The years of planning, and months of decorating finally paid off last weekend when Yorkshire hosted the 2014 Grand Depart for the Tour de France. It is already being hailed as "the Grandest Depart," and Members of Parliament are recommending the British organizer for knighthood. The world's top riders cycled 118 miles from Leeds through the Dales to finally finish in Harrogate. And I was there!
It is amazing to see your town broadcast to millions of people worldwide. Harrogate really did itself proud. Everyone got in to the spirit. People painted old bikes yellow and hung them on top of buildings, outside their houses, and on light poles! Yellow; green; and red and white polka dot bunting blanketed the city. And volunteers knitted thousands of tiny jerseys.
The stray was turned into a giant fan park with huge screens, live music, carnival games, and delicious food.
The finish line was right near Betty's--how fitting. There were so many people that Harrogate was hardly recognizable.
We walked from our house to the finish line, passing a ton of cyclists who were coming directly from the race opening in Leeds. A couple of different friends were hosting barbecues, so we flitted in an out as we explored the events in town. We watched the actual finish from our friend's house who had a view of the stretch just past the finish line. It got to be too crazy outside (especially with Zoey on our backs), so it was much better for us to watch on the TV.
I'm so proud of my little town. Way to go Harrogate!