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Monday, 17 September 2012

The year of the bike

It's hard to believe that barely a week has gone by since the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, and just eight and a half days ago, Coran and I were sitting in the Excel Arena watching the Sitting Volleyball Men's Final.

This week seems to have gone by in a blur, with work, work and yet more work. Our Kitchen Assistant broke his foot a few weeks ago, tripping over a stone step in the back yard, so that has meant plenty of overtime for the three housekeepers, especially since one of us was on holiday at the time it happened (so in effect, there were only two). This time it is my turn to be away from work - my eight days off started yesterday and will end at 7am next Monday morning.

I am off to Westward Ho! in North Devon then tomorrow for a few days by the sea, to sit in my newly acquired beach tent, in the shadow of the famous pebble ridge listening to the surf as it breaks over the shoreline, and if I am lucky, to wander as far as the estuary and around the Braunton Burrows reserve. A day trip to Lundy is calling, although whether I am up to four hours (two hours in each direction) on the boat remains to be seen. I may decide to wait until the spring, as I am not the best of sailors.

It has though been a fantastic summer all round - especially of course for sport. I must say I surprised myself at how much I got into it all - I never considered myself a sports fan at all, but I certainly am now, and it's all thanks to those fantastic Olympians and their feats.

Yesterday another cycling race came through Dorking, the town near where I live - The Tour of Britain, and so Coran and I had to go and see it. Expecting a big crowd, we got there early, around 10.30am to sit in Costa Coffee enjoying a cup of tea and some gluten free biscuits, watching the crowds as they slowly arrived. By 11.30, the town was heaving, so Coran and I bagged our places by the side of the road (myself at Pump Corner and Coran halfway up West Street) to await the action.

The crowds were as enthusiastic as ever, a mixture of the casual fans (which I guess you can say I am) and the enthusiasts, with several cycling clubs on their bikes. The Police riders were great once again, high fiving the crowds as they rode through those narrow streets. Police tape prevented people from getting too close to the road, keeping everyone safe, both riders and spectators.

I was though in the best position I could be, as when the riders approached, I had a clear view of them as they rounded the narrow bend towards the street where Coran stood. I have a good camera with a lengthy lens and reliable sport mode, so used this mode and just kept shooting. I am pleased with the results, even if they are a little dark - the weather could have been kinder for sure.

There is not much more to say, as the action as always, was over almost as quickly as it started and the crowds quickly dispersed. For our part, we went to the local Sports Centre for a veggie burger and chips before making our way home to watch the rest of the race on ITV4, and what a race it was! I have made a mental note that next time anything like this comes through Guildford, that will be the place to be, the crowds, the noise, the atmosphere, what a homecoming, what a year for cycling, one that I shall not forget, that's for sure.

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