Interview: Soon-to-be-Dad Robin Wallner on Sitting Out EWS La Thuile

Jul 19, 2018
by Sarah Moore  
We won t be seeing Robin Wallner this weekend as he is staying home to be present for the birth of his first child. He may be giving up his 2nd spot in the overall but family always comes first.


Robin Wallner is staying home this weekend to be present for the birth of his first child. He may be giving up his second spot in the Enduro World Series overall, but family comes first. We sent him a couple questions to learn more about his decision.


At what point did you decide to stay home instead if going to La Thuile?


I knew already 9 months ago or so ago that the only chance of me racing in La Thuile would be if we got an early and perfectly smooth birth just after Austria. So for most of the season I knew, but it wasn’t until last week that I 100% knew it wasn’t happening.


Did you think you would be in second place in the overall when you would be skipping a stop of the EWS?


No, I did not really expect this scenario, but I am also not shocked. I have worked pretty hard to be where I am at the moment and there are two sides to missing out now. On one side, I am super bummed for the overall series points hunt, but on the other, I could have been way worse off and could have ended up just having a really bad season. Now, I have given myself the second best situation I could have been in at the point of skipping a race in the series.


How difficult of a decision was this to make?


It wasn’t difficult at all. People have asked me quite a bit about this lately, but I never considered racing bikes instead of being there when my child is born, that's just not happening.


How do you think the birth of your first child will change the rest of the season and next year's?


Hard question. I think that will depend a lot more on how it affects Elin and if everyone is healthy, etc. But I have pretty good hopes of returning on form for the rest of the season. I am currently enjoying racing more than ever and I definitely think that all the traveling won’t get easier but I am not worried about it being a problem to be honest. This season has been a really mentally challenging one even up until now on the home front but it seems like it has actually sharpened me a bit when I am at the races and made me appreciate my time there more. Also If you look at the men's field there are quite a few Enduro dads out there. Like, for example, Sam - maybe he can give some advice, it seems to be working pretty well for him!

Robin Walner is loving the fresh tracks on the Austrian - Slovenian border and will be looking to build on his current 2nd place standing in the overall.

Congratulations Robin & Elin and we wish you the best of luck!


74 Comments

  • + 153
 basically, he didn't pull out so now he's gotta pull out. in all serious though, congrats.
  • - 16
flag chyu (Jul 19, 2018 at 14:27) (Below Threshold)
 He went full gaz.
  • - 16
flag endlessblockades (Jul 19, 2018 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 @chyu: Raw-doggin it
  • - 4
flag ryan83 (Jul 19, 2018 at 21:58) (Below Threshold)
 Comment of the year
  • + 2
 I guess timing is everything in racing.
  • + 3
 Higher risk when going tubeless.
  • + 102
 Second spot in EWS but the BEST Dad already. You're a good man Robin Wallner!!
  • + 13
 Agreed! Respect to this man!
  • + 3
 @doakwolf: Hear, hear!
  • + 4
 Big respect to Robin!
  • + 60
 The years go by so quickly that it won't be long until the medals are a distant memory. Being there for your family is forever and the bonds strengthen with time. Congratulations.
  • + 3
 Well put @bikes4kids !
  • + 14
 On the other hand: the kid won't remember if he was there or not for the birth.

I mean. Just sayin'.
  • + 12
 @tigen: It’s not so much about the kid but about Robin and what kind of husband and dad he wants to be.
  • + 4
 @tigen: you probably just have a few bikes waiting in your garage and no kids, right? Just sayin ????
  • + 5
 @fourcross:

Look at the big picture here. Being there for his special family moment will really help like 2 people. Racing bicycles in the mountains will entertain millions. Which one is more special, really? Kids are born every second. EWS events are not.

