Everyone loves a comeback story. For Alex Roca, coming back wasn’t enough – he was determined to come back stronger, better, and deliver a powerful lesson to the world while doing it.
Failure is Not an Option
Alex has always been familiar with limitations. After becoming infected with cerebral herpes and developing cerebral palsy at only six months old, Alex’s doctors didn’t expect him to survive, let alone walk, run or ride a bike. The condition caused a physical disability on the left side of his body, but Alex wouldn’t let this limitation define him.
He would go on to compete in cycling and running, completing several races and earning a reputation as a fierce competitor and an example of mental fortitude.
Living by his personal mantra “El límit te’l poses tu” (“You set the limit”), Alex entered the Titan Desert race in 2018. The grueling seven-day cycling race in Morocco takes competitors through punishing desert sunshine, heat and sand dunes, testing the will and physical endurance of every participant. After finishing only three of the seven stages, Alex had to drop out due to complications from dehydration. He felt crushed by negativity and self-doubt: representing Spain in the race was one of his highest honors, and leaving the race unfinished took him through what he describes as a dark test of his confidence. But he knew his story wasn’t done.
“People have always told me what I can and can’t do,” said Alex. “That negative moment was actually a lesson for me that I could apply to future races. At that moment, I understood how powerful I could be.”
Alex spent the next year training, investing in his team, and formulating a winning strategy based on what he had learned from his first attempt. When the race came around again, he was prepared physically, emotionally and mentally. He finished the 2019 Titan Desert Race, citing his experience the year prior as a lesson on his own personal power and evidence that people with physical disabilities like his can and do achieve amazing things.
Today, Alex reflects on his life’s lessons while running and cycling in La Barceloneta and Carretera de las Aguas. Though he loves cycling in the Spanish hillside and competing in adventure races, running brings him the most joy “because it’s the most natural connection between mind and body.” With each step and pedal he takes, Alex sets new milestones – and redefines his own limits.