GFNY Florida – different than planned, but a complete success

So, this event starts a bit different, it’s the first event after the border closed 8 months ago in Colombia. We are living a pandemic worldwide, all events have been cancelled, flights are not taking off, you all know what I’m talking about.

While we were on permanent curfew here in Colombia, I’ve decided to work as a bike messenger here in Bogotá, my hometown, and the capital of the country, why I’m telling you this? Because this made me find many street stories about migration, work, equity, gender and many more fields that led me to create a YouTube channel about cycling.


This is just to tell you that the entire GFNY Florida experience in Spanish and video is now in my YouTube channel (feel free to search it – @mateorueda) thanks again to Sportograf for sending Facundo (from Argentina) and myself to shoot this event. (That’s the explanation for this entire entry to be on English, please forget my typos and possible mistakes, this is not my main language)

Anyway, where were we?

Right, florida.

Back in Florida

You can imagine how tedious it must be to grab a 4hr flight with two face masks on, the N95 ones, if you have worn one of these for longer than 30 mins, now imagine 4hr nonstop, plus some hours at the airports. 

I arrived to the USA with fear, of many things, elections were happening, COVID 19 is still here, and Americans (for what I saw) DON`T WEAR MASKS (on most cases), except in the airports of course, nevertheless we were on a packed plane, customs was completely full. After two hours of entering the states, I met with Facundo at the car rental.We had some issues with the rental but fortunately we managed to grab the car. This was around 9pm. We had a 3hr drive ahead of us, so we started pushing the gas pedal.

After some quick meals and chatting, we got to the hotel, unpack, charged batteries and slept for 3-4hr, the usual sportograf deal my friends, you know what I’m Talking about right? (Yes Berlin Night race + 5 hr drive + 1hr sleep and then Leipzig marathon, I’m talking about you). 

Arriving in Florida

We woke up at 5am to be ready to take pictures for GFNY at 6 in the morning.

After the photoshoot, we had the kids race, which was a blast. Then we had a quick lunch and headed to the recon of the route, which turned out to be a complete flat road, no spot was different, everything was the same. With a bit of fear we head home. There we planned some spots that seemed a bit different, had a quick bite, took another look at the strategy, hoped for the best and went to bed. 

With a little more sleep we woke up at 5.30am and started driving to the race spot. We took the usual impressions, headed to our spots and waited for the riders. Did I forgot to mention that there were just two of us photographers? With just one car? No motorcycle? Yep, the other two photographers canceled, and we had to manage a 2000 rider cycling flat road race with just one car. 

However, the day went perfect, the usual sportograf day, thousands of pictures, little decathlon chairs and we managed to do it all. (Don’t forget your toilet paper folks, NEVER) and your sunscreen, always wear sunscreen. 

We had the prize awards, took some impressions and headed home to upload the almost 8000 images, funny thing, all the categories were won by Colombians, so this felt a bit like home for me. At 8pm we were sure the images were in Germany, all of them, not just the best of, and we went for a traditional american cheeseburger at five guys, did a little tourism around the place and that was it. 

The returning flight to Colombia? not so bad. I had to get a COVID 19 test and fill some surveys that basically proved that I haven’t had any symptoms. We really hope the borders soon will open and this craziness will change. For now, be safe, wash your hands and we will wait with open arms (6ft distance for now) here in Colombia.

Salud mis amigos! 🤧 

More about Gfny at https://gfny.com/gfnyworld/

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