Cyclist earns spot on Puerto Rico national team
March 25, 2010
- Cyclist to begin racing with team in April
- Soldier's son may have shot at competing in Central-American games
In his second year of cycling, 22-year-old Jose Solis Jr., son of LTC Jose and Magaly Solis, earned a spot on the Puerto Rico National Cycling Team.
"When I heard I made the team, I couldn't believe it," Solis Jr. said. "It's not every day you can say you're on a national team."
Solis Jr. found out he made the team after competing in a 90-mile race March 14 in Puerto Rico. Although he said he didn't do well in the race, Puerto Rico National Racing coach Diego Ramirez took notice of him.
"The coach was following a group behind us and I guess he saw me race for a few laps and he liked what he saw," Solis Jr. said.
He never expected to make a national team so early in his cycling career, he said, but is ecstatic about the accomplishment.
After competing with his family in the Fort Benning Reverse Sprint Triathlon in the summer of 2008, Solis Jr. became hooked on cycling and has been doing it ever since. He trains and competes with his dad and typically trains four days a week while competing in races in Georgia and Florida on the weekends. Solis Jr. averages riding 200 to 300 miles per week and in April, will compete with the national team in Puerto Rico. As a member of the team, he could have a shot at cycling in the Central American Games in July, where 31 Latin American and Caribbean countries compete. Right now, he's an alternate for the games, but Ramirez is going to evaluate Solis Jr.'s skills based on the races in April.
"If I am chosen for the Central-American Games, I would be happy to be in it to be able to wear the colors of Puerto Rico," said Solis Jr., who is from Puerto Rico. "It's something I could tell my children and grandchildren about in the future."
It would also be a learning experience, he said.
"The best cyclist is one who is humble and never stops learning," Solis Jr. said.
From age 15 to 20, Solis Jr.'s father was in the same place - on the Puerto Rico National Racing Team.
"The tradition continues and I am blessed that I been able to watch him do what he is doing," said the elder Solis, who has also competed in the Central and Pan-American Games. "I had a smile from ear-to-ear when I found out he made the team. I felt like 'mission accomplished.' That was the goal when we raced in Puerto Rico - to get him on the national team."
The elder Solis said he is confident his son will succeed.
"It takes sacrifice, dedication, practice and time management to be on a national team, but I know he can do it," he said. "He is very smart and he has the heart and courage to take on any challenge."
Solis Jr., a cadet in the Columbus State University ROTC program, will soon be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. The Army is Solis Jr.'s main priority, but he said he will make time for cycling.
"If you want to do something, you make time for it," he said.