Scotland Cyclo Sportive – Etape Caledonia,

Sunday May 12 Etape Caledonia Day
We are up at 5 – well Jim is while I lie about. A breakfast had been brought for Jim on a tray and after this we go out to the street. 5,000 people and bikes are on the main street, all trying to get in the right position for their 130 km ride. I take photos of the masses, and completely miss seeing Jim start. In fact I had photographed him accidentally and got a better than usual shot accidentally without realising, so continued waiting right until the very last riders had gone off expecting to see him.
One cyclist had a puncture the moment he crossed the start line. Others seemed to have immediate technical problems and got off in view of the start line to walk sadly back through the crowds. I walked back round by the pond to Moulin and started off up the private road that leads to prehistoric field enclosures and ancient settlements. I didn’t get that far though as there were houses and the woods and I wasn’t sure about the private road bit. Hilly green fields were full of lambs and vibrant soft new leaves waltzing in the wind.
Back at the hotel I made tea and watched the garish melee from the window and after a while took a spotty umbrella down to the finish line to await Jim’s homecoming. One poor fellow fell off right at the end in from of the crowd when he couldn’t get his feet out of the clips. Jim came back in 5 hours and 27 minutes, in a light downpour and got his medal. This year the race was won by an 18 year old newcomer Tom Arnstein, in very close to record time of 3 hours and 28 minutes, causing a sensation

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