i have loved watching chelsea this season - a wonderful side and a truly remarkable manager! champions once again :)
harry ran the london marathon today in 4:08 or thereabouts which considering he had a contraption to carry and had done less than ideal amount of training was absolutely amazing! he was raising support for the amos trust and also awareness. he carried a homemade sail with free palestine written on it. the height of it with his height was about the height of the berlin wall. the israel/palestine separation wall is higher but walls will come down eventually! for obvious reasons harry was easy to spot! there's a few photos here
heading to yorkshire later today ready for the start of the tour de france. it seems ages since we stood on the champs d'elysées last year to see chris froome win. having had a national identity crisis a few years back with a lot of success in sport round the olympics we seem back to normal with our overinflated expectations and then losing, at least in football, tennis and cricket. but maybe we can do the treble in the tour which would be extraordinary. can't wait...
spent the weekend cycling the way of the roses - a cycle route from morecambe bay on the north west coast of england to bridlington on the north east. i don't do a lot of cycling so this was definitely a hefty challenge - there are a few climbs inbetween the two places! but it was stunning especially through the dales and we had wind, rain, sun and everything inbetween thrown at us (and a couple of punctures). jen has posted a photo set here. the one above is me at the top of the biggest climb out of settle (that i confess i had to walk up some of)! the trip was organised by amos trust road club with around 40 of us...
i'll spare you the photos
[in case you were wondering the RGB for silver is 133, 136, 139 which is the colour of the letters here!]
i'm guessing the title of the post might have got some of you thinking i was blogging about the olympics and victoria pendleton but i wasn't .... but i might as well add in a WOW to teamGB's incredible cycling performances in the olympics now i have started thinking along these lines.
i have been glued to the cycling. after the road race and time trial the velodrome has been incredible - love the venue, love the sport, love teamGB, love the kit, love the ministry of marginal gains, love the giggling laura trott, the tearful fragile lightning quick victoria, the quietly brilliant jason kenny - to be honest all of them and the coaches and the commentary team! i suspect the rest of the world want to knock teamGB off their considerable perch right now and so they should... i honestly can't believe the medal haul.
yesterday though big congrats to anna meares who got her tactics spot on to psych out victoria with the mind games and physicality and i hope australia went nuts about it - she is a great cyclist and it meant a lot to her - that was obvious... though proud of victoria bowing out as the greatest woman track cyclist ever surely. chris hoy's ride was just awesome to finish things off. what am i going to do tonight now the cycling is over? oh yes i've got an anniversary to celebrate ;)
i made my way in to london with jen to watch the women's triathlon and we joined kev and sky draper (sky is a teamGB junior) and dean. this was my third free olympic event... i continued in the black and white photos vein and have added a few pics here. in this photo teamGB's helen jenkins is being dropped from the lead group and just couldn't pull it back. spirig went on to win decided by a photo finish...
it was soooooooooo exciting today to be out in teddington about 2.5k from the finish of the time trial to see bradley wiggins win gold and chris froome bronze medal - wow!!!! wiggo (as he is now known) winning on the track over the years, coverting to the road, winning the tour de france and now the time trial gold - i just can't believe it. he is now the british olympian with the most medals ever - again wow! it's also fantastic to have the olympics in london, to be able to get on the bike and watch this historic moment for free... i think i'm on a high...
it's also an absolute treat to be able to take some photos at something like this and i love the challenge of it - here's a black and white set (again). i may do a set in colour at some point...
it was great fun watching the men's road race at the london 2012 olympics. brilliant to be able to see some events free and up close (why would anyone buy a ticket for a road race???!!!). we were right at the top of box hill and a member of team gb was next to us with a walkie talkie and a notice board. each time the cyclists came round he held up a board with the time gap to the the lead group. as this gap came down gradually it seemd like the lead group would be caught and obviously the team felt confident as he wrote on the board - leave them out there!
well several things conspired to make this pretty bad advice. firstly because cav is such a great sprinter all the other teams seemed to have decided to just let team gb do all the work - with teams of 5 this was too big an ask and very strange tactics from countries who could have medalled in a bunch sprint (and pretty negative!). secondly another group got away to join the first and made the front group too strong. and thirdly it turns out team gb cyclists are human after all and just didn't have the legs to reel it back in. but it was great to see team gb, cav, brad, huge crowds and even the police in a great move high fiving the crowd from motorbikes as they whizzed by!
clearly it was a disappointing result from gb point of view but cav is still a hero and it was fantastic to see lizzie won silver medal today in the women's road race.
i have added a set of photos in black and white here. it's pretty hard getting photos of cycling in a packed crowd with the cyclists whizzing by but at least you got 9 chances so it was quite fun trying some different approaches and slowing down the shutter speed to create some different effects...
bradley wiggins has won the tour de france - wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
in our house we have followed the tour for years. the itv4 highlights at 7pm are family viewing for three weeks. it's one of the few times of the year that we take food and eat it in front of the tv rather than round the table. and now joel and harry are elsewehere, texts and tweets still make it somethng of a shared experience. i think it is without doubt the single most difficult sporting event on the planet. there are layers and complexities to it that i won't attempt to explain - sprints, time trials, mountain stages, teams, several jersey competitions - the easiest way to get into it is to decide to follow along one year. but to win it and the yellow jersey is simple to understand - you have to complete the whole tour the fastest overall.
