City rider bared a cheap bicycle that was a gift from dad got his cycling career rolling.
“Niregaluhan po ako ni tatay ng bike, sabi nya magagamit ko po 'yun na pangtrabaho, kasi daw madalas walang tagahila ang mga executive riders na kakampi nya. Siya daw nagkakaedad na kaya mag-train din daw ako,” he said.
Nojara earned extra money as the domestique of rich executive riders, towing them when the wind is strong and getting them supplies from support vehicles.
“Talagang yun po role ko, taga-hila ng trangko tapos taga-igib nila ng power bar at tubig kasi may iba hirap na bumaba sa support vehicle tapos hahabol,” Nojara said, mentioning patrons like Franzia Wine team owner Lucio Cochanco, Jr. and Nickel Asia vice-president Rolly Cruz.
With his natural strength and grit, the 28-year old Nojara was prodded by other executive riders, mostly sponsors of major cycling teams, to try it out in professional races.
Out of over 300 entries, he finished 16th in the Luzon qualifying of Ronda Pilipinas.
“Dun ko na-discover na kaya ko pala mag-professional. Kaya yun mas naghasa po ako. Umaga, tanghali, hapon at gabi, nagra-ride ako. Literal na sinunog ko talaga balat ko,” added Nojara.
What was once a mandatory job turned into a passion for Nojara, who became part of the Franzia Wine team that made its debut in professional cycling by way of the Ronda Pilipinas.
Now he is aiming high.
“Tingin ko po kasi dito sa cycling may chance tayo maging competitive worldwide. Kasi the more na maliit ka rito, the more na mas matulin ka at matinding pumedal,” he said.