by Rachel Tallant
At 81 years old, HAC Member, Carol Tasca, recently traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to compete for the fifth time in the National Senior Games (NSG). Carol won a silver medal for the 5k Time Trial Bicycle Race at the 2019 Games. The race in June was the “best finish of her life” she says, after competing in the NSG for almost 20 years.
Carol has been riding bikes since she was just two years old and even has a framed photograph with her very first tricycle hanging next to her bike rack at home today. All of her life, she has been active in sports and fitness, which she lovingly calls “playing”. She says, “I love to play and majored in play.”
Carol played varsity field hockey when she attended Temple University in Philadelphia from 1956-1960. She was also a field hockey referee for many years and played in the National field hockey tournament in Florida in the 1980s when she was on what she refers to as the “granny” team.
“In the 60s women didn’t have intercollegiate sports at the Penn State Ogontz campus, so I started a women’s field hockey team.” She recalls, “Instead of just teaching the skills of the game, I taught the whole game”.
Carol was a physical education major at Temple and went on to be an educator of Health, Phys. Ed., and Swimming. Later, she completed her master’s in counseling and guidance.
Carol was 65 years old when she was first encouraged by the volleyball coach at the University of Delaware to start riding in the Delaware Senior Olympics. Her first race was at the NASCAR track in Dover, DE.
When asked why she does competitive cycling, she said “Because I can!” with a smile from ear to ear. “And if your next question is, ‘How long am I going to do it?’ Until I can’t.”
Carol says you get to see and experience so much by traveling and riding on different trails in the sport of cycling. Carol’s favorite bike paths are right here in Delaware, with her go-to trails being the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Mike Castle Trail, and the Markell Trail in Wilmington.
For Carol, cycling isn’t just about the sport or competition, it’s also about camaraderie. Whether she’s riding with her biking buddies, Marcia or Gret, or her personal trainer, Denise Boyle, Carol says, “being able to ride with friends at 81 years old is an accomplishment in itself.”
HAC personal trainer, Denise Boyle, and Carol have been training and biking buddies for years. With compatible personalities and similar interests (even matching red kestrel bikes!), Carol says that Denise is the perfect trainer for her. “With Denise, she can push me with a smile on her face, and she knows how to encourage me and prepare me to perform at my very best.”
Carol’s advice to other athletes her age is to find a trainer available all year long and to train at least twice weekly. Carol includes yoga, massage and walking as part of her off-bike training. She said says “keep moving, keep your balance, and find a physical activity you actually enjoy.”