About Utah: Salt Lake woman knows the secret to a long life

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 12:13 a.m. MDT

It was while cycling with girlfriend Sue Shawle through the sleepy, charming farm towns on the west side of Cache Valley that Alice, 73 years young, had the brainstorm to start the Little Red Riding Hood Ride, an all-women event that began with about a dozen riders in 1987 and this year for its 25th edition sold out all of its 3,500 slots in less than one hour.

Alice's plan is to never stop riding her bike, although that's been put on hold for the moment on account of an auto accident last summer that damaged nerves in her neck and has her in therapy two to three times a week.

"But I'm getting better," she says. "The doctors told me if I wasn't in such good shape I probably wouldn't be here."

Meanwhile, she's holding tight to her day job. She started at the bank 10 years ago, when she was 78 and "I realized my friends had all died off and I had to go back to work and make more friends."

Now, you couldn't drag her away. "I'll stay here as long as they like me and let me," she says.

At 88, she's found, you appreciate the preciousness of life more than ever.

"I remember in grade school, it seemed like those nine months would never end," Alice says. "Now I look back and it's like my life has evaporated, it's gone so fast. Every day I thank God for the wonderful new day he's given me."

Lee Benson's About Utah column runs Monday and Friday. Email: benson@desnews.com

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