Today, we cycled from Bourg d'Oisans to the Col de la Croix de Fer (Iron Cross). More about that later. As we began the true ascent several miles into the ride, we were passed by a father and his son, who appeared to be about 9-10 years old (the son, not the father). At that time, the ride was just commencing its climb through forested area, as depicted in the following photograph:
Mark and I remarked that it was amazing that a boy that age would be climbing the route to the Croix de Fer. We didn't see them again until we reached the col (which in French means "pass"). We saw him and his father, as well as the rest of the family. They were from Luxembourg, which we deduced from the license plate on their van. At the col, it became apparent that the mom was traveling in tandem with her husband and her son, with two other little boys and a child in arms (whose gender wasn't determined). Each of the two boys was dressed in a kit identical to that of the older brother: blue cycling shorts and a red and white polka-dot jersey. As Mark said, it was like the two little boys were preparing for the day when they, too, would ride with their father and older brother. (BTW, in the Tour de France, the red and white polka dot jersey is worn by the best climber. So cute.)
We were amazed that a boy this young could ascend 6300 feet from the valley floor to the Col de la Croix de Fer. I wanted to take the above picture to show to my children: how a boy their age could ride with his father on such an incredible ride. (Unfortunately, the father is not pictured). The boy is on the left; his mother is on the right. What a family! My story is that the father was once a professional cyclist. But I wondered what he does now. Regardless, I felt to salute these parents from Luxembourg who were spending such amazing time with their children and with each other. It would have been wonderful to talk with them.