8 am yesterday morning Jamie calls to the door, we hop into the van and hit for Dublin. The Giro was on it’s way and so were we. It was a while since we met up so there was plenty of chat and gossip to catch up on during the journey.
Newlands cross appeared after just 90 mins so we must have had a tailwind. Next question was where to park. We considered the park and ride but decided to chance it and see how far in we could get. On a bike race as big as the Giro with its associated crowds if it were Clonmel it was coming to we would have had to park in Carrick and walk. But Dublin isn’t Clonmel or Carrick so we got in as far as Christchurch, ignored the grand handy parking spot on waste ground and pulled into the multi story car park. As it happened, on our return hours later, low and behold there was a car on the waste ground with a big dirty yellow clamp stuck to it.
A guy from home had this happen to him once in a car park when he was responding to an emergency, but luckily enough he had a con-saw in the boot and the clamp didn’t delay him for too long.
We walked briskly into the city centre, had a coffee and used the facilities of Insomnia coffee shop on Stephens green. The walls were being painted and the ceiling was low, very low. Papa smurf himself would have had trouble negotiating the place without getting a mark of paint or a bang on the head.
Out onto the street again and straight up to the finish line on Merrion square to get a good spot.
As it turned out we were in plenty of time. Two young kids were camped out with their parents in deck chairs up against the barriers right on the finish line but there weren’t many other spots claimed yet.
We crossed the road and ventured in to the Irish Cycling Show where it was like a big cycling school reunion. Plenty to see and plenty more to talk about before heading back out towards the action again. Who was in front of us only our favourite Eurosport commentator. As he stopped for a photo with a fan he saw us coming. Well boys, come on and I’ll show ye where I work.
In we went and it was amazing to see how much is involved in what we see on our tv sets back home. The main commentary is done downstairs but then he brought us up to the top deck where Dan Lloyd and Carlton Kirby were getting set up for the day. There was a bit more room up there and it was nice to put a face to Carlton. A friendly guy who Cian Hogan on twitter noticed had a resemblance with Christy Moore.
Dan was more familiar having raced with the An Post SK Team in the past and now being one of the main faces of the fantastic GlobalCyclingNetwork on youtube.
After a while it was back out into the fresh air as they got set to go live on air and we found a nice spot near the finish line with a tv screen to watch the race and a race radio burping out the goings on in the background.
Who was across the road only the famous Larry Power looking good in the green and black of his Iverk Carrick Wheelers top.
Sky News Orla came over to say hello to Jamie and a young lad in a pink hi-viz came over too.
He asked me ‘Is he behind me ?’.
I said ‘Is who behind you ?’.
‘Aahhh, yea, I suppose that garda across the road is behind you alright’
‘Right, well see I lost my accreditation when I was locking my bike and my mates are down near the bus so if he comes over tell him you know me’
‘Aahhh, right yea’
And off he went, and no one else came over.
After a while we began to watch the goings on with the Pink vest wearing nomad steward as he seemed planted on the finish line. A garda strolls over and all sorts of talk follows which results in the garda walking away. The opposite result to what was expected.
Then Kelly comes out for a look and the steward runs across the road in his neon yellow Northwave ATB shoes shouting ‘Sean, Sean.’ Kelly stops and turns, the steward reaches out his hand and Kelly responds in kind.
The publicity caravan arrived and Anthony McCrossan with his 2 Italian co-hosts relayed the race commentary to the now massive crowd of spectators. The Helicopter came into earshot and view and then came the riders themselves. Marcel Kittel was much too far back on Ben Swift and Ellia Viviani with 100 meters to go, but form somewhere within he hit a turbo and catapulted himself to the line with just enough time to claim victory. So much was the effort that he collapsed on the road after the finish. Incredible .
As the riders headed for the team busses many were stopped for photos. Bernie Eisel joked ‘Here I am in Ireland riding in the rain and getting my photo taken with blokes when the other half of the team are over in California in the sunshine with good looking girls asking to have their photos taken with them’
This may be true but some of the other riders also remarked that they couldn’t feel the crosswinds the day before such was the depth of the pink covered crowd of spectators that filled so much of the route.
Ireland, North and South really embraced the Giro and the Giro embraced us back. Pink is the new Green !