Lola and Alain Faleix pose for a portrait with their bikes Monday, May 9, outside their home in Novi.

Lola and Alain Faleix pose for a portrait with their bikes Monday, May 9, outside their home in Novi.

Photo by Brian Wells

Novi couple heads to National Senior Games

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published May 12, 2022


NOVI — After racing bicycles for several years, Lola and Alain Faleix, 61 and 51, of Novi, are facing a new challenge.

They both placed first in races in the Michigan Senior Olympics in August, qualifying them for the National Senior Games, where they will compete against more than 500 other seniors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this month.

“I’m nervous but also excited,” Lola Faleix, who owns Get Fit, a personal training company, said.

In the past, the couple mostly has done mountain bike and gravel road races. But after hearing about the state’s Senior Olympics, they started doing more endurance racing. At the National Senior Games, they’re both competing in four races, including two time trials, which are short, fast races, they said.

“The whole goal is to be as aerodynamic and go as fast as you can for the time trials,” Lola Faleix said.

When they first found out that they qualified, Alain Faleix, an engineer for an oil company, wasn’t sure if he was going to go.

“I said to him, I’m going to Fort Lauderdale to do this. And he said he wasn’t. … I think he was hoping that I would say I’m not going to go, but I said I’m going, I don’t care,” she said.

After seeing how motivated she was, her husband decided to go, even though he doesn’t expect to place.

“The pressure is on her,” he said.

Since starting to do endurance races last year, they’ve had to alter their training for the shorter time trial races. In November, they started using a special stationary bike to train three times per week. The bike is hooked up to a computer, which analyzes and evaluates the rider and creates workouts for them.

“The training is completely different,” Alain Faleix said. “We had to follow a very specific training to be able to improve our ability to go fast in the time trials.”

When they aren’t training at home, they ride with the Downriver Cycling Club, which has been an important part of their training and support, Lola Faleix said.

Because most of the men around his age aren’t retired, Alain doesn’t think he’ll have as much competition as his wife, although he thinks they will be competing at a higher level. In past races, Lola Faleix said she’s raced against women of all ages, including some as young as in their 20s. But at the National Senior Games, she’s competing against women who are closer to her age.

“They’re strong,” she said. “Very strong.”

The National Senior Games started May 10 and will go until May 22. Lola and Alain Faleix will compete May 18, 19, 21 and 22.

“Our goal is to let other athletes that are aged 50+ (know) that there are lots of opportunities and reasons to stay active,” Lola Faleix said in an email. “There will be competitors at these games that are 90+ years, and I hope to be one of them in 30 years.”