Chattanooga's Durward Higgins turning 75; still a national cycling champ

In this file photo, Durward Higgins of Chattanooga climbs a hill in West Virginia as part of the 2012 RAAM United 4 Health Race Team.

Durward Higgins will turn 75 Friday, and he was planning to celebrate with a 75-mile bicycle ride today so he can do another one approaching that length Saturday with a group of riding buddies.

And doing it more easily than the rest.

Higgins won two USA Cycling national championships in 2016: the Masters road race in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the inaugural Mountain Hill Climb up Pike's Peak in Colorado. That gave him five USA Cycling national titles over the years, along with other victories too numerous to count.

As one example, the East Brainerd resident was the overall winner - all age groups - in a Prison Prevention Ministry 62-mile race last August.

"Whether riding with the Bubbas Elite group on a 65-mile ride on a Saturday over two mountains or riding with the DUR (Disabled, Unemployed and Retirees) during the weekdays, Durward will be pushing the pace with riders often 40 years younger than him and almost always beating everyone up a long hill or mountain climb," said Carl Scarbrough, one of those riding buddies.