Darryl Roberts took up cycling after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure -- against the advice of his doctor who wanted him on medication instead.
"Cycling alone literally wiped it out," said the 50-year-old Chicago native, who took part Friday in the Tour of Elk Grove Mayor's Charity Time Trial.
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He became addicted to cycling after being a spectator at last year's Tour de France, he said. "I'm training to win a gold medal in the senior Olympics."
Roberts has 18 months to train for the 2015 Summer National Senior Games -- the largest multisport event in the world for seniors. Friday's race was his first attempt at a timed race.
He came in at 16 minutes and 30 seconds, well over Mayor Craig Johnson's time of 15:01.
Twenty-three riders beat the mayor's official time, making them eligible for $20 each that will come out of Johnson's pocket per his pledge each year for the first 25 riders to beat his time.
This year, Johnson rode with a 28-pound handicap, pulling his 18-month-old grandson, Noah, who is the "youngest racer in the history of the Tour of Elk Grove," he said. Noah was securely fastened in a wheel cart attached to the rear of the mayor's bicycle.
The charity time trial kicked off the eighth year of the largest professional cycling event in the Midwest.
The tour's professional riders completed their first stage of a three-stage competition Friday-- the men's and women's 4.5-mile time trials.
Kelli Richter of Libertyville said it's "pretty cool" to have competition of such high caliber in her backyard. The 30-year-old Carmel High School graduate was one of 63 riders competing in the women's pro time trial, her second year competing.
"I did better today than last time," she said.
Coloradan Chad Haga, a member of Team OptumHealth, won the men's time trial. On the women's side, Coloradan Alison Powers, a member of team NOW and Novartis for MS Cycling, repeated as champion.
The tour features 12 professional and amateur races and $66,000 in prize money. Races continue through Sunday afternoon.