By Daniel Ramos
LA PAZ (Reuters) – 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 60 km (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.
(Reporting by Daniel Ramos and Reuters TV, writing by Dave Sherwood, editing by Chris Reese)