“John Howard was a lot better rider than me. The only way I could win was to have better organization and try to make up time when the weather conditions were bad.” — Lon Haldeman
by Carrie Lumia
About the Hall of Fame
Pick a goal:
- Ironman Triathlon World Champion.
- U.S. National Cycling Team member.
- USCF and NORBA Elite and Masters National Champion.
- UCI World Championship Medallist.
A lifetime of bragging rights accompanies any one of those feats.
But one man, John Howard, has accomplished them all — and then some.
The “then some” would include Howard’s participation in the 1982 Great American Bike Race, precursor to Race Across AMerica. He came in second to Lon Haldeman that year with a time of 10 days, 10 hours and 59 minutes. But he was first in another category. Howard was RAAM’s first Rookie of the Year.
For his participation in the historic race that launched the sport of ultra cycling, as well as many other accomplishments, Howard has been named to the Ultra-Cycling Hall of Fame. It is third such distinction awarded the 57-year old Encinitas, Calif., resident. Howard is also a member of the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame and the Triathlon Hall of Fame.
A native of Springfield, MO, Howard first became interested in cycling at the age of 15, riding the slopes around his home — the Ozark Mountains. In cycling, Howard wasn’t following in his father’s footsteps, those of Harry Howard, a high school football star. Rather he was blazing new territory. Go figure.
“My first real cycling hero was Marshall Major Taylor,” Howard said of the turn-of-the-century black cycling great. Further inspiration came from tales of Italians Fausto Coppi (1913-1953) and Gino Bartali (1914-2000), Tour de France winners in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
A common trait among these cyclists is tenacity, and it’s one Howard recognized in himself. “I’m a hard-headed fool from Missouri,” he said. “Once I sink my teeth in something, I don’t let go.”
- Howard’s palmares
- Three-time Olympic Cycling Team
- 10 years U.S. National Team
- 14-time USCF and NORBA Elite and Master’s National Champion
- Ironman Triathlon World Champion (1981)
- Cycling 24-Hour Drafting World Record Holder, 539 miles (1987)
- Cycling World Absolute Speed Record Holder, 152.2 mph
- Competitive Cycling Magazine’s Cyclist of the Decade — 1970s