(kidding guys... I have a little sleep-depriving spawn myself and it’s hard to imagine skipping that moment.)
  • + 2
 @tigen: in real life there is no re-spawn.
  • + 2
 @tigen: you are right in every aspect with that answer. so, good night then...
  • + 1
 @tigen: And what do know about that? Big Grin conscious, subconscious? Wink
  • + 32
 Great response about how this is not a difficult decision at all.
  • + 10
 Reminds me of that Eastern European basketball trainer who put an interviewer in his place for asking stupid questions about what consequences it will have, that one of his most important players left the team mid playoffs to be there at his sons birth. Always a no brainer
  • + 5
 @leopaul: Just posted this below further down: youtu.be/G0a-Nr_vRjM

Very very true!!
  • + 0
 Clearly his wife was reading this
  • - 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 19, 2018 at 22:57) (Below Threshold)
 @leopaul: really?! A no brainer? You have to learn a thing or two about human psychology. Like how oxytocin and testosterone affect humna behavior and which sex has more of which. I am pretty sure it was not an easy decision, no matter how it feels to him after it’s been made, especially since he is a mountain biker doing very few compeitions a year, having vfery few chances to showcase his sponsors and leading basketball player anywhere in the world has his balls sucked from all directions
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: I'd tend to agree, yet on a sponsor stand point I wouldn't be so definite. Robin got a whole interview in PB for pulling out, which he probably would not have got if doing the race. Mostly nobody remembers who end up second or futher, you either win or loose, worst even if you are second overall due to consistency with no wins during the season. Now pn top of putting Robin in the showlights for not racing for very ethical reasons, this also put his sponsors in a good light as being understanding and human and being assimilated as such. orse, if they forced him to race or he decided to race some people could have think that his sponsors are monsters not taking in consideration the human side of athletes. Honestly it's a good communication action in my opinion.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: when you’re not an NBA player, chances of people knowing you, that aren’t interested in the particular league are very low. And yes I do think it’s a no brainer. And I’m far from having kids yet
  • + 1
 @ckcost: thanks for the link. Haven’t seen it in a while. Always cheers me up how he puts it in words
  • + 19
 Congratulations Robin! You're going to be a great dad!!!
  • + 10
 Stayed with Robin in same bunkhouse when we were racing RWS tweedlove a few years ago.

For a top racer he was very friendly & a good laugh

Ews races are great, but being there for your kids birth is waaay better.

Wish Robin & his family all the best
  • + 7
 Robin's partner Elin's a rad rider in her own right and deeply involved in the local riding community here in Åre, it's about time she gets some props and air time as well. So here you go:
pinkbike.com/photo/13688832/

pinkbike.com/photo/14932104/
  • + 1
 damn straight! Here is Glisseur heavily involved in the local riding community Wink

www.pinkbike.com/photo/16103237
  • + 6
 Oh right, brilliant. There goes my fantasy EWS thing... But congrats on the kid and all. No seriously. I know it just sounds bitter now. But really, congrats and I hope all goes well.
  • + 8
 Good for him and kudos to his sponser's that are supporting him in this decision. Congratulations!
  • + 5
 Congrats to you Robin and what a great example of fatherhood. When I was born, my father decided that going fishing and drinking beer was more important. Way to go dad, I really feel special and wanted. But I've got a bike and Pinkbike now so I'm all good!
  • + 1
 Maybe he feared what might go wrong so much that he shut himself away until he could go and meet his son?
  • + 3
 held my wife's hand during labor of our firstborn just 8 months ago. Absolutely nothing in the world can be more important than that and being together with them in at least the first couple of weeks. What Robin did was the only right choice.
  • + 1
 Held her hand? You need to watch the baby get spit out of that vagina, gooey fluids and all! Haha!
  • + 4
 Good man, I remember Sam Hill spending allot of time at home with his family while went through a period of injury's and his kids being born. Before he signed with CRC/Nukeproof and started winning everything again.
  • + 1
 “Winning everything” is a HUGE stretch, haha.
  • + 4
 Congrats Robin!

