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Tour of Britain – 2014

Blog and photo’s from The Super Fans

The Tour website can be found here.

Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain

So, as it stands there are 19 days until the start of The Tour. We are just waiting on the race manual to be published and then Dad and me will spent a few hours planning our routes and programming it into the Sat Nav. Obviously we already have the hotels booked, did this the day after the official launch, so all that’s left is when our mid race viewing points will be.

As usual I will be using my website to post my views of the race (not full race reviews) and any photo’s we take along the way.

In my opinion it looks a cracking route with plenty of variety for everyone including the spectators.

The race runs from Sunday 7th September to Sunday the 14th.

STAGE 1
Liverpool

STAGE 2
Knowsley to Llandudno

STAGE 3
Newtown to The Tumble (Mountain top finish)

STAGE 4
Worcester to Bristol

STAGE 5
Exmouth to Exeter

STAGE 6
Bath to Hemel Hempstead

STAGE 7
Camberley to Brighton

STAGE 8a
Time Trial – London

STAGE 8b
Circuit race – London

As you can see they race isn’t heading further north than Liverpool and I for one am happy with this. Stage transfers are a lot shorter than previous years and the Bath to Hemel Hempstead route passes close to home. Sorry Jo, not close enough for a night at home!

You may have noticed that the dates have moved back to their original slot instead of a week later. This means that I will be celebrating my birthday on the tour. My youngest two children have only seen their Dad on this birthday once, last year. They don’t seem to be bothered as we always celebrate with birthday cake for breakfast on the day I leave! (It’s on the 10th if anyone is interested)

More soon
Corky

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July 2014 – Update

July 2014 – Update

Sorry guys, it’s been a while since I updated my blog. Been really busy lately and unfortunately something has to give.

So what have I been up too?

As you are no doubt aware this year’s Tour de France started in Yorkshire, and yes I did decide that I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see it in person. My last visit to Le Tour was in 2007.
Now that I think back on it, was it worth a 500 mile round trip for 30 seconds of cycling? Of course it was, and you know I’ll do it again.

I did snap a couple of videos of the race and convoy which you can see below.






I only stayed for the first stage as I needed to get back to the south for a race on the Sunday which brings me nicely to another part of my life that has been distracting me from my blog.

I have recently passed my first assessment with British Cycling and have now become a Regional Circuit Commissaire. I’m still an Assistant Road Commissaire as I need another few road races under my belt first.

I have been a Commissaire at races since May, at least 2 a week and my knowledge and confidence has grown considerably. I love it!

2014-07-18 21.07.55

Interaction at the races with the riders, event staff, promoters and parents has lead me to the conclusion that I will no longer post information about being a Commissaire on my blog, Facebook and Twitter as I do not want to be put in a position of looking like I play favorites. I don’t, but I want to be seen to be fair to all.

Now that Le Tour has finished it is time for me to start thinking about The Tour Of Britain. The course looks great and I can’t wait. They will be publishing the full route information shortly and once this is available I will be planning routes and viewing points. Time to get the technology I want in the car sorted as well!

More information here and here.

On a different note, I have been thinking about getting another tattoo. I have two, one on the arm, Fido Dido riding a skateboard

Fido Dido

Fido Dido

and an English rose on my right leg. I want one on my left leg and have chosen the logo of The Tour Of Britain that they used for the first 10 years. It has been a massive part of my life for the past 10 years and I want to mark the achievement. (Hopefully my Mum and Dad aren’t reading this, passionate dislike for tattoos)

This is it….

2014-07-29 20.59.28

More soon

Corky

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Chapeau to Commissaires

Chapeau to Commissaires!

As you may know in January I passed the first part of the program to become a British Cycling Commissaire. (I’m an Road Assistant Commissaire)

So far I have driven in road races, been Comm 2 in road races and also officiated at circuit races.

I have loved every minute of it and think I’m doing OK, my log book backs me up on this.

However, last night I was given the opportunity to try my hand as a finish line judge. Basically I recorded the placing on every lap (2 races, 9 & 12 laps) by writing down the rider numbers in the order they crossed the line.

