This summer we have been lucky enough to see a few pro races in action, and although they are fun, we don't necessarily feel the need to go out of our way to see every possible race. This Sunday I knew that the Tour of Britain's 8th and final stage was taking place in London, but I didn't plan to go watch it. Nevertheless I ended up having an interesting peek at work that goes on behind the scenes at a cycle race, and some celebrity spotting to boot!
I was in Trafalgar Square with a friend and we came across the course during the morning's time trial. I stopped to watch a few riders go past, and then we wandered along toward the river. Suddenly, I saw a side street with all of the team vehicles parked there. We decided to go in for a closer look and I realised that this was where the teams had set up to transition between the morning's time trial stage (8a) and the afternoon's final group stage (8b) around London. There were loads of time trial bikes waiting to be cleaned, and road racing bikes ready to be adjusted to their riders' liking.
There was a crowd of people outside it, but nothing much was happening. It seemed like the right thing to do to see if we could get a glimpse of Mark Cavendish, Britain's most famous cyclist and the most dominant sprinter in the world at the moment. But I don't think I actually believed that I would get to see him.
Then it happened! He came out of his trailer wearing all black HTC-branded sweats. It was so exciting! He signed a few autographs and then there was a moment of drama when the reporter who was interviewing him seemed to piss him off. He walked away angrily and said that he had been asking about doping! But a few moments later he was back to happily signing autographs. He never came over to where I was standing, but I was just happy to stand by taking pictures!
So, now we have a third perspective on what it's like at a pro cycling race. It gets more interesting each time!