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Freeman Cebu Sports

You’re never too old to ride

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta - The Freeman

“Each great athlete must someday bow to that perennial old champion,  Father Time, even as I, for Time eventually wins”. Major Taylor (1878-1932), one of the greatest American trash cyclist, made that quote a long time ago.

Now, as I am going into the middle of my 6th decade, I realized that the second activity that I did the more than half of my life is riding my bicycle. Weather, health and broken bicycles have never prevented me from hopping on my steed and enjoy the wind on my face. The famous actress Angela Lansbury added, “ I’ve never been particularly aware of my age - I just put my foot down and keep going”.

The longest time I was off my bicycle was about 10 months when I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and that was ten years ago. I was so weak that I find it hard to lift a glass of water. I was lucky to have met a wonderful healer in Dr. Gorgonia Panilagao, but part of my rehabilitation was my bicycle. I would squeeze the brakes or just put my hands on the drops and feel the subtle softness of the tapes and I’s instantly feel good.

Like most people, I like to do things when I’m told the opposite. So I rode my bicycle when I wasn’t supposed to. I rode to Bacolod (I DNF’d) while I was rehabbing for a back pain. I rode when an ignorant cardiologist told me that the only way I could ride was to position my feet above my head. How on God’s good earth could you ride a bicycle like that? Maybe the cardiologist was playing exclusively “takyang” growing up.

My father, now 86yo, have told me to slow down years ago because he said that I was’t getting any younger, but I could not. Funny thing was that my Dad rode his MTB way after he retired!

For me, riding my bicycle slow isn’t riding at all. It’s like being told to stay inside the hotel room and not enjoy the beach. I realized that I am not 30 anymore and I need to enjoy life like I want to. There are still places I want to ride and races (a bit) that I want to do and I’m not going to miss those events anymore.

The oldest competitive cyclist to pin a number was Frenchman Robert Marchand, who set the Hour Record at 106yo after riding 22.5km in one hour. Experts say that the Hour Record held currently by Sir Bradley Wiggins at 54k/hrs would be tough to beat but tell that to Marchand! I bet that Marchands record is ten time harder to beat than Wiggins’s.

The oldest professional cyclist who raced last year was Chris Horner, 47yo. Horner was the oldest rider to win a Grand Tour (Vuelta a Espana) at age 42 and will probably ride again next year. Andrea Tafi, the Italian road champion who won Paris-Roubaix back in 1999, is training seriously again and is looking for a team to ride for the 2019 Paris-Roubaix. A very elegant rider on top of a Colnago, I hope he’ll get his wish.

As for me, I’ll ride until the cows come home. Because you’re never too old to ride.

PERENNIAL OLD CHAMPION

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