Luis Adarraga
Inaugural "Basque Country Tour, Winner

click picture

Adarraga Family   
 in Adarramendi
From left, standing: Ramon, Julita , Juan,
and Jose-Luis,
seating: Luis  (father with dog La) Carmen, Margarita and  Juan Bautista

  This is an English translation of the photocopy of the first installment (in Spanish) of the diary that our father Luis wrote, which was sent to me by my brother Juan Bautista.

Luis Adarraga-Gorrochategui's Diary:

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 In 1908, the “Club Deportivo AZKAR ABILL” was founded. We, a group of friends, used to meet to play billiards, on the 4th floor of our house ("Chocolates and Patisserie Adarraga") in the room that we called El Mirador (The Lookout). We had a great time there and it occurred to us that we had to form a Society club. And thus the first Club Deportivo (sporting club) was born under the name of CLUB DEPORTIVO AZKAR ABILL. It was the first step for all sporting enthusiasts in the town. We played pelota (handball; Celestino and Manuel Recondo champions); foot-ball (soccer), cross country, cycling …

     We also formed a little “orfeon” (choral group - that was natural) and a band of “ocarinas” (this was not natural) with about twenty players. Among them was Isidro Ansorena, at the time director of the Club de Chistularis (Basque flute players) of San Sebastian, Cecilio Goicoechea went on to become a great pianist, amongst other things.

 This was the start of our sporting life.

     In foot-ball, we played for both our local Club as well as with the Club Deportivo Fortuna’s of San Sebastian, of which I was a Founding Member.

    As a cyclist, I rode in as many races as were organized in the area and had the fortune to win all of them in 1910, 1911 and 1912. Some of my more notable victories were winning the Guipuzcoa and Vasco Navarros (Basque Country and Navarre) Championships.

    Of course, the most important race was “The First Tour of the Vascongadas (Basque Country). This event was organized by Señor Loinaz who sold the cycling brand name RUDGE – WITHWORTH, the bikes I competed on. This race took place on the 29 and 30 of June 1912 (the patron saint festivities of Irun)

    The first stage was Irun -Vitoria – Bilbao and the second, Bilbao – Deva – Irun. I won both stages and it is then that I received a great homage of the whole town folks with the official Town Hall congratulations.

    Despite my lack of experience in velodrome races, I competed in the VELOLODROMO DE ATOCHA, on the 8 September 1911, and ended up winning the Guipuzcoa and Vasco Navarros Championships and was second in the Español championship.  Jaime Duran, the then Español champion, beat me.

    These were the last races that were held in the above mentioned VELODROMO DE ATOCHA, because it was demolish soon after.

    Two days later (that is, on the 10th) I rode in the HALCON HISPANIA; a race organized by this firm. I had been advised to reserve my energies for this race by not competing in an International race in Atocha, This was a difficult decision but fully justified when I ended up winning the Halcon Hispania race.

    It is possible that I would have achieved many more triumphs if I had continued racing but my father was adamant that I give up competing.  In exchange for my promise to never race again, he bought me a powerful motorcycle. I kept my word.

   In foot-ball** I played for AZKAR ABILL and FORTUNA, as well as other clubs as a “loan” player. Of these matches the most memorable match for me was the one I played with the Racing of Irun in the San Mames* of Bilbao stadium inaugural match. I substituted for a guy named Moleres (a Frenchman) who had to report to the recruitment office of the army. I preserve the drawing** of the event with the name of the players.

   Comment from Agustin (son): One day, my entire family (12 brothers and sisters and parents) were sitting at the table for lunch when our father, Luis, decided to explain to us that his own father had initially not being aware that he was in fact competing in bike races. And he went on to explain how he eventually learnt of it.

   The day of the great homage after he won the Vascongadas (Basque Country) Tour, many people including the band of Hernani came to welcome him home at the “Estacion”, the train stop, two kilometers from town. He was lifted onto the shoulders of his “fans” and carried to his home - that opens to Plaza Berri (a big square). Because of the enthusiastic people "guirigai" (uproar) and the band playing lively Basque music in front of the house, his father Don Jose came out to the balcony to see the reason for the commotion.  It is then when he learnt that his son was an outstanding cyclist. You have already read above how his father disapproved of this.

 * San Mames is the home grounds of the famous Atletico de Bilbao. The only Español club team from the first division, made up exclusively from players from the Basque Country quarry.

** We are at the beginning of the last century when new sports, like soccer, were imported from other countries. In the Basque Country there is no word for the new sport, therefore, they use the English name for it.  My father spelled it foot-ball.  Much later it would be call futbol.

   Sam Mames is a renowned field for the Atletico de Bilbao soccer team. The fact that my father refers to el “cuadro” (picture) and not to "fotografia" makes me think that there were no photographers present.

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       Luis and Jose Adarraga
(with bicycles)

As usual, Luis and Jose helping CDH cross-country runners. From left: Luis, Juan Bautista, Luis, Alejandro Arrospide, Jose Luis and Pepe