Caroline Shipsey

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cycling - Tour of Britain Stage 6 - KOM Old Bristol Hill

As one who hasn't ridden a bike since I was about 10 years old, it's strange that I should get caught up in the enthusiasm surrounding the Tour of Britain cycle race with the finish of Stage 6 in Wells yesterday, 16th September.

The Somerset stage started in Taunton and eventually came up through Cheddar Gorge, and then after going through Wells came up the Old Bristol Hill and right past our house. It was a beautiful sunny day but not too hot and the wind had dropped at last. The atmosphere was amazing, crowds lined the route with picnic chairs to ease the wait for the racers come past, and hundreds of cyclists too. When they did come for most it was all over in a flash - literally!

I chose to watch them coming up to the top of Old Bristol Hill, just half a mile from home, where they would be going much more slowly and so have a better chance at getting some decent photos. Hundreds of others gathered along the road too but it was a great vantage point for everyone and so exciting to see them coming up the hill!

It was amazing that so many people turned out to watch and support the riders - the ordinary people of all ages, and the huge numbers of cyclists, of all ages too!
Apparently Somerset County Council had sponsorship deal of £775,000 for the event over 5 years but aren't going to renew it. What a shame, with cycling gathering more followers every year, and being a fantastic way for the whole family to get out get exercise, surely hosting such a prestigious event can bring nothing but good to the area.

King of the Mountains climb of Old Bristol Hill, Johnathan Tiernan-Locke leading