old monkey

I was lucky enough to spend some time at the Australian Masters Games held recently in Adelaide, and during the games, I got to head to a few of the cycling events, take some photos, and have a chat to new people. If you know me, those just so happen to be three of my favourite things! Throw in a bike for me too, and you have my top four!

One of the interesting characters I caught up with was a young feller named Geoffrey Hawkins from the Bathurst Club. One of the many things about Geoffrey is that he likes to pronounce his name correctly, and when I asked him about his name, he said it is of Scottish/Viking origin, and is pronounced “Joffrey”.

This young bloke drove over from Bathurst on his own, with his road bike and track bike on the roof, and his training bike in the back of the car, and had a plan of getting seven golds from the seven races he had entered in. He got close, he managed six golds and one silver, and the silver was only because he got outfoxed on the criterium track by another wiley campaigner, who pipped him on the line.

Chatting with Geoffrey was always fun and interesting, and despite having some hearing difficulties occasionally, especially on the track when he was being called up to race, he was always chatting to someone, especially the girls! Yep, I want to be like him if I ever get to his age!

I should explain I guess, Geoffrey is 83 years young. He started racing when he was six years old, riding a track bike in a road race, and kept racing in Sydney until his mid 20’s, when he had to give it up to concentrate on his family. He got back on the bike when he was fifty, and started road racing again when he was 72!! Nice effort huh?

When I was speaking with Geoffrey at the SuperDrome, he told me that that day was only his fifth day back on the track, and he went up to the top like he had been doing it for ages. He only started on the track again four months ago, just so when he came here to do the Masters, he could get his times worth, and enter as many cycling events as possible.

To look at Geoffrey, you would think that for 83 years young, this feller did not have a problem in the world. Turns out that he just has the best attitude to life. Poor bugger lossed his wife three years ago, and a son this year, which is always tough. Add to this that in 2009, Geoffrey was taking part in the Great Australian Bike ride organised by Rotary, when he crashed his bike in Tasmania, and broke his femur.

It was during this time that the Doctors discovered that he had cancer of the spleen. Apparently a healthy spleen weighs about 300 grams, the Doc thought that his might be about 1.8kg based on observations, so decided that radiotherapy and chemotherapy might slow the diease down, and shrink the mass for removal. Geoffrey’s response was “Don’t tell me about it, fix it!”. So they did, and even after the therapies, when they removed the spleen, it still weighed 2.6kgs, and had been pushing on a lung, which was the cause for his shortness of breath.

Pretty rough huh? The bad news for Geoffrey though is that the cancer is back again, and this time in his chest, with two lumps found so far, one about 14mm, and the other about 30mm. Geoffrey deferred his chemotherapy that was due to commence pre Games, so that he could take part in the games whilst still feeling reasonably good. Amazing stories, and an example of a positive mental attitude helping you to cope with everything that life throws at you.

Geoffrey mate, you are a bloody legend, and an awesome cyclist! Was an absolute pleasure to meet you mate!

Keeo the rubber side down,

Smudge!

Turns out Chris Spence is also back battling cancer again, and this time, instead of keeping it a secret from everyone, he is sharing with everyone, and hopefully he will continue to share his story with everyone. It was awesome for me to be able to introduce these two amazing blokes to each other. Livestrong boys!

A couple of cancer warriors together!