Sometimes you just know you are watching history be made. I always knew that when Le Tour came to Essex it would be a success, I just didn’t realise quite what a HUGE success it would be.
The race was passing right outside my daughters school, through a village I have come to love so dear, and the excitement in the build up was immense. School projects, community games, sponsored bike rides, guest speakers in assembly…everyone really got behind the event.
As we walked down into the village on Monday I felt a feeling come over me that I hadn’t felt for a while. I couldn’t put my finger on why everything felt so familiar. The smiles, the strangers taking to each other, the communities coming together. Then it hit me, London 2012. It felt like that magical summer had returned for just one day, like a brief fling with an old love, it was amazing. Electric. Perfect.
Arriving at 10am, with the race not due till mid afternoon, was a gamble with two young children in tow, but there was so much to do. So many friends to see, and roads to write messages on, that the time just flew right by. Before I knew it the caravan was due and crazy promotional materials were flying over our heads into the crowds.
It’s a well know fact that children love toot, so this was like a dream for the gang of rugrats that had assembled with us along the route. We came home with maps of Yorkshire, inflatable pillows, 3 frisbees and goodness knows how many wristbands, the girls really thought it was Christmas.
Once that madness has passed, there was a little down time again until about an hour later 5 helicopters began to fly our way. We knew what this meant, it was nearly time. You could feel the anticipation. A few nudges to get closer to the front, or in our case a mad dash to the other side of the road where there was a little more space.
The race flew past us, the speed was immense, everyone went wild cheering and clapping, S was open-mouthed at the sheer craziness of it all and O cheered her heart out without really any idea what on earth was going on.
They may not remember the day in years to come, they are still so young really, but, just the same as when I took them to the Olympics or our trip to NYC, they will always be able to say ‘When Le Tour came to Essex, I was there’. And that is pretty damn amazing.