Cycling is proving to be more than a healthy habit for 70-year-old Bundaberg road cyclist John Hampson.
John, who first took up cycling at the age of 55 to beat a different habit, starred at last month’s 2020 AusCycling Masters Road National Championships, winning two gold medals and a silver in the men’s 70-75 years age division.
The Coral Isle Cycling Club rider took out the time trial and criterium honours on the first two days of competition before backing up on the third to secure a silver medal in the road race.
John said he was pleased he took up the sport 15 years ago.
“I gave up smoking and I was putting weight on, so I thought I’d do something to get fit,” he said.
“I started out on an old road bike I found at the dump and got that going, and I’ve gone on from there.”
John said he had been confident of a strong performance at the 2020 event but was happy to have turned expectation into results.
“I thought I had a good chance, especially with a few less (competitors) there because of COVID,” he said.
“You want to test yourself against the best riders, but there were still some good riders there with blokes from New South Wales and Western Australia (and throughout Queensland).”
John, who was a comfortable victor in both the time trial and criterium events, said the 53.8km road race had been particularly difficult given its hilly course which equated to 1100m elevation over the duration of the race.
However, he was able to battle on to the silver medal, the 12,500km of training he put into his legs throughout 2020 serving him well as he completed the gruelling event in 1hr 54min 47sec – 7min 31sec behind West Australian victor Michael Morton.
The triple medal haul added to the national title John claimed in the 65-70 years men’s division in 2015.
He is now eyeing off a start at the Tour de Brisbane in April, an event that usually doubles as a UCI Gran Fondo World Championships qualifier.
However, it is unlikely to open the door to international competition for Ken on this occasion, given that it is being contested in Bosnia-Herzegovina in September and the possibility of overseas travel remains an uncertainty.
John has competed in a previous world titles in Perth and remains grateful for everything the sport has given him.
“I enjoy it, it’s a good, healthy sport,” he said.
He said the sport costs him a lot more than the cigarettes used to, especially now that he has upgraded to a better racing bike than his original dump find, but there can be no doubt it is money much better spent.
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