Guest Blog – Rob Kennison – Finish Manager of the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour

One of Rob Kennison’s favourite sayings; ‘I’ve crashed in better races than you’ll ever ride in!’
Rob is also a prolific winner of the ‘Mug of the Day’ award given out daily at the finishes at both the Tour of Britain, and Women’s Tour. I believe he actually won it twice in one morning last year.

“But what do you do for the rest of the year?”

It’s a familiar question when people find out that I’m Finish Manager for the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour. Believe it or not it is what I do all year round. These races don’t just arrive in town!

Planning starts immediately after the previous Tour finishes, and as venues are confirmed I head off to recce the proposed venues with Race Director Mick Bennett. We have numerous criteria that have to be met to ensure we reach the criteria necessary for a UCI HC (Men’s) or Women’s World Tour event.

The finish straight needs to be at least 8m wide, straight and with a good surface free of cats eyes etc, sometimes we have to ask for street furniture to be removed or the surface to be improved. Team parking has to accommodate at least 20 team coaches plus another 40 team vehicles and 60 escort motorcycles. We also require parking for all of our Tech. vehicles, and space for Hospitality, Judges Unit, Race Office, Podium, Anti – Doping and the SweetSpot Death Star where we hold strategic meetings.

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Rob about to leave after the final stage of the Women’s Tour 2016

Once we are confident we can build our finish at a given location I liaise with Route Director Andy Hawes to join up the route and final 3km, sometimes there can be quite a lot of restraints so this is not always straightforward.

In the months leading up to events I have regular meetings and site meetings with venues, these usually have a tight agenda to address items such as Emergency Services liaison, road closures, event schedule etc. I also attend Safety Advisory Groups to ensure plans are in place to cover any eventuality, unexpected road closures, Emergency Service call outs as well as arrange for licences for our promo zone and temporary structures.

A month before the Tour we publish our Race Manual so it’s important that accurate maps, profiles and schedules are ready so that teams can check out the routes and are prepared for their on race briefings.

Race day usually starts with an alarm at around 04.30, a quick coffee and bacon roll and I’m on site at 05.00. Our first job is to position our large infrastructures, hospitality unit, Judges unit, podium and power generators. Signage teams set out to position the last 1km signs and branding team get to work.

The gantry is erected and at 08.00 the Fire Service rock up to fill the water ballast tanks, shortly after this we have another breakfast cooked by the amazing Charlie’s Angels followed by a Finish Crew meeting to go through any information that needs reinforcing. At this meeting there’s always some banter around the “Mug of the Day” award, presented to the person or persons who may have cocked up in any way. By eleven everything is ready for hospitality to open and receive guests at 11.45, shortly after this, depending on how far they have to drive, the Team Coaches start to arrive in convoy from the start, the parking team position them allowing plenty of space for the team cars that will arrive with the race.

Live TV starts at 1pm and the show is 4 hours long with the finish usually around 3.30. We get regular updates from the race via our Race Control situated at the finish line, and final road closures are placed to allow the 1km inflatable to be erected. The tension builds in the last hour with Team soigneurs and media crowding the finish area, usually trying to keep an eye on the big screen to see how their boys or girls are doing, when they can’t see the screen all are glued to their phones following the excellent ToB Twitter feed. I position myself about 100m after the line where I ensure soigneurs are safe and won’t be hit by the riders as they finish, I direct our H & S team so that they are able to park the Race Controllers’ and Commisaires’ cars. The anti-doping team arrive and inform soigneurs which riders are required to report for testing. I gather the “catchers” to make sure we are ready to catch the correct riders to chaperone them to the podium for the presentations. Generally the race flies into the finish and riders come to a stop with swannys to grab a drink and directions to team parking, the leaders go to the podium and as soon as the broom wagon has passed our teams start to dismantle everything. I attend a couple of meetings before heading off to my hotel close to the next day’s finish, this can be up to a two hour drive so sometimes we don’t arrive until quite late. I usually have dinner a quick G&T and head for an early night ready for the next stage when we repeat it all again.

Once the Tour finishes I have a bit of down time before we begin on planning for the following year. It’s a good time to spend some time on my own bike and to try to regain some fitness. This year I decided at the last minute to ride the Master’s World Track Championships just three weeks after the Tour, not the best preparation but I was satisfied to make the finals of both Scratch and Points races. Next year I’ll be once again focussing my racing on track and grass track  and promoting a couple of meetings myself.

