Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, its good and bad times and a relationship with a mountain bike racer is no different. I have had a number of people comment on how lucky I am or how exciting it must be to go out with a world series racer, and although most of the time I smile and agree being like #blessed, there are times where I want to explain how difficult it can be, how many times we have sat down and discussed the possibility of the relationship not working, how sometimes being with a racer just…sucks.
Sam and I have been together for over four years after meeting through a mutual friend and snowboarding. Although Sam was a downhill racer for most of his years with a European Champ title under his many achievements, he was no longer on the competitive scene when I met him.
Around two years in to going out, Sam got the bug back but this time in Enduro racing. He quickly got hooked on earning his descents through climbing to the top of the stages, being able to ride with friends and use his strength and skill to make good times on the descents. Over the last couple of years he has trained hard and trained smart to move up the rankings and land a two year contract with Saddleback and Intense Racing UK.
A life with an athlete wasn’t what I had planned but it is well known that life generally says a huge “Suck it!” to your life plans. You never know what is around the corner. I did plan a life with Sam, so if that meant going out with a world class athlete then I guess that I would just have to live with that – note sarcasm.
So to try and explain what it’s like to date an athlete, I stuck with the simplest format I could think of; the pros and cons.
Pro – Your partner has drive and passion for what they do.
Con – Every ride is training, so don’t expect to ride bikes with them.
Pro – You will receive top quality handmedowns and discounts/freebies.
Con – You may notice a slight green tint to your skin after seeing their new bike setup.
Pro – The pride you’ll feel is indescribable, whether they win or lose.
Con – You will feel like you are watching your partner live a life separate to yours.
Pro – If you work in the industry – networking opportunities!
Con – New friends you make through your significant other are also racers and you will rarely see them too.
Pro – However you get to meet some other lovely “WAGs” who can relate and keep you company trackside.
Con – They will miss important events like family weddings, christenings, birthdays etc…
Pro – You appreciate time together…
Con – …because you spend so much time apart
Pro – You learn to overcome challenges and become a stronger couple.
Pro – They will appreciate every sacrifice you make.
Pro – If you’ve got one like mine, it’s worth every sacrifice.
It is important to note that this is my experience and that everyone has different situations. Some racers are on a wage and can spare more time for their partner, some have partners who work on the circuit who can be just as involved in their racing life as any other aspect, some have partners who are not involved in their sport at all. Sam is a sponsored racer but outside of racing he has to work to earn a living.
So, yes it is very difficult to maintain a happy healthy relationship with someone who not only has to work a full-time job, but has a whole other career and life to occupy their time. But when you are with someone who is as genuine, caring, loving and hard working as my guy the difficulties seem a lot easier and you see the many pros far outweigh the few cons.
Do you date an athlete or an athlete in a relationship? What are your views? Comment or ping me an email.