A bunch of cyclists set out to tackle a 100 km (62 miles) ride with over 1100 metres (3200 feet) of elevation gain. What is your mental image of those riders?
Some set out in the dark to reach the start by 7:15 am. With three ferry rides as part of the route, some put in twelve hours by day’s end. There were no fans, support vehicles and water stations to help them along. And there were no participation T-shirts, medals, or certificates in the end.
Who would tackle a ride like that?
Twelve women, ranging in age from 62 to 77 years of age. Average age – 69 years. Half of the riders were 71 or older. Oldest rider was 77.
Yes, they are all kitted out in cycling shorts. You try riding 100 km without the padding that cycling shorts provide! And yes, they are in technical jerseys. They make a splash when they take off their helmets. It’s a lot of grey hair! Yet outside of their gear, back in street clothes, these same women are often invisible.
Their story? They ride for the companionship and to keep themselves healthy. And they raise money to help communities in Africa cope with HIVS/AIDS related illnesses and COVID-19. It gives their riding purpose beyond themselves.
That’s the book cover you want crack open.