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A Guest Blog – from Dad!

What’s all this blogging stuff about then?

The boy asked me to write about what I thought of the Tour coming to Yorkshire.

It were rest bloody gradely! That’s what I think.

Even though I have loved Le Tour since I first started cycling with the school club in my early teens, the only time I have seen it live was long before that when it came to Plymouth in 1974. I was ten at the time, so I don’t remember too much, but I do remember my old man moaning about the British authorities who apparently treated all the cyclists as we do suspected terrorists these days, subjecting them to stupid amount of checks even though they were all well know.

My cycling hero Eddy Merckx won that year, it might even have been his fifth and so final victory, I can’t actually remember. Until I looked for that link I didn’t even realise he had a site – I’m going to read it now.

The event coming to Yorkshire was a great spectacle, as a Red Rose I find that hard to say, but blow me, it was amazing. The helicopter coverage showed the county off to its very best and will do the north a lot of favours for tourism for the next few years. It will have helped the growing interest in British cycling too.

We stood at the roadside for nearly three hours, and that was a bit boring, despite the fun antics of the motor bike police and the caravan (which was nothing like as good as I was hoping for). But despite that, when those bikes went through at nearly forty miles an hour it was so thrilling. We ere at a double roundabout on a dual carriageway and the guys split around the roundabout like mercury, coming together beautifully on the other side and heading up the hill towards the finish in Harrogate and Cav’s disastrous fall. I like the guy, he takes risks, big risks, from watching it he over did it yesterday, and he probably deserves a reprimand, but I loved it all the same.

We didn’t take any pics, but we were just beyond this point…

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Thanks Lee – I hope this fits the bill for you.

Dad.

Tour de France in Ripon

Yesterday was a day of waiting, long, long waiting, but then with a sudden brilliant burst of excitement, and enough group adrenalin to carry everyone through the rest of the day.

We had a good night over in Boroughbridge, dad’s mate has a great manager at the hotel called Emma who looked after us really well while we told stories and drank too much nondescript Euro lager.

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We even brought a curry in as that was what dad most wanted to eat. The deal was that it had to be taken around the back to the kitchen, and then served as if it had been cooked there. I thought that that was a dodgy strategy as it smelled delicious, and anyone else who wanted one on the strength of seeing ours would have been disappointed, but no one seemed to care, perhaps that’s just the laid back way of life in Yorkshire.

Then yesterday morning it was sunny and warm, already everyone was happy.

We parked just opposite the race course where we had had our meeting yesterday and walked into Ripon. Good move on Dad’s part as everything was closed off after there. In the main square it was busy even at 10.00 in the morning and people were sitting around watching a Red Bull film on the huge screen they had rigged up there, waiting for the big event to start.

Somehow or other we managed to miss the actual start, which was just plain stupid and driven by the thought that it would be a good opportunity to get a quick beer in the Royal Oak, but the we saw loads of action after that.

The atmosphere was great in Ripon, and loads of people had cycled there to watch it and that made it seem a bigger event.

When the rider came past it was over in a flash, but it was so exciting to see nearly two hundred of them whoosh by at 40 miles an hour or so.

The memory will be with me for a long time, I didn’t take any pictures though. Sorry about that.

Heading north for Le Grand Depart

It’s not often that I look forward to doing stuff with Dad.

Twelve months ago we were in a bad state between us, and I can see now that I was causing them problems, mum being upset because I upset him, and upset because he upset me. She is the strong link as she’s my rock and probably his too.

We have made an effort, it would have been easy to have written “we have made more of an effort”, in fact I did that at first, but fact is I was finding reasons to antagonise him, and looking back I don’t blame him for being pissed off at me all the time. Things started to get better when I did some work for him. Probably because the clients I was driving around took a liking to me and he started to see that I could be an asset.

Anyway, all that I hope is water under some proverbial old person’s bridge as we are getting on better these days, and sometimes well.

All that good stuff aside, I was still surprised and quite delighted when he suggested that we go up to see the tour on the first stage. It isn’t just about family relations, dad has to go and see Stuart, one of his clients and he’s based in Ripon, but he has decided to make the meeting on Friday. We’ll stay over in Boroughbridge where another client of dad’s has a hotel.

The most important bit though is the race. We might head out to Buttertubs, but that will probably be super crowded. So we may head for Harrogate instead.

Thanks to “Carter’s Country” for this lovely image of Buttertubs – imaging this with cyclists and people swarming all over it!

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No matter where we go I shall be in the deli later telling Diane of our big plan, I hope she likes cycling, after all she’s French, she must do.

Tour de France – oh yeah!

It feels funny that around me all my mates seem to be gearing up for the World Cup, but I haven’t paid it much attention expect to see the insane booze offers in the supermarkets – The Co-op, which is rarely cheap, but at least it’s convenient and feels nice, is doing 10 can boxes of Fosters, Carling and Carlsberg for £7.50 and Tesco is giving it away even cheaper.

It’s not the football, or even the tennis that I’m excited about though, it’s the tour.

I have watched it every year that I can remember, and I’m excited about it coming to Britain, even though I will watch most of the action on TV.

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Dad was obsessed with Eddy Merckx, this guy in the picture. He was a Belgium or whatever you call someone from Belgium who won the race 5 times back in the seventies. I still have this particular picture as a poster on my wall in the den, it’s somehow a lot more cool than the modern guys with their super efficient and light bikes.

I liked Bradley Wiggins because he’s a bit of a dude off the bike, and I don’t have any love for Chris Frome as he’s the opposite. Even if he is probably a better ridder than Wiggo and probably carried him to his 2012 victory, he is just a bit boring really.

Another of dad’s heroes who I grew to like died today – Rick from the young ones, Rik Myall. I loved the programme even if it was made thirty years ago. Ha! I thought I was wildly exaggerating there, but it actually was made in 82- 84. That’s before mum and dad even met.

 

Inner tubes

I’d been riding every day since I punctured, safe in the knowledge that I had a puncture kit in my back pocket, then this evening I thought I’d make good use of my time and repair the tube that I replaced last week.

Only to find that I didn’t have a spare patch. I’d have been buggered if I had a puncture this week.

I’ve now got the Schwable Marathons on front and back, but still this week that bit of wire got through.

Riding has been fun. Even when the rain has come down I have managed to keep my spirits high. I see myself as leading the peleton, being the guy who is happiest riding in the rain. The tour is on soon so I’ll have plenty of mental images of great riders to help me encourage myself on.

I’m also hoping to get to stay with friends of my folks in Ripon to see the stages in Yorkshire. Wow, imagine the real Tour coming to England. Apparently there are yellow bikes all over the place there, and one of the hotels in Harrogate has had all the old biddies in the town, and some youngsters too, knitting fiendishly creating little jerseys in yellow, white, polka dot and green for the leaders’ jerseys.

I know yellow is the overall leaders’ jersey.

The polka dot is the king of the mountains.

Green is the points leaders (although I don’t know how that’s worked out.

White is for the rooky.

And to hold any of them for just a single day is enough to satisfy most would be racers, but often the best in the race will hold on to his jersey for much of the race – it’s more exciting when it changes regularly though.

I bet they don’t worry too much about puncture kits! I bet the team does worry a lot about punctures though, and amazingly quick changes of bike when it does happen. Bring on Le Tour!

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