I’ve always thanked my mom for not caring where I was when I was roaming around the fields, forests and rivers of Wakeham, Quebec, as a kid. She didn’t care because ‘helicopter parents’ hadn’t been invented yet, at least in my town. Even when she did start caring and worrying later on (although she’ll never admit to the 2nd bit), she never let on and I always did things that I wanted to without any instilled fear of failing, getting hurt, or worse.
Ventoux is an interesting place to gauge people’s fears, whether bred, or otherwise – but only on special days, like this:
I’ve been on top of the mountain several times in conditions like this and it’s a little scary when you’re riding a bike, I’ll admit. I’ve seen people take a look at this wind and stop in their tracks at Chalet Reynard and I’ve had others do the same further up the hill. I’ve had people reach the top but not descend down, putting their bikes on the vehicle. All these reactions to the same wind (more or less) are reasonable, in my mind.
But here’s the thing.
Mont Ventoux is a mountain with a lot of wind sometimes, but it isn’t a mountain with shear vertical drop-offs or even cliffs above you that could drop wind-loosened boulders on you. What will probably happen to you in a wind like this is that you may be knocked off your bike at a very slow pace (going up or going down). It could hurt and it might possibly damage your bike, but most likely that’s what you’re looking at. We’re not even remotely talking about ‘life or death’.
And so it was with great pleasure for me to witness Kevin, 12 yr. old Finley’s father, just let the kid do his thing on Ventoux a few days ago. Finley, for his part (I was watching carefully from a distance), fought like crazy into and through that wind, actually being blown off the road and into the gravel more than once. When that happened he just got back on the saddle and plowed on, pedal stroke after pedal stroke. It was a sight to behold, I have to tell you, because most everyone else around (adults, not little kids) were walking their bikes near the top. It was determination, coupled with an admirable lack of fear that got him up that mountain in such style.
I’m not a parent, so I’d never judge anyone on that particular job, but I was just happy to see what I saw on Tuesday, father-induced or not.