This weekend very close to where I live we had an exciting event – the Giro d’Italia cycle competition was held in my home city and part of stage 1 was a 15 minute walk from my house! For the past couple of weeks shops and houses along the cycle route were decorated pink (the colour of the winners jersey) and there were even old bicycles sprayed pink and suspended from buildings. Schools and businesses chose Friday as a pink themed day so Miss P was excited that she was allowed to wear pink socks and pink nail polish to school. I even got to finish work early so that I could get home before the roads were closed.
Stage 1 – Friday 9th May was from Titanic Belfast to the City Hall via Stormont.
One of the main roads from Belfast (the Newtownards Road) was closed to traffic twice on Friday so the time trials could be held, quite an event as this is an approximate 5 mile stretch of road. How surreal it was to walk to Stormont with no traffic on the road, it was almost like a zombie movie in that there were no cars and anyone who was walking were all walking in the same direction. My girls were all kitted out in their pink t-shirts, baseball caps and hand clapper things ready to make lots of noise.
When we got there so many people had already arrived to take their space on the pavement leading up the big hill – and we thought we were early.
After a wait of about an hour the racing started. and when each team cycled past we whooped and cheered (to the embarrassment of my 5 year old).
We had a fun couple of hours before the rain started so we didn’t get to see all the teams as we weren’t prepared for wet weather (silly me!)
Stage 2: Saturday 10th May was from Belfast up the North Coast road and back to Belfast.
Stage 3: Sunday 11th May was from Armagh to Dublin
We watched some of the stage 2 and 3 on the TV and did not envy those men cycling all those hills, especially in the rain.
It’s fantastic that such ‘once in a lifetime’ events can be held here in Northern Ireland when maybe 15 years ago it would’ve been unthinkable. I’m proud of my wee country hosting such a world famous event and I think we did it pretty well.