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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 15 year old son recenlty signed up to do a 2 day charity event this summer. I've ridden the event for ten years and am thrilled he wants to do it too. He's very motivated and has said for years that he wants to do this ride as soon as he's old enough.

He runs cross country and track, but has never done much riding, except in the woods. What's the best way to get him ready for back to back centuries. I'm thinking he should start out riding 15 miles 2 or 3 days a week and no more until he's got a good number of miles under his belt. He's been talking about wanting to go longer and join up with local group rides as soon as possible. I think I want to hold him back and only let him go with me for the immediate future.

Does this make sense? Anybody have experience riding with their kids?

Thanks.

Steve
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Think Like a Kid

Steve D said:
...He runs cross country and track, but has never done much riding, except in the woods. What's the best way to get him ready for back to back centuries...
Sounds like he should have the aerobic capacity so the next step is to adapt him to cycling. Be sure his bike fits properly. Make sure he is wearing good (clean) cycling shorts and a real saddle that fits his body. Clipless pedals and shoes or toe clips and appropriate shoes. Install a computer as it keeps things interesting, if you can get one with cadence even better.

Another key is learning how/when to eat and drink on the bike. You are looking at a long weekend and knowing how to fuel your body is important as well as eating and drinking for recovery. Also learning how to avoid the lure of 500 cookies spread across a SAG table and grabbing a banana.

Steve D said:
...He's been talking about wanting to go longer and join up with local group rides as soon as possible. I think I want to hold him back and only let him go with me for the immediate future...
I would suggest two to three hour rides, 15 miles is too short unless he can't do more. He should be going on group rides ASAP once he rides well enough not to be a danger to the pack. Group rides are what keeps riding fun and makes training and pushing yourself easier. He gets to have conversations with other riders and make friends. Other riders will be able to give him advice/coaching on his riding because you know absolutely nothing since you are his father. Having other people expecting him at a scheduled group ride will motivate him to go when it is cold, when is tired, and whatever other excuses a kid has since his new friends will razz him when he does not show up. He will push himself harder to go on the long ride with the group. Being comfortable around other riders is important on big charity rides and being able to ride in a paceline can shave hours off a century.

Steve D said:
...Anybody have experience riding with their kids?...
Greatest way to spend time together. Been riding with my son since he was 6 (tandem)and now at 17 he is still riding strong. Last spring at TOSRV we did back to back centuries together. We slept in the first day since it was raining and so spent a good part of the day riding alone rather than in the typical TOSRV pack. He and I traded pulls most of the day and then he ended up on the front of a brisk paceline which he pulled into town the last few miles and he still beat me at the sprint over the bridge. Last summer he got to the point where he could beat me on a pretty regular basis. Spending three hours in a car driving to races or riding side by side on a training ride gives you time to truly get involved in your kids life and have some meaningful conversations you can't have in front of a TV.

Have fun riding with your kid and savor the experiences while you can still keep up with him.
Steve S - Director Sportif of the Domestique Breeding Program.

A couple of training links, adapt as appropriate:
http://www.ultracycling.com/training/century.html

http://www.hellweek.com/training.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the well thought out reply. I really appreciate it.

We've got a bike to use for now, but may pick up a new one this spring/early summer depending on his interest and commitment. I think your idea about getting a computer with cadence is great. I remember how much having a cadence meter helped me when I started out. Funny thing about computers and kids though... years ago I put computers on my boys' mountain bikes and they had a complete disregard for traffic and safety while they bombed around trying to set new land speed records. I thought my wife was going to have a heart attack when she saw them flying down our street without ever once taking their eyes off the computer. Man, those were the days.

You make some really good points about getting him involved in group riding too. I guess I don't want him to think I'm pushing him into "my" sport. Having coached in youth sports quite a bit, I can see some real advantages to having others provide instruction and moral support. I think I'll stick with my 15 mile rides for the first couple of weeks (plus it's cold up here in Mass). Once he's comfortable I'll take him out on some group rides and maybe a few training races if he wants.

Sounds like you and your son have a great relationship. Thanks again for your input. Here's a photo from a couple years ago after we went on our first road ride together.

Steve
 

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i was going to say something like - don't let him go too hard too early, but yesterday i rode by what looked like a 12 year old kid motor-pacing!

i've got a good friend who's then 14 year old (month shy of 15) step-son did the Maratona dles Dolomites with us. He didn't do as much training as he should have, but still finished well. probably due to a mix of talent and fitness from his main sport (competitive kayaking).

the advice about eating is pretty important. i guess that's one advantage of age - knowing how to pace yourself, as well as having plenty of fat reserves ;)

ps - i also have to say - great 7/11 jersey. still regret not getting one when i had the chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was inclined to think along the same lines of not letting him do too much too soon. I certainly don't want to push him. Based on the comments here I think I'll let him direct the pace... as long as that pace doesn't include motorpacing. I don't think I could handle that.

I'm not sure I'm the one to give him advise about eating though as I'm guy who heads straight for the chips ahoy cookies at SAG stops.;-)
 

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Steve D said:
I was inclined to think along the same lines of not letting him do too much too soon. I certainly don't want to push him. Based on the comments here I think I'll let him direct the pace... as long as that pace doesn't include motorpacing. I don't think I could handle that.

I'm not sure I'm the one to give him advise about eating though as I'm guy who heads straight for the chips ahoy cookies at SAG stops.;-)
I just turned sixteen, and would say "too much, too soon" is certainly possible, but not any more so than for an adult. If he really gets into it, remember it won't be that long until he's faster than you, and you have to know when to let him go up the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
whoawhoa said:
If he really gets into it, remember it won't be that long until he's faster than you, and you have to know when to let him go up the road.
That's what I'm afraid of... Maybe that's the real reason why I want to hold him back ;-)
 
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