LA PAZ – Bolivia´s “Death Road” might seem an odd place for a septuagenarian grandmother on two wheels.
The world´s most dangerous road spirals skyward nearly 11,000 feet, from the country´s lowland jungles to the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. Fog, rain, rockslides and sheer cliffs are main attractions. The road has likely claimed thousands of lives.
But for 70-year old Bolivian Mirtha Munoz, the oldest ever competitor in Bolivia’s 37-mile Skyrace, an extreme bike racing competition, it was a natural extension of a passion she picked up years ago.
Munoz took up biking on the advice of her family and a psychologist friend after her son died unexpectedly.
“He told me…the bike could help me get through my pain, and to rebuild,” she said.
Saturday´s race was a pinnacle achievement, no pun intended.
“It´s a vertical climb, you go up and up and there´s no rest,” she told Reuters upon finishing the race.
Munoz, one of the race´s founders, says she enjoys more low-key bike-riding with her six grandchildren, though admits she hopes the eldest, now approaching 18, will soon follow in her tracks.