Esteban Chaves is a brilliant cyclist.
In 2016 he won Il Lombardia, one of the ‘monuments’ of pro cycling, finished second at the Giro d’Italia, and third at the Vuelta Espana. At the age of twenty six he is widely tipped as one of the next generation of serial Grand Tour winners.
He is also one of the few Colombians to talk with an Aussie twang.
Along with being a rising star of cycling and a linguistic acrobat, Chaves has one other string to his bow – his selfless contribution to gross international happiness.
We are living in times of significant political change and uncertainty, in a society becoming polarised by the bubble of social media. We are bombarded with information, never sure where the line between fact and fiction lies. Where once we saw the future as a paradise of leisure time where technology picked up the slack, many of us are busier than ever.
We are, in short, stressed.
Thankfully, Esteban Chaves is on hand to cheer us all up. Take this interview (in fact, any interview) with Esteban Chaves:
He’s smiling his impossibly smiley smile and laughing, joking, and positively oozing good vibes. He’s the world’s most cheerful man. As a competitor in the toughest sport in the world ™ that’s an impressive feat.
As you watched this interview, unless you’ve had your heart surgically removed and replaced by a SRAM groupset you’ll notice that you were smiling too. It’s infectious, you see.
Judging by every bit of footage of Esteban Chaves ever recorded, it would be impossible to spend any time in his company and not be profoundly cheered up by the experience.
Even if you’re not part of his inner circle of friends and teammates, as a cycling fan you’re on to a winner. Every time you watch a race that contains Chaves you will be reminded of his beaming demeanour, and receive a little rush of endorphins.
A hit of happiness, if you like.
Some people hang calendars of cute puppies on their wall, others rely on alcohol to banish the sadness in their lives, but surely a regular dose of Esteban Chaves would be a safer and more effective method.
Unfortunately, I fear that plan is not sustainable. It might be unrealistic to expect him to spend his time away from the bike travelling the world and cheering people up.
Perhaps, at the very least, we could all have his picture as the screen saver on our phones? Or maybe we could download his voice to our sat nav? Would it be too much to ask for a live stream of his perpetually smiling face to be projected on to large buildings to cheer up our city centres?
Anything for a regular reminder that however bad your day, somewhere in the world Esteban Chaves is smiling.
By all predictions he is going to spend an awful lot of time in the next few years beating other people in bike races. I can’t help thinking they won’t mind all that much. Surely it would be a pleasure?
Look at his little face – how could you possibly be mad at him?