Take a look at the stats for the most recent Tour de Frances and you will find that the average speed for the entire 2000+ mile race is between 24 and 26 miles per hour. So how is it possible that a new World Record for the relatively short distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) was just established at an average speed of 14.3 miles per hour? Well, it is possible through the efforts of a Frenchman, Robert Marchand, who will turn 101 on November 26. That’s right, 101 years old, nearly four times as old as the average age of the Tour de France winners.
Mr. Marchand has been training for months and on September 28th of this year, he rolled onto the Tete-d’Or Velodrome outdoor track in Lyon, France to set his record. Wanting to complete his challenge in under five hours, he was able to turn the 300 laps (100 kilometers) in 4:17:27, averaging a little more than 23 kph (14.3 mph). Establishing the centenarian record (those over 100 years old) for the fastest 100 kilometers by bicycle.
This story may sound familiar, and it should. Earlier this year, Robert Marchand set another World Record in Switzerland. On that occasion, he completed 24.251 kilometers in one hour. That record was also set on a velodrome.
So while most people over 100 years old are pushing up daisies or shuffling around a retirement home, Robert Marchard in pushing pedals. It is possible that he has been blessed with a healthy body, but it is certain that he has a healthy mind and spirit. Next time you think or someone says that you are too old to do something, think of Mr. Marchand, set aside those thoughts, and tackle that challenge. Because in the end, none of us get out alive.