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Sunday, 6 July 2014

1407.06 GRAND DEPART


It's been my ambition for many years to go and see the Tour de France. It's therefore amazing that the Tour is coming to see me! It's on my doorstep, literally 1.5 miles from my door. I wanted to see the race out in the country and not in an urban environment, a place where the spectators would really want to be there and not just popping out to nosey at the spectical. Initally I was going to be camping out Langsett way but my friend who was going with me had to pul out due to illness. I came up with a plan to cycle out to the same area and find a good spot.

Off route
I decided an early start would be best, after all I had know idea what to expect out there, a lot of campers were out there and I was determined to get a decent spot to watch. I set off at about 6am and cycled up through High Green where I left the city. I got a little off track the other side of Wortley but I soon found the right road. It was about an hour before I came across other cyclists.

Bank View Cafe
I arrived at Bank View Cafe at around 7:30-8:00 for refreshments. It was there I got talking to cyclists from the Emley White Horse Wheelers. I then had a choice, to ride towards Holme Moss or Midhopestones. Holme Moss promised huge crowds (especially after what I saw at Cote de Buttertubs the day before). Cote de Midhopestones it was, if that wasn't suitable I planned to carry on until I found somewhere.

Cote de Midhopestones
I cycled the catagory 3 climb that was Cote de Midhopestones, At the sumit there were a few people and it loked like a good spot to see the riders coming up the hill. I copped a squat and got comfy, it was going to be a long wait (I had sandwiches).

There were so many other cyclists there the atmospere was awesome, I spoke to so many people. The day passed so quick and as time passed more peple arrived. There was the promoters caravan which was dissapointing but not what I was there for.

The word passed around that the riders were near, then we saw the television helecopters flying towards us. The first group flew up the hill that hours before I was blowing out of my arse while I climbed. I watched the groups pass shouting and waving as they did.




After all the riders, support vehicles and stragglers passed it was time to go. The ride home took me through Bradfield along with hundreds of other cyclists. I wanted to follw the route but the shear volume of people meant it was impossible. The crowds thinned out at Hillsborough and I headed towards the finishing line at the Motorpoint Arena. They were clearing up by the time I got there.


I got home and watched the race on TV, I saw myself as Marcel Kittle passed the summit where I'd spent the day.
My words can't express the excitement, the feeling and the vibe of the of the day. It was a day I will always remember.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

1407.02 TDF PRELUDE

I guess it's kind of expected of me to write about the Tour de France and the Yorkshire Grand Depart. As I write this there is just a few days until the cyclists roll out of Leeds. I am very excited, what I'm not enjoying is the media attention from people who have never really covered cycling, mainly the local TV news and newspapers. Then there's the small backlash from angry motorists who are pissed off that they can't get out in their cars for a day. I've had a few of those arguments over the last seven days.

Over the last couple of days I've been lucky enough to attend 2 free events run by Sheffield Hallam University (a TdF sponsor). On Monday I went along to 'Science of Cycling' at the Crucible Theatre. The event was billed as an interactive celebration of cycling and didn't disappoint. Academics in the field of sports science were joined by Nicole Cooke (arguably the most successful female cyclist of our time) and David Walsh (the journalist who broke the Lance Armstrong doping story). The second was a Q&A panel called 'Cycling Heaven' and was broadcast live on BBC Radio Sheffield. On the panel was Malcolm Elliott (former pro and TdF cyclist), Dean Downing (local pro cyclist), Chris Sidwells (cycling journalist and nephew of the legendary Tom Simpson), Mayur Ranchordas (nutritionist), Dr David James (sports scientist who also chaired the previous event at the Crucible).

My plan for the day (stage 2, York to Sheffield) has been up and down over last few weeks. I was initially going to be camping in a festival environment. Because of a friend's illness the plan was off, then back on and finally off again. I've come up with an alternative which I'm happy with that involves cycling and an early start. So I'm ready for the Grand Depart. I know where I'm watching, when I'm setting off and what I'm taking.

Bring it on...