when we started watching there had been the occasional british cyclist - chris boardman, david millar for example - who had won a stage, but we honestly could not imagine ever producing a tour winner. france, spain, italy, germany, australia, usa... seemed to know what it was about and have great traditions of cycling - but not britain! this is why bradley wiggins win is so extraordinary. there has been such a turnaround in british cycling in both men and women's racing. it's not been an overnight thing - it never could be. but bradley has come through time trialing, track cycling, and some hard lessons over the last 3 years of the tour. he has won world championships, gold medals and before the tour was already an extraordinary cyclist. but the tour is something else and it's been a huge effort on so many peoples part along with bradley who has dedicated himself to this goal. of course we also have other amazing men and women cyclists at the moment - mark cavendish, victoria pendleton, chris hoy to name a few and chris froome who has been a total revelation in this year's tour de france coming second - yes first and second (oh and cav winning three stages including the champs d'elysee for the fourth time and becoming the world's best sprinter ever!!!!).
it's a team event - and team sky have been incredible. there is a lot of moaning about them on twitter but i think it's only because they have become so strong. i personally think they have been fantastic. there have also been a lot of people who can't understand why chris froome hasn't challenged bradley wiggins (even more tiresome moaning on twitter). i have loved seeing chris froome looking so good and i really hope he will come back in another team and challenge for the tour himself next year. but he'll only be able to do that if he is the team leader and people work for him. he could have put some time into bradley in the mountains no doubt - a few seconds here and there. but i can't see any way with the team and bradley's incredible form and time trialing that he would have beaten brad this year. bradley wiggins is simply the greatest cyclist that britain has ever known and the greatest cyclist in the world right now. in the time trial on saturday he was beautiful, supreme, majestic, a world apart from his rivals. those that follow the tour will know that a gap of over 3 minutes to your next rival overall is huge. it's been won by a few seconds many times. bradley has carried the yellow jersey for about 15 days i think and he rides clean :)
bradley wiggins will surely be sports personality of the year as one of the greatest sportsmen britain has ever had and sideburns will definitely be back in fashion!!!
the sophia network have a day today (sorry i forgot to blog about it before) - on men women and the bible. i'm sure it will be really good! a while back the network had an online discussion group exploring what the bible says about men and women. as a result of that jen has edited a book in the image of god with various contributers from that original group. it's being launched at the day today. it's a series of eight sessions, ideal for a small group.
it obviously depends on your tradition on whether this is relevant or new, but if like me your background is evangelical then it's pretty important to do the work on exploring what the bible has to say. it seems weird to say but we did a lot of thinking around this about 25 years ago now! part of jen's motivation for setting up the sophia network a few years ago was that it didn't seem like a lot had changed in the world of youth ministry which is a rather depressing thought in some ways. though the sophia network is definitely doing its part to help change that!
we're proud to have this book as our latest release on proost. as ever it's available in print or download. if you are elsewhere in the world than the uk and want a print version you can order through the proost lulu bookshop - this certainly should work in america. proost subscribers it's included in your subscription in the downloads area.
You O Lord are Lord of the road.
You have opened out the landscape like a map.
The contours of the earth and the twists and turns of the road
are not hidden from your sight.
The highways and the lanes are your servants,
you know all their ways.
The climbs and the descents are yours,
the rolling hills and short sharp climbs,
switch-backs and fast descents,
wild mountain passes and sheltered valleys.
The winds are your servants.
The headwind and the crosswind to make me work,
the tailwind for the big ring.
The summer sun warms my legs and
The summer rain cools my back.
You O Lord are Lord of the road.
Sometimes I ride my own way,
believing I am stronger than I am,
but you are always on my wheel.
for me to blow.
You are beside me now,
we ride together and laugh and talk.
You push the pace, half a wheel ahead, you make me work.
You ease off when I am tired
and wait when I bonk up.
You will never drop me.
You are a mystery in the peleton.
You wear the Yellow Jersey, yet serve like a domestique,
fetching and carrying water and provisions for the team.
When a rider crashes out you fall back and pace him to the bunch,
even a rider from a competing team!
Grace and mercy are you lead-out team
I am happy to ride in the glory of your presence.
You O Lord are Lord of the road.
Your spirit is the carnival of light and colour as the peleton zooms past,
a shimmering glittering dance of polished alloy and
a whirr of super-charged energy.
Your spirit is with us
closer than the rider and the bike.
Take your spirit away and there is no race.
In you we ride and have our being.
You O Lord are Lord of the road.
in life's madness at the moment i haven't yet mentioned the tour de france. but as ever when around we watch itv's hour summary every night of each stage. it's been a pretty exciting year so far with lance armstrong back aged 38 and currently only 2 seconds off the lead - surely he can't win?! mark cavendish equalled the most stage wins ever by a british rider with his fourth stage win this tour and i'm sure he'll win more. he is simply brilliant. let's hope he makes it through the alps next week to win on the champs d'elysée. it's also been great to see bradley wiggins giving it a real go this year and sticking with the elite riders in the mountains. he is currently in 5th. watching the alpe d'huez in the alps last year is still a wonderful family memory though it seems a while back now...
i have to confess i absolutely loved the olympics. it helps that britain did so much better than we all expected and the cyclists were just unbelievable. i'm not sure what i'm going to do at 7pm each evening now the highlights of the day won't be on. anyway the baton now passes to london for 2012. and as part of that build up ealing is in on the act...
congratulations to ed lee. i went to the opening of his exhibition at pitshanger manor gallery in ealing of 5 olympic hopefuls. there are 5 photos of each hopeful following them in training. ed is part of the ealing london independent photography group. the ealing times review is here. the exhibition is only on until the end of august. if you do go, there is also a very interesting exhibition of photos on afghanistan, although at points it tries too hard to communicate the dutch army's involvement who sponsored the photos!