PS to ‘Tour de France fever’

So, I made a decision yesterday morning, to go and see the Tour at the bottom of Holme Moss where it meets the Woodhead Pass. And I am so glad I did. It was an amazing day!

We got to our spot at about 11.20am (local time), having cycled up. We knew we couldn’t drive, as the roads were closed, so my partner cycled with his brothers and I parked the car on the Hayfield Road, where the lovely lady who runs the food stall in the layby moved her chairs so I could park. It was already full when I got there at 10.45am! But I got in and continued the cycle with them. 8 miles, it was, but it was almost all up, except for the first run down into Glossop (which I realised I would have to cycle back UP on the way back! :(). Oh well.

There were hundreds of cyclists out on the roads and when we got past the point of no more traffic allowed (just outside Glossop) we were all free to take up the whole road. It was great! I even overtook a few people on some of the steeper sections! When we got to Woodhead, we quickly found an elevated space in a field, from which even the short person (me!) would be able to see the road and, as we were sitting on the edge of a ten foot drop, ensured no big person could stand in front of me and obscure my view (this happens a lot at gigs. I have a management strategy for this eventuality). There to wait for 3 and a half hours…

The caravan came through first, which was great, the only downside being I didnt manage to catch any of the goodies as we were too far from the road. Then we heard the helicopters and the Beebs chopper came into view…then we could hear the roar from further up Holme Moss, which meant the riders were descending…exciting! The first rider (Blel Kadri) appeared, then the chasers a couple of seconds later. Holme Moss had certainly separated the men from the boys! They were strung out in groups. The Sky train came through all together, although we had heard Richie Porte had had an accident at the other side. He and a team mate came through a good few minutes after the rest of them, but when we watched the highlights we found out he’d not only caught them up before they got to Sheffield but he’d also come in with the main bunch, at 21st position, 2 seconds behind the winner, Nibali! What a rider! And he’s only little too!

Anyway. It was a lovely day (apart from the brief shower which descended on us as we were heading back) but the Met Office got it wrong again, telling us it would be rainy all afternoon. In actual fact, the sun shone all day! So, we’d prepared for the wet and cold, not thinking about suntan cream, with the result that my legs now look a little like boiled lobster…thanks Met Office. Dont think I’ll be paying much heed to you in future.

Well, that’s my little postscript! It’s an afternoon I’ll never forget and I got some photos to remember it by too!

Tour de France fever

I realised a while ago that most of my posts have been about libraries, with very little of my other obsessions covered. So, today’s post is going to be about the sport I have taken to over the last few years…

There’s a little bike race coming to the North of England this weekend, which I am a little bit excited about. Those of you who follow me on twitter, or facebook, may already have realised this, what with the inordinate amount of tweets, retweets and shares I have been slathering my pages with recently…I think I have been remarkably restrained but that’s just me…

The original plan was to go to Harrogate on Saturday to see the first stage finish, then cycle up to Woodhead on Sunday (only about 10 miles from our house, but a good bit of ‘up’ involved; down on the way back!) to watch them flit past after coming down Holmes Moss. However, yesterday, not only did I realise the weather is going to be fairly inclement over the weekend (Yorkshire + summer = what do you expect?), but that also that I would be standing around for hours, in the (possibly) wet, without access to any facilities (get the drift?). Ok, I am a seasoned camper, I dont actually need the physical thing, I’m happy with a bush or a tree. BUT (and it’s a big but, no pun intended), this is the Peak District, renowned for the mass clearance of trees during the last few hundred years to allow stock grazing to flourish and rich noblemen to hunt on horses…ergo, nothing to hide behind (or under) for a call of nature…

So. Reflection. ITV are showing the whole of the first three stages in their entirety, live. It’s a no-brainer. I will happily watch the TV coverage, knowing that just a few miles to the North, lots of fairly fit (in more ways than one, with some possible exceptions) young men are tearing round the countryside on one of the most iconic races on the planet, being treated to a good sample of English meteorology, while I stay warm and dry in the house cheering them on!

Who will win, though? My money’s on Cav for the first stage, but after that it’s anyone’s race. Froome will put on a good show, but there are plenty of good GC contenders and only three British riders in the whole Tour. The non-Brits will be looking for a win, after the successive two years going to a Brit, so I think we’re in for exciting times this year. Watch this space…