@Theo Southee photography

Picture credit Theo Southee

 

Some of Rob’s greatest crashing palmares; Junior Worlds 1982, Amatuer Paris Roubaix 1983, Tour of Belgium 1983, Ster van Brabant 1983, National Madions Champs 1986, Lincon GP 1985

 

I’d really like to thank Rob for convincing me to tag along with Medway Velo last year, doing the Not The Tour of Flanders sportive with them (I managed to lose everybody, but finish eventually), then joining in with their trip to Paris Roubaix. He also talked me into attempting grass track, and through him and the others; Sally Smith, Phil Booth, Alex Cook, Tom Kennison, Matt Nunn, and Steve Smith, they have bolstered my confidence no end! I’m a proud 2nd claim member to Medway Velo, and can be found as a stand in DS/ Soigneur at track meetings in the summer. 

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Into the Autumn feat. MTN Quebeka

It’s not easy to bare your soul – especially to the jackals of social media…. or to new colleagues!!! But that appears to be what I had done with that post that went a bit viral.
Embarrassed? Yeah. Glad I wrote it? Equally.
That probably explains why my last blog post was a bit stilted. And why I failed to write up my ToB as usual.

September has been busy. More so that usual, with me chasing around after the ToB, doing a SBCU course at Chessington and shooting off to the Cycle Show. I’ve barely ridden the bike to be honest – having been absolutely shattered, or like this week a bit too ill.

The Tour of Britain was again bloody brilliant. I’m always early to arrive – but you are guaranteed the finish crew are already there building up the finish area. Wrexham was great, catching up with old friends – Rob Kennison and Mavis Evans, and Andy Barron from Festina. And meeting up with the ToB crew proper. Paul Baillie, doing a ridiculous amount of work as usual and putting in some serious hours. Chris Darby – H&S assistant and all round legend, and the rest.
Wrexham was a bit of a blur. In and out of Race HQ, in and out of Team Parking, helping the volunteers out, greeting the team staff – Wiggins staff are brilliant and I’ve still no idea of their names! One Pro – Becky and Keith, Raleigh – Michelle and Milan, NFTO – Pete, Jane & Pov, JLT – Adrian…. The list is endless. It’s great to see so many friendly faces!
Finally stationed just after the finish with the swannys – the race is suddenly in and there are riders everywhere…

This is repeated again at Colne – I’ve never had so many high 5’s in my life, then it’s the long drive back to Surrey whilst the race moves on up North. I’m equally torn by wanting to go with it and being glad I’m in my own bed for a couple of nights!

Thursday turns out to be a bit special. On arrival at Jo Perrys in Stoke on Trent, I’m offered the chance to go as a VIP to Stoke On Trent: European City of Sport 2016 Launch. It’s incredible quite frankly. And a bit special to be sat right behind Jonathan Edwards and Colin Jackson and hear what they have to say.
As I’m listening, I’m frantically refreshing Twitter on my phone. Frantically and silently willing Eddy Boss to win the stage at Hartside.. then realising he’s in the yellow jersey. I actually allow myself to get ridiculously happy/excited (I’m pretty sure Jo can testify that I got a bit worried too…)

Why?

Because Brian Smith is right, there are the good people in cycling. Even right at the top level.
And because I get to spend the day with MTN Quebeka the next day…

Friday I get Jo to drop me off in town and I meet Mark Leyland at the start… nice and early, hot chocolate on tap from the Costa wagon. I help Jon, Paul and Lyndsey at Team Parking. A role I’m familiar with, and wait for MTN to roll in.
Eventually they do and I catch up with Veit – I can go with the guys to the feedzone.
Danijel is the driver and James let’s me sit in the front… and off we go, half following the race route to the feed zone, a quick garage stop (Danijel doesn’t like Dandelion and Burdock!), some hellish twisty roads and some drop dead gorgeous scenery when we fly up through the hills. It’s a stunning day, and it’s great fun with those two. Eventually we arrive at the feedzone and bump up on the grass to park up behind Raleigh.

Then the long wait.

The realisation there’s a rather large gap.

EBH is in the break.

There’s a lot of muttering and a few raised eyebrows. I actually wish I’d seen the race. A LOT of incredulity that the YELLOW jersey is in the break. There’s little to no phone signal – but eventually it’s confirmed. James asks me to time the gap when the breakaway comes through… suddenly it’s all business… motos, cars, and then the breakaway, rolling through uphill. Then the silence. The unbelievability that we all saw the yellow jersey in the break. The wait. Fidgety. I have a laugh with Michelle and Jane Wood as we wait and wait. Then finally. The peleton in the distance approaching fast. I glance at my stop watch. Look at James. ’22 mins by the time they get here’ I say. I’m right. They get through quickly – I shout happy birthday to Rob Partridge – then the DS stops next to us.

