BRISTOL — After winning gold medals and setting records in the world of cycling, Carl Grove is ready to slow down.
But just not too much.
At 85, the Bristol resident recently returned from Indianapolis, where he brought home five gold medals from the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships.
In addition, as soon as the International Cycling Union gets the results of the drug tests all the competitors took prior to the event, Grove is expected to be recognized for setting three world records for his age group (85 and older).
“I was pretty tired when the week was done, but I really enjoyed it,” Grove said. “I wasn’t planning to ride in as many events as I did, but there were some openings for world records and I figured I might as well go for them.”
So after the measuring and weighing of his bike — and of course the drug testing — Grove competed again against some of the best older cyclers in the country, including a few former Olympic athletes.
“Some of the top guys have been racing on these tracks for over 20 years and I’ve only been on them eight or 10 times, so my inexperience would show up now and then,” Grove said. “There was one time that a former Olympian really outfoxed me in a sprint race, but that’s OK, I really respect him and it helped me learn a few things. Plus, he’s only 75 so I’m not sure I could have caught him anyway.”
Grove believes he will be certified as the world record holder in the 500-meter, 2,000-meter and the flying 200 events in the 85-and-older age group.
“They put me in with the 70-and-above guys and I believe I held my own with the younger guys,” Grove said.
While retirement is an ugly word from Grove, he admits his racing days are likely over. Although he admits he may try to set a record for a one-hour race (how far a rider can go in an hour).
“Let’s be frank for a moment, I’m 85 and I probably don’t have a heckuva a lot more time to live,” Grove said. “There are a lot of things I want to do yet in my life and these past three years of cycling has taken up a major portion of my time and energy. Plus, my family has had to build their lives around my practice and racing.
“I really don’t have anything more to prove to myself and I’m ready to move on. I’ve loved competing and it’s given me a chance to give some gold medals to the grandkids and a few other awards to people that are close to me. That’s what’s important.”
Grove said a lot of people have asked him how he is able to have the energy he does as he’s raced into his 80s and he’s always had an easy answer.
“First, you have to think young and I’ve never had a problem with that,” Grove explained. “After that, you have to hang around with younger people, that will help keep you young, too, and push you to do better. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it definitely helped me the past few years and I’ll continue to follow through.”