The cycling world was hugely impressed by Geraint Thomas’s brutal 36-hour Zwift ride in support of the NHS, but perhaps flying under the radar is the 12-year-old rider who matched the astonishing feat.
Mak Larkin, from Hastings in East Sussex, decided to match the Tour de France winner on his monster ride, spending 12 hours in the saddle every day for three days.
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While the ride would have been daunting for any rider Mak, who races for Rotor Race Team, took it in his stride, raising thousands for charity in the process.
You can donate to his fundraising page here.
Proud mum Lynsey told Cycling Weekly: “Lockdown was really getting to Mak, being that he was so eager to race this season as it was his first year at national level road and mountain bike cross country.
“He saw Geraint’s 36-hour challenge and told us he wanted to do some of it with him for something to do and to support the NHS. He then told us a few hours later that he wanted to do the full challenge and wanted to raise some money himself.
“To be honest we were shocked – Mak doesn’t really enjoy turbo training and we didn’t think he would see it through, but we set him up a fundraising page with a £500 target.”
Mak, who received support form Quench Cycles, set up his bedroom ready for the ride and set off pedalling with Thomas on Wednesday, April 15 and began posting on social media in the hopes of raising money for NHS Charities together, the same organisation Thomas was supporting.
Lynsey said: “Day 2 was the hardest for him, legs were aching and saddle sore had defiantly kicked in, we said to stop but he was adamant he wanted to see it through.
“He received amazing support from family and friends and then the messages from across the world came in – a guy from Australia was messaging and even set his alarm for 2.30am to see him finish!”
To add to his motivation, Mak began receiving messages of encouragement from cycling stars like Tom Pidcock, Cameron Mason, Ben Tulett, before Geraint Thomas then tweeted his support of Mak’s ride.
Mak managed around 740km during the ride, while Thomas himself rode around 1,200km.
The youngster also raised a huge sum for charity, absolutely smashing his initial £500 target by racking up £3,175 in donations (at the time of writing).
And how was he feeling after three full days in the saddle?
“He was overwhelmed,” said mum Lynsey, “He couldn’t believe he had actually done it.
“He rested, but was eager to get back in the saddle for a gentle spin 48 hours after.”