Winning the war against time

Three Hilton Head Island men have learned that life after retirement can be quite an adventure. Despite worn-out knees and hip replacements, Brian Cosacchi, 70; Ron Knight, 75; and Bob Bredin, 72, stay active by competing in triathlons and tackling other exciting feats.

These are not your average grandpas. They met at a spinning class five or six years ago and have been pushing their limits ever since.

When the men compete as a team, they call themselves Team Viva Viagra. When they do triathlons, Knight swims, Cosacchi runs, and Bredin bikes. They've done Beach Bum triathlons on Hilton Head a few times as well as the annual Beaufort Jasper Active Adult Challenge.

Their most recent competition was a Warrior Dash in North Carolina. The 5K race challenges participants to leap over fire, crawl under barbed wire and hurdle over barricades, among other things. Warrior Dash race director Kendra Alley said 13,500 people participated in Warrior Dash Carolinas on Aug. 27-28.

"These Warrior Dashes are popping up across the country all over the place," Cosacchi said.

You'd think the night before such an intense competition these septuagenarians might want to tuck in a little early. Not these guys. The night before the dash, they took a zipline tour 200 feet above the ground in Asheville, N.C.

Four years ago they finished the 105-mile Assault on Mount Mitchell. They trained for six months for the 11-hour bicycle ride through the Appalachian Mountains.

"There's no age category, and we won a trophy, which we're very proud of," Knight said. "We rotate it around to each person's house every four months. ... Whoever dies last gets to put it in their casket."

But the guys don't go on all their adventures as a team. They've all competed in triathlons on their own. In fact, Bredin has finished about 100 of them.

Founder and president of Kickin' Asphalt Bicycle Club, Knight once cycled from L.A. to Boston in seven weeks. Cosacchi and Bredin hiked through Zion National Park in Utah. Cosacchi has gone hang gliding and sky diving.

And three years ago Bredin ranked fifth in the world in a rowing competition, which involved logging his meters online. He said he rowed 1,300,000 meters in one month on a rowing machine at his health club, averaging about seven hours a day.

So, what's still on the bucket list, as the trio calls it? At the top of the list is riding motorcycles across the country. They've all taken a motorcycle class but need to find someone who rents out bikes.

Beyond that, they would like to go hiking in the Rocky Mountains or to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. And Cosacchi has set his sights a little higher -- he is hoping to take part in the annual Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival.

"We sometimes have difficulty agreeing on what we're going to do together," Bredin said.

He said the bucket list motivates them because they have a limited number of years left to handle these kinds of adventures.

"When we say, 'Well, let's look into it,' we either do it now, or we may not do it because our body parts are breaking down," Bredin said.


Cyclists love Kickin' Asphalt (and takin' the pain), July 3, 2007

Beaufort Jasper Active Adult Challenge