John Taylor’s BtB Prize Presentation Speech

So, believe it or not we had only our second ever, annual BtB prize presentation on Saturday night which saw the majority of the team get together at the team base here in the Midlands.

There were lots of presenation pieces on display and were snaffled up by the riders achieveing their standard awards (which for some had to break 3 National age records just to get their hands on a BtB award!)

So for everyone and those that are interested below is John Taylors opening address from Saturday night which summeraises what a great year that BtB had.

Born to Bike Awards Night for 2016

Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to the 2016 Born to Bike Awards Night, and to all our new members – Hollie Owens – April Lewis – Ally and Mark Torode – Sean Sleigh – Edgar Reynolds – Dave Ellis – Alan Davies – Kevin Stokes – Chris Hall – Geoff Perry and Steven McLean.  When Geoff Perry isn’t racing, or helping Katya in her races, he can be found working out standards for thousands of VTTA competitors nation-wide.

 Looking at our membership of approximately 35, we are only a small club, but on seeing our riders achievements since 2010 it appears we are a huge club, especially in terms of solo and team awards at National Championships. A nucleus of riders live here in the West Midlands, but others come from as far south as Guernsey, London, Milton Keynes, Coventry and as far north as Stafford, Ashbourne, Sheffield and Ayrshire.

One person in particular stood out in 2016, when she won the National Championship 12hour – Katya Rietdorf, who was also the fastest woman in the VTTA BBAR competition. These amazing results are a ‘first’ for Katya, and she also played a major part in the women’s National 50m, 100m, and BBAR Team wins for Born to Bike along with Chris Melia, Sue Semple and Lynne Biddulph.  It was also a ‘first’ for a Born to Bike’s women’s Championship 24hr team, and a rider who has never ridden a 12hr, let alone a 24hr, – so a first for Libby McLaren. Whilst on this subject, we couldn’t have won the Team award without Jacqui Hobson and Lynne Biddulph, with Lynne pulling out the stops to win the National 24hr women’s event for the 7th time since women 24hr riders were first recognised as Champions in 2003.  This was also Lynne’s 22nd x 24hr.  Our strengths are in our tough Championship teams at all distances and duration, and we are all very proud of those achievements.  And a welcome back to racing for one of Born to Bike’s top long distance riders in 2013 and 2014, Helen Eborall, – a Championship 100m Team medallist in 2013, and in 2014, 247miles in 12hrs won her a Championship silver medal.  All this, despite saying she isn’t keen on the longer distances!

At the CTT Awards night in January Born-to-Bike won so many team trophies, that to save time, the CTT called our 6 women riders en-masse to collect their team awards, and it was great to see – Chris Melia, Katya Reitdorf, Sue Semple, Lynne Biddulph, Jacqui Hobson, and Libby Mclaren on the stage together. They won the 50, 100, 24hr and BBAR. Now I don’t usually say “what if,” or comment on things that could have, or might have been, but if we’d have had a 3rd rider in the 12hr, Born to Bike would have won that Championship 12hr team award as well, after all, Katya won the event, and Lynne came 3rd. In the course of writing the 24hr Journal since 2010; going to many time-trials and official meetings, a lot of people have commented how big the club must be to keep producing so many champions, and championship teams, and that’s the message I’d like to convey to each and every one of you here tonight, – you are all amazing, talented riders, always ready to take more punishment every year!

Never believe that you’ve reached your limit, or that you won’t achieve your goals; listen to your coaches, and tell them your aims. If your best distances are 10’s, 25’s, and the occasional 50, why not come out of your comfort zone, and try a 100, -even if it’s only one event at the end of the season, – you will be amazed at what you can do, and why stop at a 100? Throw caution to the wind, and go for it. Just look at Libby, Sue and Bob’s achievements in 2016, for their very first CTT awards. While I’m on the subject  of tough riders, Clare Campbell Smith also had a good year, coming 8th in the CTT Beryl Burton Trophy; Clare also helped Lynne and Sue to win the top VTTA club team award with 25m in 59-11, 2-6-25 for 50, and 4-41-12 for 100.   Chris Melia won CTT  Championship Team medals, and also took N. Midlands VTTA awards for a 10m in 21-24, a 25 in 55-11, and a 50 of 1-52-24, she was also the 2nd fastest lady in the VTTA short distance tables.   Sue Semple’s fast 50 and 100m times prompted her to remark -“My first CTT medals ever, – a dream come true – so grateful to Born to Bike for getting me there.”

