A friend’s father is just about to turn eighty and he’s complaining that his bike club had been taken over by “young guys.” And by “young guys” he means men in their fifties.
He races twice a week, and rides daily with his club.
I’d love love love it if that were me at eighty but it seems unlikely given that I’m having a hard time finding people to race with here, now, at almost fifty.
I know that not everyone wants to race but I think recreational, club level racing is a blast and that it’s fun and adds a lot of depth to one’s cycling life.
What’s so great about racing? Certainly it keeps you in better shape. People who race also train…and it’s terrific for developing and keeping your bike skills up.
I’m not sure why we don’t have a a more open, participatory racing culture here in the cycling world. Not all of us plan to age gracefully.
How about it? Are you too old to race? Really?
In an earlier post on reasons not to race I wrote, “These friends admit they might have enjoyed racing in their youth but now they are too old, they think. They’ve grown up and put all the fun away. To which I say, don’t be ridiculous. It’s like saying that sex is for the young. We’ve only got one kick at the can, one try at this life, and if something would have been fun when you were young, it’s probably still fun now. (Like sex.) The Vets Racing Club in Canberra requires a doctor’s notes in order to keep racing after age 75 and there are people in that category.”
Read here for the rest of the reasons and my responses.
Here’s her answer to the Bicycling Magazine’s first interview question, when did you start riding?
“Like everybody, I started cycling as a child. As I grew older, I had various road bikes, commuted to work. I commuted with roadies in the ’80s at lunchtime; we’d go out for an hour, hour and a half lunch break and just ride. I did that for a while, up until the late ’90s and even beyond, just commuting to work, because it was fun. I wasn’t really serious though. Then in 2004, I got an email from a friend asking if I’d like to be the bicyclist in a team triathlon. My first reaction was panic! But I got my bike out, dusted it off, and practiced their course. I won their category. Afterward, I thought to myself how I could probably do all three categories – run, swim, and bike. About two months later, I signed up for 2 triathlons in the same weekend. In 2005, though, I realized that bicycling was my strongest suit. I practically drowned during the swimming section – there’s a big difference between swimming amongst 500 other people and practicing by yourself! Then, I decided that I would go to a local time trial near my house. And in 2006 I decided to join their bicycle club. My first race was a criterium—it was a hoot, very silly and fun. From there I went on to several other criteriums and road races.”
And then there’s Robert Marchand, Marchand to make new hour record attempt at 102 years of age.
“After previously setting marks for the hour record and 100 kilometres at over 100 years of age, French inspiration Robert Marchand is at it again; now almost 102 years old, he is planning to once again extend his hour record mark.Now he wants to try the hour record once more, with INSERM [Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or National Institute of Health and Medical Research – ed.] professor Véronique Billat announcing the bid today.
“We prepare Robert Marchand for the world record of an hour above 25 km/h in January he will be 102 yrs old,” she wrote on Twitter. “He improved his VO2max (35) and his maximal power by 10% by the strength component, especially 2.65 w/kg of full body mass with 13% fat mass.”
Marchand’s birthday takes place this month and he’s continuing to push the limits for his age.
He trains regularly, lives alone, is self-sufficient and continues to drive. He is just five feet tall (1m52), but is in superb health.
Born in 1911, Marchand started cycling at 14 years of age, then later left France and lived in Canada and Venezuela. He worked as a fireman, market gardener, show salesman and wine dealer, and competed as an amateur boxer. He returned to cycling in 1978 at 67 years of age, building up the distances and training with riders who were far younger than he was.”