CTT CHAMPIONS’ NIGHT – Saturday 17th January 2015
On Saturday evening representatives of the Douglas Bader Foundation had the honour of attending the Cycling Time Trials (CTT)’s Champions Night Dinner to honour the inspirational achievements of our DBF Ambassador, Margaret “Maggz” Biggs.
Maggz has been a cycling enthusiast and competitor for most of her life but was unlucky enough to come off worst in an accident with a car while competing over 40 years ago. Months of pain and several operations on her badly broken leg followed before the decision was made to amputate it below the knee. This was in the days before the wonderful specialist prostheses we see in use now were being created and it was undoubtedly a terrible experience for a fit young woman already enjoying success on the cycling circuit to go through. Maggz’s mother, Jane, also a keen cyclist, helped to get Maggz back into the saddle by accompanying her on a tandem and Maggz subsequently joined the dynamic Southport Cycling Club from whose members she has received enormous support and encouragement and where her achievements were also recently rewarded at their annual dinner but it is only relatively recently that she has really found the competitive cycling bug again.
In 2012, Maggz, along with fellow Ambassador, above-knee amputee Wyn Jenkins, conceived of Team Bader Cycling as the Cycling Arm of Team Bader and kicked (or pedalled) it off in April 2013 with a tandem cycle challenge down the vertical axis of Wales (you can read more about this great event by entering Tandem Challenge Wales into the Website search engine); a challenge they completed in style and frequently at speeds that the accompanying able-bodied cyclists found hard to match. She added further to her talents by designing the DBF Kit worn by the team for that and future challenges and competitions. Since then Maggz has gone from strength to strength. Making the decision to start riding in Time Trials in support of the Douglas Bader Foundation, she created Team Bader Amputees, which she registered and affiliated with the Road Time Trial Council as an official Para-Cycling Team able to compete in national events. She now represents Team Bader Amputees in Time Trial competitions proudly wearing the very cool and stylish kit and thereby spreading the Douglas Bader Foundation name wherever she competes. She is a wonderful publicist for the charity and an inspiration to both amputees and able-bodied alike.
For those of you who, like me, had never heard of Cycling Time Trials, the concept is that cyclists compete with themselves in that they attempt to better their own personal times, but results are also pooled and places awarded according to overall achievement. The route can be over a closed circuit or on open roads and varies from 5 – 100 miles. One of Maggz’s extraordinary recognised personal goals was to complete 100 miles in under 5 hours; a daunting goal by any standards. Cyclists who achieve an average speed of 20mph over all 25, 50 and 100 mile distances qualify for the BBAR (Best British All Rounder). Maggz did extraordinarily well by not only qualifying for the 2014 Ladies BBAR but then finishing in 32nd place thereby winning herself a Certificate. An astonishing achievement, and, as Wyn pointed out: “not bad for a pensioner with one leg…”! Not content with that, Maggz also won a medal in the para-cyclist event, sharing 3rd place with Craig Green, a hand amputee, ex-forces and “young enough to be her grandson”! You can get a taster of what these events are all about and see Maggz in action pedalling out of the starting gate on the way to her award by following this link to a short video. Look out for the bright blue DBF Kit! Here, in Maggz’s own words is a brief explanation:
“Final of the series of 6 in the Circuit Time Trial Series. The one I got the medal for. Am shown on the ‘starting block’. All TT start with a countdown. So for instance if I was off at number 5, and the event started at 11.00am, I would be off 11.05am. Riders are set off at 1 minute intervals.
This event was 2 laps of a 9k circuit. So as riders are still being ‘pushed off’ at the start, others are passing through to start their second lap. All the para cyclists were started off early, with the ladies and men to follow in a field of 140 or so. The ‘fastest’ men were off towards the end, and on video’d on the climb a 10% gradient. As it was a week after my 100m ride I really struggled up it on the 2nd lap. Excuses! One of the para cyclists used a recumbent. I’m amazed how she managed that climb. Another used a trike as she had balance probs. The guy last off with only the use of one leg was a power house, and deserving winner.”
So – on a wonderfully sunny Saturday afternoon, Team Maggz Supporters, comprising of DBF CEO, David Bickers (who finally arrived – again! – after making a return trip to London for his forgotten dinner suit!), myself and Ambassador, Wyn Jenkins, arrived at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel in Heythrop Park on the outskirts of Oxford to ready ourselves for what promised to be a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The hotel is lovely, adjoining the original Manor House and the gorgeous surroundings were the icing on the cake. The black tie evening started with the Award Presentations and we were proud and delighted to see Maggz, looking gorgeous and not nervous at all(!), step up to collect her medal and certificate and get her photograph taken with Sheila Hardy (Cycling Time Trials National Chairman) and special guest, David Millar (former professional road race cyclist; winner of four stages of the Tour de France, 5 of the Vuelta a Espana and 1 of the Giro d’Italia; British National Road Race Champion and National Time Trial Champion in 2007; the only British rider to have worn all of the Tour de France jerseys and one of only 6 to have worn the prestigious yellow jersey – phew!), who presented the awards.
We’re quite sure Maggz wasn’t embarrassed at all by the loud cheers and whistles that erupted from the DBF contingent as she got to the stage! We were then treated to a delicious supper where spirits were high and much celebration was taking place. The next day, a very convivial morning meeting during which some of the exciting future plans for Team Bader Cycling* were discussed over a yummy and abundant Crowne Plaza breakfast (highly recommended) before we went our separate ways.
A tough job but someone’s got to do it!!
Our sincere thanks go to the CTT for giving us such a memorable and enjoyable evening, to the Crown Plaza for accommodating all 300+ in such style and comfort and, last but not least, of course, to Maggz for making the event possible by her fantastic achievements and for doing so much to advance and promote both the DBF name and reputation.
Same time next year, Maggz?!
* The final outcomes (yes – more than one) of these discussions will be published shortly and we think you’ll agree that there are some very exciting and positive things ahead for Team Bader Cycling.
JOIN TEAM BADER CYCLING
We are very keen to build on this wonderful platform that Maggz has constructed and would welcome other cyclists or aspiring cyclists joining Team Bader Cycling.
It doesn’t matter what level of proficiency you’ve achieved as a cyclist or what your disability if any, you will be welcomed and encouraged and support (definitely) and tuition (where possible) will be given.
As well as reaping the well-known benefits of participating in a sport, you will be welcomed as part of a friendly team and will get to represent the Foundation in whatever events you attend. As an added incentive, you will also be allocated a Team Bader top enabling you to spread the Douglas Bader Foundation name far and wide!
We will be publishing the 2015 Event schedule shortly so keep checking in to the Team Bader Page.
Please contact us for more details in the meantime.
You can find out more about Cycling Time Trials (CTT) by clicking on the logo above to visit their Website
and visit their Facebook Page where you will also see more photographs of the Champions’ NightTags: above-knee amputee, Crowne Plaza, Cycling Time Trials, David Millar, Douglas Bader, Giro d'Italia, Heythrop Park, Margaret Biggs, Southport Cycling Club, Team Bader Cycling, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Wyn Jenkins, yellow jersey