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Well it almost seems like we are strangers again after such a long break.  Its taken me a while but I am back again.. eventually..

Apologies for the extended absence there just seems to have been a lot going on recently and writing time has been somewhat limited, along with the lack of impetus to get writing again.

Over the next few postings I will attempt to summarise the happenings of the last few weeks.   Including our visit to Devon to visit family and watch the Tour of Britain.

Tour of Britain

Firstly the visit to Devon and taking in two stages of the Tour of Britain .  You can glean most of the information about the actual race and stages by clicking that link.  My personal involvement was in watching stages four and five in Devon.

Sidmouth in Devon, England.

Sidmouth with Peak Hill just beyond the town

Stage four saw us finding our way to the top of the 20% incline ( 1 in 5 ) of Peak Hill just outside Sidmouth.  It is a killer of a climb as I can vouch for, see details of my experience a little further on.  I decided that would be the best place for an extended view of the riders as they would be going slower there.  We got to the top of the climb quite early and found a car park that was remarkably unpopulated.  However that may be more than a little due to the fact that we got there two hours before any riders were due.  So early in fact that we had time for a walk through the woods to the cliff top and a great view of the Jurassic Coastline.  The cliffs are full of fossils from the Jurassic period in time, which even pre-dates me !  Walking back towards our car park we passed a whole lot of guys flying radio controlled gliders in the terrific winds that were blowing there and the updraft from the winds coming in off the sea and up the cliffs.  Passed a few minutes there admiring the skills of the ‘pilots’ in handling the aircraft in such testing conditions. By this time the ‘Road Crew’ had erected the finish line barrier for the King of the Mountains competition and the associated barriers.

On returning to the car we ate our picnic and drank our coffee before looking for a suitable location to view the riders.   We found a spot about 50 metres before the summit and with a good view down the hill so we could see the riders approaching.  There was no pre race caravan such as we saw in the Tour de France to take up the waiting time but the time seemed to go quickly enough.

Eventually the sound of helicopters was to be heard over Sidmouth, always a clue that the race is approaching.  Then the police motor bikes started coming through with headlights blazing.  There seemed to be almost as many motorbikes as there would be riders.  Next race officials cars started coming through and an announcement that there was a breakaway of three riders with a lead of about ten minutes over the chasing group.  Soon enough the breakaway came through, preceded and followed by motorbikes with aforesaid headlights, which under the trees made photography pretty much impossible.  However you can’t watch the race and take photos so I settled for watching.  The chasing group came through and there must have been about thirty riders in that and they came up the climb pretty easily it seemed to me and fairly effortlessly too it has to be said.   After another twenty minutes or so the main peloton came through.  They obviously were not too bothered about getting a placing as I expect most where there to work for team leaders and had already done their bit and were content just to get to the finish.

After that it was mass exit of spectators and the road crew wasted no time in dismantling the King of the Mountains equipment.  We encountered a lot of traffic through the narrow Devonshire lanes as we made our way ‘home’ but it fairly quickly thinned out as people went their separate ways.

Will detail the next stage in the following posting

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