I drove back home on the Tuesday night, a lovely traffic free run on the M4, arriving back around 20.30. Decided to leave my bike in the car – as I’d already made my mind up to go to Wyche Cutting for the first KoM the next day.
Getting up at 6am never bothers me as most days of the week I’m up at 5am at the very latest. It was thick fog and quite chilly as I left – so deciding to wear jogging bottoms over my bibs was a great idea. This time I had to rely on my Sat Nav as although I know the way to Cheltenham and Worcester like the back of my hand, I’ve never been to Great Malvern. Not sure what time I did arrive in the town, but I found a great parking spot (after asking a few mums doing the school run) on the side of the road in a really quiet part.
I got out, sorted myself, the bike and a backpack out, then I looked up.
The sun had started clearing the fog and I could see the top of the hills. Ouch. Going to be some pull up there! I checked Google Maps then started off… ever upward…
Although nowhere near the Tumble – it made me blow – but I did it in one go. Not realising I’d got to the top until I saw the Yodel van the other side as I started dropping down. Sounds a bit silly, I know!
I stopped and chatted to them and they asked if I wanted to give them a hand – not a bother as I’ve done plenty of marshalling at cycle events before. They told me I could chuck my bike in the back of the van after they had set the barriers and KoM signs out. So I cycled back up and over – and turned by the pub as it was already getting busy!
There was about 10 of us up there and hundreds of people, a load of cycle clubs and a few that had ridden some of the route early on. It was blazing hot up there, and I ended up giving out flags, ‘Tour de Worcester’ posters, flags, more flags, stickers and more flags.
Had a great laugh with a couple of lads and the other volunteers – whilst keeping up to date with the race via Twitter.
Wasn’t long before the breakaway arrived
And as always they were up and over in seconds.
And then everyone departs. I grabbed my bike (and a goody bag) and headed back down, intent on seeing the race finish at home.
Ironically I didn’t check the race route – only realising I was back in front of them en route as I started back up the A417 toward Swindon. I quickly pulled in to what we know as the Birdlip turn, and parked up with the 30 or so other cars on a side road.
Ha. Great. Get to see them again!
Didn’t have to wait to long either
Then we waited ages for the peloton
Then a quick drive home to watch the race! Except I fell asleep after 20 mins, waking up to see the peloton cross the line.
It was great to see it, and ride out to it on my own. I’ll definitely be doing that again!
I’d arranged with @Jenlovescycling and her hubby Pasty, and @v_girlracer to go off to the feedzone. Pasty kindly picked us up and we rode out from near Great Shefford. My legs were a little tired and a short ride did them good!
Eventually we found it, leaving our bikes up against a wall, and I shared my Haribo with Saxo Tinkoff, although they wouldn’t share their coffee!
Some, but not all teams had their cars there, and Giordana arrived just after we did. Then a fair while later Raleigh arrived. Immediately I recognise Michelle getting out of the car and wandered down to say hi (I’d met her at the Milk Race earlier in the year).
Had a chat, and guarded the car while the both nipped of to the loo, then let them get set up. I stayed on the same side as the swannys but back a bit from them so I wouldn’t get in the way. No Internet connection – so listened to some very crackly race radio from AN Post whose car was right behind me.
Then the police, police bikes, NEG’s, and the breakaway finally came past. I’d heard Alex Dowsett was in it…
And we kept hearing the time gap growing and growing…
In the middle of this, I got hit by an NFTO full water bottle (accompanied by a smirk) ;-)
Then everyone was leaving. Scribbled my number for Michelle as Raleigh were driving off… and then they were gone…
Again, a quick ride to the car, home then watch the race. Crikey, some time gap!
This time I had to pack a rucksack for the Brighton and London stages, couldn’t take much as we’d have nowhere to leave it on the Sunday. It’s a funny feeling, I was knackered but exhilarated. Legs were tired. Brain was full of clouds, but I was immensely enjoying myself. Especially with my friends.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I’ll continue part 3 over the next couple of days!
:-) :-) :-)