Most grandparents 70-years-old or older have slowed down. They are usually retired, and go about their life day to day doing simple pleasures that require less work on their bodies. But not Kittie Weston-Knauer. After 33 years as a high school principal in Des Moines, Iowa, the 69-year-old competitor now travels all over the US to compete in bike races.
“I’m just enjoying life,” she says. “I worked hard so that I could retire and play. And that’s what I’m doing; I’m playing.”
She was 40 years old when her son became a BMX competitor, and he grew tired of his mom coaching him from the sideline.
It all started out as a dare, and Kittie wasn’t going to back down. So, on Mother’s Day nearly 30 years ago, she took her son Max on a dare to go and race. “I put on little Max’s helmet and gloves and used his bike,” she says. “And the rest is history. I said my husband and Max were nuts if they thought they could race and I would just sit on the sidelines.”
“Okay, so I am 70. Big deal,” says Kittie to KDVR.com. “Age is nothing but a number.”
She is the oldest BMX racer in the country and still wins championships. And get this, she has had both her knees and her hips surgically replaced, but is still one of the baddest BMX bikers around!
After a car crash left her paralyzed from the shoulders down in 1993, that was another turning point for her. Neurosurgeons told her she’d never walk again. She told them she’d be walking out of the hospital at the end of the week. On Friday after her surgery, she was standing up when the doctor came into her hospital room and said, plainly: “I explained to you I was walking out of here.” Doctors were in disbelief, but Weston-Knauer made a full recovery in a matter of months and got back on the bike as quickly as possible.
But don’t for once think that this is just a passing fad for Kittie. She’s in it to win it. She had up to 14 bikes at one point in the nineties. Now, she has a trike, an e-bike, a hybrid, and her stable of three other race bikes—with her favorite being a 26-inch cruiser that she races most of the time.
She competes against men and women, many of which are half her age or younger. But why? Why does this grandmother…