Fixed Gear Crit

Sami Sauri: ‘I’ll be getting way more serious for 2018’

Samantha Moreno or better known in the scene as Sami Sauri, the Spanish rider who’s currently based in Berlin, started the 2017 season racing for 8Bar with a win in the Rad Race Last Man Standing. In the season she left team 8Bar to start up her own ‘team’ The Legor Enve Unicorn. With a 12th place in the Red Hook Criterium 2017 Series Sami can look back on a very decent season. However, her ambitions for 2018 are higher as “I want to take cycling and training a lot more serious next year” she told us enthusiastically. Sami aims at combining cyclocross, road, and fixed in 2018. For the Red Hook Crits she is covered as she revealed to us that she will be part of LA Sweat in 2018.
Text: Date Burgerjon

Sami grew up in Barcelona living with her mother. As a kid she loved sports. “I used to spend every summer at camps for a month or so, doing horse riding, tennis, climbing, kayaking, swimming, etc. After that I got into skateboarding and surfing, those used to be my hobbies for years, I love it so much”.

Sami wasn’t pushed by her parents to do sports. Instead, she used it to get the freedom that she wanted. “I used to say to my mom that I was going to school or dance lessons, but instead I was hiding my surfboard outside the home and going to the beach directly when I knew that there were waves.”

After living most of her life in southern Europe, Sami now lives and works in Berlin.  The transition from living at the Mediterranean coast to the German capital wasn’t an easy one.

“I moved to Berlin mainly because of my boyfriend. But I had some work opportunities as well. When those didn’t materialise, I was like: Now I’m in shitty weather without any hills doing the same work I could be doing in Barcelona. I don’t even have any tan lines. So, I was happy to be back in Barcelona this summer”.

While being back in Barcelona, she got a call from Rapha. “They were about to open a Rapha store in Berlin and wanted me to work there. Being back in Barcelona, I felt that it had changed, I didn’t feel the same as I remembered, and I hated the fact that my boyfriend was so far away. So I couldn’t refuse the offer. I can get used to the cold weather; I just hope it doesn’t get colder”.

Sauri came in contact with fixed gear riding seven years ago. “I bought this real basic fixed gear bike. It was all yellow with pedal straps and the tiniest handlebar. I used it just to get around town and not having to ride the subway”.  Sami never stopped riding a fixed gear after that. “Later that year Dosnoventa opened, and I got one of their first frames, but never with racing in mind, I did some alley cats, but that was it”.

It wasn’t until early 2016 that Sami thought about racing. “I went to New York to race Monster Track. I loved it. It was really fun, the competitive part as well. When I came back, I bought a ticket to Berlin to race the Rad Race Last Men Standing on the cart track”. After having some issues with her bike, she borrowed a bike from 8bar. “It had wide handlebars; it was really nice. I got third place in the race and 8bar made me a really nice offer. They wanted me to do more races”, Sami explains.

She immediately went back to New York to race Red Hook Brooklyn No.9. “I died, I was really sick and had a fever. But I got on the plane because I had the ticket. I qualified in the middle of the pack, and it was OK. But the race went terribly. I still had a fever, and I was coughing and had to quit after seven laps or something”. Even though her fixed gear crit debut did not go well, Sami kept racing in 2016. “I did all the other Red Hook Crits. But I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t train properly and didn’t even have a road bike”.

This year Sauri took a different approach. “I have a friend Loic (Chetout), who rides for the Cofidis team, he made my training schedules. But he wanted me to do six-hour rides to get a good base condition. That was a bit too much for me. I still did what he said but not as long”. She does own a road bike nowadays. “I train just outside of Berlin. There is this forty minute lap with some hills, perfect for training”. Sami’s training rides are 60 to 90 minutes, depending on how much time she has.

“Having a team is very nice. But you have all these restrictions on what you can wear and what other brands you can work. Don’t get me wrong: I love everyone at 8bar. But because of the contract with Adidas (clothing and sunglasses provider for the 8bar team) there were photo shoots I could not do, they are also a source of income. And I like to choose what brands I wear and whom I work with.” So Sami decided to quit the team.

This year Samantha raced for ‘team’ The Legor Enve Unicorn. “It’s not really a team. More like friends helping out. Legor made the frame, Enve delivered wheels and components, and Brillibrilliant/Unicorn designed my kit and decals for the bike and wheels. They all got together and made it possible for me to race this year. And this way I can work for Rapha this week and for Scott or Oakley the next”.

Even though one of the Red Hook Crits is in Barcelona, it’s not her favourite race. “Of course it’s nice with a lot of friends and family around, but it creates pressure too. I perform better when I don’t know anyone”. Sami’s favourite is Red Hook Crit Brooklyn. “The ambience, the crowd, the course. It’s the combination that makes it so special. I love that race.”

Having done a lot more fixed gear crits this year, Sami is performing better than last year. Sami finished 11th in Brooklyn, 15th in London, 17th in Barcelona and 20th in Milan. She finished number 12 in the final standing of the Red Hook.

For next year Sami is looking to show up stronger than ever: “I’ll be doing cyclocross and regular road races and crits for team Standert in Germany. So I will be training more seriously and gaining a lot of racing experience”. As for the Red Hook Crits next year? “I’m really happy to announce that I will be joining LA SWEAT for 2018 at all the Red Hook Crits”.