I was blown away how difficult this was, I only managed to get about half of the field in a race of 30 riders. The other race was only 19 riders and I managed that OK.

I’m told it’s just practice and that I did OK for a first try.

So my cunning plan, at Thursday Tour Series event in Canary Wharf I’m going to try and record some numbers before I do it again for real next week.

So, Chapeau to all Commissaires because it’s not as easy as it looks and races couldn’t run without you. I admit, I never appreciated you until I tried it.

Will let you know how I get on.

Andy

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The Tour – 2014

The Tour – 2014

This week saw the launch of this year’s Tour of Britain. In my opinion it looks a cracking route with plenty of variety for everyone including the spectators.

The race runs from Sunday 7th September to Sunday the 14th.

STAGE 1
Liverpool

STAGE 2
Knowsley to Llandudno

STAGE 3
Newtown to The Tumble (Mountain top finish)

STAGE 4
Worcester to Bristol

STAGE 5
Exmouth to Exeter

STAGE 6
Bath to Hemel Hempstead

STAGE 7
Camberley to Brighton

STAGE 8a
Time Trial – London

STAGE 8b
Circuit race – London

As you can see they race isn’t heading further north than Liverpool and I for one am happy with this. Stage transfers are a lot shorter than previous years and the Bristol to Hemel Hempstead route passes close to home. Sorry Jo, not close enough for a night at home!

It’s now time to start booking B&B’s and spend the coming months planning my route and finding the best spots to view on the route whilst still leaving enough time to get to the finish, always a challenge but we have been lucky over the years. I owe this to excellent driving (me) the race manual, which is absolutely brilliant and of course my two Sat Nav’s. One for the finish and one showing my route to the viewing point whilst avoiding the race route.

Keep an eye on my blog for further updates.

Corky

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British Cycling – Commissaire

British Cycling – Commissaire

On the 25th January I attended a course run by British Cycling to allow me to qualify as a Commissaire.

I also had to take 2 exams to pass the course.

I’m pleased to announce that I passed and am now a Road Assistant Commissaire.

The next stage of the process is to attend several races and get my log book filled in. I’m told the average is 6 events.

Whilst I am waiting to be allocated to events I have taken the opportunity to sign up for the Commissaire Conference at the beginning of March. Hopefully I will be able to make some useful contacts and soak up more information.

Will let you know how I get on.

Corky

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Looking forward to 2014

As we are now into December I am starting to think about next year and what I am hoping to achieve and which events I want to attend.

So, in some sort of date order this is what my life looks like for 2014. (I also have to fit in a 40hr work week as well!)

I know I’m starting with this year even though I said 2014 but it is my blog….

DECEMBER 2013
16th – Manchester Track for Spadger 6 Day. Looking forward to seeing Tom Murray racing again and support a great charity. Have a look and follow them through twitter here

JANUARY
4th – Revolution Track Racing, Manchester

25th – Commissaires course. After many years watching and a few years of marshalling and driving duties for races I have decided to go one further and enrol in a Commissaires course. For the non cyclists a Commissaire is basically a judge/referee.

FEBRUARY
1st – Revolution Track Racing, Manchester

MARCH
14th – Revolution Track Racing, London

APRIL
UK Cycling Events – Hoping to work for these people again next year, as I had fun at all the events I helped out with this year. Although last April was “fun” see my blog post here

MAY
4th – The Wilton Grand Prix is due to a rerun in May and I have already been in touch with British Cycling and Andy Cook of Andy Cook Cycling to offer my services as a driver. Would be nice to drive on local roads for a change.

7th to 11th – The Women’s Tour, fantastic news that we are hosting a world class womens road race. Again, I have volunteered to drive for them and am just waiting for more information.
It is a 5 day race and the start/finish towns are:

Stage One: Oundle to Northampton
Stage Two: Hinckley to Bedford
Stage Three: Clacton-on-Sea
Stage Four: Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City
Stage Five: Harwich to Bury St Edmunds

Tour Series – Waiting for venues

JUNE
Tour Series – Waiting for venues

26th to 29th – London to Paris – At the moment I am only down to drive on the first day, London to the ferry, but I am hoping that this changes and that I can accompany the ride for the whole route. Fingers crossed.

