Our older son, Chad, was scheduled to graduate in December 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Although he had already received a job offer from the company where he had interned, we weren’t surprised when he called Chris in October to say that a couple of semi-professional cycling teams had shown an interest in him. He didn’t ask his dad’s opinion of what he should do, but Chris sensed he wanted to. Our son apparently couldn’t get up the courage to make this career change after we had put him through four years of college.
We had mixed emotions about Chad walking away from a good engineering job.
Chris said, “I don’t want Chad to spend the rest of his life wondering, What if? Because of cancer, I’ll probably never realize my own dreams of enjoying life in retirement. With his passion for cycling and his dream of becoming a professional cyclist, I don’t want him to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He’s in his peak fitness and has no responsibilities to prevent him from traveling.”
Chris called Chad the following morning and gave our blessing. “Go for it and chase your dream. I have no doubt you’ll make it.”
Chad raced much of 2011 on an elite amateur team out of Fort Collins, Colorado, and he had considerable success. A pro team liked what they were seeing and signed him for the remainder of the 2011 season. The team rebranded to Optum Pro Cycling, and Chad signed with them for the 2012-2013 seasons. His dream of being a professional cyclist was coming true.
He is now in his fifth year of racing for Team Sunweb at the WorldTour level and has competed in the Vuelta a Espana three times and the Giro d'Italia four times--Spain and Italy's versions of the Tour de France. They won the Giro in 2017.
Americans aren't usually familiar with these Grand Tour events and are always asking, "When will he get to race in the Tour de France?"
We can finally answer: "July 2018." He's made it, and his dad will have the best view of the entire race.