Father and son Kelvin and Ted Woodley with family and friends after the duo finished the 158km Abel Tasman Cycle Classic together to celebrate Ted's 80th birthday. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport Limited.

Father and son ride 158km for 80th birthday

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Father and son Ted and Kelvin Woodley found a novel way to celebrate Ted’s 80th birthday on Saturday – by riding the inaugural 158km Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge with each other.

Ted and Kelvin, 57, crossed the line together arm-in-arm after a gruelling ride from Saxton Field and out to Ruby Bay, Motueka, Kaiteriteri and back.

Ted Woodley gets the honour of crossing the finish line ahead of his son Kelvin after they completed the 158km Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge together on Saturday at Saxton Fields. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport.
Ted Woodley gets the honour of crossing the finish line ahead of his son Kelvin after they completed the 158km Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge together on Saturday at Saxton Fields. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport.

“It was bloody hard work, I sat on the back of Kelvin all the way and he did a great job,” Ted says.

Ted now lives two hours out of Melbourne but still cycles with a group weekly, but this was a big step up. “I haven’t done a race that long in a long time.”

A puncture and a broken chain saw Ted come across the line with blood on his forearm and his knee.

“The chain came off three times and we had a puncture – when you fall off it makes you look a little mucky,” Ted says.

“I didn’t think I’d be doing the whole thing – I thought I’d be doing part of it but the event is a lot harder than it looks.

“The thing I enjoyed most was finishing.”

The duo were welcomed by family and friends who had travelled to Nelson for the birthday celebrations.

Kelvin says he was proud to do the race with his father and it reminded him of when they used to work together on DIY projects in their younger days.

“There aren’t many things like this at 57 that you can do with your 80-year-old father.”

The duo joked they might now take up an event more gentile, like sailing. Kelvin, the principal at Tapawera Area School, says he had support from people watching the race out on the course.

Rightly, Ted finished one second ahead of his son in seven hours 13 minutes and six seconds.

Ted finished 352nd out of the more than 400 people who took on the individual ride.

Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond won the race in three hours 51 minutes and 51 seconds.

He was more than five minutes clear of his nearest challenger. Nelson’s Tour de France rider George Bennett started his season preparation with sixth, almost 20 minutes behind Hamish.

Event organiser John McIntrye confirmed the event would be back next year and he was keen to build on the 600 ‘originals’ who competed in the first event.