100-Year-Old Sets Cycling Record

French cycling enthusiast Robert Marchand set a new one-hour speed record on Friday—at the age of 100.

The centenarian rode 24.25 km (15.1 miles) in 60 minutes watched by crowds of cheering supporters at the International Cycling Union (UCI) velodrome in Aigle, Switzerland.

Marchand kept a steady pace and was hardly out of breath when he finished, telling his fans:

“I could have gone faster; I didn’t want to.  I could have done a kilometer more.”

The feat does not threaten the 49.7 km (30.8 miles) achieved by Czech cyclist Ondrej Sosenka in 2005 at the age of 29, but it will be recognized by the UCI in a new over-100s category.  “It will be official,” said Frederic Rey, an official at the World Cycling Centre, the headquarters of the UCI.

Marchand, who marked a century in November, enjoyed cycling as a teenager but only returned to the sport at the age of 78.  He is a keen member of his local cycle club in Ardeche, south-central France, which helped coordinate the record attempt.

Marchand has led a colorful life, spending several years in Venezuela and working for a time as a lumberjack in Canada. But he claims he’s nothing out of the ordinary.  He said:

“I’m not exceptional, I’m just normal.”

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