Cora, close and talkative

World Championships, World Cups, Cape Epic, Andalucia Bike Race, Trans Andes Challenge, TransAlps, Trans Mongolia, cyclocross, road, multidisciplinary, multi-talented, disciplined and from Ojen, we bring you Antonio “Cora” Ortiz. Ahhh … You do not know who he is? No, he doesn’t race enduro (better not, he will certainly not give any one a chance to the podium) and no, he is not a downhiller racer. He is one of those legendary Spanish MTB riders that continue to soldier on after 20 years. He has shared experiences, careers and team with other major Spanish known riders, including “Quillo” Marquez also from Ojen, Pau Zamora, Iñaki Lejarreta, Hermida, Coloma and many more. He has been focused on recent years on stage races with Buff-BH team and travels the world doing endless days long races. Let’s have a chat with him on his terrace and later he will show us what he has on his basement.

Bike check

BH Uktimate 29 (next year Link Race 29 marathon)
Fork Rock Shox Sid
brakes Shimano XTR 160mm
wheels Industry Nine UltraLight
tires Specialized Fast Track
transmission SRAM XX1
front ring 34
pedals XTR
cassette 10-42
stem FSA inverted -17º
handlebar EVOC carbon 680mm
grips Easy Grips
seat Selle San Marcos
seatpost Evoc (maybe a droppost for next year, races are becoming more and more technical and droppost is the future)
Yari: Who is Antonio Ortiz “Cora”? Where are you from, where do you live?
Cora: Antonio Ortiz, from Ojen (Málaga, Spain) since my birth, citizen of the world.
Yari: Why that nickname “Cora”? Do you remember who used first?
Cora: You know, kids, school, everyone had his own nickname. Can’t remember who, why or when they started to use it, but today everyone know me by Cora.
Yari: How and when did you started on cycling?
Cora: Ojen has a long standing cycling tradition, back in late 80’s and begining of the 90’s was one of the few places in Spain to have organized mtb races. And don’t know how I ended up in 1991 going with several friends, Poba, Jorge “Churrero”, Jóse “Quillo” Marquez, Maki, Mauri and some other firends to a championship in La Zubia, Granada, since then I never stopped pedaling.
La Zubia, Granada, 1991

Yari: How is racing at elite level?

Cora: Racing and cycling is my world. Professional racing used to be my work. As years pass by you learn a lot. You learn about yourself, to be self confident, to know your limits and your goals. Nowdays I still race, but at my own pace, ofcourse I want to win, but not winning is also an option. I learned to lose, that’s another thing you should learn and live with that.
Yari: Which race, from the ones you’ve participated, consider the thoughest?
Cora: TransAlp, due to the cumulative climb you gain during the days of the race and also, because of the high level of all riders that participate. Cape Epic is also another difficult race, riders are all top notch and the heat is crazy. But I adapt better to Cape Epic type of race, so definetely TransAlp.

Yari: You still compete? With team you are riding for?
Cora: Yes, I still race. I’m currently with Buff-BH team, mainly racing multi-stage multi-days races all over the world.
Yari: So far which is the race from which you keep the best memories?
Cora: I keep really nice memories from all the worlchampionships, world cups, european cups, etc. But perhaps from latest races I would say Breck Epic, in Colorado. Man, more than 80% of the race is on singletrails, that’s amazing!! Also, the high altitude is a big thing on this race, you get to do mountain crosses above 3000m height.
Yari: And the worst memories?
Cora: I try not to remember the bad things and just keep the good ones. All races have good and bad moments, you must keep the good ones, those are the ones to remember to keep going. (The conversation detours as we take a tour around the world, places Cora has been, races he has participated in and how Spain has lot to offer as a MTB destination due to its varied terrain)
Yari: Do you have some kind of amulet or obsession when racing?
Cora: Amulet no, but obsessions many. I’m methodical, I like to have everything under control, keep everything tidy and organized.
Brasil Ride, 2016

Yari: Which are your strong points?

