The Tour of Britain may not be on the same scale as the Tour de France but it still packs a sporting punch. There was no way I could miss seeing the peloton as it passed through the county where I live.
On Wednesday the stage started in Newark, looping around the county before ending in Newark. I thought I was showing commitment by taking the day off work to watch but my sister and her wife took it to the next level by coming down form Manchester.
Let’s Chase the Tour!
We could have just driven out to watch the cyclists but that wouldn’t really have been getting into the spirit of things. We decided to get on the bikes and cycle out from Hoveringham to watch the start in Mansfield. While the peloton did a large loop to reach Southwell, we would take the direct route and see them come through. Finally, we would do the same again to the finish at Newark and cheer them over the line.
I’ve not been doing much cycling recently so was a little concerned about my legs. Luckily my sister in law completed the OCC ultra-run in the alps last week so her legs were a little achy too!
We were certainly not the only cyclists to have the idea. Arriving in Newark we gawped at the vast array of lycra clad folk; all sporting their local club colours. We were even more impressed by the huge buses and support vehicles of the professional teams arriving.
A Great Day
We were not disappointed by the spectacle. Watching professional riders line up and then set off was fantastic. The people of Mansfield had come out in force to cheer and this was the same all along the route. As we raced across the countryside to Southwell and then Newark, school children lined the roads, cheering and waving. It was wonderful to see the county embracing cycling in such a way.
Marry Me Cav
The day was topped off by my favourite rider being there. Mark Cavendish is, not only a great cyclist but admirable in his blunt honesty too. I joked with my sister that I have made a ‘Marry me Cav’ poster to wave. She points out he is already married but I chide her for bringing minor details into it.
We catch up with my Dad in Southwell, where a big screen is set up on the green. He has been invited to cycle with us to Newark but declines.
I had not been having the greatest of weeks up to this point but was loving spending time with Sian and Em. It was all about to get a lot better though! The finish area was in a park, with lots of lovely, shiny bike gear to drool over. As Sian and Em perused the Fenwick’s Bike Products stand they were made a fantastic offer. The company are one of the tour sponsors and get two entries for the VIP area to give away each day.
Somehow they managed to plead for one extra entry that day and the next thing we knew we were in an exclusive area on the finish line. Everyone else in the VIP area seemed to be suited and booted, with some local mayors sporting rather bling necklaces. I can’t say we played it cool; big grins were plastered across our faces as we enjoyed the free hospitality and prepared to see the peloton one last time.
Time To Go Home
A breakaway group had led the field of cyclists all day. When coming through Southwell they were four minutes ahead of the main pack. In the final kilometres though they were swallowed up back into the group and the race for first place was on. A thrilling sprint finish provided spectators with the excitement they had come for…and I did not try to grab Cav!
Heading over to retrieve our bikes from the Fenwick’s guys we were treated to a demo of their fab cleaning products. Many friends had already commented on Facebook how much they love Fenwick’s and I can see why.
We cycled back steadily, with programmes stuffed down our tops and a flag flying form my helmet. We had covered about fifty miles in a wonderful day out.
It’s Not Over Yet!
I have to get a mention in somewhere for the farmer who made some ingenious sheep art on the route! You really have to see it to believe it; take a look here.
My luck wasn’t over either. The next day I received a message from Nottingham County Council. I had used their hashtag to enter a prize competition and had been chosen as a winner! I am now the proud owner of a voucher for a white water tubing experience for two at Holme Pierrepont, amongst other things. It was definitely worth taking a day off work for.
Get Out And Watch
You don’t have to be sporty to enjoy the spectacle a big sporting event presents. It really is worth checking out what’s happening near you and cheering the athletes on. Whatever the activity you will love the atmosphere and you might just be a winner yourself!
Never Miss An Adventure!