Arthus Lemos teaching the youngsters a thing or two

Sandton City Cycle Nation look to dominate
18/04/2024
White drives his train home at aQuellé Tour Durban
20/04/2024
Sandton City Cycle Nation look to dominate
18/04/2024
White drives his train home at aQuellé Tour Durban
20/04/2024

Arthus Lemos teaching the youngsters a thing or two

In today’s world of professional sport, it’s often said they don’t make the athletes as strong as they used to. It’s a moot point, always open to opinion and discussion:  present against past; real characters against today’s highly paid and pampered glory boys – an argument without conclusion.

Within Toti Cycle Club is a rider who slots into the tough as teak mould, one of the breed who, when he puts his mind to something, ensures he gives his all and reaps maximum benefit. On Sunday, he is the oldest cyclist pre-entered, at 78, to take on the three-lap 110km road race at the aQuelle Tour Durban and he is undaunted at the prospect.

Arthur Lemos is a legend on the road in more ways than one. For those old enough to remember, he was a Comrades Marathon front runner in the 1980s, constantly up with the leading bunch attempting to dethrone Bruce Fordyce, and his two gold medals for an eighth place finish in 1984 and fifth place in 1987 is testimony to his grit and determination.

I am one of those people who sets a goal and then works to achieve what I aim for. When I ran my first Comrades and said I wanted to break seven-and-a-half hours, I was scoffed at, yet I ran just over seven hours, which proved to be the worst time of my Comrades career,” said Arthur.

Arthur denies he is competitive, but he has a philosophy that has seen him reach great heights whether lacing up his running shoes or donning his cycling gear. “If I am in a race, when I see someone in front of me, I have to try and pass them. It’s worked well for me through the years,” he said.

When arthritis struck in both Arthur’s knees, thanks to those years on the road, he switched to cycling. “I tried to run the 2000 Comrades but failed to finish. Realising that running was a thing of the past, I needed to keep active and cycling was the next best option,” he said. “It’s easier on my legs and knees and here I am still cruising, after 24 years and counting.”

As with his running, Arthur is focused and committed to doing things properly. “No gym for me. I tried that and found it so boring. Like running, it’s about the time spent on the road, the kilometres done by the legs and muscles,” he said. “I ride at least four days a week and average about 1000km a month.”

For a cyclist of his age, Arthur is probably as strong as, perhaps even better, than many who are half his age or younger. He attributes his fitness and strength to the fellow cyclists he trains with. “They are a strong bunch and we even have a past Springbok cyclist who rides with us. Our training rides are no mess around and if you can’t keep up, you get left behind,” he said. “They pull me along and my nature drives me on to perform and keep at their level. When I get home, I want to reflect on a good, solid session. There is a purpose to everything, otherwise why bother doing something.”

A veteran of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, amaShova and the aQuellé Tour Durban, it would be a foolish gambler who bets against Arthur not coming out top in his age group category in Durban this weekend.