In the morning, Pablo Sanchez is a businessman. His office is a hammock on Samara Beach, where he operates a surf and tour business. Midday he focuses on being a father, playing with his 5-year-old son, Slathan. The afternoon is dedicated to training as one of the country’s top cyclists, spending 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours daily bicycling through the mountains around Samara. And at night he enjoys his fourth role: husband to his wife, Crislith.
“In my life, I have to divide myself in four phases,” he explained, his recipe for balance and success. Sanchez, at age 32, defines success as “being satisfied with what you do,” and by that definition he considers his life a success.
His full name is Juan Pablo Sanchez Rodriguez, but others know him as Palucho. He was born and raised in Samara, living just 100 meters from the beach when Samara was a fishing village, before tourism dominated the local economy.
His favorite time of year in Samara is low season when not many people are around and he can enjoy the essence of what the beach really is: peace and tranquility. Although his family was poor, he managed to get an education, finishing high school and taking tourism courses at the University of Costa Rica.“We live in the beach, and if you want to have a decent job, you have to learn English,” Pablo noted.
From Surfer to Professional Cyclist
Pablo started surfing when he was 12. “I’m from surfer roots,” he remarked. Although his business involves surfing, he considers surfing a hobby. His sport is cycling, but he says he got into the sport late compared to other professional cyclists who generally start when they are children. Pablo said he had a BMX bicycle since he was 10, but he didn’t start racing until 1998 when he was 19, encouraged to pursue the sport by former professional cyclist William Vargas from San Jose.
With dedication and effort, Pablo has triumphed in one race after another, earning recognition as one of the best cyclists in the country. In 2011, he finished as the national champion in the Master A category (30 years and older) in both endurance and marathon. He also ranked as the fourth best Latin American Master according to the Union Cicliste Internationale (UCI – International Cycling Union).