One of my personal heroes has done it again! Cyclist extraordinaire Robert Marchand is not only a very vibrant 102 years of age, he is setting cycling records yet again. The 102-year-old Frenchman broke his own world record in the over-100s UCI category Friday, riding 26.927 kilometers (16.7 miles) in one hour, more than 2.5 kilometers better than his previous best time , two years ago, when he was only 100 years old! The athlete smiled and raised his arms at the finish, supported by two assistants. “It was very good, but at the end it started to become very hard!” he said. He said he couldn’t have done it without the public’s support. “You have to know there are people who came from 600 kilometers away to see me today! It is incredible. ”
My favorite quote from Robert shows his great spirit and humor, as he had this to say after his record breaking ride: “With doping I could have ridden faster,” Marchand joked. “But there is no doping. I only have water with some honey in my bottle here.”
Marchand was born in 1911 and started riding when he was 14 years old, but during his long working career he didn’t have time anymore. He took up the bike again when he was 67 years old. When he was 89 he finished the 600-kilometer race between Bordeaux and Paris in 36 hours. The veteran Frenchman who lived through two world wars in France also holds the record for 100-kilometers in his age group: Four hours and 15 minutes.
Now some may point to Robert Downey, Jr, or even triathlon legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen as the truest and most incredible IRONMAN of all time, but not me, it easily Monsieur Marchand!
I wait with anticipation for his next world record ride! He’s a true inspiration.