NAME: Willie Smit DOB: 29 December 1992 (Year of the Monkey) BIRTHPLACE: Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa
TEAM: Vini Fantini-Nippo

If you want to talk to someone about having a balanced life, about the ability to carefully and successfully juggle several activities, interests and responsibilities, while giving them all equal attention, avoid talking to a professional cyclist like you’d avoid a feces-throwing monkey. This is because their lives (cyclists' not monkeys') often rely on being singularly focused, which makes exceptions in that regard worth noting.

South African Willie Smit, one of the youngest riders in the Dubai Tour at only 21 years old, is a full-time law student in addition to racing full-time for the Japan-based Vini Fantini-Nippo team.1 His secret for being able to integrate both activities into his life? When using an indoor trainer Willie places a simple, garden-variety cafeteria tray onto his handlebars in the form of a makeshift tabletop, on which he stacks his textbooks, allowing him to read up on South Africa’s constitutional law from the comfort of Zone 2.

  1. Willie notes that his teammates are from widely disparate backgrounds and he has trouble understanding most of them. []