Orr found love of cycling later in life

Matthew Gourlie
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It was 25 years ago when Ken Orr decided he was going to start running to combat a weight problem.

Ken Orr, left, stands with his wife Muriel and a framed collection of his medals from his trips to the World Masters Games.

Within three years he competing in triathlons.

He went to compete in the triathlon at a national event and ended up just competing in cycling because of a lack of entries in the triathlon.

He has been cycling ever since.

Orr's journey from running to get in shape to a cycling career is even more remarkable when you consider that he is 79 years old.

"I had a weight problem. I got into (running) in my mid-50s and I was probably 58 when I got into straight cycling," said Orr.

The Churchbridge man was the honoured guest at the Moose Jaw Pavers Team Redgoat Spring Classic annual gala.

"I'm not that good of a rider, but it's nice that they honour me anyway," said Orr who competed at the local Sask Cup stop.

He ran a half-marathon before he began to do triathlons in his late-50s. He was going to enter the triathlon at the Canadian Masters Games in Regina in 1992, but just competed in cycling. He's been hooked ever since.

"There's so much variety. You come to a race like this and there's three different races. If you have a bad one you can try to make it up in the others," said Orr.

He competed across the prairies and went to nationals for the first time in 1998. He did well there and went to the World Master Games in Portland, Ore.

He has been to three World Masters Games. In 2005 in Edmonton, he medalled in the road race, in track cycling and in mountain biking. He also medalled on the road and on the track at the 2009 World Masters in Sydney, Australia. He also took part in the UCI World Masters track event and medalled once more a week later in Sydney. He was Saskatchewan's 2009 Master Athlete of the year.

Beyond the competition and the medals, Orr really appreciates the friendships he has made in the cycling community.

"I like keeping fit and feeling good. And the friends I've made," said Orr who cycles in Yuma, Arizona during the winter.

"You meet good people in Sask cycling or in Yuma or at the World Masters Games."

His active lifestyle has certainly been good for his health as well.

"I don't have too many aches and pains and sometimes if I do, I go on the bike and go for a ride and they go away," said Orr.

He has his sights set on a trip to the Senior Games in St. George, Utah where he has previously competed.

"I want to race in the senior games there because I'll be in a new group," said Orr who will be able to compete in the 80-and-over division because he was born in '34. "They hold a seniors games there every fall and it's for all sports."

While Orr almost makes it sound easy to be a competitive cyclist at his age, but he admits that he feels the years and has the same struggles to stay motivated as most people.

"My body wants to go downhill," he said. "That's why I'm aiming for the fall games in St. George. If I don't have something to aim at I start to get lazy and start sloughing off."

Organizations: World Masters Games, Moose Jaw Pavers Team Redgoat, UCI World Masters Canadian Masters Games

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Sydney, Regina Portland, Ore. Edmonton Australia Yuma, Arizona Yuma St. George, Utah

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