Veteran cyclist Vince Jenkins from Daventry has won many races in his career and is now celebrating his greatest victory yet – beating cancer.
The 74-year-old won the British and Welsh 25-mile and the Welsh and Midland 10-mile time trial championships for his age group in 2012. Just months later he was shocked to discover he had an aggressive form of skin cancer.
It had spread to his saliva glands forcing him to undergo major surgery followed by a two-week stay at Northampton General Hospital and six weeks of radiotherapy.
Vince, of Malabar Fields, said: “I developed a spot on my cheek which I thought was nothing but my wife Margarita insisted I go to the doctors.
“I couldn’t believe it when they said it was cancer – I had just clocked my fastest-ever time for 25 miles and felt fine.”
Vince’s treatment was successful but he had to write off last year’s racing season while he recovered.
This year he has been competing again and is already back to his winning ways. In May he won his age category in the Bromsgrove Olympique CC 10-mile time trial in a time of 24:46.
“Not my fastest, but a definite step in the right direction,” said Vince. “Last week I managed to go a bit faster.”
Vince, who has three children and three grandchildren, has been a keen amateur cyclist all his life and has amassed a clutch of winner’s medals. He is sponsored by Leisure Lakes Bikes, which has a store at Daventry’s Abbey Retail Park.
During his career he ran the KallKwik franchise in Northampton for 15 years and worked in sales and marketing roles for various companies.
“In my last job I was working 12-hour days which left little time for cycling,” he said. “One day I was stuck in a traffic jam when all these cyclists whizzed past me. There and then I decided I wanted to take up competitive cycling again and so I promptly resigned from my job and retired.”
During his recovery Vince got back into the saddle one day a week, working up to one day on and one day off. His routine now sees him out on the road six days a week training for his next big race – a 25-mile event organised by the Veteran Time Trials Association.
He says he is taking one race at a time and acknowledges the support of his wife and hospital staff in helping him to regain his health and fitness.
Vince added: “I would like to thank all the staff at Northampton General Hospital for their skill and care, and those wonderful Macmillan Nurses who are always there when you need that extra bit of help and encouragement.”