‘You coming with me?’ Danijel asks and I nod. ‘We’re to follow the peleton.’

Well this I didn’t expect! We’re in the car quickly and flying up over the hills to catch the race that never stops. Danijel is a damn good driver and I throughly enjoy being in a fast car (adrenalin junkie don’t cha know).

There’s something to be said about following Wiggo downhill at ridiculous speeds too – being in team car 1 means we sit right behind Commissaire 3 and the back of the bunch and therefore right behind Brad. And Conor Dunne. Big lad he is.

We manage to get some audio eventually and hear some of the last 10k. As EBH rolls over the line – we are over 35 mins away….

It’s really something to see and hear the crowds whilst out on route. Let alone be allowed to be there with them in the race.

Thanks to Danijel, James, Veit and especially Brian Smith. What an epic day! And fabulous people to spend it with.

A catch up with Holly Blades at the finish and Marty McCrossan gives me and my traffic directing friend Tori a lift to my car. Then the soul destroying drive to Ipswich (no Tory. Ipswich is not in Surrey!)

The finish in Ipswich is fine. I’ve seen none of the race. Had a barney with the bus driver from IAM. It’s packed with people. And I’m glad to get away and back to my own home, ready for the day long epic that is London.

I saw more of the race in London than I did any other day!

Thanks One Pro for the party after too….

I’m sad that I don’t get to see many of the crew until next year. The ToB has its own family, and it’s great to be part of it. It’s both fun and rewarding and knackering. But hey. I’ve gone back every year for more.

My next post better be about CX, the SBCU, starting running and getting my own Kinesis…. meanwhile…

#keepsmiling
#bicycleschangelives

My ToB part 3

I’ve had to edit this slightly as it’s refused to upload! Sorry about the delay – our wifi is rather slow, and data connection is worse!!

Saturday
Me and Verity caught the train last night to Brighton, getting to the hotel at roughly 22.30.
We met Rhys at 9.30ish at a little cafe on the seafront by the pier. Then it’s off to find out exactly where we are meant to meet up. Funnily enough we walk straight past it, as I’m too busy talking and looking at how they are setting up the finish. Team parking is easy to find as it’s straight after the finish. We walk into Dr.Paul Baillie – who knows us from the last few ToBs. The meeting point is back behind us, near the tradestands. We’ve checked out one of the most important things – where the toilets are 😉
After a while, Paul, Chris and Liz arrive with boxes of yellow vests, whistles, info forms etc. They give us the usual briefing, and we start sidling toward one side, as to be quite honest, I don’t want to be stuck on a crossing point, or anywhere near dope control!
Obviously we’ve done team parking every time. It’s hectic, but good fun. Paul and Chris get about 12 of us and we head off as soon as the briefing is finished.
I wander around, running into Nathan – he’s done the whole week of the tour. We don’t have much to do until the first team buses/cars/campervans arrive.

Sky, thankfully drive right down near the finish. Garmin are the opposite end, wanting to be quickly away. I end up with Madison Genesis and BMC behind me, and NFTO in front of me. From the layout of the road – the bit past Sky will turn out to be a pinch point. Purely because most of the public descend on their bus.
Thankfully it’s hot and sunny, and I borrow suncream off Chris a couple of times.
Eventually the cars/campervans arrive from the feedzone – although nearly straightaway we realise there are a few missing. Giant Shimano, team GB and one other. They do arrive later on however!

Huge thanks to El from NFTO Apparel who bought us Calypso’s!!

And massive thanks to NFTO who let me watch the race through the window of their bus!

Then, we sort of see Tao crash, and within a few minutes it’s the usual chaos. Cyclists everywhere, cars coming in, the public walking into everything (including myself).

Constant whistle blowing, we wait for Rhys to shout/whistle up, then it’s our turn, then onto Victoria and Sue. I drift away from Madison Genesis as I can hear them laughing at me.
‘MIND YOUR BACKS PLEASE’
‘RIDER COMING THROUGH’
‘CAR COMING OUT’
‘DO YOU WANT TO GET HIT BY A CAR!??’

