Campus & Community

University College student prepares to compete in National Senior Games

University College master’s student Dick Stewart will compete in the 15th Biennial National Senior Games July 11 and 12 in Minneapolis. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

University College master’s student Dick Stewart will compete in the 15th Biennial National Senior Games July 11 and 12 in Minneapolis.

University College master’s student Richard “Dick” Stewart can’t recall a time when he wasn’t getting around by bicycle.

“Ever since I can remember I’ve had a bicycle,” says Stewart, 63. “I can picture the day my mother took the training wheels off my bike and cut me loose.. And I worked in a bike shop for six years. When I graduated from college, all of my buddies got new cars. I bought a new bike.”

Over the years, the bike hasn’t become any less important for Stewart. After having raced all over the country and the world, he is now preparing to compete in the 15th Biennial National Senior Games in Minneapolis, Minn. Stewart will participate in the time trial 5K and 10K cycling events on July 11 and 12.

Though Stewart has been cycling for as long as he can remember, he didn’t come up with the idea to enter the Senior Games on his own.

“I was dared to do it,” Stewart says. “An individual named Brian Rounds runs a company called Velo Echappe, and he organizes amateur races around the Tour de France. I’ve been with him now for about seven years, and last summer we were in the French Alps, racing, and he said, ‘I dare you to do it, Dick.’”

France isn’t the only place Stewart has experienced from the seat of a bicycle. He says that cycling has provided him with numerous opportunities he might not have had otherwise.

“I’ve seen the world because of a bicycle,” says Stewart, who trained around 20 hours per week in preparation for the national competition. “I’ve raced in Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain; I’ve ridden casually in other countries around the world. I’ve gotten to do some really cool things. I’ve raced the Tour de France three times, and that definitely would not have happened without the bike.”

The National Senior Games began in 1987 and are hosted every other year. According to the association’s website, the event is “the largest multisport qualified competition event in the world for men and women 50 and older.” The competition features 19 sports, everything from archery to shuffleboard to swimming, with a number of different events in each sport.

One of the goals of the NSGA, according to its website, is “motivating senior men and women to lead a healthy lifestyle.” Stewart returned to school to study leadership and organization at the University of Denver to remain productive during retirement, and he similarly views cycling as a way to keep his body productive.

“Particularly as you age, it’s easy not to do these things, so the physical conditioning and the mental conditioning is a good byproduct of all of this,” says Stewart, who graduated from Wichita State University in 1974 and worked as an accountant in Denver and elsewhere for more than 30 years before retiring in 2014. “One of the reasons I came back to school was to keep my mind as sound as possible, and I think racing is the same way to keep your body as sound as possible.”



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