Competitions for VTTA members are based on 'Standards'. So what are they?
The Standards are effectively a handicapping system which takes into account a rider's age so even the oldest riders, some in their 80s and even 90s, can compete against "younger" veterans who are in their 40s and 50s. The handicapping system also allows men and women to compete against each other. They also cover riders on different machines - bikes, tandems and tricycles. The Standards system thus provides fair competition for all ages and both men and women.
The system works by setting a standard time for the distance, age and sex of the rider. For example:
You can see all the standard times for individuals here.
Calculating your 'Plus' time
Many riders go faster than their standard time and the amount by which you beat your standard time 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 50 seconds. This is referred to as a plus of 50 seconds. If a 70 year old man rides the same event in 28 minutes exactly, he will have beaten standard by 1 minute and 2 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 quite common.)
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.
So 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.
Standard Awards may be claimed at the Standard distances and times (10, 15, 25, 30, 50, 100 miles and 12 and 24 hours).
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 the year to get you started. If you have not claimed an award at a time/distance for three seasons you can start again with your best performance in the current year.
Before you make any attempts at Standard Awards you should tell your group recorder in advance which distances you are going to be making attempts on and pay the appropriate fee. (Note, though, that some groups will accept claims and fees at the end of the season.)
To claim an award you must send a completed standards claim form to your Group Recorder together with the result sheets for the events in which you qualified, marking your name and time. See Forms.
If your attempt is successful you will receive an engraved medal. If you get four medals or more in a season you can have an engraved plaque instead.
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. However, you can elect to ignore any rides done more than three seasons ago.
The above is a simple summary of Standard Awards. The full 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. In 2011, the VTTA convened a sub-committee to review the standards. Based on a thorough mathematical analysis of over 26000 performances by veterans in the preceding three years the committee proposed a new and fairer set of standards across all ages that reflected these actual recent performances of veterans. 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 actual performances. The revised standards also use a formula linking, age, gender, distance, type of machine to standard time. As a consequence standards can also be generated for non standard distances or time durations
These new standards tables were adopted by the VTTA in January 2012 (with some minor revisions in 2013) and have proved very successful in providing a level playing field for all VTTA members.