Never judge a book by its cover
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.