It has always been a dream of mine to live a rural lifestyle. My fiancée Gretchen and I made that a reality in 2017 and bought a ten-acre dairy farm in Vermont. We have an old barn, an apple orchard, maple trees, a greenhouse. It’s an old farmhouse built in 1785, which for the US is about as old as they come.
Obviously I spend my seasons in Europe racing, but we are slowly chipping away at little projects. I’ve got a little tractor – a 1984 Kubota. It’s only a small one, 24 horsepower, but it’s fun, moving earth and wood, and it saves my back.
Living more of a self-sufficient life has always been something that’s appealed to me. Living this fast-paced exciting existence in cycling is thrilling, but knowing that I have this waiting for me at the end of my career is something to look forward to.
My brother and I got into hunting and fishing around the ages of 13 or 14. Being outdoors, camping – and this involved cycling as well – became a passion of mine, alongside country and western music. Nice, where I live during the season, is the complete opposite. A different world.
I will need to upgrade on the tractor in the near future. I look at them on Craigslist already. I think people fail to realise how expensive they are – you can easily drop €100,000 plus the attachments on a nice one. So I need to get the hours out of my little Kubota first. A classic 1952 John Deere would be my dream ride.
The article first appeared in Rouleur 19.3