In 2018 we were amazed and inspired by the amount of children taking part in our sportives - the routes are not for the faint hearted, but every child we met either at feed stations or at the finish had huge grins on their faces! We caught up with one young man, Theo Barker, who took part in his first Cycle Derby Sportive in 2015 when he was just 9 years old. Since then he’s gone onto summit the iconic Alp d’Heuz, finish the formidable “Beast of Provence” Mont Ventoux Sportive and complete his first 100 mile sportive.
Theo's first memories of cycling are climbing up a local hill on his brothers hand me down bike, 'It was only a small hill but felt like so much back then'. He goes onto talk about what got him interested in road cycling, 'I grow up on it, I'd watch the Tour de France and Chris Froome winning. My Dad and I used draw cyclists, like Bradley Wiggins.'
Theo recalls his feelings before his first ever sportive, the 40km Cycle Derby Sportive North Derbyshire Challenge in 2015, 'I went into it a bit blind and knew it’s going to be difficult.' After finishing, in an impressive 2 hours 37 minutes, he comments, 'I was over the moon, the atmosphere at the end was good and welcoming with people cheering and clapping me on since I was so small.'
Following his first sportive Theo has progressed onto successfully completing the Cycle Derby Spring Classic sportive 80km (2016), an Alp d’Heuz event with 1135meters of climbing (2016), the Lincoln Grand Prix Sportive 80miles (2017), and this year (2018) the Medio Fondo Mont Ventoux Beaumes-de-Venise 103km Sportive with 2700m of ascent and Cycle Live Nottingham The ‘Little John’ 100mile.
Theo says that Mount Ventoux was definitely the hardest because 'the climb seems to go on forever with 7%, 9% and 12% gradients, it feels as if there’s a blazing fire in your legs for 3.5 hours straight, I was happy and filled with joy once it was over.' So why do it and keep going back for more we asked him, 'It brings a big sense of achievement in completing and because why not.'
Thanks to Theo and his dad Nick for talking to us about Theo's experiences on his bike! Theo and his dad, Nick will be at our Spring Classic event in April, as Nick is training for Le Loop, cycling all 21 stages of the Tour de France starting one week before the first stage of the Tour. Nick is riding for The William Wates Memorial Trust which is a charity supporting disadvantaged children. If you would like to read his story, or support in any way you can, Nick's fundraising page can be found HERE.
One of Cycle Derby's main aims is to get all of the family cycling, at whatever age, and with this in mind we have introduced a new Five Parks Family Ride which takes place on roads and cycle paths around Derby City. Starting on a closed, traffic free road, the ride is 19km in total, with three turnaround points, so it's an ideal start to get everyone riding together.
For more information on our family ride, please visit our Five Parks Family Ride webpage.