An 80-year-old man from Athani in Kerala’s Thrissur has reached Khardung La, Ladakh, which is 17,600 ft above sea level, on his cycle. While Khardung La is a famous point among cyclists, Jose just proved that age is just a number when you have will and determination.
Jose, who is a former plumber at Thrissur medical college, had started his journey on July 15 and took a halt in between to celebrate his 80th birthday. Without the halt, he would have reached his destination on September 11.
Although a remarkable feat, Jose’s journey was not easy. He told Times of India, “I encountered an oxygen problem when I reached Leh about nine days ago, but my fellow cyclists supported me by providing an artificial supply of oxygen.”
Jose recalled his early days when he did not have a healthy lifestyle. He said that he used to be addicted to smoking and drinking but things changed in 1983. Jose was all over newspapers after he had achieved the feat of running 10,000 metres in 39 minutes and 8 seconds. When a doctor saw his photo of smoking in a newspaper, he handed him a book on the harmful effects of smoking. Since then, Jose has been on track with his lifestyle.
According to Jose, he had started cycling when he was in the fifth standard. He told Times of India, “Cycling is my passion, and I used to cycle for long distances in the past. But this one is obviously the longest cycling trip I’ve undertaken.” Not just cycling, Jose is also a regular participant in swimming and marathon competitions and has also won several triathlon competitions.
While his wife and three children are ecstatic about his remarkable achievement, they are also a little worried about his safety. Jose on the other hand, praised the military personnel at Khardung La for their support.