Saturday, 5 July 2014

Le Tour de France {Yorkshire Edition} Stage 1

If you know me you must know how I love the Tour de France.
It's a July ritual - tied up with memories of nursing newborn babes and of birthday parties.
Oh, the excitement the day in 2012
when it was announced that the 2014 tour would start in Yorkshire -
tempered some time later when I realised that the first day
 would clash with Megs 16th birthday.
What to do? I umed and ahed - could we stay in York so Megs got in some shopping time as a treat. Wicked was showing in Leeds - could we combine hte bike race with that?
In the end we spent Saturday morning with Megan,
{Ben had decided that water sports camp was more interesting than bikes going whizz}
then headed over the Pennines.

We parked in Starbeck onthe outskirts of Harrogate,
 bought some lunch and  walked the couple of miles into the town.
It was so busy - I was beyond excited just to see the fanpark and all the team buses.

My plan had been find the finish line,
and then walk back down the course until we found a quiet spot.
It was so busy that we just couldn't physically get near the finish.
We walked round and found the course 200m from the line -
the crowd already about 8 deep- and walked back to the 400m point
which had the bonus of a wall to lean on by the Turkish Baths and a view down the hill.

Of course there were still hours to go - the crowd just grew and grew -
the caravan passed - we chatted with others in the crowd -
several people had been on the Headrow in Leeds in the morning for the roll out.

There was live commentry - so the excitment grew as we heard the peloton was 40km out, then 30km, 20km, 10km...

We knew it was going to be a proper sprint finish - with a lead out train (hopefully OPQS)
and we were all hoping that Cav would do his Manx Missle act to claim yellow.

The roar as we saw the motorbikes and then one lone rider
(We didn't know it was Cancellara who had jumped at 1km until later)
The pelon was a second behind -
with a train we couldn't identify- turned out to be Giant Shimano- and caught him right by us!

And then the bikes whizzed and were gone.

The shouting was so loud that we couldn't hear the commentry of the last few hundred metres - it was only as the last cars passed that we heard the commentator say that Cav was just riding over then, and we knew he must have fallen.

It was a slow walk through the crowds back round to the buses -
which were already pulling away -
the OPQS manager was doing press about Cav as we passed.
Then it was a hot trek back out to car - 
there were bikes everywhere - which made us wich we had brought ours.

We crawled out of Harrogate via Knaresborough
along the route the tour would be taking on Sunday.

One amazing day over - with another to come!



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