Some kids just love their sport. When they wake you up at 5am, fully dressed and ready to go, it gives you a bit of a clue. Conquering Cheddar Gorge aged 4 on a 16” wheel bike was an early sign. This little boy is only happy when he’s climbing.
A year ago, 5 year old Fraser MacArthur watched his Team Sky hero’s go up the iconic Alpe d’Huez on the final stage of the 2015 Tour de France, Chris Froome in Yellow.
The next day he rode the first 5 of the famous 21 bends, non-stop before Dad cried enough. His 7-year old brother Connor rode the 13.8km Col that day. Fraser didn’t take kindly to that.
Since then, he’s wanted nothing more than to cycle it himself and this little boy has not dreamt about much else.
So when his brother planned to compete in the EDF Alpe d’Huez Kids triathlon (but with Mum’s vertigo, they only way to do it was to cycle up first) Fraser couldn’t resist the chance to support his brother.
So began a 3 hour climb for a 3 stone boy who loved every minute, all 3,800ft. Halfway up, as he started attacking and hanging on to the back wheels of passing Mamils, it was obvious he was well within his comfort zone, even if Dad wasn’t!
Dad (if he’d enough breath to laugh) was amused to witness them riding side-by-side chatting about Lego sets, not a bead of sweat between them on a 10% drag, in 28 degrees heat. “What is going on!?!” as Dad asked the boys for another break!
At the top, he was greeted to quite a reception from other cyclists and triathletes who passed in cars making there way up to the event. Many in disbelief at what the tiny cyclist had just done.
After a cafe lunch and a swap of pedals, his brother signed on for the Kids Triathlon, finishing an impressive 4th on some pretty tired legs. A 3 hour warm up for a 10 minute Triathlon.
Then, with plenty of ‘finger cramp’ breaks along the way, it was back down the Col in time for tea. #teamwork #brothers
We are pretty sure he’s the only 6-year old to tackle a HC Category Col. He’s probably the only 6-year old crazy enough to think he can. He’s also done a couple of ‘easy’ (as he calls it!) category 2 Cols this Summer holiday following the 2016 Tour de France, but those 21 bends are still his favourite!
A short video of 6-year old Fraser riding up Alpe d’Huez. Get up on those pedals and dance, dance, dance…
Don’t try this at home at kids, we don’t actively encourage anyone to emulate this either. Don’t expect a typical 6-year old to do this (why would they want to?) let alone a typical 10 year old! Fraser lives and breaths cycling doing a lot on his bike.
As a parent, be sensible and use your head. However, despite fears, overwork injuries are incredibly rare. Kids have the same self-preservation functions as adults, pain and discomfort. Like adults, they will not easily over-ride these! Our personal checklist includes the following rules;
- If they are not well (even recently) – no big rides!
- If they are showing signs of a growth spurt (sleep/appetite changes) – no big rides!
- If anything hurts (even slightly) – no big rides!
- If they don’t actually want to do it (the desire must come from them) – no big rides!
Mum or Dad need to be fully loaded with extra clothes, water and food. Regular breaks to eat and drink, regular ‘finger cramp’ breaks on descents and absolutely NO aero-tucks!
Take a look at the bikes that make it possible for a 6-year old to ride a HC col – CLICK HERE…