New team and a new life in France

I’m already one and a half months into the season and have begun to establish good working relationships with my teammates and staff and most importantly, have set up a comfortable base to call my home for the rest of the year in France.

I’ve had so much support, from my mentors, friends and family but also from Team Delko themselves who have all contributed to making my start to the season a successful and enjoyable one.

I’ll admit there have been challenges, but what job or career doesn’t have its moments!

I moved into my apartment for the first time when I returned to France from Africa. Our team boss Fred had come with me to the inspection back in December when I was in France for a pre-season training camp.
A partly-furnished two-bedroom apartment in the centre of a town called Aubagne, only a couple of kilometres away from the team service course and within walking distance to a few grocery shops and Boulangerie’s. Perfect. Now all I needed was electricity, bed sheets, a washing machine, kettle, microwave and a toaster. And some wifi!
I slept the first night fully clothed on the bed with no bed sheets or pillowcases because I had no car to go to the big supermarket and it was late. I had literally flown in from Africa and Fred's friend Jean-Marc took me home to meet the Real Estate Agent to collect the keys and sign the lease. And then they all left.
I’ve heard stories from riders (past and present) who found it hard to establish themselves in Europe. Find a good place, get a bank account, SIM card, etc. There is so much to organise and plan, and in a foreign country where English isn’t the national language - it’s even more difficult.

Thankfully this was not my scenario and I’m very grateful to my team staff and my boss for the behind-the-scenes work that went into assisting me to get set-up in Europe.  
Delko have allowed me to use the team car to buy my linen, household items and groceries, Jean-Marc took Kasper and I to Marseille to help set up Internet contracts and bank accounts. It made it so much easier. 

I probably spent the first week or two split in two - with half the day spent in shopping aisles, mobile phone stores or sitting in a bank meeting room signing contracts and the other half spent training for what I’m here to do, but it’s all worth it now and I feel like I have some time to relax and reflect on what has been a busy but exciting start to the year.
To have my girlfriend Lucy here with me is a massive bonus, the support she gives me is priceless and I’m so happy we can share the amazing experience of living in France together.
I can speak and understand a basic level of French now but I’m far off where I would like to be, come the end of the season that’s for sure! Each email, WhatsApp message or team meeting is in French, and I have signed all my contracts in French - so I hope I haven’t agreed to anything that will come back to haunt me!  

I have also made good friends with four English speakers on the team from Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland, which helps make life on the road a little more enjoyable.
So far I’ve felt joy or excitement coupled with a slither of anxiousness. It’s a big life experience and I’m absolutely loving the roller coaster ride, making new memories and creating life-changing opportunities.

I have some big races coming up and I’m looking forward to sharing my stories with you.

Until then, stay safe and make the most of every moment!



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