Last Friday I had my first proper Glasgow 2014 commonwealth games experience. It was my day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome to see some track cycling. I love cycling and since I'd fallen a bit out of love with the Tour De France this year, in stepped the home nations in the Commonwealth Games to fill the gap. Picture heavy post coming up!
I headed off on a rare scorching summer day on the train to Glasgow. Once in the buzzing city centre I wandered around Merchant City for a while to get something to eat. It was around lunch time and I was hungry. After I got some food I decided it was time to start my journey towards the velodrome. I'd decided pretty early on that I would walk instead of getting a train or a bus, and besides it was a gorgeous day and I'd slapped on the sunscreen. I headed out of the merchant city area along the London Road. I used to walk the London Road (from the other end) back in the day when me and my sister were regulars at going to watch the football a Parkhead (otherwise known as Celtic Park). Although I visit Glasgow regularly I rarely walk around this area of the city now but following the green signs on the pavements and above was a doddle. It took me a leisurely 35 minutes to walk and I'm glad I did. I encountered some great photo opportunities in old buildings, street art and the famous Barras market sign.
|Amazing piece of street art, reminded me of the Bowery Mural in NYC|
I arrived at the velodrome well ahead of schedule (and doors opening) and made my way through security. I have to say it was well organised and I was through within ten minutes. I understand that it could probably take a little while longer but then everything does when cities are bursting at the seems with visitors form all over the world. Stop moaning about it people! Anyway once through security there were a few food trucks, although I have to say the choice wasn't great but wait for this... I got a tray of chips and to my great horror they didn't have any brown sauce!! I mean, WTF. No brown sauce for my chips. There was tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salt, vinegar but no brown sauce. I was mildly disappointment but ate them anyway. The prices weren't too bad either, lower than I expected. So after my chips I got myself an ice cream cone. I haven't had a cone in ages so I enjoyed that whilst finding a seat and some much needed shade amongst the trees. Whilst sitting there I heard a fair few conversations going on around me in various accents. Most notably English and Australians. The English being a family of four who were moaning about the heat(!), the food, and then they shouted at the dad saying he wasn't getting his ticket because he'd wander off and he had the car keys! haha so funny and the girls were at least in their 30's.
A few cyclists came and went from the velodrome and I managed to capture a sneaky snap of England's Ed Clancy, as well as Andy Tennant and Victoria Pendleton (well, the back of her).
|Yes, the back of Victoria Pendelton|
|Ed Clancy - on his phone!|
Soon enough it was time to head inside. Exciting! I walked up the stairs and took a snap of the giant pictogram that was on the velodrome wall. I think the graphics and branding have been really well done at this games. Everything from these giant pictograms to the mascot Clyde, to the uniforms the medal bearers wear to the wooden medal ceremony steps - all really great and fit right in.
|Broadcasting: Dame Sarah Storey; Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris and Jonathan Edwards|
Once inside the doors to the velodrome weren't open yet so I headed to the loo. The clean and spacious loo I have to say. Great facilities. Very important for us women. After that the doors opened and I was home. I love this place! The vastness of the space, the noise and the cyclists make lap after lap of a warm up and the roar when the home nation wins a gold medal - special. I took my seat. Great view of the track centre as well as the start finish line on the home straight, I was on the back straight opposite. Really great seat in fact.
|the view from my seat|
|Cyclists out for a warm up|
Some cyclists were out on track and I saw Jason Kenny in the warm up/cool down area circling around, stalking his opponents. He would be up first when the racing got under way. And when it did the crowd cheered and roared and revelled in the speed of these cyclists and produced a great atmosphere. So good it was that Billy Connolly and the Aussie 7's rugby sevens team were in the house too.
|The Aussie 7's rugby team in the front row, not Billy Connolly|
There was a gold for Scotland in the Men's Sprint B2 tandem race for Neil Fachie and Craig McLean. The tension was amazing and the roar was deafening as they came around that last corner. Absolutely brilliant! There was a gold for England with Joanna Rowsell in the Women's 3000m individual pursuit. Medals for New Zealand and Australia too. All in all a fantastic couple of hours on the track. Granted, I was disappointed when I found out Sir Brad wasn't doing the 4000m individual pursuit but the gold medal wins I saw more than made up for that. Jack Bobridge of Australia won that race.
|Fachie on his knees after that Gold medal winning ride!!|
|Men's 4000m individual pursuit gold, silver and bronze medallists|
|Joanna Rowsell just off the bike|
|Scotland on top of the podium|
|Outside the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome|
After a little stop by the lively George Square I hopped on the train and made my way home. A rather brilliant day at the commonwealth games. So glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it.
Thank you all at @Glasgow 2014 for bringing these magical moments to our doorstep.