About the only thing the Upper Valley’s Carl Lovejoy loves more than playing sports is spectating. Lovejoy’s wife and sons are all tremendous athletes, but he himself is no slouch, doing the Prouty Century Ride annually and strapping on his hockey skates whenever he has the opportunity.
VS: Your background is in team sports. Is cycling new for you?
CL: My family purchased this wonderful old farmhouse on the Connecticut River in Orford a few years ago. I spent my first summer doing yard work, and I’d watch the cyclists go up and down Route 10. I hadn’t been on a bike since my Schwinn Sting-ray days, so I was very jealous. It looked like an incredible amount of fun. I was also about to turn 50, and an old colleague of mine bought a new bicycle and gave me his old one and told me that I needed to get into cycling shape so that he and I could ride the 100-mile Prouty together. I jumped on the bike, fell in love with riding, and got excited about training for the Prouty.
VS: Were you able to do the Prouty?
CL: We created a team, and the first year there were four of us, but now we’ve got over 100 riders. In the last four to five years, we’ve raised over $15,000. Like many of the people who support the Prouty, I’ve had family members who suffered from cancer. I have been very healthy, and I’m very grateful for that. This is one way I can pay back and support cancer research. I have been a fundraiser, so I can appreciate the work that goes into the Prouty; and it is without a doubt the most well-run event of its kind that I have ever been a part of. It’s great to raise money for an incredibly worthy cause, and it gives me a goal to be in shape so that I can do 100 miles, which I am proud to say, I can do quite easily. It’s an event I look forward to every year.
VS: What do you love about cycling?
CL: I’ve found cycling to be physically and mentally therapeutic, and it’s something I can do with my wife and other family members and friends. I’ve replaced the hand-me-down with a new bicycle, and I try to set a goal of 1,500 miles a year. Cycling has been the perfect activity for me in many different ways.
VS: Tell us about your job?
CL: I worked for 30 years in very traditional schools: St. Paul’s in Concord, N.H.; Tabor Academy in Massachusetts; and Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, N.H. They were each incredible schools with very talented faculty members. For 25 years, we lived in dormitories. My boys grew up on boarding school campuses, and I’m convinced they are the athletes they are today and the people they are today because of that environment. It helped that I always had the keys to the gym, the weight room, and the ice rink. It was like growing up in a country club or a candy store. Recently, with my nest empty, I had the opportunity to go in a different direction. I was hired by the Becket Family of Services to promote their programs, which specialize in working with at-risk youth. Right now I am the director of External Affairs, focusing on a program called the Mountain Valley Treatment Center, working with adolescents who suffer from anxiety. I’ve been able to work with at-risk youth as well as high school students who have struggled in more traditional environments. I’m working with kids who once struggled in the environments that were so much a part of my earlier career. I’ve almost come full circle.
VS: You’ve got quite the athletic family, don’t you?
CL: I grew up in an athletic family and played sports in prep school and college, but I pale in comparison to my wife and children when it comes to athleticism. My wife played three sports at UMass and is the career leading scorer for its lacrosse team. She played on the U.S. national lacrosse team, and on our very first date, I had the opportunity to watch her play against the Irish national team. All three of our boys grew up with youth sports in New Hampshire and Vermont. They went to Cardigan Mountain School and then Deerfield Academy where they each played three sports. Ben, my oldest, played ice hockey and lacrosse at Dartmouth, and now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. His wife Avery was the captain of the Dartmouth squash team. Matt plays lacrosse for the University of Virginia, and our youngest, Nick, plays lacrosse and ice hockey at Dartmouth.
VS: You have a background in ice hockey as well, don’t you?
CL: I played in prep school at St. Paul’s in Concord and at Colby College in Maine. I thought I was pretty good, but I could never have competed against my sons. They are at a different level. When my playing days were over, I started coaching at the prep school level. When my kids were born, I switched to coaching younger kids; mites and squirts. I loved coaching that level because they improved every day, and they thought I knew what I was talking about.
VS: Do you still play hockey?
CL: I go to the St. Paul’s and Colby alumni games, but I also play in a men’s league in Hanover and any time I can find a game of pond hockey. Nothing is better than playing outside. Ben got to experience that last year when the Penguins played an outdoor game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It rained, but the Lovejoy family was fortunate enough to be able to go and see him.
VS: Have you always lived in the Upper Valley?
CL: I grew up in the Concord area, but our family has loved being residents of the Upper Valley. It gives us four seasons of athletic and recreational opportunity. We have met some of the most wonderful people in rinks, on golf courses, and on the roads as we have pursued all of our activities, and I can’t imagine a better area in which to grow up and raise a family than the Upper Valley.