Wow. What a day at Day 2 of Le Tour Yorkshire. Fantastic atmosphere, people, weather and cycling. I had an absolutely amazing time.
We were stood in a place that had 3 different names depending on who you talked to: Jawbone Hill (what the locals call it), Oughtibridge Lane (what Google Maps calls it) and Côte d' Oughtibridge (what the race organisers called it). Whatever you call the location, we were stood three quarters of the way up a very steep hill climb and we got the perfect view of the riders making their way - remarkedly quickly - up the hill.
The location was 20 minutes walk from my house and next to the village I live in, Grenoside. Grenoside is on the other side of Jawbone Hill and, as this would be a downhill section, Jonny and I decided to go over the hill to the other side so that the riders would be going more slowly. All I can say is if this is them going slowly then blimey they must go blisteringly quick when going downhill.
Before getting to the other side of the hill I walked around Grenoside taking photos of pubs, houses and the village green which had all been spruced up for the TdF.
On the walk over the hill I spotted a couple of photogenic people who had already got their preferred spots on the downhill section of the hill. They were both kind enough to pose for me.
Once over the other side of the hill we passed a bar and lots of great chalk writing on the road. The last photo shows I think the most Yorkshire bit of writing you could ever see - 'get thee sen up ill' translates to 'get yourself up the hill' in English by the way!
We got to our spot at 09:45 and had a long wait until 14:00 for the Caravan and approx 16:00 for the race itself. The time flew by thanks to plenty of keen club cyclists who were cycling the stage in advance of the main riders, the fantastic other people on the hill and the various vehicles that came past.
Here is an example of a young lad who was struggling but got lots of support from the crowd.
Some of my friends turned up at about 13:30 sporting some creative TdF glasses!
By about 14:30 the Caravan came through. This was a procession of vehicles that precedes each stag of the tour. They were a mixture of police bikes (both UK and French Gendarme) sponsors floats, official cars and mad French vehicles. Most came at break-neck speed with sirens blarring! Quite a few of the UK police riders stuck their hands out and high fived the crowd as they went past!
Once the Caravan ended we had what seemed like very long wait for the race to arrive. We heard cheers coming from the distance and before we knew it there came the first riders. We had heard there was a breakaway and I had assumed that would mean a lone rider. So I had my 70-200 f/2.8 lens on my camera to pick out the lone rider. I was annoyed to find that it wasn't a lone rider but a big bunch of riders. So I had the wrong lens on my camera. Still managed to get a few OK shots though before I changed to my wide-angle 10-20 to fit more riders in.
After what seemed like only 5 minutes, it was all over. But it was just so worth it and I really want to experience it again. Please come back to Yorkshire TdF!