Hollie Owens is our youngest rising star, winning the West Midlands junior circuit Championship in 2013, 2014, 2015, and in 2016 Hollie was 2nd in the GHS Time-trial Championship. At the moment she has a 10m PB of 23-34, which by the end of this year will be down to 22 minutes or less, I’m sure, so good luck for 2017.   Ally Torrode has a PB 10 of 26-11, and a 25 of 1-05-03, and I’m sure that next time she’s over here for a weekend, at least one of those PB’s will be smashed, and with Steve coaching Mark, I’m sure we’ll see some great results from both of you.

I hear April Lewis is very keen, and again I’m sure her PB 10m of 25-12, a 1-4-11 25m and a 50m of 2-19-20 will also be broken this year. The enthusiasm, help and advice   Hollie, April, Ally and Mark will get from other Born to Bike team members should see a successful season for all of them. In 2016 April won the Stafford RC women’s time-trial Championships, plus their club BAR, and short BAR. Her day job is running the South Staffs Cycling Scheme, organising rides for those who’ve just taken up the sport.

Jasmijn Muller’s season was blighted by bad luck, first of all with a DVT while reccy-ing the End to End route, and by the time her treatment had finished, she just managed to fit in 264m for the 3rd fastest woman in the Breckland 12hr event, before travelling with Cat Archer to the USA to ride a 24hr race in the Californian heat of 35-40C. Better luck to both of you in next year’s 24hr, and if you choose to swell our Championship team by riding the Mersey Roads 24hr this year (2017), I’m sure the temperature will be perfect.

73yr-old Bob Awcock was the first called to the stage to pick up a 50m age category medal at the CTT Awards night, proving that Lynne’s advice to ‘have a go’ was correct. He rode all the distances in a busy season, and just a few days prior to finishing his very first 12hr, Bob rode 2hrs-15min for a 50! His PB’s to date are 23-40 for 10m, a 1-01-58, 25m, a 2-11-51, 50, a 4-42-06, 100m and 189.4m in 12hrs. Bob’s 2017 target is to improve at everything.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bob completed the men’s 12hr team with Dave Pemberton and Steve Biddulph on a very tough, testing day; their support crew was Libby and Lynne who were having a rare day off from racing. Liz and I were also there, giving encouragement and applause, not only to our lads, but to anyone who looked as though they still had a pulse. The 12hr topped off a long season for Dave Pemberton his 206.26m, along with a 5hr-7m 100, and a 331m 24hr was enough to get him 17th place in the Long-Distance BBAR, and 8th in the VTTA tables.  If you’ve never witnessed a 12hr, or a 24hr, or seen the camaraderie between the riders; their helpers, and road-side supporters, it is well worth finding a local event to watch, or better still, come and support your own Born to Bike team riders.

Steve Biddulph’s 224mile 12hr was just enough to shock his leg muscles into craving some shorter distances on the track, and those legs didn’t let him down, coming 18th in the World Track Masters pursuit. In the National Masters Champs Steve got 9th in the time-trial, 12th in the points race, and 16th in the scratch race. In the LVRC Track League he was Overall 3rd; and 2nd in his age-group; 3rd in the points race; 3rd in the scratch race; 4th in the individual pursuit; 6th in the time-trial, and 6th in the sprint. At the Arena Grand Prix Steve came 4th in the points race; 6th in the scratch; 13th in the Kierin. He was also  3rd overall in the LVRC Derby meeting for the 40-44 age group, and had outright wins in the Multi Points race and the Scratch race. – – To think that 2 years ago, he’d never even ridden a fixed-wheel bike, let alone a steeply banked track!

Steve’s PB’s are a 10 in 20-04, a 25 of 52-13, a 1-55-20 for a 50, and a 12hr of 224m. His 2017 target is a sub-19minute 10.

His enthusiasm for the track rubbed off on other club members, and soon Dave Ellis, John McLaren, Sean Sleigh and Alan Davies had taken up the challenge. Sean Sleigh’s results do him very proud, – in the National Masters Track Championships he came 6th in the time-trial and 6th in the scratch race. In the LVRC Track League he was 1st Overall, 2nd in the Track Championship points race, 3rd in the time-trial, and 4th in the Sprint.  In the Omnium he was 4th overall, and went on to win the Multi-points race in the Track League, as well as the Multi-scratch race and the Elimination race. Sean also won the                    overall and 40-44 age group award at the Derby LVRC meeting. Sean’s 2017 time-trial target is a sub 20 minute 10.  Sean also makes trays full of ‘bite-sized’ rice snacks, which he brought along for us all to sample. They were moist, compact, and tasted great, – what I’d call perfect for handing up in 12’s, 24’s, or even on an End to End attempt!

