Wajda cycles his way to Europe


Marco Wajda

Wajda cycling through the cobblestone pathways of Europe this past summer. The above photo was taken during one of Wajda’s practices on the Paterberg climb just outside of Oudenaarde in Belgium.

Abby Ng, Online and Social Media Director

Almost everyone knows how to ride a bicycle; it is a common occurrence to see students riding their bike to school or to Panera. But unlike Marco Wajda, junior, not a lot of people can say that they have raced at speeds up to 30 miles per hour through the Belgian countryside.

This past summer, Wajda spent three weeks in Gavere, Belgium training and racing toward his goal of one day becoming a professional cyclist. He spent his days across the Atlantic Ocean competing as often as three times a week in 100 to 200 km races. Each race included 70 to 200 riders, and in two of those races Wajda finished 14th, his personal best.

While gaining valuable racing experience alongside professional cyclists, Wajda was also introduced to the vastly different cycling culture in Europe.

As Wajda put it, “Cycling in Europe is like football or baseball [in America]. Families come out to watch just because they want to…Some crazy fans throw beer and water everywhere. It’s awesome.”

Although racing in Wisconsin may not be as exciting as in Europe, Wajda still enjoys training in his home state. Immediately after getting home from school, Wajda hops on his bicycle and rides the surprisingly scenic and peaceful farm roads of Wisconsin. One of his favorite parts of cycling he said, “is the ability to ride all the way to Oconomowoc or Delafield and see cool places.”

It is also the speed and adrenaline that turned cycling and racing, something that started out as physical therapy after a knee injury in seventh grade, into Wajda’s passion. Now he trains diligently everyday, all year round, despite brutal Wisconsin winters. But all of his efforts are toward one dream: going pro with a European team. And with several offers to race in Belgium again next summer and collegiate after he graduates, Wajda is well on his way.