Yesterday I travelled up to Caerphilly to watch stage 4 of the Tour of Britain and have a bash at part of the route. I got the train to Cardiff and met up with Paul to ride the 8 miles or so to the final climb of the stage and head out on a 2 hour ride with the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club.
When we arrived there was no sign of the MCC so we rode down to the finish line to see if there was anything exciting going down, there wasn’t so we turned around and made our way back to the meeting point which was at the top of Caerphilly Mountain, a category 1 climb. It wasn’t as tough as I’d hoped but was certainly a challenge, it’s steep as hell at the start then evens out a little bit before ramping up and around again, it certainly got my heart pumping.
The Rapha MCC turned up about 45 minutes late and couldn’t park where it was supposed to so there was no coffee due to a lack of water supply in the lay-by but the three of us that were waiting got a cap each for not smashing the place up. Although we didn’t have time for a long ride we still went out for an hour or so. We set off down and around the mountain then back up the other side, which was going to be the descent for the stage later in the day, this was a right bugger of a climb, I thought it would never end. After a quick jaunt into the arse end of Cardiff we returned and descended on the part of the course we had come up earlier, I hit 45mph and it reminded me that I really need to go and order a helmet! We climbed the other side of the mountain again, this time it felt much tougher but there were loads of people out by now and they used us like lab rats to practice their photography skills. We got back to the van and waited patiently for the peloton to arrive.
The excitement built up a bit with every single car, bus, van and motorbike that passed. A load of school kids were absolutely loving having the afternoon off and cheered every single thing that drove past, it was pretty hysterical. After a while the TV helicopter arrived and we knew they were close.
As the riders came into view I nearly had a heart attack trying to choose which side of the road to stand on for the best photo opportunities, at the last second I darted across to the other side and started snapping away. I spotted Geraint Thomas and Cav the couple of times I looked away from the camera screen. between the second and third groups I crossed the road and discovered I’d already missed Thor, I was a bit gutted. A few shakes of a lambs tail later and it was all over. Had it been the alps we’d have been treated to a much longer show but this is Wales and the hills are short and sharp.
Before heading off to the finish line to find out who was in which jersey we cleaned out the Rapha promo box, thanks Steve! After the ceremony I hung out round the back by the anti-doping camper van and waited for Thor to come out, I needed at least one decent snap for this post because I thought all the mountain shots were gonna suck (they are actually pretty good). He was in the van for an eternity, they must take a lot of blood and/or wee!
I think this post may be a bit long winded and boring. I rode back to Cardiff and got the train home. The End.
P.S ITV cut the shot about 6ft before I came in to it for the second year in a row, damn you ITV!