Proving that age is no barrier to cycling, Frenchman Robert Marchand has established a cycling world hour record for riders over 100 years old.
Marchand, who turned 100 a few months ago, completed 24.251km around the velodrome at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland. “But I’m not playing at being a champion,” he said. “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday.”
He rode a standard track bike with no aero equipment for his attempt, his biggest problem being his familiarity with velodrome riding. “I haven’t cycled on a track for 80 years,” he said. “You have to get used to the fixed gear! I prefer cycling outside but that is impossible at the moment. I don’t want to catch the flu. So I am short on training.”
During his preparation, Marchand was warned not to get his heart rate above 110, a rule that for the most part he obeyed. “I did climb a steep hill not long ago and went up to 134 but it’s best to avoid that,” he said. “But I would be very surprised if I had heart attack.
“For the last five years I have decided not to go for rides of more than 100km. There is no point going overboard. I want to keep cycling for some time yet.”
He claimed his ‘secret’ was none other than looking after himself. “I’ve never abused anything. I don’t smoke, I never drank much. The only thing I did in excess was work. I retired at 89 years old!
“But basically, I am like everybody. I am lucky that I haven’t had any major health problems. My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple. Some people when they reach 80 years old, start playing cards and they stay immobile. Not me. I’ve never been able to keep still.”