Never judge a book by its cover

Triathlon Plus - - Tri Chat -

AF­TER LEARN­ING that train­ing sup­ple­ments were on sale in Lidl for a frac­tion of the price [you find with ma­jor brands], I headed to my lo­cal branch to stock up. Armed with the sup­ple­ments, I joined the checkout queue be­hind a very frail lady – well into her 90s and un­steady on her feet. We started chat­ting and she men­tioned she had cy­cled well into her 80s. Vi­sions of her pootling along on a shop­per bike with wicker bas­ket were shat­tered when she re­called how, in her younger days, she had set her­self the chal­lenge of com­plet­ing all of the big Tour de France rides.

She had con­quered Mont Ven­toux and Alpe D’Huez, among oth­ers. Need­less to say I was ab­so­lutely gob­s­macked. The con­ver­sa­tion only lasted a few min­utes and I don’t even know her name but the enor­mity of it has stayed with me.

It just shows you should never judge a book by its cover. I’m of­ten guilty of stand­ing on the start­line, rank­ing other rac­ers as ‘can eas­ily beat’, ‘maybe my level’, and ‘not a chance of catch­ing’ only to find a pen­sioner breez­ing cheer­ily past me on the run.

I’m train­ing for my first full Iron­man in Bolton this sum­mer – and maybe one day, in my au­tumn years, I’ll be the one wow­ing the per­son be­hind me in the su­per­mar­ket queue. Paul Rees, Ply­mouth Edi­tor says: Great story, Paul. And, yes, we should never for­get that great ath­letes come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

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