Last Sunday I enjoyed my first ever cycling road race event in Glasgow. It was the National Road Race Championships. There had been time trials in the preceding days but I was only there to catch the men's road race. However I did arrive in time to see the end of the women's race.
When I arrived I was surprised at there being so few people out to watch. But perhaps they'd drifted off as I caught the last lap of that race only.
I opted to stay around the city centre area to watch. First up was a spot at the top of the Buchanan Street section. Right outside the Apple store. It was a nasty left hand turn and with the spots of rain that started it made the first few laps a bit tricksy there. Thankfully I only saw one faller and he was as quickly up and away on his as he was when he fell off.
To say it was utterly exciting to see people such as David Miller, Ben Swift, Mark Cavendish and more on the roads was a massive understatement. I was starstruck. It was brilliant. I kept snapping pictures and videos then had just about enough time to rush into the Apple store to recharge the phone up some more.
Around lap 6 I decided to head up St Vincent Street as there was a bit of an incline, and how would they fare on this. It's not of Alpine proportions but a little bit of a punt up there no doubt. The pavements were fairly quieter up there. Plenty of room to catch a great view of the leading train. Well, there were 2 leaders for a long time then the Cavendish, Miller, Kennaugh and Swift group for a good few laps. Towards the end that lead group was down to 4. They were flying. It was great to actually see this in person having watched the grand tours for most of my adult life on TV. I can only imagine what it's like on a stage of the TdF. The whooshing of the wheels, the clicking of the gears, the chatter... Magic.
By the last lap I'd made my way around to the George Square side and got a quiet spot on the pavement to have a wee seat. I watched for the last time as the leaders flew past at an visibly more increased rate. Wowsers. It was time for my train home and since I was nowhere near the start/finish line I'd watch it all unfold on Twitter from my comfy train seat.
Mark Cavendish won. You wouldn't really bet against him in a spring finish now would you. Brilliant racing from everyone who took part. And good organisation from everyone involved. Scottish Cycling; British Cycling; Glasgow City Council and the volunteers and event staff who were on hand all day to shepherd you across the route and give a little whistle to let you know the riders were on their way.
All in all a great day out in Glasgow, Miles Better! ;)