105-Year Old French Cyclist Sets World Record
Cycling is a great hobby for anyone to pick up in their golden years, and if you’re anything like 105-year old Frenchman Robert Marchand, it’s a hobby that could lead to you setting a world record.
Wednesday at the Velodrome National, a venue for elite track cycling, Marchand set a world record for people 105 years of age or older by covering 14 miles on his bike in an hour’s time, which is not too shabby for a man of any age.
The kicker is that Marchand says he could do better, having ridden nearly 17 miles just three years ago on the same track. “I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,” he said afterwards. “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I’m now waiting for a rival.”
Perhaps making the moment and the record even sweeter for Marchand is the memory of a coach telling him as a kid that he would never accomplish anything in cycling because he was too small.
“If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself,” said Gerard Mistler, Marchand’s coach and friend.
Admittedly, Marchand is on the smaller side, just a hair over 5 feet tall and a mere 115 lbs. But his size never prevented him from working as a fireman, truck driver, or lumberjack during the course of his life, and it certainly hasn’t stopped him from excelling as a centurion cyclist.
“He’s got two essential qualities. A big heart that pumps a lot of blood, and he can reach high heart beat values that are exceptional for his age,” explains Veronique Billat, Marchand’s physiologist.
Even at 105 years old, Marchand keeps on ticking and keeps on pedaling from his home in the suburbs of Paris. After setting a world record on Wednesday, Marchand hasn’t said what he plans to do next, but those close to him would’t be surprised to see him attempt to break his own record.
“Setting goals for himself is part of his personality,” Mistler explains. “If he tells me he wants to improve his record, I’ll be game. Robert is a great example for all of us.”