Living Well – Long distance cycling begins after retirement

Wayne Little talks to Ashcroft resident Frank Mireau. In his 80s, Frank regularly cycles hundreds of miles each year.

Frank Mireau and his trusty bike

Frank Mireau and his trusty bike

Frank Mierau grew up during the dirty 30’s in Saskatchewan, when there was no time for working out, only for working hard to put food on the table.

He moved to Ashcroft in 1950, built his own house with boards from unused bridges. Years of manual labour in the trucking industry kept him in shape right up until his retirement.

When he retired in 1996, he used the $300 he won for a BC safe driving award and bought himself a nice new 18 speed bicycle.

In 1999 he bought himself a better and faster bicycle which enabled him to join the Bike for Bibles cycling ride. This ride was 800km long, touring to various spots around BC to raise awareness and money to buy bibles for people in third world countries and special events such as bibles for the athletes during the Olympics.

Frank has done the Bike for Bibles event every year since then except two. This year’s event will be 770 km long starting in Revelstoke, and heading south all the way down through Nakusp to Grand Forks. Then the group will head north through the Okanagan and then back to Revelstoke. This trip would be tough for someone in their 20’s, never mind their 80’s.

Frank also enjoys golfing, with an interest in jogging. His passion of singing has helped his lung capacity and his cardiovascular system as well.

Last year he enlisted into the cycling portion of the seniors games. The seniors were a friendly, yet competitive group of people, and it was a lot of fun. He wasn’t sure what to expect, and was delighted to find out it was more laid back than he thought.

This year he will be racing the three cycling events of a time trial, a hill climb and a road race at the 2014 Seniors games in Langley.

Obviously he has put quite a few miles on his bike and his most memorable ride was when they left Canmore heading to Calgary, they had a strong tailwind and his group rode 90 km in only three hours!!

Super cyclist Frank always fuels his workouts with a good breakfast before heading out, eating wholesome homemade bread, and various fruits. He finds Gatorade essential and easy to digest during the long days pedalling, finishing with a protein shake after his workout for recovery.

His son Doug who also rides bicycles started him drinking the protein shakes. He is inspired by his son Doug and now his grandson, who are both avid mountain bike riders. Frank is also inspired by some of our own athletes in our little town of Ashcroft, they help him stay motivated.

I really enjoyed talking to Frank about his rides and plans for the future: he reminds me of myself or any one of my friends that I work out with. He says that when he feels down and tired, he just hops on that bike and goes for a spin. It makes him feel young and revived again.

He always finishes up his rides with a good long stretch to prevent feeling stiff and sore the next day.

Frank’s words to live by: “When you have your health, your life just goes so much better, making things easier to do.”

Wayne Little

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