Friday, September 20, 2013

Tour of Britain: stage 6

Exeter seemed like a typical ruined provincial city when we drove around yesterday afternoon: all inner-city ring-road and concrete canyons. This morning we walked around the pedestrianised centre and marvelled at how clean, airy and spacious the place was - not an eye-sore after all. The university is in the north part of the town and students have civilised the place, creating demand for boutique restaurants, coffee shops, stylish pubs ... and a buzz.

We saw the Tour of Britain, stage 6 in Exeter High Street. Saw is a relative word as the crowds were dense and we were not at the front. It takes perhaps 3 or 4 seconds for the peloton to flash by and then it's show over. Undaunted, we jumped back into the car and drove the twenty or so miles to the finishing point at Hay Tor on Dartmoor.

Waiting around at Hay Tor

I won't bore you with the interminable driving up and down steep single-track roads to get anywhere near Hay Tor (most roads had been closed). Suffice it to say that I dropped Clare at a roadblock and parked half a mile away: we didn't meet up again until the end of the race, at the Visitor's Centre.

A hotel room in Exeter featuring stage 5

Yesterday afternoon Clare was nursing her cold in the Premier Inn, Exeter, catching up on stage 5 in Snowdonia (above).

A leading group 1 km from the finish

Back to the finish today: the leaders (fronted by Bradley Wiggins) zoomed past so quickly I failed to capture them on camera (the helicopter did a better job, see below) but the following group above coincided with my pushing the button. Notice you can see the guy in the orange tee-shirt in front of me in both pictures.

The author (circled) with camera: Wiggins leads on right

We were home shortly after five at which point we consumed an enormous Chinese takeaway banquet for two and then collapsed in front of the TV to watch it all over again.