It’s just a number, I’ve had many numbers in my time. The number 5 has been good to me, as has 55 (Roubaix), but that’s when they are stuck on my back. This one is different, in April I turned 40 years old….. It’s just a number.
I got back from the Gold Coast and the Commonwealth Games to a quiet week at home, as quiet as can be with 15 month old twins who climb as much as they walk these days, I needed it, but more than anything, my family needed it. They needed their husband and father home for more than a few nights.
The Games were such a high, such a whirlwind, we got in, did our best to get over the jet lag, prepare, raced and next minute it was all over. I had a blast from the moment I got into the Village till I was forced to leave. It felt like Australia day everyday for the week I was there!
The road race was one of the last events, but the public, the volunteers and dare I say it even the motorists, were the happiest, helpful and safest I have seen in Australia for years. It was an honour to race in front of a home crowd. What a ride by Steele to win the road race, after what I think was a great performance from the whole team. Yes, we had a very strong team but winning races is never easy, we did not have a clear favourite on our team but we all rode out of our skins for Australia and that is what got us over the line. I was overjoyed at the finish that we had pulled it off, a race full of fireworks that came down to the wire, one I will not forget!
Back to that number, I am now a veteran, I am not sure what category I can race in now that I am over 40? I really thought that this birthday would sail by like all my other birthdays, but it didn’t. It does kind of make you stop and think, almost half my life has been as a professional athlete, day in day out. When I got my first contract back in 2000, finally my childhood dream had come true, I was Professional, I had made it. Now for how long? Contracts are short, job security is scarce, for years i didn’t want it to end, and now I am at the crossroads of having to make that decision to end it. I guess I should be very grateful, most professional athletes dream to be in the position I am in, to not be forced into retirement, but the decision to stop, or not, is one that weighs heavily on me.
The first part of the season is done, I have had my little bit of decompression, Classics have been won, it is now time to turn my attention to the next chapter. That starts with an altitude camp in the US, we will be training at 2000 mts for the next two weeks before heading to the Tour of California. This is part of a build up for the Tour de France and with the goal of seeing how far Caleb Ewen can go in the sprints. If anything will take my
mind off being 40, then it will be throwing myself into a leadout train and hectic sprints with Caleb in tow.
Mathew Hayman is the epitome of hard work and persistence with both of these attributes leading to extensive success.
After 16 years of competing as a professional cyclist, Mathew fulfilled his ultimate dream by winning the 2016 Paris – Roubaix.
Mathew captured the hearts of all cycling enthusiasts with his courageous performance within the closing stage of this iconic one-day classic.
Mathew has been a senior member for many of the Marquee Grand Tour Teams including Rabobank, Team Sky and GreenEdge. Notably, he was also the winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Road Race.