AS I write this I am on a flight home from France after a sweaty stint following the Tour de France for its first four stages, supporting Mark.
I travelled only with six-week-old son Casper, bottom, as our three others are still at school. I also knew the first few days would be highly stressful and involve a lot of driving so I thought it would be easier without the whole gang in tow – this time.
Over five days in my jazzy hire car, I clocked up from 62 to 280 miles per day. And I don’t want to exaggerate but it seemed like the hottest place on earth, ever.
I documented my trip on Instagram and had an overwhelming response.
Some people were cycling fans loving the behind the scenes glimpses of the tour and some were parents enjoying – or despairing – at the reality of mammoth travel with a wee one.
Firstly, I think people were surprised to see that on the whole I do the logistics myself. I’m the driver, the navigator and the child carer. But also people liked seeing a snapshot of what makes our family team work.
Everyone’s team is different – how many members, the roles each of you play, how often you see each other – but if it works for you, you should treasure it and support it.
It is easy for people to think I swan off to races and let the good times roll. It is not quite that simple.
When things don’t go to plan, like if we don’t win or someone gets injured, that’s when I feel like I need to pull our family together the most.
Mark is doing his job so it falls on me to rally the troops and play my part.
Don’t get me wrong, when things go well those highs are so high, but like anything in life, and especially in sport, the lows are pretty low.
When we do these road trips, especially the high pressure ones like the Tour de France, Olympics or World Championships, I take hundreds of photos and then make them into a photo book.
My hope is that as the children grow they will look back through the photos of their adventures and only remember the fun and excitement . . . and not the awful public toilets on French motorways or being freezing and soaking on a Brazilian bus with no sides.
While often in Mark’s career he is making history, as a family we are making memories and hopefully I am showing my children how important it is to be a part of a team.
And to the lady who messaged me asking me why I didn’t “get some self-respect and get my own life instead of hanging onto Mark’s”, it is called a partnership. Over and out.
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