Dutch sportswriter, Nando Boers, and Pedro Horrillo, a Spanish cyclist riding for the Dutch Rabobank team, conceived the idea at the end of 2008 of corresponding regularly via email throughout the coming season. They would exchange thoughts about the racing, the results and events in the professional cycling world.
The correspondence, starting early in 2009, begins in that fashion — two friends swapping their stories and experiences. Then in May everything changes completely: Horrillo crashes, traumatically, in the Giro d’Italia, tumbling 80 metres down a cliff face. Miraculously, after days in a coma, he survives but he will never race again.
Their correspondence is eventually resumed, and continues in fits and start over the next three years. Boers, infinitely patient and encouraging, is able to cope with long periods of silence from his friend. He understands the psychological healing will take longer than the physical. Then in 2012, Horrillo is able to confront his demons, returning to the scene of his crash where ‘my first life ended and my second life began’ and describing his pilgrimage in one beautiful, final letter.
‘Don’t panic. Keep reading. It ends well.’
Wilfried de Jong