On Friday 10 September, 10 students from William Howard School got the chance to watch the Tour of Britain Stage 6 on top of Hartside, high above the Eden Valley.
However, the students, from Year 7 to 11 had to work for their reward, riding their bikes up ahead of the peloton to get into position. The WHS riders rode part of the Coast to Coast route up to Hartside with the climb from Renwick a notorious challenge for many cyclists. The group then joined the main road, riding what the professional cyclists would be riding just an hour later.
The latter stages of the ride were already busy with spectators and the group soaked up the atmosphere enjoying the applause and cheers as they reached the top of the ‘King of the Mountain’ climb.
Then it was lunch and a waiting game. The police motorbikes soon began charging up the pass with their sirens on to warn the crowds to stay back and it wasn’t long before the helicopter was spotted which signalled that the riders weren’t far away. The group had a fantastic spot just above the final hairpin bend and could see the breakaway riders, including British cycling legend Mark Cavendish heading up the road.
The group soon passed the WHS group who were cheering with the rest of the crowd, before the peloton came into view and rode within touching distance of the students.
Up next were the Team Cars, a sea of colour snaking up Hartside giving the students fantastic views of the spare bikes which sat on top of the roofs. The police motorbikes signalled the end of the excitement as cars and cyclists headed back down Hartside.
The students waited for the crowds to disappear, having their reward of ice cream before heading back down the road into the (torrential) rain and back to the bus.
The rain didn’t dampen the spirits as the students were buzzing about the day. The students showed huge determination on the climb, for many this was their first time up to Hartside.
It was six years to the day since the last WHS trip to watch the Tour of Britain; back in 2015 students watched the finish at Hartside among thousands of cyclists. It was amazing to see some former pupils on the top this year, with Liv Bent, Oli Dawson and Daisy Barnes now racing themselves! Watch out for Liv Bent in the forthcoming women’s Tour of Britain, she will be racing!
Well done to all the riders for their tremendous resilience!