67 and plenty of riding left | PostIndependent.com

67 and plenty of riding left

Dale Shrull
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Just how much does Marlene Manown love cycling?

Well, first of all she doesn’t plan to stop riding anytime soon. She might be 67 but that number means nothing.

“I hope I never stop. I’m willing to get a tricycle if I have to,” she says with a laugh.

Marlene is taking on the Rocky Mountains one pedal stroke at a time, and she hasn’t been whipped yet.

There’s something called the sag wagon in bicycle tours. It’s for people who have mechanical problems or just need to call it quits for the day. Then the vehicle picks them up and takes them to the next destination.

As Marlene was trudging up Monarch Pass, the 11,312-foot summit was more than eight miles away. But sag was not going to be in her future.

“I just kept telling myself, ‘Keep going, don’t quit, keep going.'”

She slowly, methodically took on the pass. Stopping a few times, drinking water, then back on the bike as the sag wagon drove by.

She didn’t quit.

“It’s so wonderful you can push these limits,” she says, her voice filled with satisfaction.

Marlene knows something about pushing limits. She had to give up triathlons when her knees said “no more running.” When she was 59, she embarked on a bicycle ride across the country as part of the Girls in Action movement. The group averaged about 70 miles a day then gave motivational workshops to young women.

Marlene, who is a retired Glenwood Springs High School counselor, was worried about this Ride the Rockies tour. She did the tour in 2004, but this year’s tour started with back-to-back 80-mile rides, followed by the big climb up Monarch Pass.

“I was quite apprehensive about this one. But I trained hard because I knew that it was going to be difficult,” she says.

With bad knees and a hip replacement, Marlene has no doubt that cycling is the gentlest form of exercise she’s found. It’s hard work but the impact on the body isn’t as fierce as running.

While Marlene was in a world of hurt somewhere on Monarch Pass, her husband, Lloyd Manown, was somewhere on the Arkansas River tangling with some trout.

Lloyd, 72, is also a former educator having retired from his math teaching position from Basalt High School.

He wasn’t one bit surprised that Marlene made it to the top.

“It’s typical of her. She’s a real go-getter,” he says.

Marlene was doing the ride with a group of 10 former pals from Outward Bound, where she used to work. They range in age from 50-67.

Marlene is looking forward to showing her friends around Glenwood when they arrive today.

And in the future, there might be another Ride the Rockies for Marlene, but if not, there will still be lots of cycling.

Because it’s pretty clear that she’s not ready for the rocking chair, or the tricycle just yet.

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