Olympic Road Race – 28th July

A 06:15 start saw us getting down to London with plenty of time.

The plan was to head down the M40/A40 and ditch the car at Perivale tube station, which then gave us a 7 mile ride to Richmond Park where we  would watch the riders heading out of London. After that there was no real plan.

Once we parked the car we headed up the A40 to Hanger Lane, with no real idea where to go. Just that we needed to turn right, and we were looking for signs for Ealing and Richmond. Soon we were on the North Circular, and checking my photo copied map we were heading in the right direction. Soon we joined a steady stream of pedestrians and cyclists with Union flags, no need for the map, we just followed them!

I was suprised how big Richmond Park is considering I’d never heard of it… mind you, I’m no expert when it comes to London, I can’t stand the place!

We pitched up at the top of a climb in the middle of the park and waited, with a constant stream of people asking about the fat bikes. With the sun starting to break through a stream of support vehicles went past, then countless Police outriders, blues and twos on and ‘high fiving’ the crowd. Soon there was a huge cheer and the riders streamed past, just warming up really, but still faster than I could get up the hill. Next time we saw them they’d be a full racing speed.

So now we had over five hours to kill, before they came back.

We decided to ride towards the finish and find somewhere with a TV so we could watch the race. Heading through Putney with more questions about the bikes, crossing the Thames we ended up on Fulham Road, in the Durell Arms  http://www.durellarmsfulham.com/  With multiple TVs scattered about the place this would do for a couple of hours. Ginger Beer and Cheesy Nachos, just the job!

Soon we need to make a decision about where to watch the return. We decided to head back to Richmond Park, the idea being to get a spot near a bar with a TV, watch the riders go past then dash in and watch the finish on the TV….. great plan…..

Unfortunately when we got to the Park, the top end by the bars was rammed, plan B swung into action, find a good spot further back and forget the bar/TV idea. About an hour later the riders and their entourage flew past, there was a lead group, and then quite a way back, the main peloton headed by Team GB trying to chase them down. It looked a tall order to me…..

Heading out into the chaos of Queen’s Road and Richmond Hill we had no idea of the outcome. Several pubs had hordes of people peering in the windows to get a glimpse of the TV. There was no way we could get near so we carried on. Getting onto Kew Road we stopped at a cafe/bar with a TV. It was obvious from the TV coverage that Team GB hadn’t managed to get Mark Cavendish onto the back of the lead group.

A stop at the Coach and Horses at Kew Green confirmed what we suspected, after a couple of Cokes we headed back up the North Circular to the car, and headed home.

38 year old Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won gold, so Borat will be celebrating. I just hope they didn’t play the Borat spoof version of their national anthem like they did at a medal ceremony in Kuwait!

So the Brit’s didn’t win, but it was a great day out anyway!

P.S. Why oh why oh why did the Olympic organisers insist that when there are barriers by the side of the Road Race course no one is allowed on the road, and when there are no barriers it’s OK to ride bikes along it. It makes no sense at all, and just caused loads of problem in Putney and Fulham as pedestrians and riders pushing bikes tried to get along narrow pavements between shop fronts and crowd barriers… moan over!

Ride – #124     Bike – ’12 Salsa Mukluk

Miles – 26.1     Total 2012 miles – 2589.8


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