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Children's Physical Development and Riding

 
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CBaron
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Joined: 20 Jun 2003
Posts: 219
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:58 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Children's Physical Development and Riding Reply with quote

Doc,

I've got 3 kids and they are all boys. The oldest is 7yrs and has taken to riding very well. My question to you is how "easy" should he go for how long (years into his development)? I've been riding and racing for 15yrs and know about Jr-gears for road racing and the general thoughts behind it. And thats what got me to thinking about the concept of how much could they handle. I'm not necessarily talking about racing or training or anything intense or focused. I'm more so referring to the fact that we like to take trips to Colorado mtn biking in the summer time. I don't want to "physically stress" the child out too much on too long of rides.

I know that we are probably years away from this in practice but I'm very much looking fwd to the day(s) when we can all go and do some significant riding together in the CO mtns.

Thanks,
Patient Father
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The Bike Doc
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Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:21 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sea Baron:

Three words "Keep it fun!" Fortunately bicycling is not as hard on the musculoskeletal system as some of the other sports that can and do serious damage to joints and bones of children (I have too many cases I have seen as a Pediatrician and ER doctor from the national religion of Texas). At the age your kids are stick to the fun races (Kids Kups) and to fun rides. If you would like to road rides several of the organize tours have shorter routes for families with kids. We did several of these rides and KidsKup with our youngsters in their growing years. Enjoy the years with them, they will go by faster than a downhill racer.

Thanks,
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CBaron
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Joined: 20 Jun 2003
Posts: 219
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:02 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.

So am I correct in s guessing that he will do "what he *can* do"?

I know this may come across as an overzealous parent but in reality its just the opposite. Me and my riding circles (others friends with kids too) like to go ride long fairly tough rides. Often these will take place in the summertime in CO. If my kids ask and want to start joining us (say when he's around 11-13yr old) should this be something that I try to curtail his developing joints/knee/legs from? If he falls in love with 6hr epic Colorado riding at age 14 should this be something to be cautious with? Feasibly we could end up on 2-3 day singletrack touring events.

Thanks again.
CJB
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The Bike Doc
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Joined: 08 May 2003
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Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:10 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sea Baron:

Keep the pace easy for them. They should be able to do well with the rides you are talking about but have an alternate if they start to tire out. Give time and encouragement and they will eventually drop you, but don't drop them on your rides.
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jfish
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Joined: 23 Sep 2003
Posts: 986
Location: Austin

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:47 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sea Baron, my kids started racing at age 7 and 9. First, every kid is different so what you do with each of them will probably be different. Some like to race hard at a young age and some want to not be so serious. I have found that if they have the desire, the endurance of youngsters is amazing but if they don't want to, their endurance is nil. Don't push them hard but don't hold them back either.

They say you learn from your mistakes so we have learned a lot about junior racing. A big problem with mountain bikes is the Q is to wide for kids and those with smaller hips. The Q is how far apart your feet are on the pedals when viewed from the front. We had ankle/knee issues for years before figuring it out. Try and get cranks that are narrower (not Shimano) and use eggbeaters with the short shaft. The float of the eggbeaters also help knees a lot. As the distance increases, this becomes a bigger issue. Another big issue is proper hydration. Juniors have little storage and have to hydrate a lot more than an adult, especially in a race. Camelbacks are a good thing. Even though Kevin is now 17, he still races with Eload, 3 eload caps and a gui in every bottle he drinks or else he cramps. He also starts hydrating the day before the race. As for riding in Colorado, pre-puberty kids for some reason don't feel the altitude.

Some probably think I am overzealous about junior racing but I have seen what TMBRA has done for both of my sons in completely different ways. Cat 2 and Cat 3 is the backbone of bike racing. It's cool for a kid to not train much, do the races and have fun with the comradarie that he gains from it. He/she will learn positive things that he/she will apply to other parts of his life. It's also cool if you have a son/daughter that wants to take it more seriously. If they are serious, you owe it to them do give them the opportunity to be their best and they will appreciate you later for it especially if it turns into something great.

Laughing
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Scott S
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Joined: 01 May 2003
Posts: 3057
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:14 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll throw in my two cents about kids and riding. From 2002-2006, I took a gaggle of kids ranging in age from 12-17 on mountainbiking trips across the country. The first two years were to New Mexico and Colorado and involved riding anywhere from 2-5 hours a day, all pretty epic rides in time, distance, and effort. By 2004, some of the "regulars" were good enough that they wanted to go racing at Nationals instead of just recreational riding so I obliged with trips to Vermont, West Virginia, Snowmass, Sandpoint, Birmingham, Sugar Mountain, etc. In five years of doing this we only had one injury that required an emergency room visit for stitches, and more importantly the whineometer was very low on all these trips, the kids were so into mtb riding that they never seemed to run out of energy.
I think they all turned out okay too, to drop a few names Ben Pifer, Tyler Jewell, Blake Harlan, Andrew Dahlheim, Kyle Johnson, Bennett Brown, Tristan Uhl, and others who've kind of done well were all part of those trips as juniors.
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