Competition between VTTA members is based on 'Standards'. So what are they?
The Standards, or strictly the Standard Tables, are a set of target times for each distance which take into account a rider's age, gender and type of machine. The aim is to allow all veterans to compete on a ‘level playing field’. By comparing performances against their target time, rather than on actual time, the Standards provide fair competition for all ages and both men and women.
The Standard Tables set a target or standard time for the distance, age and sex of the rider, and the machine they are riding. For example, for rides on solo bikes:
For 12 and 24 hour events the Standards Tables provide a target or standard distance.
There are separate Standard Tables for men and women and within these for solo bikes, solo trikes, tandem bikes and tandem trikes.
The Standard Tabes are kept under continuing review in the light of changing performances. They were revised in 2019 and again for the 2021 season.
Calculating your 'Plus' time
Many riders go faster than their standard time and the amount by which you beat your standard is referred to as your plus. So if a 40 year old man completes 10 miles in 25 minutes exactly they will have beaten the standard by 1 minute and 6 seconds. This is referred to as a plus of 1 minute and 6 seconds. If a 75 year old man rides the same event in 29 minutes exactly, he will have beaten his standard by 1 minute and 20 seconds. In this case the older rider has the greater plus and will have beaten the 40 year old on standard, despite going slower in real terms.
Thus your 'plus' is calculated by subtracting your standard time from your actual time (or distance in the case of 12 and 24 hour events)
(Riders do go slower than the standard and this will produce a minus time. There's no shame in getting a minus - it's just the point from which you can go on to improve.)
Results on Standard
For veterans' events and competitions, results are presented in order of performance on standard (actual times are reported as well). The fastest veteran on standard or Best on Standard (BOS) is the person with the biggest plus i.e. the person who beat their standard by the biggest margin.
The Standards provide VTTA members with a goal and motivation as they grow older and allow all members to compete against each other on a level playing field.
Claiming a Standard Award
Standard Awards may be claimed at the Standard distances and times (10, 15, 25, 30, 50, 100 miles and 12 and 24 hours). All CTT open events and Scottish Cycling open events, not just VTTA events, are eligible for claiming standards awards (but not CTT club events).
To gain your Standard Award you have to improve on your previous best plus or minus for which you claimed a Standard Award. If you don't have a previous best at a particular distance you can claim your best plus or minus in your first year to get you started. If you have not claimed an award at a time/distance in the previous three years you can start again with your best performance in the current year.
VTTA Groups require you to pay the appropriate fee for standard awards before you make any attempts in an event. You can pay for standards online when you join or renew or later through your My Profile page. Or you can send a cheque to your group.
In 2021 we automated the process for standard claims – this has made things a lot simpler for members! You can now see your standards 'baselines' on your member's Profile page and all the improvements you achieve during the season. You can then claim and order an award for your improvements. Your Group Recorder will then arrange for your award to be presented at your Group Awards event. For further details see 'How to Claim a Standards Award' in the Documents section.
Groups typically present a medal for a successful claim and a plaque when a multiple number of awards have been achieved.
Your new best plus or minus becomes the target you need to beat if you want to win another Standard Award in subsequent years. Because the age standards give you an extra allowance as you get older this makes beating your previous plus an achievable target.
The above is a summary of Standard Awards. The rules are given in Regulation 3.2 of the VTTA Regulations. See the Constitution, Rules and Regulations
Historical Note: The Standards were first devised by EH Strevens in 1943. They were revised in 2012 and again in 2019. Since then, we have further developed the methodology for creating the Standard Tables and the process for incorporating the latest performances of veteran age riders from the CTT website. We now have a database of over 130,000 performances by veterans in recent years, and the Standard Tables were updated again in 2021 to reflect this latest performance data. While the base standard for a 40 year old man or woman is slightly arbitrary the annual increments thereafter are based on a statistical analysis of the actual age decline in performances. The standard tables are generated using a formula which includes, age, gender, distance, and type of machine.