Story of - Australian champion cyclist Jim Cross.
Story of - Australian champion cyclist Jim Cross. Cody Fox

STORY OF: Cycling champion Jim Cross

JIM Cross' heart raced as his legs pumped the pedals on his bicycle harder than ever - he was in his prime and he was in the zone.

The year is 1961 and Jim is about to beat the reigning world champion in cycling sprinting at Maryborough.

 

STORY OF: Jim Cross, a Fraser Coast cycling star.
STORY OF: Jim Cross, a Fraser Coast cycling star. Contributed

His dad, a renowned cyclist himself who represented Queensland, is watching on.

When Jim wins, he feels on top of the world. It is a moment he will never forget.

A photo from that day is still proudly displayed in his home 57 years later.

Italian rider Valentino Gasparello had been in Australia conducting exhibition matches and Jim was the only one to have beaten him.

But the Maryborough cycling legend's most notable achievement was to come a few years later in 1966 when he became the Australian sprinting champion.

"It was my life's dream," Jim reminisced while looking out over his Bell Hilltop backyard.

"The win was pretty unexpected, I was on good form that week. I pretty much retired after that."

 

STORY OF: Jim Cross, a Fraser Coast cycling star.
STORY OF: Jim Cross, a Fraser Coast cycling star. Contributed

How does one become a cycling champion?

Jim began to compete in the sport when he was just 12 - the same year he won his first state title.

Not really a fan of academia, his focus quickly shifted to spending most of his time on the bike.

It wasn't until moving to Tasmania at 17, when he began working with a renowned cycling coach.

He would ride for hundreds of kilometres every week for practice.

The athlete's achievements also include winning 35 state titles as well as two junior Australian titles.

Cycling really runs in the Cross family blood as one of Jim's sons has also gone on to become a cycling champion.

Now 76, Jim regularly goes for rides across the Fraser Coast.

His favourite areas to cycle include Walkers Point, Beaver Rock and through Five Mile Rd.

"It's another world on a bike," Jim said.

"When you're riding, all your stress goes away."

With an Australia title alongside impressive wins, why did Jim never go to the Olympics?

That's what the Chronicle was quick to ask after hearing his amazing life of achievements.

The answer is bizarre - Jim was considered a professional cyclist, and in those days, only amateur athletes were allowed to compete at the Olympics.

Outside his sporting achievements, he was a businessman which is what brought him to Maryborough in the 1970s.

He has also held an enviable stint of being a tour guide between Port Hedland and Darwin.

A recent set-back in health which involved an unexpected surgery hasn't stopped him from living his best life.

Aside from a healthy lifestyle, he said a positive mindset was key to ageing gracefully.

He loves spending time with his family including wife Robyn, and new puppy Penny.



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