MY wife Jenny and I moved to Port Fairy from Melbourne in 1990, when we bought the Port Fairy Newsagency. We had always loved Port Fairy and had a family connection to the area, Jenny's sister and brother-in-law, Hester and Graham Woodrup. We spent 15 years in the newsagency and it was something that I really enjoyed. It was a good lifestyle and I enjoyed running our own business and Jenny enjoyed chatting to the locals and visitors who came into the shop. I was president of the Port Fairy Traders Association and became heavily involved in tourism in the town. Our son James was born while we owned the newsagency.
RUNNING a newsagency is hard work, with very long hours, early mornings and late nights and being in a tourist town, the majority of our trade was done over the weekend. So unlike other newsagents in small towns, we were open seven days. I now work at Rebecca's Cafe doing adminstration work. After 15 years it (running a business) had started to take its toll on my health. When we sold the business, I decided it was time to get back on the bike.
I HAVE been cycling since I was 14. I'm 59 now. I had a break when we moved to Port Fairy and took over the newsagency I had a bit of weight to lose and had bad knees. I always wanted to be a cyclist. My father Charles was a cyclist and I remember wearing his old cycling gear to fancy dress parties. I was obsessed.
DURING the 1960s, riders were split into amateurs and professionals. I rode as an amateur until I was 30. I turned professional in 1982 and rode in Melbourne To Warrnambools and Herald Sun Tours and I raced in Europe. I'm not really sure exactly how many Melbourne to Warrnambools I rode, because I'm not the type of person to keep count of things like that, but it would have to be at least half a dozen. I'm proud of my performance in the Herald Sun Tours and the Melbourne to Warrnambool. I finished third in a couple of them and finished in seventh or eighth in a Melbourne to Warrnambool. I never really got up and won any major open races, but I always finished in the top 10, which I was happy with.
MY association with the Port Fairy Cycling Club began before I moved to the town. I used to race in their open races with Graham when we came down to visit. I began racing again after we left the newsagency and still race most weekends. The club will continue for years to come they have a great junior program and some great young riders. Before those young guys started, all the members were in their 40s, it's great to have some young ones again, although it's hard for us old blokes to keep up. I enjoy working with the juniors and passing on a few tips. Cycling is a hard sport to master and I'd like to think that I have a bit of knowledge I can pass on.
I HAVE been heavily involved in the Murray to Moyne, more or less from the very start. It was a great passion of Graham's and today there is still a strong family link with myself, Hester, Graham's daughter Kate and her husband Mark Winnen all still involved. When Graham passed away, I became even more involved. I was chairman of the committee for a number of years, I didn't keep count of exactly how many. The family connection and the cycling are the two things I love about it. It's also a great way to raise funds for health services across Victoria.
MOST recently I won the country state championship for the 56-60 age group in Harcourt. I won the same event last year. I went with Port Fairy policeman Chris Carr, who won the 50-55 age group. It was great that we could both have a win. Now we go to Lang Lang at the start of August to compete in the state titles.