JULY
Nothing so far!

AUGUST
Holiday! Time away with the wife and children.

Olympic Legacy Event – I assume it’s still on!

SEPTEMBER
The Tour of Britain – What more can I say, Super Fan time again!

OCTOBER
UK Cycling Events (to be confirmed)

NOVEMBER
Nothing so far!

DECEMBER
Nothing so far!

I also need to add in at least 6 road races that I will be an assistant Commissaire for so that I complete my log book and move further up the ladder.

The British Cycling web site has also now published their calendar for 2014 (Do I dare add any more dates to my schedule?)

British Cycling Elite Circuit Series
Wednesday 2 July 2014 Otley GP
Friday 11 July 2014 Stockton Festival of Cycling
Wednesday 16 July 2014 Colne Grand Prix
Friday 18 July 2014 Beverley GP
Wednesday 23 July 2014 Sheffield GP
Wednesday 30 July 2014 The Wales Open Criterium

British Cycling Elite Road Series – Spring Cup

Day Date Event name
Saturday – Sunday 12 – 13 April 2014 Tour of the Reservoir 2 Day
Sunday 4 May 2014 Cycle Wiltshire GP
Sunday 11 May 2014 Lincoln GP

British Cycling Elite Road Series – Grand Prix Series

Day Date Event name
Sunday 13 July 2014 Stockton Festival of Cycling
Sunday 20 July 2014 Ryedale GP
Sunday 27 July 2014 Circuit of the Fens
Saturday 02 August 2014 Stafford Kermesse
Sunday 17 August 2014 Leicester Kermesse
Sunday 31 August 2014 UCS Ipswich and Coastal GP

British Cycling Women’s Road Series

Day Date Event name
Sunday 27 April 2014 Cheshire Classic
Sunday 18 May 2014 Womens Cicle Classic
Sunday 1 June 2014 Hillingdon Womens GP
Saturday – Sunday 14 – 15 June 2014 CDNW Surf and Turf 2 Day
Sunday 22 June 2014 Curlew Cup
Wednesday 2 July 2014 Otley GP
Saturday – Sunday 12 -13 July 2014 Essex Giro 2 Day
Wednesday 23 July 2014 Sheffield GP – Womens Race
Sunday 20 July 2014 Ryedale GP Womens race
Friday – Saturday 1 – 2 August 2014 Stafford GP and Kermesse

British Cycling Junior Road Series

Day Date Event name
Sunday 23 March 2014 Cadence Road Race
Saturday – Sunday 5 – 6 April 2014 Junior Tour of the Mendips
Sunday 27 April 2014 Junior Cicle Classic
Saturday – Monday 2 – 4 May 2014 IOM Junior Tour
Sunday 18 May 2013 Loughborough University Junior Road Race
Sunday 15 June 2014 Bikeline Tom Simpson Junior Road Race
Sunday 6 July 2014 Hatherleigh Junior Road Race
Sunday 27 July 2014 Bath RC Junior Road Race
Saturday – Monday 23 – 25 August 2014 Junior Tour of Wales 3-Day

British Cycling Youth Circuit Series

Day Date Event name
Sunday 13 April 2014 Hetton Youth Circuit Races
Friday – Saturday 2 – 4 May 2014 IOM Youth Tour
Saturday – Monday 24 – 26 May 2014 NW Youth Tour (Sat – Mon)
Saturday 7 June 2014 Team MK Circuit Races
Saturday 21 June 2014 Hillingdon Slipstreamers Circuit Races
Sunday 27 July 2014 Maindy Flyers Youth Circuit Races
Sunday 3 August 2014 Susies Youth Circuit Races
Sunday 31 August 2014 Scarborough Festival of Cycling 2014

I know I’m lucky that I am able to indulge my passion alongside a home and work life, and I know I always say it but I couldn’t do it with my wonderful family and especially my wife Jo, thank you all.

One question to anyone who can help, How can I fit it all in!

