I love it when big cycling events come to the UK and especially when one of the stages weaves its way around the area where you live.
The Tour of Britain, Stage seven, came to Nottinghamshire on Saturday the 8th. Will and I had had our eye on this date since the tour was announced as, with the rest of Nottinghamshire, we’d planned on standing by the road to watch and cheer the riders on as they zoomed past. The question was where?
After studying the route in detail we, firstly, managed to work out the areas and roads the tour would be using and secondly, determine where we were going to stand and watch. After a few debates, we’d decided on Oxton Hill for two reasons. One it was one of the KOMs and figured it would be good to see riders battling it out for the points and two, it was a hill that both of us cycled up regularly. Not to mention that it was only 5 minutes away from both of our houses.
As we thought that every man and his dog would decide that this was also a good spot to watch the tour go past; we decided that it would be a good idea to get there a little earlier. About two hours before the riders were due to reach the hill. Perfect idea, in theory. As it turned out two hours before was still too late for some people and the cars had already started to park up on the side of the road. To be fair we managed to park and it was only a five to ten-minute walk to the top of the hill.
Once we arrived at the hill, the next question was whereabouts should we stand? The obvious place was at the top, but then you didn’t see much of the riders. So we decided, that seeing as we had a bit of time to spare we would wander down the hill to see if we could find anywhere else that gave us a good vantage point.
Oxton hill is a tricky one. It starts off gradually, a simple straight road which then leads to a couple of bends, the first one curving round to the left, still only a gradual incline. The second one curves round to the right and it’s then that you’re hit with a 12% hill. Straight as an arrow, but the hill has one thing left up its sleeve for any rider wishing to tackle it. What looks like the top isn’t actually the top. The gradient reduces for a moment and there’s another slight left-handed bend which carries on going up. Only after this have you finished Oxton hill. I love it!
Anyway, because of the bends, we decided that the best place would be about halfway down the 12% section, that way we could see the riders come up the ‘easy’ part of the hill and watch as they begin to tackle the steep bit. As you can imagine, when they came past they made it look pretty easy and powered up the hill quickly reaching the top. Will and I joked that we’d been standing there for the best part of two hours in order to see about 30 seconds worth of riders. Still, it was worth it.
As the last of the riders went past people started to head back to their cars. It was the first time I’d walked up Oxton Hill. Hopefully, it’ll be the last time too! In the end, I got some good pictures and thoroughly enjoyed my Saturday morning.
Until next time.