It has since become a common expression: "you're getting older, Dad!". When exactly you are "older" seems to shift with my age. When I was thirty, you had to have made it "professionally" by age forty; otherwise you could forget about it. Now that I'm past sixty, more and more look up in surprise when I say I'll retire at 64.
Picture: the Monte Bondone, the center piece of the World Cup.
You can't blame those folks if you look at the list of participants in the UCI World Medio Fondo Championships: among the men, the oldest participant is between 85 and 89. Four braves between 80 and 84 have entered. I count thirteen participants aged 75 to 79. Fifty have already blown out at least 70 candles. And 64 are between 65 and 69 years old. In my age group, 121 riders will start. Among the ladies, the oldest age group is between 65 and 69 (eight participants). Nineteen women will compete in the 60-64 age category (with top favorite Jeannie Longo).
I've been exploring the course of the mediofondo for the past few days: 88 km with 2200m+ is tough! The first ascent of Monte Bondone (about 21 km long) is already hard. Before tackling Monte Bondone again from a different direction, the course includes another climb of almost 7 km and an intermediate climb of almost 1.5 km. You can't cycle next to it...
Hats off to all these aging athletes. The task is tough. If you're not physically fit, you won't make it to the line. The line between the gran fondo (145 km and 4,000m+) and medio fondo is set at age 60 in the men; 50 in the women. In a way, the expression "you're getting older dad (and mom)" comes back here, of course. Not that we can't handle the gran fondo, just the closing time should be shifted a bit!