Saturday, 8 January 2011

Pumphrey Praise and Prizes: NYD TT 2011

Of Thornton Road Club’s four entrants to the Southborough & District New Year’s day 10-mile time trial at Bethersden, Rachelle Pumphrey, wife of the club’s all-round performance rider Michael, achieved an unexpected and remarkable triumph. Among seven female veterans who competed in the trial, she clocked up the fastest time of 29 min: 09 sec. She also achieved an unsurpassed and worthy comparison with her best performance (19 seconds under) and the best improvement on lady-vet standard (25 sec). For clocking the fastest time, and for recording closest-performance-to-best, she was awarded a bottle of champagne on each count. It was a pity she couldn’t stay long enough for the post-ride presentations, but her and her husband’s spectatorial duty at West Ham United that day meant an early departure for the Boleyn Ground. Needless to say, Rachelle’s presence at the game brought ineluctable success for the Hammers.

Subordinate to Rachelle’s acclaim in absentia, Thornton’s three other riders, Don Houghton, Russ Mason, and Eric Bates, imbibing tea after the event and pronouncing desultorily on the discharge of their roles in this two-wheeled contest, were impervious to the inaudible announcement (if there was one) that Russ had won third place in the closest-to-best-performance contest. A bottle of red wine was his prize but was unclaimed on the day. By now one can but hope that his wine-dark winnings have been rightfully retrieved.

The ten daunting miles from Bethersden’s Honeyfields Wood, east to the Singleton roundabout (on the A28) and back were resistibly amiable that 2011 New Year’s day. While heavy skies cast an unsmiling pall over the course, a faint northeast wind and a cool (6°C) humid ambience abetted optimism about the ride’s possibilities – an optimism that was justified by the results.
Thornton Road Club Results – 1-01-11 10-mile TT
(Times in hr:min:sec)
Previous Best time
Vet Stnd
Act time
Better/Worse than Stnd
Russ Mason
Don Houghton
Eric Bates
Rachelle Pumphrey
Best scratch ride: Steve Berry (SanFairyAnn)

The fastest scratch rider (Steve Berry of San Fairy Ann) produced the best individual time of recent years (22:19); the average time for all male veterans (27:59) was also the best in recent years while the average age of male veterans (51.76 years) was the oldest of contemporary contests. Even the number of participating veterans (37 male and 7 female) exceeded immediate past years. From a start sheet of 64 veteran and non-veteran riders (53 male, 11 female), only 8 did not start, i.e. a DNS ratio of 12½%, the lowest in three years. Offsetting these successes, which may have all been weather-related, the average incremental time needed per extra age-year of a veteran male to cover the course was 11 seconds in 2011 compared to 6 seconds in 2010. In 2009, this age increment was 16 seconds. But also in 2011, veteran males over the age of about 53 generally completed the course in less time than their veteran standards, whereas veteran males below that age generally took more time than their veteran standards, with the eminent exception of course, of Steve Berry, a mere 41 years old.

Overall then, a notable day with notable individual rides – two prize winners in the minimalist TRC team, and a strange presentiment that advancing years are not a legitimate reason for slowing down.

Eric Bates