Cora: Perseverance and persistence. Some people are born with certain gifts and they only need to develop them. But I was not born cyclist, I became a cyclist, I worked my qualities and have learned to make the best out of them.
Yari: And weaknesses?
Cora: As years go by, I’ve less of them. One of them could be that sometimes I try too hard and demand too much from myself and sometimes I don’t have the expected results. I’m not the best climber or best descender but I do good on all of them.
Yari: ¿26, 27.5″, 27.5+ o 29? What’s your opinion, which one fits you better?
Cora: Each one has its own capabilities. This is similar to cars, there are 4×4, familiar, trucks, small city cars, etc, each one with its own specific needs and qualities that make it the best fit for what it was created. Same for the different wheel sizes. For what I do, marathon and XC, 29er are the best. 27.5 are really fun to ride with. The plus size gives you more confidence. And 26, well, some people now look back and say how we have accomplished so much on that “tiny” sized wheels…jajajaja!!
Yari: Which rider impresses you the most nowdays or is your preferred?
Cora: There are lot of good riders, but maybe the most complete right now is Nino Shurter. He has gained respect from everyone and he is a mass idol right now. He has a really amazing technical skills that not many riders have. But I would like to mention Absalon, he has been up there for many years at a really high level.
Yari: And who, throughout your career, have impressed or inspired you more?
Cora: I’ve met some really well known riders, you can call them even MTB legends. But I would say that from them all, Thomas Frischknecht, he was a natural talent, he won everything, both on MTB and ciclocross. There are lot more names to mention, but if I should pick one, would be him.
Yari: Do you do an specific training, could you briefly describe it?
Cora: I try at least to do 2 MTB rides per week and all the other days I do road cycling, combining power and intensity training.
Yari: Which would be your preferred location to ride?
Cora: As for the landscape, I would say the Alps. But as for the technical terrain and singletracks, definetely Colorado, USA.
Yari: When at home, how and where do you usually train?

Cora: When I do road cycling I combine mountains and flat terrain on the sea shore. But with the MTB I really like to go to Purla just 5km from my place, my “little Whistler” as I call it, due to the awesome vegetation and trails on that small area. I used to train a lot around my village, Ojen, but after a huge fire some years ago, I almost can’t bear to ride and see the destruction caused by the fire. But thanks to the efforts of many and nature itself, the area is quickly recovering and in couple of years maybe will be the place I remember.

(we spend some more minutes talking about the efforts to recover the forest around Ojén and the green is used to have before the fire)

Yari: What do you think about these enduro races fever, would you race one?
Cora: Yes, I would certainly race one of them. Is something that persons like Poba and others have been doing for years, but now they named it enduro racing. Is a very complete style of racing, you have a mix of power, endurance and technical skills all in one race. All riders enjoy it and all brands too.
Yari: What’s your opinion on the current and future of MTB in Spain?
Cora: At an amateur level I see lot of interest and participation in races. But at elite and pro racing I don’t see a generational shift, I don’t see new riders at the highest level required for international racing. Ten or fifteen years ago we were about 10 spanish racers at top level, always fighthing shoulder to shoulder with other riders all over the world for the top20. Right now, I don’t see so many.
Valdemorrillo clasic, 2004 (source)

Yari: How do you collaborate to increase MTB awareness?

Cora: Whenever anyone asks, I try to share my story, tell them what motivates me, I try to share as much I can from my experiences.
Yari: What advices would you give to anyone starting cycling in general?
Cora: Enjoy. Above all, enjoy what you’re doing.
Yari: To help us to enjoy more our rides what setup of advice for our bikes would you recommend or advice?
Cora: Try not to over do it, try not to compare yourself with other riders that are way up above your level. If you do that, you will increase injuries possibility. Most important of all, enjoy the ride, if you enjoy it, everything else will come by itself.
“Carrera del Pavo” or “Turkeys race”, Marbella, 2004 (source)

Yari: Tell us about what you do when you are not racing.

Cora: Well, all my life levitates around cycling, so is hard to separate my free time from it. But in general, I like to have breakfast at home, spend time with my friends and travel. As a really good friend, Javier Sanchez Sarria, would say: I could have more money but I will not live better.
Yari: What music are you listening righ now?
Cora: I like all kind of music, each one for its own moment. I like old classic rock and pop in spanish.
Yari: A preferred movie or serie?
Cora: Oh man, Game Of Thrones. I never though that I would be so hooked up, mainly because the kind of histories it talks about is not what I would think I would like. But I would say is a reflection of my live, you need to do whatever it takes to get what you want.
Yari: Preferred food, when you can choose it?
Cora: Hmmm… definetely chocolat, and lately I’m enjoying coffee a lot.
Yari: What do you expect from the future?

Cora: Keep learning, enjoying what I do and in general, keep growing on all aspects of my life.

We say bye to Cora from his awesome house terrace, overlooking Ojen village, Marbella and Mediterranean sea. On clear days Africa and Atlas mountains can be seen far in the horizon.

Big thanks to you Cora for your time and patience!!

Follow Cora on Facebook and Instagram to know about his last adventures, races and projects.

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