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Wauwatosans cheer on one of their own in Tour de France

July 16, 2014

It wasn't official until they saw it on Twitter. In the weeks leading up to the Tour de France, Wauwatosa residents Craig and Cindy Busche had grown used to the same response from their son Matthew when they asked if he had been chosen to ride the Tour: "They haven't told me 'no.'"

When Trek Factory Racing posted their official roster on Twitter June 24, it was the first of many times the family would get the best and worst news about their son remotely, from 600 miles away. "Good choice," Cindy tweeted back with a smiley face.

Many other Tosa residents have joined Matthew's family and friends around the world to tune in every way they can to follow Matthew, a Wauwatosa West graduate, as he tries to meet his goal of finishing his first Tour de France in Paris July 27.

"The support from everyone from Tosa and everywhere has been amazing," Matthew said over Skype on his first rest day in France. "When it's a race of this stature, it brings everyone out of the woodwork. I never realized how many people are out there who are actually checking in and supporting me."

For the Busches, the TVs in the living room and kitchen aren't enough. While those play in the background, Craig and Cindy are often on their computers, checking in on Twitter and Matthew's blog, while also texting with their daughter-in-law Lisa and other family members. Whenever they hear his name on TV, they hone in.

"Finally hearing them know how to pronounce 'Wauwatosa' was great," Craig said of the TV announcers.

Craig also does races as a category-four biker — four steps below "professional," where Matthew is.

"I knew long ago he would be way better than me," Craig said.

He and Cindy live vicariously through their son's every pedal. The most exciting moment was when Matthew was part of a breakaway in the seventh stage. He got some screen time then. He also got it when he crashed, which he did five times in two days.

Cindy had worried before about Matthew crashing as soon as he started considering racing.

Matthew didn't get into cycling until he was at Luther College and a running injury led him to biking to keep up his strength. When Cindy and Craig visited him at school, Matthew's professor told them he thought Matthew should be racing.

"I said, 'No, no,'" Cindy said. "I had seen crashing. I knew it was a tough sport."

But as Matthew climbed his way to the most elite race in the sport, his parents have been behind him every step, their house adorned with his photos.

"He's not a quitter," Cindy said. "He texted me after the crash and said, 'I learned that all from you — never taking me to the doctor and telling me to suck it up.'"

Although Matthew said Tuesday he was still hurting from road rash, he said was regaining confidence on his bike and maintaining his goal of finishing.

"It's been a fight," Matthew said. "I've had a lot of ups and downs, but hopefully I've got the downs out of my system now and I can stay strong."

You can follow Matthew's journey on his blog, matthewbusche.blogspot.com, and on Twitter with @MatthewBusche.

"He really appreciates all the good wishes," Craig said. "I don't think people realize how much that means when you're riding in something this physically and mentally exhausting."

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