This does go on for a fair while, but you have to have a laugh with it, although you don’t half feel an idiot sometimes!
The guys from BMC were nice, they at least thanked me.
I managed to catch up with Michelle (with Raleigh) well before the race came in 🙂

Then the teams start drifting away, one by one they are off to Heathrow, this causes more chaos as there’s a lot of people around OPQS to see Cav. Movistar and BMC were very very quiet. But I know tomorrow will be worse!

There’s only Sky left when we start making our way back. We leave them to get on with it.

We catch up with my friend Kara, and see Kristian House on the beach, as well as Rob Hayles and Ned Boulting near the tv stuff.

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Then it’s off to the pub for a well earned pint and food!

I know Vélo: Spin up in the City is on, and 4 of us make our way up there to have a look. It’s great to see @dizzymabil and @ClaudAndI there, and once again Verity has a go at roller racing!

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I also recognise Matt. No idea where from tho

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Its a cracking end to the day, and we are back at the hotel before 11.

Sunday
We’re in Victoria in London by 9. Time to grab a quick coffee, then off to the briefing again. The guys that have been doing this all week look shattered. We ask for team parking again, get our ToB vests and listen to what’s said.
We organise ourselves and make our way up to Westminster Bridge.
The teams are already there, and we station ourselves at the entrance/exit where we’ll make the most use of ourselves.
Then the fun begins.

Rider and car (and sometimes a soigneur) out, stop next rider/car from going across as we wait for whichever one is doing the ITT (Individual Time Trial) to go through. Let rider across, team car in from the deviation, let rider back across after the race.

And keep the public safe.

We’re shouting and blowing whistles from the word go. We set some tape up so we have a semi ‘sterile’ area. But people lean on it, and it gets broken and retied. Eventually we get metal barriers up, which leaves a good sized area free. It’s exhilarating in its own way. And I quite enjoy it. We have short breaks when we can, but it is chaotic.

It’s not long for the ITT to finish, and a bit of time before the main race. I take a wander along Westminster Bridge and stop to speak to El. Then onto Raleigh, where I get to sit in the boot of one of their cars and relax for a few minutes whilst chatting to Michelle.

I check the other marshals are ok and have had a break, then it’s back to the team entrance/exit onto the course. I have a bit of a chat with the lovely @Joolzephoto too.

Very quickly riders and team cars make their way out and round to the start, and the race is off. 8 laps. Cars in, drop passengers, cars out, cyclists past. I get a shout from the other marshals, who have a guest but no idea where to send him. I walk up and am told Andrew Mcquaid is going to pick him up in one of the red Skoda’s shortly. I advise him to try ringing him, then after a couple of laps take him down the deviation, where he does eventually get picked up. We have a bit of banter with various team members as we wait for the race to finish. Garmin and Madison Genesis are as friendly as usual, as are the Novo guys.
Suddenly it’s over and riders are coming back in. Matt Rabin (Garmin) confirms they’ve kept the yellow jersey.
Then it’s back to getting the riders in safely, waiting for them to cool down, and the teams to leave.
I walk over the bridge to see how bad it is around Sky and OPQS, and although it’s a pinch point, the marshals are doing a great job.

We get a lot of thanks as the teams make their way out, especially from Garmin and Saxo. Some don’t even acknowledge us, but again it’s been a great day. It’s fun to be part of it, and to meet new people and old friends.

Well. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this! Not long til next year now. Come and say hi if you have a chance…

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Me above having a laugh with @Joolzephoto. Pic from Kara Thomas

#keepsmiling

My Tour of Britain part 2

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.

Wednesday
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

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Adam Blythe and his shiny shoes

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

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Breakaway

Then we waited ages for the peloton

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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!

Friday
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…

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And we kept hearing the time gap growing and growing…

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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!

Keep smiling

🙂 🙂 🙂

My Tour of Britain

I booked the whole week and a day off for the ToB this year. I’d planned ish to volunteer for the finish in Brighton and to do the whole day in London.

What hit me on the Sunday it started (I was at work at the time) was that I had the whole week to do basically nothing. Yeah I could go out and twaddle about on my good ol Trek… or… hmm. I really had nothing concrete to do. I will admit that during Sunday afternoon (before I started back at work at 15.10) I rolled the idea of camping around and around in my brain. Problem was my tent is a 3 person tent and requires 2 people to assemble. I could probably just about do it, though it was unlikely. A quick look at booking.com revealed one single room in Abergavenny. Hmm.

