I’ve just come back from helping a neighbour install STAN on their television. WHY? STAN is an Australian subscriber-paid streaming service, and all this week it is streaming the UCI (Union Cycliste International) cycle races for free!
Why do we care? Well, hey, hop on your bikes, folks – they are being held right here in Wollongong!!! For nine entire days, starting yesterday, Saturday 17th September which was merely a light training session, there will be events every day. Over 1000 athletes and their teams have descended on our town from all around the world. The action will culminate next weekend with races that are nearly 300 klm long.
I have a confession to make. I cannot ride a bike. I never had the opportunity as a child, and my attempts to learn as an adult have failed dismally. And I really don’t know much about cycle races and racers. But I’m about to learn, and in a big way, because both Bill and I have volunteered our time to make this event a success. He is in the driving squad, and one way or another, his shifts have blown out to full-time. A couple of days ago one of his duties was to collect some RAT (rapid antigen) test kits. Who for, who knows. Yesterday, it was collecting various cars from car hire companies and positioning them to block intersections. He was working with police on that. Apparently, that is a terrorist reduction method. Who knows what he did today? He ducked home for a short break, then set out again and is not home yet. It’s nearly 6pm. Exciting times, hey!
I had some terrorist interaction myself yesterday, as I am in the Spectator Services team. I was positioned on one of the busiest intersections, just after the start of the race where the cyclists made their first sharp turn. I was assisting the course marshal to group pedestrians, getting them ready to dash across the road in the short moments he was able to open the barrier. At first, we didn’t have a tape or rope, so we got the odd lunatic who wanted to storm the barrier – usually with their own cycle. But it was not only a training day for the athletes, it was also a training day for the set up, and by the time we finished around 5pm we had those glitches sorted. All in all, a very happy and fun day. I was even equipped with a walkie-talkie – whoo hoo! Next shift, I am at the railway station, probably with a loud hailer. Who knew telling people where to go could be so much fun?
I got the neighbour’s TV set up pretty quickly, and then even I was glued to the action – The Men’s Elite Time Trial, won in a surprise by Norwegian Tobias Foss. The biggest surprise for me was seeing our wonderful city and coastline beaming worldwide on a television broadcast. I even saw our apartment block. So wherever you are in the world, I hope you get the chance to take a peek and think of me.
We had a fabulous time in Jindabyne, too, and obviously were too busy for me to post every day about what we got up to. No time just at the present either. But the stories remain, waiting to be told, and I will get to them – eventually.
Here’s a clumsy attempt at a selfie, snatched during a lull before the one-off community bike ride afternoon began. Hope I looked a lot happier than that in action 🙂
Catch all the information and scheduling on Wollongong2022.com.au. Tomorrow it is the turn of Men Under 23 for their Time Trial. The Elite racers of the future will be out to strut their stuff. Meanwhile I will be negotiating road closures to get to my doctor for a five-minute visit. My very own time trial!