So the secret is out – this week my dedicated and talented training partner, my husband Carl, exploded onto the cycling scene with his impressive performance at Mzansi tour, 2.2 UCI tour in South Africa.
Today I would like to share a very special story with you, by the way this is Carl’s favourite story, which he tells at every opportunity:
Carl and I met at Stellenbosch University. We were both studying engineering, him Civil, and I Chemical, however in your first year at Stellenbosch all engineers do the same subjects.
Carl and I started dating soon after we met. Carl is not the type of guy to waste time, when he decides he wants something, he gets it – so needless to say, he swept me off my feet in the first few weeks at university and by the time our first test week took place, Carl and I were officially dating!
Test week came and went, and I must admit I was particularly surprised at how chilled Carl was throughout the week. While I was studying super hard, Carl was spending his time training for World Triathlon Champs to be held in Gamagori, Japan later that year.
Sitting in math class after our first engineering test week, nervously awaiting our marks, our Maths lecturer stood at the front of the class and made the following announcement:
“The top mark in the class is an impressive 98%, and the lowest mark is a dismal 11%! The person who got 11% should reconsider their line of study!” and with that she invited us to the front of the class to collect our papers.
Being the nervous first year engineering students that we were, we eagerly ran to the front of the class to retrieve our papers, oblivious of what to expect. I happened to notice my paper very quickly, and to my surprise I saw written in big red next to my name – 98%!
Then out the corner of my eye I couldn’t help but notice Carl’s look of absolute terror and shock! He did his best to hide it and calmly asked me what I had got. As I told him my mark, under my breath, as I was slightly tentative – I didn’t know what my new cool dude, sporty boyfriend would think. And with that he dropped his paper and ran!!! Literally, he ran so fast I didn’t even have an opportunity to say a thing.
Shortly after, I set off to find Carl at his University res room. After knocking a few times, I managed to get him to show his face. I told him that he was not to worry and that we could get through this together! I made a pact with him, I told him that if he taught me how to become a world class athlete, I would teach him how to study!
And this is where it all started…….
Things couldn’t have been more ideal! Relationships are all about give and take, and here we had the perfect scenario!
As our relationship grew, so did our mission. And by final year university, our roles had completely switched. Carl, a super talented athlete, with national colours in numerous different sporting disciplines, was working hard in the bio diesel lab helping me complete my thesis. While I was away in France, chasing my cycling dream at Tour de Ardeche, my first UCI tour!
Now, a few years down the line, Carl and I live half the year in South Africa and the other half in Girona, Spain. We spend our days training together as I compete on the international stage of women’s cycling. However, I must admit that the give and take part of our relationship has become somewhat lob sided in recent years. Carl is giving much more than he is taking. He dedicates all his time, attention and energy to helping me become the best cyclist that I can possibly be, and in my off season he competes competitively in South Africa.
I am ever grateful to Carl for his huge sacrifice and deep passion to see me become one of the best in the world, but I can’t help but hide the pain I feel in my heart to see his amazing talent go unnoticed!!!
This week this changed, and I can’t tell you how happy I am!!! It took some persuading to get Carl to take this amazing opportunity to lead the South African national team at Mzansi tour, but I am so happy I managed to convince him to do so. I couldn’t be happier or prouder to see Carl get the results he so hugely deserves!
They say behind every successful man is a strong women……..well in our case behind a successful woman there is a very BIG man!!! Not many men would sacrifice their own success for the woman they love – so today I say cheers to Carl, my very big man!!