Both time trial and circuit race were held on the evening of Friday 24th at this top notch purpose built facility and it was great to catch up with faces new and old. This round of the games is particularly important for many of the riders as it forms the selection event for the British team travelling to Durban, South Africa for the 19th edition of the World Transplant Games in July 2013.
We were greeted with a few teething difficulties, not least the lack of an organiser, but we were graced by a team from British Cycling complete with timing chips who had given up their Friday evening before a Bank Holiday to look after us. After a couple of false starts the time trial got underway with Birmingham’s Steve Nyland setting the early pace with 8mins 35secs for 2 laps of the technical circuit.
In the road race, Nyland, pushed close by Gavin Giles, also went on to win in his age category as did a number of other riders including me, Otti Quince, Mel Slaney and Gerald Brown and Simon Ripley. Ottilie now holds all the 6 titles (British, European and World) in both time trial and road race disciplines and is gunning for the fastest scratch time in world next year. Only a brave man would bet against her. And, if you do decide to bet against her…I wouldn’t tell her if I were you…
I’m pretty sure Simon Ripley’s achievements make him the first heart transplant patient to win a double gold medal in the bike race so many congratulations to him. That really does take some balls.
There was a number of new riders testing their skills for the first time following their transplants – bike racing is a scary thing to do, your first race scarier, your first race following a transplant scariest! Everybody finished with a smile on their face, satisfied they had competed – it bodes very well for the future of our particular/peculiar branch of cycle racing.
We are all there to compete – for some of us it’s the only way to pay tribute to the people who have helped us live through their generosity and courage. We win, we lose, whatever, but hopefully we’ll have demonstrated the success of transplantation and encouraged a few people to have a think about signing the Organ Donor Register