THIS THIS THIS AND THIS: youtu.be/G0a-Nr_vRjM

As someone who for a long time thought I would never want kids...and now have an awesome little 3 year I may be a little biased.
  • + 7
 he can hang out with Yoann Barelli
  • - 1
 Can I hang out with Yoann Barelli? I'd definitely be game for some antics.
  • + 3
 Congrats Dad! Glad you’re doing this. I made the mistake of working when my baby was born. I fought wild land fire as a high paid subcontractor and misjudged time away from family at that critical moment. My contract would not let me go. Hindsight is always better, but I’m glad to hear you making a better choice than I did. Take care of em!!!
  • + 5
 Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s a cultural thing. Sweden is a rather unique with how much time dads devote to their kids, parents in general. I have never been questioned when applying for parental leave or to go home when my kid was sick to take care of it. Neither at my work nor by our client.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: And that's a god thing! That's Something which is highly enjoyable in Sweden! Anyway, congrats dad! There will be only one day like this, but there will be some other racing action soon!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Why is everything about you? Dad missed a lot of special events?
  • + 2
 Yes! So happy to read about this. It really hurts me when a fathers job is more important that’s his family. I would more than anything to ride every morning and weekend if I could, and I can. My wife is fine with it, just makes her life so much harder. Knowing that really sucks. My previous job took me away from first born a lot. I hated it.

I’ve also discovered that riding with my two year old is way more fun than I thought. He gets so pumped. I’ll gladly ride rails to trails everyday with Shepherd.
  • + 2
 Congrats to the whole Wallner clan! I've taken almost all of July off for the birth of my second son who arrived a week late yesterday, and it's a pretty easy decision. It's an incredibly profound love, and it's good to see priorities in order here. Baby brain is a real thing though...so hopefully Robin finds a way to get some rest because it's certainly a challenge and it affected me on the bike the first time around for sure. Congrats and best wishes!!
  • + 3
 From someone who left there whole life, country, culture and language behind to be close to his child.. You won't ever regret the decision.. All the best for the birth, and fatherhood..
  • + 3
 Is Ibis fully supportive of your decision? I gotta imagine Scot N. would be. If so, just another reason to look at their line of bikes for my next one.
  • + 1
 I should say so. Hans Heim is grooming a bad ass competitor of an enduro racer in his daughter. Generations of bad-assery > a good year.
  • + 5
 Yes, for sure! Congratulations Robin!!
  • + 1
 After all the personal awards and professional kudos is come and gone, he will remember more than that he missed the most important time in his life, racing for himself and self gain. Was there any choice? You wont ever regret that decision, or that memory, over the 10 other trips to Italy to race what are in the end just bikes,
  • + 3
 Congrats Robin. As a dad to a newborn, i agree that being present for the birth of your baby is 1000x better than racing bikes. Enjoy this special moment in your life!
  • + 3
 My eyes trying to cheat me. was about to read "Soon-to-be-Dead".
Congrats, Soon-to-be-Father Robin. Wish the baby and the mom be healthy.
  • + 3
 Make sure to get the kid on the bike no later than 29 seconds after being born
  • + 4
 I'd more go with 27.5 seconds, 29 seconds is only if he wants to make him a XC rider.
  • + 2
 You know, back in the days we had them on the bike within 26 seconds. But I thinking back, I should have gone with 20 seconds instead. You need to start them on a BMX.
  • + 1
 Congratulations to the Wallner family! Nothing like being a dad - and great too see such solid life choices being made & the support the MTB scene and his sponsors are giving him.
  • + 2
 Isn't it the best ever reason to sit out of a race ?
For sure it is !
Go Robin, enjoy every moment and come back even stronger !
  • + 2
 Auguri to Robin, Elin and the new member of the family. You certainly have your priorities right!
  • + 2
 First ones normally a few weeks late in my experience... after that they barely touch the sides.
  • + 2
 Respect. It’s not a hard choice, I would choose my kids over a race, even at that level.
  • + 4
 Life>Racing
  • + 2
 So Swedish of you Robin Big Grin All the best of luck!
  • + 1
 I read that first as "soon-to-be-dead" and was like... whoa man, hit the brakes..what now?
  • + 0
 Down voting Sam H1LL doesn't change the fact he's #1 and will go down as GOAT. Going gets tough, Wallner pulls out.

Sam H1LL
  • + 2
 Respect and good luck to all the family.
  • + 1
 What? He has no WhatsApp?!?
  • + 1
 My baby ab to come to this world too man congratulations
  • + 2
 Enduro-Dad! Way to go!
  • + 1
 Probably a smart move...
  • + 1
 obivously
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