Meet the Masters: Diane & Chris Otley-Doe
What makes cycling even cycling better? When you race with a mate, or in this case, your spouse.
Husband and wife Diane and Chris Otley-Doe will be tackling the 2019 Cycling Australia Masters Nationals in South Australia this October.
After competing at elite levels when they were younger, the pair stepped away from the competitive sports landscape to raise their beautiful family and now that their kids are growing up the pair have decided to get back on the bike.
We spoke to Diane about her husband’s decision to start racing again, what that first step back into the competitive scene was like, last years results and more.
How and why did you decide to race Masters?
Chris and I met through triathlons when we were both in the RAF in the UK in 1996. We have both raced for the GB Team - Chris at Half Ironman and Duathlon as an Age Group athlete and myself at Duathlon as both an Age Group and an Elite athlete.
We both competed in the World Championships together for a number of years and I also did the European Champs. During that time we became hooked on Individual Time Trial racing as it is a much bigger sport in the UK than it is here in Australia with races most weekends and mid-week too.
My best result was a Silver Medal in the National 10 Mile Time Trial.
As we began to have a family, the racing had to take back seat and we now have three children - 18,17 and 13 who have all grown up as competitive swimmers so lots of time has been spent ferrying back and forth to the pool at ridiculously early times in the morning and sitting at swim meets as the support crew.
My eldest son, James, finally passed his driving test early last year and suddenly I had much more time on my hands so after watching various friends competing on the bike through Facebook, I asked Chris if he fancied racing again! We have always kept fit and ridden the bikes for pleasure so it was a nice move for us.
What was it like when you started competing?
Two weeks after we decided to give racing a go again, despite the onset of a cold, we were on the start line for the first of a four-race time trial series here in Queensland.
With a new pair of aero bars strapped to my old road bike and, apart from leaving my lungs somewhere out on the course, I very happily finished second in the C Grade.
Unfortunately, the cold developed into a persistent cough which had me sitting on the sidelines cheering Chris on in the second race, but for the third race, I entered the B Grade and came second again.
The last of the series was the Qld State Champs so I was really fired up by now and my loving husband bought me a new time trial bike and we upped the training regime. I entered the A Grade and had a great race to take out first place at the age of 52.
Our 2018 Nationals
I decided to try my hand at the Masters Nationals and with lots of support from my husband and my old coach, Bob Addy I managed to finish second.
I also gave the Elite Nationals a go in January this year and finished 14th. Both Chris and I were going to do the Bathurst Gran Fondo in March but unfortunately, I started to have lower back troubles and couldn’t race, though Chris had a great race and finished 54th/187.
I tried physio for my back but every time I tried to get back on the bike it came back. I’ve since put it down to an over-optimistic bike fit (our bodies are less flexible and forgiving as we get older!) Luckily, my local Trek dealer, Chris Moore kindly offered me a bike fit at his shop and after some chiro treatment, plus pilates and RPM classes I have been able to slowly build up my cycling again.
I did the third race in the Qld ITT series in August and came second in the A Grade so I’m now aiming for the State Champs in September and having another shot at the Masters Nationals in October. If that goes well then I will probably try to improve on my Elite Nationals result as I would love to get a top 10.
Our favourite event is definitely the Time Trial as we love the fact that it is an individual effort and all down to your fitness and mental toughness on the day.
I certainly would not be able to race as well as I do without the love and support of my husband Chris. We train together and race together when we can and are very competitive, we’re always trying to beat each other on Strava!
How does Gold Coast CC support Masters riders?
The Gold Coast Cycling Club has been very welcoming and they hold lots of crit racing for masters though we haven’t been able to race them yet due to work and family commitments.