Tour of Britain 2010

2010-09-13, , Comments

A year ago I watched the start of a Tour of Britain stage. This year I caught the end of a stage, joining the crowds gathered on Constitution Hill, a vicious little cobbled climb near the centre of Swansea.

I walked slowly up the road. A sea mist obscured the view back over Swansea Bay. I stopped about ¾ of the way up. I waited. The riders were late — headwinds and rain had slowed their progress over the Black Mountains. I called Dan. He said he was about ⅓ of the way up the hill, with a couple of friends. I walked back down to meet them.

A car came past. A convoy of police riders. Then nothing.

Where’s Brad Wiggins? someone next to me asked. What colour is he wearing? Black with a green band, I said. He rides for Team Sky. I don’t know where he is.

A police 4x4 stormed up the hill, flattening the spectators back against the sides of the road. And now the leading riders were here.

Heavy going

I’d been assuming the pros would demolish the hill. Not so. They made it look hard going, hauling round mighty gears, their spindly bikes buckling beneath them. It’s true, you get close enough to touch them. Some of these guys are way too big and solid to ride up hills.