The Tour of Britain 2013 Stage 2 - Carlisle to Kendal
I collected my accreditation from Peter and was ready to take some photographs. Not knowing where I could and couldn’t go I set off, if I was in the wrong place someone would let me know.
I had planned to arrive at the start to collect my media pass and take some photographs there, then head for Honister Pass in the Lakes and attempt to get to Kendal before the finish.
I was snapping away and spotted a familiar face - it was Carole Leigh from the track leagues at the velodrome. All dressed in official ToB attire, I asked what she was doing here and it turned out she was judge and doing the timing for the Tour. Over the next few days I saw her here and there in commissaires cars, and doing the countdown for the Time Trial.
I didn’t realise, but there was a bus for media staff which I could have used to get to decisive moments in the race, the only problem being I had my car with me and wouldn’t be able to get back to it at the end of the stage.
After a chat with the lovely Joolze Dymond - photographer for Madison Genesis - I headed for the start, took a few shots of the riders then spotted Kristian House sat looking cold and a bit worse for wear behind the podium. I knew it would make a nice pic but didn’t really want to intrude, then thought better of it and took the photo anyway thanks Kristian!
I’d got what I could and watched the riders leave for Kendal. I ran back to my car, jumped in sweating my balls off then as soon as I rounded the corner I got stuck in traffic. Shit! Just sit tight I thought it will clear, but I couldn’t help but panic. I was certain that I’d miss Honister Pass which is the spot I really wanted. I got to the motorway and flew. The weather was so bad at times I couldn’t see through my windscreen and the wipers weren’t able to clear the rain fast enough - it was a tad scary to say the least.
An hour later I turned up at the bottom of Honister Pass just after Derwent Water. I wasn’t allowed to drive up to the King of the Mountains line as the road had been closed since 10.30am. It was gone 12, however the riders were due to pass through at about 2 so plenty of time to walk to the top. A sign on the wall said 1 mile to summit, great! Balls. With a 25% gradient most of the way it felt like 10 miles. I would feel it in my legs, back and hips for days to come.
At the top it was nice to see my friend from last year’s King of the Mountain in Old Hutton, Daron @topmod. I was pretty high up in the mountains, so high that I swear the helicopter was below me. The weather had a huge effect on the race, being so bad riders were dropping off at a rate of knots. I was getting worried about people in the crowd and myself getting hypothermia, I was shivering pretty bad and couldn’t control it. My head and ears felt warm but my body was so cold. The rain was driving through the valley down one side, and then upwards into my face up the other side. It was also difficult keeping rain spots off my lens.
The riders went by, I got what I was able to and headed back to my car thinking I’m going to have take my wet clothes off to drive home or I’m going to get either ill or the car drenched. To get warm - and with about 200 other wet and cold fans - I ran back to the car and actually enjoyed it. Maybe fell running is something on the cards?
Back in the car fully clothed and warm I texted Lindsay my wife to get the race on the telly and text me when it was over so I didn’t waste any time traveling to Kendal for the finish. As I pulled into the town I got a text saying Gerald Ciolek won the stage.