This year has been dominated by The Olympics. For a long while I have been involved with various aspects of the games in a planning capacity. I really wanted to go and see something, but was not lucky enough to be allocated any tickets. I went to the local flame relay and that made me feel even more like going to see something, but the reality is that the tickets are still very hard to come by even though Lord Coe assured us all that there were thousands of tickets released for sale every evening.
Finally I hit upon a great idea that I was sure no one else would have thought of, the men's Triathlon. This race was to take place in a largely public arena, Hyde Park in London. The web site said that 90% of the course was not ticketed so all I had to do was turn up and grab a piece of the action. I was certain that there wouldn't be too many people there, so I talked Tom into attending with me!!
Tom drove to Cockfosters underground station and he parked, while I went into the station to buy the tickets. There was a good ten minutes before the train was due to leave. I was pleased to be on the way. As I reached the stairs down into the station I had to join a queue, already my plan of being one of only a few people turning out was looking dodgy. By the time I got to the ticket office the train had long gone, the automatic ticket machine had given up the ghost and the poor bloke in the kiosk was frazzled.
We eventually bought our tickets and headed for the train. We were right at the start of the line and had 20 stations until we got to Hyde park. We had a seat, but by the next station the train was heaving with people carrying flags and deck chairs, all it seems, heading for Hyde Park.
The train got busier and busier and by the time we got to Hyde park there were thousands of people, so many that they closed the station to people trying to get on so that they could use the entrance as an exit! We joined the crowds and shuffled along up the escalator and stairs and out onto the street. On the street we were greeted by 'games makers' who directed us into the park. We managed to find ourselves a spot right on the barrier and waited.
The crowds got thicker and thicker, we chatted with people on either side of us, a family from Kent, two mums with small children who had no idea what was happening (the children not the mums!!) A family from the Netherlands. Everyone was chatting and cheering the Police Officers cycling up and down. One of the 'Games Makers' got a Mexican wave going, it was a fantastic atmosphere!!
Someone nearby told us that the swimming part of the Triathlon was finishing and that they would be on the way soon. Within minutes the first cyclists appeared.....
We were pleased to see that one of the Brownlee brothers was up there with the pacemaker.
It wasn't easy to take photos, they were so fast and gone in a flash, that combined with the wriggling children in front of us made it very hit and miss!!! I took loads of photos and got a few I was happy with.
The camera car was from Belgium, why?? don't we have any of our own???
After the cycling we left as the crowds were just too much to go to the running part of the race, Hyde Park station was still closed so we were directed to Knightsbridge, on the way we passed the Korean base hotel, they were putting on a show and inviting people in to view their team and stars!
Once we got down to the platform the first train back to Cockfosters was too packed to get on, so we got the second one which was supposed to go to Cockfosters but during the journey decided to terminate at Arsenal, so we all had to get off and wait for the next train. That was packed we got on, and that terminated at Oakwood, one stop from Cockfosters, so we had to change again.
I am glad that I went, it was tiring but well worth the experience. Best of all it only cost us the price of the train ticket, I am just disappointed that so many other people had the same good idea as me!!!!