I rushed work as quickly as I could, then came back home to see if Verity wanted to go camping, but she’d arranged other things to do. I felt a bit deflated – but had an “oh, sod it” moment and booked a room at The Swan Hotel in Abergavenny. That was Monday night sorted, but I couldn’t find anything in affordability range for Tuesday.
A quick phonecall/text? to Rhys and I’d half decided to take my bike. He was marshalling the finish up the Tumble and was vaguely in the vicinity. Then a phone call to Ron, who was already planning to bring his bike down on the train and see the ToB somewhere.
Funnily enough I was getting a bit (excited is the wrong word!) buzzy. I love the ToB – and it was possible to do more than 1 stage for once!!

I ummed and ahhhed about taking the bike, but decided to take it on Monday morning, along with the tent and a sleeping bag and far too many clothes. Thought I’d need my bib tights, only chucked my shorts in at the last minute, along with enough food to sink the Titanic!
So geared up and ready to go I set off at 11.40 – which means I missed Mondays stage as well – arriving at the hotel at 13.30ish.
Good timing though, as Rhys rang me to say he was outside on his bike! I quickly checked in (also notifying them the ToB was on as they had no idea), got changed and went to get my ass kicked along the side of the valley. This is bearing in mind I’ve done so little on the bike, and Rhys has done a lot! Off up to the info center, then a quick coffee stop, then off up into the valleys on a gorgeously hot day (thankfully I bought my bib shorts and lightweight jersey!). It’s nice to ride along having a chat, even if it’s ever so slightly up and up and up and up.
We stopped at the bottom of the Tumble

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but didn’t head up there, instead sticking roughly to Route 46 (Rhys had come over the Tumble earlier).

We ended up getting the map out a couple of times, but I really enjoyed getting out and having a natter on lovely paths/roads. Even if I was dying the whole of the way up there!

I did want to go around and ride up the back of the Tumble, but eventually we decided it wasn’t a great idea LOL.

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Rhys on the bridge

So I rode back to Abergavenny –

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Ever downward on those lovely bike paths! Felt pretty much high as a kite going back, until I realised I couldn’t see the highlights of the days race!

Tuesday
Didn’t sleep great, but woke up early as usual. Impatiently waited for breakfast to open – and finally did get toast and coffee! And lots and lots of orange juice. Had a wander around the town – and the market, seeing the history of the coal mines always saddens me, and I couldn’t remember which mine my Dad’s family had worked in. Bought a Welsh tie ;-). Then it was time to get ready to ride up to the station and meet Ron off the train. My mad plan was to watch the race in Abergavenny then rush up the Tumble. So so glad we didn’t do both!
We went straight from the station up to the Tumble (Ron in a tshirt and jeans). Saw a bloke on a new Penny Farthing at Llanfoist. Then the Tumble.

I told/shouted Ron to go ahead as I made my very slow painful way up there. Puff pant gargle etc. So so so happy I had trainers on or I wouldn’t have gone a yard being clipped in!
I stopped. I started. I went 50 yards. I stopped. I started. I did another 50 yards. (I may have stopped at the porta loos too). I tried again. My legs didn’t hurt. I just am nowhere near fit enough.
Btw. I got to 4.5k to go before I stopped the first time.
I carried on. I tried again. I started thinking the peloton might catch me up and I’d be kicked off (wild bollocksy tired fantasy?!?!)
I went again. Oh hello cattle grid! I stopped. I breathed (and sweated. A lot).
Oh hi Ron!
Lol, thanks for coming back!!
I walked a little and took a picture or two. Then I got back on and very slowly made my way up (with Ron laughing at me and me trying not to laugh because I *might* just fall off if I laughed!).
Great to have encouragement tho – from Ron and the other guys who passed me. You all made me keep going. Well until we got told to stop. By Rhys.

I did it. I’m bloody proud of myself. I don’t care what anyone else thought. It was hard. My legs never did hurt – just got tired and sullen. I had a cracking day up there in beautiful sunny weather. And I even wore my tie around my head.

Right, I’ll leave it at that. I must sleep, so I’ll regale you all with the rest of my week tomorrow.

Most of my pic’s are on Facebook.

BTW I kept smiling – make sure you all do too!!

It’s almost autumn

It’s been a while – after having so little internet etc. Just to say – Paris was a lot better this year apart from the heat!

Never managed to watch any of la vuelta – we’ve been flat to the boards since I came back from France. But I did manage to keep vaguely up to date with what was going on through twitter.

