What an absolutely fantastic seven days!
I celebrated the century with a day off to rest on Monday, followed by a brief trip to the office on Tuesday and then off on leave Wednesday. Chris, Ollie and I cycled over to Horsley to watch the Tour of Britain scale the hill into the village and disappear into the village and on to Bristol.
After a pleasant ride, throughout which we were increasingly joined by other cyclists heading in the same direction, we set our bikes against a bunting lined fence and patiently waited along with crowds of villagers.
The first signs of activity were the helicopters in the distance and the police motorcycles roaring past (and certainly making the most of the closed roads). As the exitement was building a large transit van approached with hazards flashing.
Looks official – he’s got his hazards on!
Turns out he was a Yodel delivery driver in a rental van. He pulled up, half on the pavement and half on the road, completely blocking any view down the hill. As he sat and fiddled with his sat nav and prepared to jump out of his cab the crowd groaned, moaned and stated their frustration. But he had barely removed his sat nav from the screen before the occupant of the house (and owner of the bunting) launched herself at his van, grabbed her parcel and shooed him away. Cue laughs and relief from onlookers.
And so with that minor drama out of the way we were back to focusing on the many many police motorcycles making their way through the village…and then a large police four by four. Clapping in the distance.
Here they come!
The breakaway group steamed up the hill past us and all was quiet again. We’d had word that Alex Dowsett had suffered a double puncture, so would be alone between the break away and the peloton. He came into sight and we all cheered like mad…
He isn’t even trying!
I am heard to say on the video my brother was taking. And so it turns out he was waiting to be eaten up by the peloton. The punctures had ruined his day, I could have cycled faster up that hill.
The peloton followed and Sir Bradley Wiggins passed within touching distance. Cavendish nowhere to be seen. A few stragglers followed up shortly afterwards and then the police packed up and drove off.
Which is why I got on my bike and cycled up the hill, cheered on enthusiastically by the crowds who tried to encourage me to carry on rather than get off at the pub. Seconds later a further group of pros came through. I had briefly, accidentally become part of the Tour of Britain and it was great fun!
A brief stint at work on Thursday was followed with a further day off on Friday, to follow Stage 6 of the tour. We were lucky that there were two stages which were within riding distance this year.
We chose to cycle to the feed zone and try our luck at getting some musettes and bidons. Though we weren’t overly hopeful.
We spread ourselves out on either side of the road and our tactics paid off…
…from diving into a nettle bush to get a mussette which had been thrown in my general direction and from bottles each of us had rounded up…(including one which Ollie caught)…we managed to get a decent initial haul.
We then followed the route of the ride and kept our eyes on the hedgerows for any which had been discarded outside of the green zone. Both my brother and I had cycled past a certain hedge but Ollie called us back and pulled a mussette pretty much unused from the bush. A long way to carry a bag which you aren’t going to use!
Haul complete we headed to the pub for food.
Both days were brilliant fun, thanks to Chris for organising us so well! We don’t have to buy bottles for ages now 🙂
After a week of cycling we had a weekend of food. Ollie won a massive blow out meal, so we made the most of that at the Bell at Sapperton on Friday night which continued to fuel us for our respective Saturday morning rides.
Saturday morning I did just over 40 miles, which included delivery of present and cake to my Grandparents on their anniversary. 56 years. Congratulations.
Barney, Granddog, has a feeding tube coming out of his neck…but fear not he appears to be doing well. Keep getting better Barn!
Morning cycle complete…no hot water. So I made a death by chocolate cake for afternoon tea with Ollie’s brother’s family.
Still no hot water.
Cold shower. Eurgh.
To finish the weekend off, I did not practice for the tri as I was supposed to, we chilled out, I studied and Chris made us a blackberry and apple meringue roulade. Oh well…if we must.