A letter for Carlee
When you came into my life two years ago I had no idea that Marlee was about to be born.
Before we even really got to know each other we shared some nice moments. Well, we shared some moments. None of which were actually that nice. But it’s true what they say, at least we got some good stories out of it.
The universe was pushing us together from the very beginning. I guess it was meant to be.
It all started in my first ever professional race. I was a little bit out of my depth to be honest. No idea what to expect. It was Het Nieuwsblad, it was -4 degrees, and I had no clue who anyone was. But there I was in the front group. Suffering. And there you were too.
My Garmin was broken so I had no idea how many kms were left. Once the race had settled down a bit, and the group had whittled down to about 30 riders I thought this was my moment to ask someone.
I remember looking around and weighing up my options. Thankfully you’re a meerkat in the peloton (#not aero), so you were my shining beacon. I knew you were the one to ask.
Now, in my head I was thinking we couldn’t have had more than 20k to go. I was probably kidding myself really, but you could see it in my eyes. It was desperation mixed with hope. ‘How many kms to go?’ I asked. You looked at me, I could tell it wasn’t good news. After hesitating to weigh up whether it was best to lie or not, you responded ‘76k’. And with that devastating news I knew we were going to be friends.
Fast forward a year, and we were reunited for real. Teammates. It only took a day of this before we were friends. Probably not even a day. I knew almost instantly we were going to get along, but in the spirit of not spooking my new bestie I played it cool. As always.
All joking aside, I wanted you to know that your retirement changes nothing. Myself, along with some equally motivated allies, aren’t letting you get away that easily. Riding our bikes is what brought us together, but our friendship reaches far beyond that now.
You’ve been there for the laughs, the victories, the failures, and even the near death experiences.
From the other side of the world you were there for me from the moment I woke up following the accident. While everyone else went for the caring and concerned angle, you got in there with the first joke. Some might have said it was too soon, but you knew it was just soon enough.
When I was allowed back on my bike you were there from the first pedal stroke as well. You were my eyes and ears, and also my distraction through it all. It’s hard to stay down when you’ve got someone equally weird around you to put a smile on your face. You helped save me from myself this year and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
We’ve cried on each other’s shoulders (well you’ve cried on mine), and you’re the one I’ve wanted by my side through all the trials and tribulations of my career so far. Thanks for being awesome.
Enjoy some time in a land down under, and then we expect you back here in Girona before too long.
Congratulations on a career you can be proud of,
Words and Images: Molly Weaver
Cover Image: Anton Vos via Team Sunweb/ Liv Plantur