Unfortunately I have to leave my job down here in snobby surrey – so looks like I’ll be at home for a while around Christmas time.

Tour of Britain – well some interesting weather! Would have loved to be up at Honister Pass – or on anywhere in the Welsh stage, but I had to make do with Guildford and getting myself and Jen Hine roped into helping out at the finish of Stage 7 🙂
I’d volunteered for the London stage on Sunday with my friend Rhys. Great to see four of the Shutt Velo girls riding the womens race (Jen, Tracey, Sian and Saskia) and of course one of my lovely friends Lili who rides for Andover Wheelers. And yes I did stand in as Lili’s soigneur (although I also had a go on her bike – my god that girl has long legs!!).
Met up with Holly B and watched the Gentlemans TT from the inside corner of Westminster Bridge – before having a wander with the master baker @melaniebbikes 🙂
Watched Stage 8 from the outside corner of Westminster Bridge – and think I have been fairly instrumental in getting the crowd going (amazing what happens when you shout ‘come on London make some noise!!) 😉
Then a hair raising 5 minutes with a whistle, trying to get some of the public out of the road to let the riders through. Who had the bright idea to let me have a whistle??!!?? Good job I have a sense of humour!
Then finally drinks… where we met the now very famous Kenny v V at St. Stephens.

Yes I did manage to catch my train home 🙂

Ciao

Lacking and Slacking!

So I haven’t posted since before I went to the Women’s RR at the Olympics. Definitely SLACKING!! Thanks to those of you (old and new) who have had a nosey at my blog! Stats have been pretty good! So here goes:

Women’s Road Race (Olympics). First of all THANK YOU Rhys White for the ‘spare’ ticket. You Legend!
I arrived at Waterloo to see Rhys sitting on his bike in the middle of the station concourse, scanning the crowd. And totally missing me until I walked right up to him. Then to get the bike parked and then a shortish walk (by my standards – I have no idea how far it was) to the Mall. We were too early, but met Spratty’s sister and husband (Amanda Spratt from Aus who rode in the race) so had a right laugh, even with the rather strange marshalls! Eventually we go in, and promptly made our way right up as close as we could get to area 1 (we were area 3), and directly opposite the TV camera and big screen.
It was an amazing day, the girls (or ladies) were so much more exciting than the men! And the roar (usually started by me and Rhys!!) when any of them were mentioned, or Emma Pooley shut down the breakaway…. Put it like this – we KNOW how to get the crowd started! Even though it heaved down with rain, I had an amazing day. And no I had no idea we were on TV (at the medal ceremony?!?!)

I’ve been slacking on the bike recently, coming home after work I have just not been able to  get myself motivated to get out (plus being as shattered as I have been doesn’t help!).
I’ve said before I don’t like riding on my own, and have been looking at VC Meudon (guys you are so helpful it’s unreal!) and Andover Wheelers (my lil friend Lili who rides for them has recommended them big time)

Ah yeah. Tour of Utah!?! Thanks for the sprint jersey I won… even though it hasn’t arrived yet!

This brings us to last Saturday. I decided a trip over to my parents might be a great idea. It was, even though my friend Verity has had to send her road bike back coz it’s far too big for her! We went out for a spin round the block (her on the very heavy mountain bike) and I then rode back up Fawler Hill (sodding 10% and potholed) to home. Me and V had decided to go to Bicester Village for a walk round on Sunday. But when I logged on the computer, I saw there was a bike race at Cricklade. Actually it was Cricklade Kermesse. And it’s only a short drive from us. So we went there to cheer on Wightlink RT and had a great laugh with our homemade signs

We made these in the pub!

Great fun!

So on Tuesday I was doing the usual scanning through Twitter when I see one of those RT (retweet) and Win competitions. So I RT’d it. Imagine my surprise when I got a DM on Wednesday from Chain Reaction Cycles saying I’d won a place on the Garmin Sharp Ride Out. Woah. Brilliant! If I could get the day off work….

It took until 10ish this morning to speak to the boss. YES. DAY OFF. NICE ONE! Also thanks to Lili who is going to help out at work on Friday morning for me! #Liliisalegend

Needless to say the last 2 nights I have been out on my bike!

Oh and I’ll be seeing you on Guildford High Street on the 16th September if you’re coming along to the Tour of Britain… us three (me, Verity and Rhys) are marshalling again!

Thanks to all my amazing friends over the past few weeks. And my fellow Tweeters. You are all awesome!

Keep smiling