Corky

Sneak preview of my next post for those of you still reading…

I am in the process of designing a new cycling kit for myself and my children, with my logo on it. Pictures next time.

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The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stages 3 & 4

The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stages 3 & 4

Stage 3 saw us based, unusually, in one place with little driving. We stayed in Knowsley Safari Park all day watching the time trial.

The first rider left the start ramp at 12:01 but the park closed it doors at 10. We arrived early and after saying morning to the usual suspects and finding a coffee we located our viewing position.

We were situated just after the finish line but directly across from the podium.

Weather? Yes you guessed it, rain. And just to make a change windy as well.

I had my money on Alex Dowsett but unfortunately he didn’t win. A strong performance from Team Sky allowed Sir Bradley Wiggins to take over the race lead and more Ian Stanard into second.

Outside of the race we were approached by a photographer and asked if we minded him taking a few shots did us. I did feel a bit of a fool standing by a couple off fake elephants! Will let you know if they get published.

Stage 4 was back into a more familiar routine with an early morning drive to Stoke and after seeing all the riders safely off we jumped in the car to view the race just after the first sprint point, about and hours riding from the start.

After the race flashed past it was back into the car for a drive to the finish where, surprisingly Mark Cavendish won the sprint after a day of spectacular climbs.

I have one moan today, and that’s at cyclists!

In all the press at the moment cyclists seem to be taking the moral high ground against evil motorists, well today cyclists were their won worst enemy. Try to drive to the finish yup the last climb they were all over the road, 3 or 4 across the road and just pulled in front of all cars whenever they liked. They were even some cycling down the hill on the wrong side of the road and then have the nerve to look at you in a car as the one doing wrong.

We all need to live and use the roads together but what I saw today put all us cyclists in an extremely bad light.

Disappointed is not a strong enough word.

Well rant over I’m off to bed. Tomorrow see us in Wales for the entire stage and we are staying about an hour and 15 minutes away from the start.

Till the next time.

Corky

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The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stage 2

The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stage 2

So Stage 2 is done and dusted already. Although it does seem a long time since we left home.

Quick Recap

We left Salisbury on Saturday morning for the drive to Scotland. We stayed overnight in Edinburgh so we only had a 30 minute drive to the start in Peebles on Sunday.

Since Sunday morning I don’t think we have been dry! The rain gods have unleashed a torrent on us and the riders. No help that everyone I spoke to in Peebles said the same thing “It’s been dry here for weeks”

Rain has a habit of finding any opening or weakness in your clothes, especially as we have had so much of it.

Monday 16 September

Todays start was in the town centre of Carlisle, so a coffee from Costa warmed us up before the start. We did manage to keep dry until a few seconds before the race start so that was a bonus.

Once again everyone has treated us like part of the family and spent time talking to us. For me, this really makes my day.

Once the race started we put our cunning plan into action and drove through the back roads and small villages trying to get ahead of the race. Today we managed it and arrived in a town called Aspatria just as the first police motorbikes were shutting off the side roads.

A group of 6 riders we in a breakaway a few minutes in front of the bunch. I mentioned before that everyone is friendly and the race convoy kept their end up my waving and blowing their horns. I must be extremely childish and I love that.

After the race flashed past we set off for Kendal and the finish. We drove through parts of the Lake District that we hadn’t been through before and I have to admit the scenery was stunning. If only the sun was out.

Once at the finish line it was a wet couple of hours waiting for the riders to arrive, I did feel sorry for them as after a wet and hard day in the saddle the final 4500 meters was all up hill at a place called Beast Bank, and it was steep.

Todays winner was Gerald Ciolek in a time of 5 hours, 1 minute 1 second. This also took him into the leaders Gold Jersey.

Tomorrow is the time trial based around Knowsley Safari Park and I predict the winner will be Alex Dowsett in a sub 19 minute ride. Will he beat the current 10 mile UK record? I don’t think so as the weather looks to be wet and windy again.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

Corky

Just as I finish typing I can hear the rain being hurled at our hotel window, great!

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The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stage 1

The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog – Stage 1

So here we are in a hotel room in Carlisle after watching the first stage of The Tour.

