Think your last bike race went badly? Compare it to Chantal Mathevet’s recent time trial at the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. It may make you feel better, but you should also find some inspiration in her unexpectedly viral moment.
Mathevet, a 70-year-old from France, was competing in the women’s 65-plus category on August 30. Ranked second in the rankings for her age group, she headed to the start line of the Gran Fondo World Championship time trial in Varese, Italy.
Unfortunately, her race didn’t go exactly as planned. Rather than rolling straight down the start ramp, she veered left and wound up falling off the side, crashing hard and flipping over her handlebar.
The moment was caught on video, and in the last few days it’s been making the rounds as a meme.
More than 600 riders from 44 countries took to the start line that day, including five finishers in the women’s 65-69 category. Lena Lundstrom of Sweden took the win, crushing the 22K course in just over 35 minutes.
Mathevet didn’t get up and finish the race, ending her time trial season with a DNF. But here’s our takeaway: Simply by showing up, she showed more grit than most men and women her age (or younger). Despite barely covering the course-and formidable competition notwithstanding-it’s impressive that she took the start line at all.
So while the video is, yes, pretty funny and a little cringeworthy, Mathevet’s passion for riding is more admirable than comical. Here’s hoping she finishes strong at her next time trial.
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