Age still not slowing ‘Frenchy’ down
The most athletic of us can only hope to be half as active in our 70s as Jacques Houot is at 72. Father Time has done little to impede the aging Frenchman’s thirst for competition, and he turned in a pair of solid recent showings demonstrating just that. Houot, who claims more brushes with death – he survived cancer, a heart attack, an avalanche and a nasty car accident that saw his car submerged in water, to name a few – than your average feline, turned in a first-place master division win in expert downhill competition at the Snowmass National Mountain Bike Series Finals on Aug. 11. A day later, competing in an age division spanning 40- to 99-year-olds, Houot finished 10th in the Super D at nationals.He also scored a Grand Masters division win in the Snowmass Scorch Downhill race a few days earlier, beating out 19 other racers – all much younger than him.There’s no slowing down Houot, a New Castle resident.”If I quit, I’d be dead,” he said through a thick French accent. “I have to keep moving.”Besides his weekend competition, Houot races weekly with Aspen Cycling Club. He believes he is the oldest downhiller in the world.”It’s unique to be the oldest,” said Houot, who competed in the 2000 and 2001 Bromont World Championships, among some 500 other races. “It’s good for inspiration.”Clif Bar, Kenda Bike Tires and Colorado Bike Service are among those who sponsor Houot, loaning him equipment and footing entry fees to the myriad races he enters locally.Houot, affectionately referred to as “Frenchy” in competitive circles, is obviously a staple of the valley cycling scene. In the winter, he can often be found on local slopes. He hopes to land bigger sponsors and inspire the young to keep an active lifestyle.He can’t speak enough about the power of sport.”I beat cancer with sport,” he said. “I’ve had broken knee, broken back. You have to have power to keep moving. “You can fix a lot of things that way. A negative attitude doesn’t go nowhere. If positive, you can beat a lot of things.”
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Images of mud and debris slides on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon near Bair Ranch (MM129) taken on Wednesday, Aug 4.