It’s All Over Folks (Take 2)

The UCI World Championship Cycle Races have been run ridden and won and Wollongong is fluffing out its feathers and settling back to normal. But, Oh! What a week Bill and I had. First, a little reminder of my earlier post, Wollongong is on the map!

Bill ended up volunteering every day on split shifts. In the morning he delivered vehicles to block key intersections from being “ram-road attacked” by rogue terrorists in vehicles, and in the afternoon, he fetched them back to the depot again. Wollongong is not in the habit of having terrorism – I’m not sure any of us would have known what to do in the event, but happily, we never had to learn.

A key intersection blocked by two buses with police car in foreground

I ended up volunteering five days, and they were full on, eight to nine hours each day. I was at the railway station, in the shopping mall, at the above intersection which is outside the hotel used by many of the UCI officials and part of the main racing track, at the finish line where a special platform for accessibility needs had been erected, and, busiest of all, at the intersection where riders made their first turn for most of the races. Some days the sun blasted us, other days the rain pelted down. On the rainy days I discovered the spectator guides we were handing out would also make good papier-mâché 🙂

Here’s a selfie where I tried my best to look less stern than in the photo on my previous post.

Here’s one taken from that first turn. It’s in the CBD at the bottom of the main street. The shops are at one end, and the beach at the other. That’s something kind of unique to Wollongong.

Manning my corner, Garrulous Gwendoline

We Spectator Services volunteers had a private Facebook group and some of the photos and videos uploaded there are superb. They far out-pass my hasty snaps. Here is a video, courtesy of Bronwyn Marvell, taken behind the winning line of the Elite Women’s race. Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten had just ridden 165klm (102 mi), up and down hills, in the pouring rain, with a broken elbow so she had to remain in the saddle the whole time, to end with a sprint to the finish line. No wonder she looks stunned. Happy. But stunned.

UCI Women’s Elite winner Wollongong 2022 Annemiek van Vleuten at the finish line, courtesy Bronwyn Marvell

UCI Women’s Elite winner Wollongong 2022 Annemiek van Vleuten, courtesy Bronwyn Marvell
Pelaton training on the first day, 17th September, crossing the Seacliff Bridge north of Wollongong. This bridge would form part of the course for both the Women’s and Men’s Elite Race, UCI Wollongong 2022, photo courtesy Sonja Harding
UCI Wollongong 24 September 2022 Women’s Elite Pelaton courtesy Bronwyn Marvell
Chasing the Rainbow Jersey, UCI Wollongong 2022, Men’s Elite courtesy Phil Godbee
More cars on the course than riders, Garrulous Gwendoline
Still manning my corner, trying to get pedestrians to keep left whenever there was a chance to cross…GG
When it is all over … courtesy Sonja Minor

Next year the event is held in Glasgow. Perhaps this post will inspire some of you locals to get along to see it.

16 thoughts on “It’s All Over Folks (Take 2)

  1. Only just got to see this – its so good Gwen – encapsulates the mood & excitement of the week! I still get a warm feeling when I think about it all &, so proud of all our Volunteers at the Links!! WELL DONE!!

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  2. Wow, it certainly turned out to be a big deal. And, there must have been much planning for the event not least organising all the volunteers. You and the other Spectator Service volunteers were obviously key to making sure the racing all ran smoothly. Are you keen to take up competitive cycling now? They surely have a seniors race??

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    • Yeah … ah … no. Can’t even ride a bike. (Such a deprived childhood!) But Bill goes out several mornings a week weather permitting.
      The next cycling event in Wollongong is in a few weeks – an annual fundraiser for MS. It’s a much smaller and more local race, but it will be interesting to see if this year’s numbers are a record (if it ever stops raining).

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      • My sister and I weren’t allowed to have bikes, so I learnt behind my mother’s back on the boys’ bikes. Haven’t been on a bike for decades and don’t fancy it these days with the way people drive. Hat’s off to Bill. Here, waiting for UK to copy the Netherlands giving priority to cyclists, but can’t see that happening anytime soon. Good luck with the annual fundraiser for MS, hope it benefits from the recent ‘world cycling’ buzz and publicity.

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    • I’m glad to hear it made your news. It featured on our local Illawarra TV, but barely managed a mention in Sydney. And glad to hear you were looking out for me. 150 Spectator Services volunteers were wearing the UCI blue uniform, plus countless others in many diverse roles. You would have done well to pick me out!

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