‘Great support’ pushes veteran cyclist

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Southland cyclists (from left) Kara Roderick-Wandless, Nicole Avery and Nicola Stevens joined 88-year-old Peter Grandiek on his 100km ride around the region for National Restart A Heart Day.

DESPITE cycling 100km in just more than hours, 88-year-old Peter Grandiek is already thinking about how he will beat it next year.

“I’ll be 90 [next year] so I’ll have to do 120km.”

The Southland cyclist took the rubber to the region’s roads last week with a support crew of about 20 riders, including ex-Olympian Glen McLeay and world champion cyclist Barry Harcourt.

Riding on National Restart A Heart Day, the intention was to raise awareness of the importance of taking immediate action if someone went into cardiac arrest, as well as raising funds for St John.

A few years ago, he set a goal of riding 100km for his 89th birthday, an age milestone he met on Tuesday.

“I was just going to do it and then it started to snowball… when I left the house this morning we had raised over $6000 already.”

The ride began at the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill at 9am on Friday and finished at the ASB car park in the CBD just after 1pm, where riders were treated to a sausage and refreshments from the bank’s staff.

Mr Grandiek said while there were fairly strong winds in certain spots along the way, the other riders looked after him.

“The tail winds, the top speed I think was 48km.

“I had great support… It was a privilege for me to have all those riders with me, they’re all legends – I’m glad I’m here.”

The Holland native, who moved to New Zealand several years ago, returned to competitive track cycling in 2012 at 80 years old was often the only one in his age group at national and Australasian events.

Southland cyclist Kara Roderick-Wandless, who met Mr Grandiek through track cycling and rode alongside him on Friday, said he did an “amazing job”. “The first 50km was the hardest but when we turned around we got a good tail.

“These old guys just keep going and they show us young ones up.”

Fellow support rider Nicole Avery said he had a real influence on cycling, particularly in Southland.

“Pete was my first coach here, he always helps us out so we wanted to do this with him.”

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