Linda Jones Retirement Village may be named after a famous jockey but the village is fast becoming the retirement location of choice for cyclists, with their strong representation in the Olympics@Ryman finals serving as proof of their talent on two wheels!
Four Linda Jones residents have placed in the top 20 for men and women – Lyn Rofe is 3rd and Noreen Parsons is 9th in the women’s and placing 5th and 6th in the men’s are Les Christopher and David Parsons.
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The cyclists, all in their 70s, have all been members of the Flagstaff Cycle Club for years, along with many other residents at the village, with their cycling connection considerably easing their transition into village life.
Even the Village Manager Neville Parkinson is a long time rider, clearly leading by example!
“It’s just a great way to get out in the fresh air,” says Noreen, who joined the cycle club only 18 months ago.
Says husband David, also a social rider: “Regular cycling is a new thing for me too. I used to run and did nine marathons.
“It was a combination of that and arthritis that made me take up a suggestion to try cycling and it’s good exercise for my knees.”
Having been nowhere near a bike since she rode one to school, Lyn decided to join the same cycle club seven years ago to get up to fitness for a barge and bike trip from Paris to Bruges.
“The people were so nice I kept on going,” she says.
Out of the four of them, Les has the most experience, having been a semi-professional cyclist based in Europe during his youth.
This meant food, lodging, bikes and equipment was paid for but any winnings would go to the team.
“Yes, I’ve done a bit in my time,” he laughs.
“I stayed in Europe for about four years then raced in the UK doing time trials, road racing and I did a year of track as well.”
Les has also notched up five marathons, including the second ever London marathon, and has played squash with the local squash club too.
All four of them agree strongly when it comes to the topic of the Olympics@Ryman10.5km cycling trial.
“It was hard work!” says David. “Like doing a 100m running race and they suddenly stretch it to 1km and you don’t know about it!”
“It was like doing a VO2 test,” says Les, referring to the lung capacity test.
“The sweat was just dripping off me!” says Lyn.
“It was a gutbuster! I was just focused on trying to breathe!” adds Noreen.
They love participating and are thrilled with their placing, and are now gearing up to practice the new 13.5 km route before the finals on the 2nd August (women’s) and 3rd August (men’s).
Les and Noreen are also members of the Olympics@Ryman walking relay team while Lyn is doing cycling, walking and swimming in the event.
They all love the idea of the competition and hope it will keep going in the future.
“I’ve already had a lot of people asking me about the bike and the walk saying they’re feeling a lot more confident about the concept now,” says Les.
With the Rouvy technology showing the avatars of their fellow riders, it helped to charge up their competitive instincts, says Noreen.
“I had someone trying to catch me up and I wasn’t going to let them!” she laughs.
“It was good motivation,” agrees Lyn.
The only other village to have four in the finals is Jane Mander in Whangarei.