Chris Hall’s PB’s are 10m in 21-23, a 25 in 56-58 and 2-1-47 for a 50. Kevin Stokes loves tandem racing, but his solo PB’s are 21-25 for a 10 a 57-48 25, and for 2017 he is targeting the VTTA Championships at 10/15/25 and 30miles.

In the World Track Championships Dave Ellis was 9th in the pursuit, and 10th in the time trial. The National Masters Championships saw him come 3rd in the scratch race; 4th in the time-trial; 4th in the sprint; 6th in the pursuit, and 9th in the points race. In the LVRC Track League he was 2nd overall, and the Age Group Champion. In the LVRC Champs he had an impressive string of wins in the Sprint; Time-trial; Pursuit; and Team Sprint, and came 6th in the Points Race. At the Derby LVRC meeting Dave came 1st Overall, and at the Derby and LVRC Track League he won the Multi-Points race, and the Multi-Scratch race, and was the LVRC Champion for 2016.

Alan Davies was 2nd Overall in the 45-49 age group at the LVRC Derby Meeting, and at the LVRC Track League he was 5th Overall and 3rd in his age group as well as winning the Multi-Points race, and the Multi Scratch race.

Phil Kelly joined us a couple of years ago with the aim of doing something more challenging before his 50th birthday, and he certainly did that by riding the Anfield 100 in 4-43 and a 12hr in Yorkshire of 233m in 2015.

John McLaren was 10th in the National Masters Time-trial Championship at 1 kilometre, which he said seemed a very long way, -(so I suppose a 100m time-trial is out of the question John?) At the Newport Spring meeting he took 6th place in the Kierin Final, and 6th in the time-trial, and at the Derby Arena GP he was 12th in the Kierin.  Whenever I’ve watched a Kierin, with those mad sprints for the line, I’ve always thought Kierin was too soft a name for the race, and that Kamikaze would be better. John’s Time-trial PB’s are 22-17 for a 10, and 57-43 for a 25. He prefers the track, but his 2017 target is a sub 21min 10, and to finish a 50m event

Ian Manders’ season was cut short with a leg problem, and the treatment means he will not be back to full force until 2018, and John Cornfield’s ‘run-in’ with a car knocked a big hole in his season, and also in his confidence; I wish you both better seasons in 2017, and 2018 – with a lot more luck.  Ian’s PB’S are a 19-52 for 10m, a 53-14, 25 and 1-55 for a 50. John Cornfield has a full-house of PB’s with a 10 of 23-49, a 25 of 57-08, a 50 of 2-01-01, a 100 of 4-35-39, a 12hr of 223m and a 24hr of 410m. His 2017 target is a 240m 12hr.  Dave Pemberton’s 2017 target is to beat evens for a 12hr, and to top 400m for a 24hr. In 2012 John Cornfield, Dave Pemberton and Lynne won the Mersey Roads Championship 24hr team race, and that was the last time a mixed team was allowed in a CTT Championship.

One of Born to Bike’s new members is Edgar Reynolds who Lynne and I have known for many years. He comes from a multi-marathon running background and has ridden a fair amount of 24’s for the Congleton CC. Edgar’s PBs are 23-25 for a 10, a 1-02-20, 25, a 50m time of 1-51-22, a 100 of 4-38-46, a 235m 12hr, and 412.3m for 24hrs. His 2017 targets are to ride the National 12hr and to do a PB in the Mersey Roads 24hr and get 8 x VTTA standards.

You may recall that earlier I mentioned going to CTT meetings in the hope of improving the equality situation, such as women getting the same recognition as the men for their achievements. Well in 2016 we managed to get a women’s team recognition in the 24hr Championships, and a full top 12 women listed in the BBAR tables in the handbook, for the first time ever! We are not quite there yet with all the inequalities but at least it’s a start. Lynne, Dave Pemberton and Steve have attended these Midland District meetings with me, and it’s good to have that support. Many of you belong to different districts, and if you feel strongly about parity in our sport, why not support Born to Bike and the CTT by attending your local meetings to have your say, or your vote.

Congratulations to all the medal and trophy winners, and I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking Steve Biddulph for sorting the awards out, and getting the medals engraved. He was helped this year by Dave Pemberton who updates the website, and also booked this venue. I’d also like to thank my son Mike Taylor of Bridgtown Cycles for sponsoring the medals and trophies. Don’t forget, in conjunction with the Stafford RC, we are again helping to organise and run a 10m time-trial at Etwall on the 6th May at 2pm. Last year you helped to make this event a big success, and many of you managed to ride the event as well as giving it your support.


Born to Bike president            John Taylor

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