Alessandro & David
I’m pretty sure the word “bro-mance” was created for David Crane and Alessandro Mauri. The two youngest guys on the 2014 Tour d’Afrique have been inseparable since Sudan. They are also two of the three remaining EFI riders. I finally got the two of them together to sit down and have a chat with me. As they headed my way I overhead someone saying, “I think I’m going to throw up“. Not surprising as one of them is carrying around a plate of cake dipped in condensed milk. David and Alessandro love to eat and they have been known to clean house every now and then.
As Justin has a special older brother type bond with David and Alessandro, I thought to have him ask the questions. His first question: Please state your full names. How intriguing? “David Hughes Crane.” “Alessandro Mauri “. Justin asks Alessandro if he feels weird not having a middle name. Alessandro replies; “Underprivileged? No, I’m fine. One name is enough.” I can see that this interview might need some direction so I ask them the typical question – why they chose the TDA. David answers first. “I wanted a challenge. Wanted to ride a lot. Wanted to travel. Didn’t want to deal with things like feeding myself. The tour was the perfect thing. They feed me.” Alessandro was looking for a break from school among other things. “I wanted to combine the time out from studying with outdoor adventure and a challenge. I have always loved Africa and wanted to see more.”
David suddenly states “I’m done.” “With the interview? ” asks Alessandro. “No, the cake.” Well that’s a relief since we hadn’t gotten very far yet. Alessandro tells me how he’s been to Namibia and South Africa before and David rattles off half a dozen North African countries that he’s visited. Alessandro chimes in that he’s been to Egypt as well. “I’ve been to the airport in Cairo. Does that count? ” A firm “no ” from David. Alessandro then asks if being to the airport in Dubai can count towards his African travels. Another “no ” from David and “Dubai isn’t even in Africa.” These are the types of “lovers” quarrels we are used to from them.
Another pause while David offers the cake and condensed milk concoction to Ian. Justin asks the million dollar question of why and how their bromance works. Alessandro contributes it to their matching levels of immaturity. David says it’s purely a relationship of convenience. “He’s way too German for me.” Ian pipes in from his tent, “it’s a full fledged romance. They just haven’t admitted it yet.”
Alessandro reminds David how he pulled him one day while riding for 60km and David only pulled for 1km. David’s response: “It was 2km and it was the fastest 2km ever.” David admits that Alessandro is the stronger one. “But I’m the brains behind the operation. Strategiery.” Alessandro tells us how they plan everything so Justin asks when they decided to be EFI. Alessandro decided in Sudan when there were only 4 or 5 EFI’s left. David didn’t think it’d be easy but after the lava rock desert in Kenya he felt like it would definitely be possible. Alessandro says that their “EFI-ness” is another thing that connects them. I’m pretty sure their love for food and how much they can consume bonds them as well. David says how they don’t care about the day to day race. “We care about EFI. And that goes back to my strategiery.”
Yet another break in the interview while David asks Doug if he’d like to lick condensed milk off of his plate and then goes on to talk about the kind of condensed milk that comes in a tube. I have to keep these guys focused if we are going to get through this. They start talking about how they think about their saddle discomfort about 80% of the time and without that it’d be a whole different sport. They enlighten me on the 6 stages of cycling that they have created.
Stage 1. The warm up – stretching your muscles and getting moving.
Stage 2. The honeymoon stage – when everything feels good on the bike.
Stage 3. Ass pain. (Alessandro says stage 3 is what gets you into lunch).
Stage 4. Warm up #2 begins after lunch. You need more time to warm up for this stage since you sat around and ate.
Stage 5. Numb to the pain. So it’s better than stage 4.
Stage 6. Complete pain. You’re really done, everything hurts.
A: “Today was awesome. It was somewhere between stage 2 and 3.”
D: “You don’t have to hit every stage every day.”
A: “It’s luck.”
Alessandro then pauses the interview to ask if he can eat the grease from the gumbo Justin is cooking. We start talking about future endeavors and Alessandro says he plans on doing an Ironman while David says he thinks he will “try the whole college thing”. Justin asks if they’ve ever had any fights.
D: “I ride faster than Alessandro and he gets a little grumpy. He knows how strong a rider I am. I have slapped him though. He was drunk. I just thought I’d see what happens.”
I ask Alessandro about his reaction.
A: “I told him he should not slap me when I am drunk.”
D: “Sometimes when we are in the tent we slap each other.”
I tell them how this is started to remind me of my interview with Jos and Gabriele when they were joking about massaging each other.
D: “I have never massaged Alessandro and he has never massaged me. We did invite Mateo into our tent and watch Gladiator.”
I check to make sure I heard right when David referred to it as “our” tent.
Justin: “Was the tent zipped up?”
D: “It was a malaria zone! ”
A: “So you are going to burn this whole article now? “