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Thinks he might be the youngest to conquer the Italian climb

Earlier this year, the then eight-year-old Alfie Earl from Islington climbed the Tourmalet. This week he climbed the Passo dello Stelvio less than 48 hours after climbing Mont Ventoux.

Alfie and his siblings got into cycling when their dad, Steve, did London-to-Paris to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital – Alfie’s brother Ivan having undergone life-saving open heart surgery there when he was 18 months old.

Speaking about his son’s latest feat, Steve said that while an eight-year-old had done Ventoux on a mountain bike, the youngest ascent of the Stelvio he knew of was by Ivan Basso who reportedly did it when he was nine. “Basso was born in late November when the pass would've been closed until the next summer, so Alfie may be the youngest.”

Alfie climbed Mont Ventoux from Bedouin on October 22 and said of the experience: "The forest was the worst bit and it went on for ages. When I got to the summit I realised I hadn't actually changed onto my lowest gear – but at least it was good training for the Stelvio."

A couple of days later, he was tackling the 25.8km Passo dello Stelvio from Prato in drizzle, icy rain, low cloud  and then snow near the summit.

"After I did Mont Ventoux on Saturday I knew I could do the Stelvio, but it would be tough – and it was. My mum and dad drove me hundreds of miles to Provence and then over to Italy the next day. I'm really proud of myself for proving that a nine-year-old can do this. It was my choice – after the Tourmalet I wanted to do both as soon as possible and I did them in under 48 hours.

"It was cold and I was really tired but I got a jersey for doing each mountain and my mum got me a big pack of Match Attack cards. Next I'm going to do London to Paris in May with my sister who's just turned 12, but I wanted to give my bike a rest for a bit first."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

19 comments

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Bowks [41 posts] 8 months ago
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Chapeau!

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dinosaurJR [201 posts] 8 months ago
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Chapeau indeed! Bloody amazing feat from the little guy. 

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HalfWheeler [596 posts] 8 months ago
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Hmm...is all this his idea?

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dwbeever [54 posts] 8 months ago
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HalfWheeler wrote:

Hmm...is all this his idea?

 

yep.  know the family, and it's not a case of pushy parents. obviously steve and sarra facilitated it, but you tell me of a 9 yr old that you know that would do this just 'cos his folks wanted him to!

 

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RMurphy195 [82 posts] 8 months ago
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Wow!

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HalfWheeler [596 posts] 8 months ago
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dwbeever wrote:

...you tell me of a 9 yr old that you know that would do this just 'cos his folks wanted him to!

You're right of course, children are impervious to suggestion, influence, pressure, etc. 

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Steve Earl [5 posts] 8 months ago
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HalfWheeler you are right: both climbs in 48 hours was my idea - Alfie had wanted to do them in 24, but it was logistically unfeasible. My only 'idea' has been that he should slow down a bit on long decents (he is listening, just). I showed him your comments, he rolled his eyes and walked off  1

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jimbo2112 [70 posts] 8 months ago
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Steve Earl wrote:

HalfWheeler you are right: both climbs in 48 hours was my idea - Alfie had wanted to do them in 24, but it was logistically unfeasible. My only 'idea' has been that he should slow down a bit on long decents (he is listening, just). I showed him your comments, he rolled his eyes and walked off  1

 

Brilliant stuff. Is Alfie on Strava?

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Notsofast [134 posts] 8 months ago
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Go go little fella! love where he brings it back to being about the match attack cards, still just a kid being a kid.

 

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chickeee [19 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
HalfWheeler wrote:
dwbeever wrote:

...you tell me of a 9 yr old that you know that would do this just 'cos his folks wanted him to!

You're right of course, children are impervious to suggestion, influence, pressure, etc. 

 

I can't get a ten year old out of bed in the morning

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jollygoodvelo [1616 posts] 8 months ago
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Fantastic.  He should be so proud of himself.  That's a proper achievement for anyone at any age.  

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Danger Dicko [281 posts] 8 months ago
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Chapeau!

What bike was Alfie riding?

 

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The _Kaner [1074 posts] 8 months ago
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Congratulations to Alfie and the Earl family.

Yes, there are some pushy parents out there...but seriously - you cannot 'make' a 9 year old child do something physical like this...

They either have it in them to do it (physically/mentally) or not.

Looks like Alfie has 'it' and if his parents are able to give the encouragement and support needed, then more power to them/you all.

My son was a national gymnastic champ on several occasions from aged under 10 to under 14s, he is now 17,  he did it because he had both aptitude and the correct drive/mindset at that time, he no longer competes and that was his decision. So I understand, somewhat...

As parents we never pushed him in any particular direction at all.

But we did facilitate, wherever we could, in allowing him to train and compete wherever/whenever he desired.  Now as he approaches adulthood we will still give him whatever support he needs in whatever decisions he takes...this appears to be what the Earl's are doing.

Keep doing whatever Alfie wants to do.

 

 

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Super Domestique [1614 posts] 8 months ago
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He must have been doping.*

*no, not really. But that is the general reply to any cycling feat here unless it involves being hit by a car (yes, I've done that one).

Actually my real response is:
Nice one Alfie! Well done.

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Steve Earl [5 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes

I'll honestly try not to butt in with comments on this but thanks, and agreed wholeheartedly on being encouraging without applying pressure. That's what I've tried to do. I've seen kids pushed too hard and get injuries etc - Alfie isn't even motivated by becoming a cyclist, at this point he's really into reading/writing and football. Loves cycling too, rode/won his first BMX race aged 4 (on a tiny £50 bike). His road bike is a Giant TCR Espoir 24ins, no modifications, bought from Winstanleys in the sale a couple of years ago (and we live in hope that having learned to climb, he'll now learn to clean).

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Steve Earl [5 posts] 8 months ago
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And no he's not on Strava or I'd have to spend even more time following him on his bike and being subjected to his determination to beat everyone else.. :/0

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kitsunegari [195 posts] 8 months ago
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Chapeau. You should be very proud Steve.

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ken skuse [16 posts] 8 months ago
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When I was eleven or twelve, I rode from Strood in Kent to Cadoxton near Barry Island, South Wales.  I had to go via Gloucester since there was no bridge over the River Seven in those days. I rode my only possession, a beautiful fixed wheel Rotrax bike with my Brooks saddle and Michelin 25 tyres. My saddle bag had some sandwiches in it, some water and little more.  I was too tired to continue past Witney the other side of Oxford, so spent one night at a truck drivers hostel.  It was a long room lined with bunks like an army barracks. Outside there was a CTC approved sign, I carried my membership card, my one-night cost thirteen shillings and sixpence. It was great. The next day I got going eventually reaching my aunt in Cadoxton late at night. She nearly fainted. After staying all summer I caught a train under the channel tunnel back to Bristol, then rode to Strood in one day.  Through London and down the A2 in darkness with no lights. I got away with it. My mother never and father never bat an eyelid when I walked in.   I was a member of the Medway Wheelers club at the time, alongside Ken Joy and others, the best in England. I was well used to long Sunday club runs with sixty or more riders. Pipe opener of the year was to Brighton and back. I am still proud of my ride, still do not know how many miles, though, but unforgettable. I now live in Transylvania, in the Carpathian mountains, still riding and reading  Cycling Magazine. I managed 92 kilometres today. If I lived my life again I would do the same. You can still purchase a beautiful hand made Rotrax.

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HV3 [11 posts] 6 months ago
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I'm off to the bookies tomorrow to put money on him being a TdF King of the Mountains jersey winner within the next 15 years.

Damn fine show to you all, Alfie and parents. Well done kid, you've got some spirit.