We’ve all read about the London-Surrey Classic a couple of months ago and while I was quite keen on watching the race, I was going to take it easy and spend the day at a friend at Esher, watching the riders go past to start the last third of the race. That all changed on Friday when Ben, our Head of Marketing asked me whether I wanted to watch the race from the restricted Box Hill area? I couldn’t say no, even though that meant an early morning wake up on a Sunday.
The day started at 6.30am and after changing trains twice, I arrived at Box Hill - Westhumble station around half 8. It was easy to spot who else was heading for the race.
Once we got there, it was very well organized and it was immediately obvious where we had to go. And we did so.
We weren't allowed to walk up on the road, we had to use a smaller trail on the side of the hill. It was steep, it was long, especially with all my camera gear on my back, but we got there eventually. A nice touch was that the stewards were all really nice and polite.
Spectators were idly enjoying the sunshine while waiting for the riders.
The Union Jacks handed out by British Cycling proved to be very popular.
With TV crews waiting around everyone could get his or her 15 minutes of fame.
And then we spotted the breakaway riders.
The anticipation continued to grow...
... and then the 'tete de la course' rode past us.
The peloton and the big support caravan wasn't far behind.
The wagon with the broom was still empty at this point.
Even the police were having fun.
By the second lap, the gap came down to 3 minutes and it was displayed on a proper blackboard and all.
As a regular visitor of Box Hill, I was dazzled by the speed the field conquered the ascent.
The obligatory Cavendish shot
And that was it. After all the build-up, the peloton raced past us twice and then it was just another sleepy Sunday morning again.
We all made our way down to the bottom of the hill in an orderly fashion, most of us still under the spell of the magic.
It was a great morning, we were lucky with the weather and the organizers have done an impeccable job. While I'm sure that getting hold of tickets next year will be nearly impossible, this is definitely the place to watch the Olympic road race come next August!
Special thanks go to Charlotte for the panning shots.
Leave a Reply
Got a question about an order? Click here for customer services