On Saturday 21st May, a number of intrepid riders defied their advanced years by braving the wind and the rain to take part in the VTTA’s National 10 mile championship on the A1 course at Long Bennington.
The forecast was for heavy rain in the afternoon – and unfortunately on this occasion, the prediction was just about spot on! Just as the first few women set off, the heavens opened and the challenge of being able to see through a soggy visor was added to the joys of dealing with strong and gusty cross winds.
But since these were hoary old veterans, very few riders cried off and the race went ahead with a full field. And at least the traffic seemed mercifully light, thanks to Manchester United who were providing alternative entertainment on the telly. But despite the biblical conditions, BtB’s Sue Semple managed a cracking course PB in 23:58 with a standard of +4.55 (and if you don’t know what that means you are probably too young to need to worry)!
BtB’s Chris Melia decided that 10 miles just wasn’t long enough in such nice conditions and decided to add a small detour through Foston Village, up a steep hill. Her finishing time was 24:07, +4:56 on standard, earning her the ‘foolish old bird’ rider award.
The event was won by 85 year old Ron Hallam with a time of 27:06, +6:41 on standard. Bronwen Ewing was the first woman with a time of 22:28, +6:25 on standard.
(The brighter non VTTA members will probably have worked out by now that rankings in VTTA championships are based on variations to ‘standards’ which are set according to age. Its a system which allows riders over the age of 40 to keep competing year after year on an ‘even playing field’ with younger riders).