Yesterday we had an invite to a party; nothing to do with the Olympics, just a gathering of friends which had been arranged at Christmas just because we hadn't met up for 6 years and thought we ought to. No-one checked the date of the Olympics, it didn't occur to anyone that the Men's Cycling Road Race route would make the venue for the party into an islet cut off from the rest of the universe . . . ooops!
We checked the route of the race and consulted maps . . . we conceived a cunning plan, "if you can't beat them, join them" – when we eventually made it to just within the SW London curve of the M25, we parked the car in a leafy woodland lane near Claygate and set off on foot. It was obvious that we were on track as people looking like extras from a garden fete scene in Midsommer Murders were purposefully marching along heading towards the sound of occasional cheers and clapping.
We reached a road block at a major road intersection, there were thousands of people; it seemed most had arrived by bike . . . the opportunity of cycling safely along traffic free roads was not to be missed!
Everyone was waiting patiently in a very British way . . .
. . . some had staked a place in prime position and put out the flags!
Maybe it was the surge of national pride after watching Danny Boyle's spectacular the previous evening, like a sound and visual sherry trifle of Britishness to get us in the mood; or maybe it was Bradley Wiggins pedalling his way to victory in the Tour de France? Whatever the cause, it had gone to our heads!
I soon realised that without a kitchen stool or stepladder (dammit, I hadn't got one with me!) I wasn't going to see much; so I set my camera to 'sport/action' mode and held it aloft, when the crescendo of excitement rippled along the crowd and the helicopters came into view I knew it was time to keep clicking the shutter as fast as possible.
Cheers, whistles, horns, sirens and a kaleidoscope of blurred colour shot past – I took lots and lots of photos . . . most look like this . . .
One or two look like this . . .
One snapped a Norwegian cyclist in the leading pack (I have no idea who he is) . . .
I've just got a message on Twitter to tell me this is Alexander Kristoff who went on to win the Bronze Medal.
And, amazingly, one photo caught the action in the peloton very well!
Then it was all over . . . the race sped off into central London, Team GB didn't win but as an opener to the Games it was a spectacular success, the full results are here.
Everyone walked made their way home and we went to a lovely party.