From Cycling Today
90-year-old cyclist hits back after failed drugs test: Testers are wasting their time
His bike is his soapbox. As time caught up with many of his peers, the former United States Navy Band saxophonist , who played for U.S. presidents and visiting VIPs and who was born on his parents’ kitchen table during an Indiana thunderstorm the year before the Great Depression, is still riding to spread his stay-active message – despite a doping violation caused by a diner steak.
He has set age-group cycling records in the 80- and 90-year-old categories and accumulated 18 national championships. What matters most to Grove is setting a healthy, don’t-give-up example in a country increasingly sickened by obesity and the inactivity of modern life.
Through his exploits, his hope was to share the simple maxim he lives by: ”Do not sit down.”
”I see all kinds of people that, man, they go up two or three or four steps and I hear them kind of pant and what have you. This country is not like it used to be. I didn’t see that when I was younger,” says Grove, who will celebrate his 91st birthday on July 13.
”I try to show them that with just a little care and a little exercise and a proper attitude that, maybe, they can live the last eight, 10 years of their life with quality and not have aches and pains.”
At the end of last year, the stay-fit mission he calls his ”life’s work” suffered a mighty and, in hindsight, completely unfair and unnecessary blow.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Grove that traces of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by U.S. cattle farmers to bulk up livestock, were detected in a urine sample he gave at the U.S. Masters Track National Championships in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, last July, where the field’s oldest competitor again added to his collection of titles, setting times faster than men in their 80s, 70s and even 60s. He was stripped of his gold medal in the pursuit – the day he tested positive – but kept two others.
Grove’s conscience was clear.
As USADA’s own investigators eventually determined, he knew he hadn’t doped. Instead, Grove had been inadvertently contaminated, probably by a dinner of cow’s liver he ate at a local diner on the evening of July 10 – his way of celebrating his gold medal in the time trial that day, where he was the only competitor in the 90-94 age group.
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