Gritty grandma showcases great courage at grueling cycling race
Sports Scene
Martha Munoz holds her helmet at home in La Paz, Bolivia. /Screenshot from Reuters

Martha Munoz holds her helmet at home in La Paz, Bolivia. /Screenshot from Reuters

It's often said that "age is just a number" but it has been perfectly personified by Bolivian cyclist Mirtha Munoz. Believe it or not, the 70-year-old grandmother from La Paz successfully competed in Bolivia's 60 km (37 mile) Skyrace, an extreme bike racing competition as the oldest ever competitor.

The grueling biking event that passes through the Latin American country's notorious "Death Road," turned out to be the platform for the septuagenarian grandmother, who decided to showcase her biking passion. Known as the world's most dangerous road, which spirals skyward nearly 11,000 feet, from Bolivia's lowland jungles to the towering snow-capped peaks of the Andes, the difficult 4000-meter cycling route faces a slew of natural and elementary challenges like fog, rain, rockslides and sheer cliffs and has claimed thousands of lives over the years.

Undaunted and unfazed by the adversities, Munoz kept pursuing her dream of taking part in the event and took it as a natural extension of a passion she took up years ago aftermath a personal tragedy.

She picked up biking on the advice of her family and a psychologist friend after the unexpected and untimely death of her son. Munoz told reporters, "He (the psychologist) told me... the bike could help me get through my pain, and to rebuild." "It's a vertical climb, you go up and up and there's no rest," she told reporters upon finishing the race.

Interestingly, Munoz is also one of the race's founders, says she enjoys more low-key bike-riding with her six grandchildren. However, she hopes her eldest grandson, now approaching 18, will soon follow in her footsteps to the tracks.

(With input from agencies)