Don’t many guys have the secret wish we could pull an Ivan Basso?
The two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia is postponing his trip to Argentina to be home for the birth of his third child. Which is nice and warm and fuzzy but not the part we envy.
It’s not the fact he’s staying a day or two extra for the birth, it’s that he’s splitting immediately after the umbilical cord is cut. Hey, Liquigas calls.
We often wish we could turn to the wife and two beautiful, demanding kids and say, well, gotta go race our bike in Spain, California, Italy, France, boys and girls. Daddy has to work so I’ll see you in a few weeks. Everybody keep the house clean and do your homework. Bye-bye.
And then off I’d fly with my mates to do some training camp or race with zero family obligations. It’s all me, 100%, don’t bother me with any of those annoying family obligations. Who doesn’t wish sometimes, during the long grind of parenthood, that they could just pull a Basso or an Armstrong?
“Hey, gotta run, Anna, you take good care of those five kids. I left some Honey Stinger waffles in the freezer. I’m late for the airport.”
Sure, there is much joy in parenting and life on the road can be lonely and trivial but as we like to say, so what? It sure beats changing diapers and waking up three times a night to the sounds of a crying baby.
No, hanging out with the team sounds like way more fun and way more rewarding than parenting. Just ask Riccardo Ricco. He rides for Vacansoleil, the camping vacation company so of course he’d rather be on holiday. Sometimes we long to be Jens Voigt, a truly swell guy, well-respected and well paid with five wonderful kids at home. Key words: “at home.” Jens is somewhere else racing his bike. He just comes home to procreate.
Bike racers will often bemoan the long months away from family but the secret is that many would rather be doing the man-thing than staying home with a sick kid, or debating how to discipline a teenage boy or girl or grinding through science homework with a kid who hates school. That’s when a sunny week riding the Tour or Oman or Qatar sounds like paradise.
It’s the ironic dynamic that those who stay home wish they were traveling and those who travel wish they were home. Twisted Spoke says after two weeks at home in a small house with two loud kids, the away game sounds really fantastic.
I’m calling Patrick Lefevere at Quick Step today. I’ll wash bikes, I’ll shine Boonen’s shoes, I’ll peel potatoes for the team chef, just get me out of here.