The race started in Peebles this morning at 10:30 and finished at Drumlanrig Castle, for the riders a ride of 130 miles

Spoiler Alert

If you haven’t seen the results yet and want a surprise, stop reading!

Today’s stage results
1 Elia Viviani
2 Alessandro Petacchi
3 Gerald Ciolek

We started the day optimistic about the weather; however once outside we had to revise our opinion. It has been an extremely windy and wet day. Even though I was wearing a jacket at the start you could wring my shirt out! Dad trousers were the same. (Must be because he’s nearer the ground!)

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the race during the stage as a string of events stopped us getting in front of the racers. We were hampered by narrow lanes with slow moving buses, cars and at one point totally stopped whilst entries for a horse event took over the road. And most galling of all, cyclist kept slowing us down!

On the plus side the scenery has been spectacular, if a little misty.

The finish at the Castle was well worth the soaking, being able to watch the events unfolding on the big screen is fantastic. Seeing the riders fly by inches from you and the atmosphere it creates is why I keep coming back to bike races.

So far we have covered just over 600 miles, so I’m going to bed. Sorry about any images that might conjure up!

Actually just realized, the highlights are on ITV4 at 9 so I’m watching them first! See you all tomorrow.

Corky

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The Tour – Tenth Anniversary Blog

Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain website,

Just over a week to go and it is time for The Tour.

Next Saturday with be the start for me and Dad as we drive to Scotland from Wiltshire.

This is the tenth running of the race and my tenth anniversary as well. As my official name badge from The Tour launch says – “Tour of Britain Super Fan” So once again we will be at every stage and hopefully at various points on the course as well.

Tour of Britain launch badge

Tour of Britain launch badge

So am I ready for the big push?

Best answer at the moment is MAYBE.

The day before the start when I’m saying bye to the wife and kids I always say I’m no doing this again, but every year as soon as the route is announced I get all excited and start the whole process again. Dad is just as bad.

The only things left to do is pack and get the car ready. The car set up allows me to fulfill my inner geek and should let us keep a track on where we are and where the race is.

Disclaimer
I do not operate any gadgets whilst I’m driving. The deal I have with Dad is I do all the driving and he checks he gadgets and tells me what’s happening.

Sat Nav one Custom route to keep us away from the race route until we arrive at our viewing point. We also use this one to navigate to our beds for the night.

Sat Nav 2 Start and finish locations. We have the finish programmed in so we can see how long I have till we get there, if it starts to look a bit tight I will cancel the mid stage viewing.

iPad This year we are going to try The Tour App that should show the location of the race. Every year I have the same issue. I think I’m on the route in front of the race but I’m never sure unless we see any spectators on the road side. Schools are great for this and they always scream and shout and you.

Video Camera Stuck on the windscreen to allow me to video the route we are driving, not very exciting you say, agreed, but I am hoping to get a video of the police and NEG bikes driving between stages. It is a fantastic sight and one that is hard to describe.

iPhone Dad will have this to read mid race tweets and hopefully send some!

What gadget am I missing? Race radio. Would love this to hear what’s going on. Got to keep hoping….

All the routes, start and finish addresses and of course our Travelodge’s are all programmed into the Sat Navs so it should just be a case of getting in and turning them on.

Sunday 15th will be a fun day as I can catch up with the people I haven’t seen since The Tour Series and maybe even since last year’s race.

There are too many people to name them all but my Dad and I would like to thank the following people who always make the experience truly great. If I have missed you out, sorry I will try and rectify during the week.

Wife, Jo
Mum, Lesley
Children, Jessie, Jamie, Harry & Molly
Hugh Roberts
Mick Bennett
Guy Elliott
Andy Hawes
Peter Hodges
Kathryn Brown
Alistair Grant
Paul Baillie
Will Glossop
Mark Leyland
Trevor Hughes
Patrick Nestor
Carole Reade
Carl Lawrenson
Joe Fisher
Phil Doyle
Tom Morton
NEG
Police

And so many more that we know by face but don’t know your names. Sorry and thank you.

You have all made the last 9 years spectacular and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this year.

See you at the road side.

Corky

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