Sunday, 22 January 2012

CTT Dinner - Sat 21st Jan 2012

If you're new to road cycling, you may not have heard of the CTT -The National Governing Body for Cycling Time Trials in England & Wales.  They basically oversee the organsing of the hundreds of time-trial events which happen weekly across the UK, you can learn more about them here.   

Last night I attended their annual Champions night where they recognise the best time-triallists, distance cyclists and hill-climbers across multiplie categories and celebrate the best of the best in the sport. 

Around 300 people attended the dinner last night, there wasn't a pointy helmet or skinsuit in sight!  The whole event was masterfully compered by Eurosport commentator - David Harmon, who worked his socks off from the awards ceremony kick off at 5pm, right the way through to the final nightcap at around 3am in the bar!

Graeme Obree

I was invited along as I'd helped to organise Graeme Obree along as their guest speaker on the night, he went down an absolute storm re-counting his past achievements including the two hour records, his traning manual and forthcoming attempt to take the human-powered vehicle land speed record, more about that here.

He bought along one of his bikes (the pink one in the background, made of steel.  It was remarkably light and had a massive front chain-ring on it - Obree style).  You can read my previous interviews with Graeme here and here, only one word for Graeme - legend.

David Harmon interviewing Graeme Obree

Simon Richardson

Also present was Simon Richardson MBE, in his first official function since the horrific collision in 2011 which injured him so badly.  There was tremendous support for Simon amongst all the attendees, the CTT displayed the #SIMONSTRONG bike on a podium in the centre of the stage during dinner.  Simon also addressed the audience during the awards ceremony to thank them for all the messages of support, a very emotional moment.

Graeme Obree generously offered up a signed poster of the Flying Scotsman film for auction, with the proceeds being donated to help Simon buy a new wheelchair.  A very generous bid by David Harmon's wife of over £1000 bagged it, I'm not sure David was expecting that but he dropped the hammer and they became the new owners!  A lovely gesture by all concerned, which will go a long way to helping Simon achieve his aim.

I sat next to Simon over dinner.  Clearly he is still in a great deal of discomfort and it was a big effort for him to undergo the car journey to get there.  Simon is allergic to the bulk of prescribed painkillers, so mostly survives on paracetemol which does nothing to deal with the pain he experiences.  Typical Simon though, he smiled through the discomfort all evening, putting on his face for those present and continuing to be a force of inspiration for those around him and working for his sponsors (see back wheel of the bike!).

Simon Richardson's #SIMONSTRONG themed bike

Now that's quick!

The Champion of Champions awards were dominated by Michael Hutchinson (mens category) for the 25M, 50M, 100M distances, Julia Shaw (womens category) for the 10M, 25M and 50M distances and Ryan Mullen (juniors category) in the 10M and 25M distances.

The Best British all-rounder 2011 was won by Jeff Jones of Chippenham & District Wheelers, if you want to benchmark yourself, here's the times he posted in numerous distances.  50 Miles - 1:39:03, 100 Miles - 3:31:51, 12Hrs - 305.51 miles.  If you think about that for a minute, 100 miles on a bike in just over three and half hours, that's quick, I would cover about 50M in that time!

Signing Off

Graeme Obree was up until the early hours signing copies of his training manual, which was selling like hotcakes.  I'd helped organise a book signing in Manchester that morning and it's amazing how far people will travel to meet Graeme.  One lad cycled over from Sheffield in horrendous conditions, to get a book signed!

Overall it was a terrific evening, a total sell-out, I rolled out the bar around 3am after a really good natter with Graeme Obree's agent.  The CTT celebrates it's 75th anniversary in 2013 and they will no doubt work hard to produce another fantastic evening.  If last night was anything to go by, they'll have their work cut out.

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