The greatest day of my life was about to begin. Over the next 17 hours Peta [my wife] put my pain threshold to shame and made me glow with pride. At 10.30pm we finally had our beautiful baby girl: Delilah Grace Cavendish.
Everyone had told me that having a kid changes you and changes your life, but I hadn’t expected the transformation to happen so quickly. Now for every decision I took, from what I ate for breakfast to when I trained and went to bed, how it would affect Delilah would be the first thought that entered my head. It was a lot to take on board. For a few days I oscillated between boundless joy and terrible anxiety that I wasn’t up to the challenges of parenthood. I remember one day a week or so after Delilah’s birth, in particular, when the weight of it all completely overwhelmed me. I was up at Rob Hayles’s place in the Peak District, training on the roads familiar from my gruelling first weeks at the Academy in 2003. The weather was gorgeous, and to Rob who was pacing me on the moped there was nothing obviously wrong as we came to a hill and started climbing. I’d made it a few hundred metres before the tarmac under the wheels started to feel like treacle, I could no longer feel the warmth from Rob’s exhaust, and I pulled over onto the grass verge. My bike fell to the ground as tears started falling from my eyes. When Rob looked over his shoulder to check that I was still there, he saw me not bobbing up the slope but weeping back down the slope on the grass. He turned around, parked the moped, and came to put his arm around me. He didn’t need to ask what was wrong. Over several weeks he’d seen me growing more and more anxious, less and less confident of my ability to deal with fatherhood. They were natural, normal feelings, but at the time it took a lot of advice and support from true friends like Rob to make me realise that.
This period of readjustment – which really was all it was – lasted for a few weeks. As an athlete, you’re used to being – almost encouraged to be – self-absorbed, and Delilah and fatherhood released me from that inward-looking, self-obsessed spiral. In almost every interview I did that spring I was asked whether being a parent wouldn’t make me ride a little more conservatively, maybe to the detriment of my sprinting. I knew that wouldn’t be the case and why that was: a certain fearlessness was in my nature, and having Delilah was an incentive to work even harder and if anything take even more calculated risks to continue winning.
I’m a fearless competitor, but I want you to tell us, for a chance to win a jersey from my cycling team Omega Pharma and a signed copy of At Speed…
Bungee jump, spiders, cycling the Alpe d’Huez? What’s been the greatest fear you’ve overcome?
Grab your copy of At Speed by Mark Cavendish online and in store now!
Ricky Hatton is one of the truly great British Boxers and one of our most beloved sporting heroes. War and Peace is in stores now, we’ve read it and we can confirm it’s a knock-out read! Taking in the whole of Ricky’s illustrious career and his tumultuous life outside the ring, it’s all told with Ricky’s trademark humour and honesty. We met Ricky recently and this is what he had to say…
To celebrate the launch of War and Peace, Ricky has a signed a pair of Boxing Gloves for one Tesco Books Blog reader to win. To be in with a chance of getting your hands on this fabulous prize simply answer this question in the comments section below…
Ricky Hatton was famously nicknamed “The Hitman” in the ring, if you were a professional boxer what would your nickname be and why?
Buy Ricky Hatton’s War and Peace: My Story online and in stores NOW!
We’re just a few days away from publication of Alex Ferguson’s autobiography, and the excitement among the Tesco team is reaching fever pitch – not least because we are hosting the one and only signing event for the book. It’s happening this Thursday (24th October) at our Stretford Tesco Extra store in Manchester, with Sir Alex signing from 11am-noon and again from 2pm-3pm. We advise getting there early to beat the crowds!
And speaking of signed copies, we’ve also got a cracking competition prize up for grabs: a signed special edition copy of ALEX FERGUSON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY, worth £250. It’s got leather binding, gold foil, gold gilt page edges, and comes in a stunning leather box. In short, you want this on your bookshelf!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question in the comments below…
What is your favourite moment of Alex Ferguson’s career?
Order your copy of Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography online now or buy it in store from Thursday 24th October!
There’s not long to wait now until you can get your hands on a copy of Sir Alex Ferguson’s official autobiography, in stores on the 24th October. Widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British football, Sir Alex has been reflecting on and jotting down the highlights of his quite extraordinary career for the last four years. ALEX FERGUSON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY promises to reveal, entertain and inspire – and we can’t wait to read it! In the meantime, we’re thrilled that Sir Alex has recorded this exclusive video just for the Tesco Books blog readers…
Pre-order your copy of ALEX FERGUSON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY online now, or buy in store from 24th October!