May 13, 2022 - Sports

St. Pete cycler to be honored at National Senior Games

Rosie Ray in a wind tunnel getting fitted for her bike for the time trial event in this year's National Senior Games. Photo courtesy of Coyne PR

Rosie Marie Ray is living proof that you never forget how to ride a bike.

She started riding a fat tire cruiser with a basket at 10 years old. Now, at 81, she's riding a custom aerodynamic bike "set up for speed" and has competed in more than 40 triathlons.

Driving the news: The St. Petersburg triathlete is competing in the triathlon, 5K and 10K cycling time trials at next week's National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale.

  • She, along with Tampa runner Alan Grofé, is among 12 — out of 12,000 participating athletes — selected to be a Humana Game Changer — what the games recognize as "individuals who exemplify healthy aging and provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration for all to age actively."

Rosie's life hasn't been an easy ride, but she's always found a way to turn her pain into a way to help others.

  • In 2002, she lost her husband, 54-year-old Robert Ray, to sudden cardiac arrest while he was training for a triathlon at a St. Petersburg pool that didn't have a defibrillator.
  • She started a memorial fund through St. Pete Mad Dog Charities, buying a defibrillator for every pool and rec center in St. Pete by 2003.
  • Her movement prompted another family to fund defibrillators for St. Pete police vehicles. Now, she's working on a fundraiser to put the machines outdoors in public parks.

Four years after losing her husband, her "significant other" Sandy Scott broke his neck during a time trial cycling competition. But with Ray's help, he went back to competing a year later and has since won 20 state cycling championships in three states and earned a national title.


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