Age Is Only a Number

A couple of notable biking stories have come to my attention over the past week. Nothing to do with the Tour de France — these concern more “ordinary” folks.

But their stories are extraordinary, and inspirational.

From British Columbia, Canada: Dave Gillanders, 78, set a new age group record in the VanIsle (Vancouver Island) 1200k brevet, July 21-25, put on by the BC Randonneurs Cycling Club.  Dave completed the 747-mile trek in 88 hours, 54 minutes.

Dave Gillanders, 78, looking good on the Van Isle 1200k. (Click to enlarge.)

He wasn’t the only senior on the ride. Ken Bonner, 67, finished in 82:24.

Ken Bonner, left, and Dave Gillanders.

One thing I enjoy about cycling is the feeling that it is a lifetime activity. I’m already no spring chicken (I’m 59 — shh!) but I’m in better shape than I was 15 years ago. Guys like Dave and Ken inspire me to keep on keeping on.

Sister Madonna Buder

But then, an item like this comes along. Sister Madonna Buder, an 80-year-old nun from Spokane, Wash., will compete in the Ironman Canada triathlon next month. She’s already the oldest woman to finish an Ironman, so if she’s successful, she’ll set a new age record.  There’s no reason to believe she won’t be successful — she’s already competed in more than 300 triathlons.  At her age, “It’s not easy to do an Ironman anymore,” she says.  But she seems to still be able to find the motivation to get out there.

To read Sister Madonna’s whole story, take a look at this article on

So the next time it’s a little too hot or humid outside, or you can’t seem to motivate yourself to get outdoors for an easy 25-miler in the neighborhood, remember Dave and Ken and Sister Madonna. And get going!

Gillanders and Bonner photos via “More Bike Lanes Please” page on Flickr.  Buder photo via Facebook.


  1. RamonH says

    Amen to that! My cycling crew is composed of several folks in their mid-50s, and some of them can and will kick my butt on any given ride. This is the same group that we rode the MS-150 Houston-to-Austin with, a couple of months ago. My motivation is, “If I can look and ride as well as they do by the time I am their age, then that will be fine by me.”


  2. says

    What inspiring stories…thanks for sharing these. I totally agree that cycling can be done for a long, long time….and these people prove it.

    At 41, I am a stronger cyclist and in better shape than I’ve ever been in and I look to continue this well into my future.


  3. says

    Ha! You and I are not that far behind those folks. Maybe in a few short years some 59 year old kid will be writing about us.

  4. Mindy says

    Wow, what an inspiring post. I followed your link and read the article about the “Iron Nun”. Gives me a lot to think about.

    Love your blog!

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