Thursday, 10 July 2014

Yorkshire! Yorkshire!

Last weekend saw a small bike race begin in Leeds- you probably won't have heard very much about it, if anything at all. To say that the crowd numbers and atmosphere exceeded pretty much everyone's expectations would be under-selling the event!

I was perched on top of Buttertubs Pass along with 10,000 other fans, and the parade of Tour promotional vehicles eventually signalled that things were happening. These fantastically gaudy contraptions will throw out freebies/tat occasionally and I was lucky enough(?) to have one of these fetching caps chucked in my direction.

Red polka dots are worn by the King Of The Mountain. Oh dear.

My day was made when the first rider hoved into was only Mr Jens Voight whose mantra of 'Shut Up Legs' was nicked for the title of this blog, and is the oldest rider in the Tour de France this year. It is also his farewell TdF so he took great delight in making himself suffer alone in one of his trademark breakaways and he got a terrific reception and encouragement all along the least until the bunch caught him. Le Tour will miss him, for sure.

Jens Voight. I assume that he has already instructed his legs to suffer in silence.

Not all that far behind came the main bunch which contained all the usual suspects (except one Sir Brad Wiggins...) including the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish.

Cav looks like he enjoys hills almost as much as I do.

The day ended badly for Cav as we know. The following morning at York racecourse saw the riders saddle up again for a fairly horrible stage which would end in Sheffield. At the time, this fella looked fairly relaxed and content with his lot...

Tour favourite, Chris Froome in happier moments at York...

I was able to catch another view of the race up above Rochdale: it's a lot of hanging around for something that passes so quickly, but it's definitely worth the effort. These guys do not hang around!

No matter where you went, the support was incredible. Wow!

As we now know, Chris Froome's TdF has also ended badly. You have to feel for anyone who has put so much effort into preparation to defend his title only to have it ended so abruptly. Mark Cavendish could empathise...

Speaking of preparation, and on the basis that "it's never too late", I cycled over to Leeds for an overnight stop to see Pearl Jam play what turned-out to be a 3 1/2 hour show!

Monsoon season in Nelson.

Their front-man is a pretty big Who fan too so it wasn't a complete surprise when the band played a cover...but then ended-up playing three songs by The Bush's finest. Excellent! Plus Eddie Vedder went on his backside during the clip below, hah-hah!

My forays into social media continue: this week, The Pub Landlord aka Al Murray eventually caved in to my relentless pestering and re-tweeted my appeal on his Twitter account.

As you can just make out, almost 30,000 people read this RT. The bad news is that only 9 people read either the blog or had a look at my JustGiving site. And precisely zero donations were made as a result. Arse!

In other news, one of the alumnus from last year's 'The Italian Job' bike ride was minded to tackle three ascents of Mont Ventoux (not Venotux, ahem...) a fortnight back. John's super effort was captured by his (much) better half Sue...take a look at clip that was filmed near to the summit on one of his climbs:

Hmmm, a tad breezy might just about cover it! Fair to say that this is no cake-walk...

There have been a ton of very generous donations to both causes and I am very, very grateful to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to do so. There is one donation that I will highlight here: today I was given a cheque for £500 from the Heritage Centre at BAE Systems in Warton.

How good is that? Cheque's great too.

This came about following the sad passing-on of one the volunteers who ran the centre, Mr Keith Spong. This gent was a champion of two charities, the North West Air Ambulance and also the Royal British Legion and there was a considerable sum of money raised in honour of Keith's memory. 
Word about my bike ride reached the Heritage staff and as a result I was presented with a lovely big cheque earlier today and this has been paid into the RBL appeal which means we now stand at around £1300 for both causes!

Anyway, I set-off tomorrow so if you would like to sponsor me please, please follow the links below. You know it makes sense!

I will give £10 for every £50 that you do. Aside from that, there is one other thing that would help, if you can do it...please share this blog and/or the JG links with your pals/acquaintances/enemies.