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81-year-old Chula Vista woman sets national cycling record

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- An 81-year-old Chula Vista woman proved you don’t have to be young or a professional athlete to set a national record.

Retired senior Joanne Papadakis is a resident at Fredericka Manor in Chula Vista. She rides as part of Cyber Cycle, a stationary bike challenge which allows users to ride on their own time, at their own pace.

At the end of each month, a computerized system tallies the speed and distance from users across the globe.

For the month of May, Papadakis set a national record with 259 miles against other women in her age group.

“You really feel good and you notice on days you don’t ride, you get addicted somewhat,” Papadakis said. “I wish my age group was a little more interested in exercising.”

There are 25 members at Fredericka Manor that compete in the monthly challenges. Users are able to compete individually or part of a team during group challenges.

“There is a lady, I believe from France, who is 90,” Papadakis said. “It helps because when you are going up a bike hill...you need the other riders to motivate you.”

Fredericka Manor bought the bikes in 2013 but was at first skeptical whether they would work.

“People sometimes want to overlook people in this age group because of their technology background,” said Life Enrichment Director, Heather Rager. “I think we are going to see a lot of other communities pick this up. It's not only physically stimulating but cognitively stimulating, which is very important for this age group.”

Papadakis has racked in 2,500 miles since May 2014.