TOPEKA, Kan. – Cyclist Toby Lewis just returned from Topeka, where he competed in the final Senior Olympics on his busy summer schedule, coming with home two gold medals.
Lewis, competing in the 80-84-year-old age division, captured first in the 5-kilometer time trial with a time of 15:23, despite taking a wrong turn on the course. In the 10-kilometer time trial, Lewis posted a time of 26:30 to capture his second gold of the weekend.
On Sept. 7-10, Lewis was competing in a different state’s Senior Games, putting himself and his bicycle to the test in Sioux Falls, S.D. While in South Dakota, Lewis picked up two gold medals and a silver medal. In the 20-kilometer road race, he clocked a time of 58:53. In the two time trials, Lewis took silver in the 5K (12:23) and gold in the 10K (26:68).
“What is so great is each one is a learning experience. Every one of these, the distance is the same, but there is no terrain that is just the same,” he said. “Those times vary because of the courses. Each one is entirely different.”
Lewis spent a large part of his summer testing out different courses across the area, competing in five different Senior Games since June. He set out this year with the goal of competing in eight Senior Olympics, titling it 8-for-80. Although he did not make eight Games, he still had a summer full of action.
“I was very pleased. It was unfortunate the 8-for-80 didn’t work out, but I did make it to five and I’m very happy about that,” Lewis said.
Lewis competed in Montana (June 16-17), Idaho (July 14-15), Nebraska (Aug. 3-6), South Dakota (Sept. 7-10) and Kansas (Sept. 15-16). In Lewis’ adventures across the area, he has covered more than 5,500 miles just getting to and from the events. Throughout the five Games, Lewis racked up eight gold medals and three silver medals.
Although the summer’s events for Lewis have finished, he is already looking forward to next summer. Next year is the qualifying year for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, N.M. and Lewis has his sights set on the national stage.
“I’ll be bust next year too. There is no doubt about it,” he said. “When a race over, I just can’t wait until the next one.”
While waiting for his next competitive race to kick off, Lewis is hoping that his story can help other seniors pick up a sport they once loved.
“This is a challenge to me, but hopefully it’ll help inspire other people,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. Take care of yourself and if the good Lord is willing to let you do something, don’t sit back.”