24 September 2015
At 86-years-old Geoff Hawkins will be the oldest cyclist at next week’s 15th Australian Masters Games in Adelaide.
Cycling has remained close to this heart through the good and the bad in his life. It’s helped him overcome the many health concerns and challenges he’s faced along the way – including five bouts of cancer.
“When they found the first cancer in my spleen, they took it out; they told me no riding for five months and then only on flat ground and only for five kilometres.”
“I said righto Doc,” laughed the Bathurst local.
In all his years on the bike, there has of course been the odd road incident or spill. But ironically enough, one of those may well have been for the best.
During a cycling holiday around Tasmania, the father of two suffered a horrific leg injury which kept him in hospital for a number of days.
He had been riding along the shoulder of the road in wet conditions and fallen off his bike onto a set of railway lines. The end result was a complete break of his femur.
“They rushed me into a Hobart hospital and they pinned and bolted it all up,” Hawkins said.
But it was through this ordeal that medical staff realised he had unusual blood levels. Upon his return home from Tasmania, Hawkins was sent to have a blood test which revealed the worst possible news.
“I rang him [the doctor] and asked is everything as usual? He said no. You’re a big boy and you have cancer,” Hawkins explained
But, such is his love for cycling, Geoff Hawkins was resolute in getting back out on the road sooner rather than later.
“I was determined to ride again and I was riding within about two weeks. When I finally did go out on the road I did about 25 kilometres,” said Hawkins.
Now, six months out of remission from his most severe cancer scare, Hawkins heads into what will be his fifth Australian Masters Games.
It’s his love cycling and the companionship that leads him back year after year.
“The camaraderie is very good, there is a lot of old faces there and that’s what keeps you going,” Hawkins said.
“This time in March, I really went downhill. I came back from a trip in New Zealand coughing pretty badly, and I went to the doctor and they just rushed me straight into hospital. I had it [cancer] really bad this time,” said Hawkins.
“But, I just tell the doctor, you bloody find it, you bloody fix it, I’ve got bike racing to do.”
The 15th Australian Masters Games will be held in Adelaide, October 3-10, featuring more than 10,000 participants from across Australia and around the world.
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