Escape chutes and starting ramps

I haven’t updated for a day or two – I’d say things have been busy, but they haven’t. I’ve done a lot of sitting about, a lot of drinking coffee slowly, and a lot of quietly becoming unhinged at the sheer tedium of our incarceration. There is a three-foot diameter hole the wall of the dining hall that leads into an air conditioning exhaust. When I got to breakfast yesterday, someone had stuck a bit of paper above the hole saying ‘escape chute.’ We’re all going nuts in here.

I had a bad morning. I took the bus out to the time trial course – an hour’s trip – and when I got there found I’d packed two right-hand shoes in my bag. So I had to sit there for three hours till the bus back. Then I still had to go training, so I thought I’d go and try to have a ride on the access road to the Village, which I thought would be OK since it is still inside the security cordon. No. It wasn’t even nearly OK. I was marched back into the Village at gunpoint by a soldier who had raised not-seeing-the-funny-side-of-things to an art form. The Welsh lads tried the same thing, and got arrested.

Out at the course, I did at least have a look around. The facilities look good at the start-finish (which we hadn’t seen until today). Big changing tents, decent pits, power points, lots of good work. Some things haven’t gone so well. The start-ramp was being finished. In Manchester 2002, the ramp was about five feet high, and dropped at 45 degrees. You went down it so fast your ears popped. I certainly know someone who kept their brakes on the whole way down. Delhi’s, in contrast, bears much similarity to a shoebox with a bit of wood leaning on it. It has a roof, to shelter you from the sun. Unfortunately, when they grabbed a passing cyclist this morning for a trial run, they discovered that the roof is about neck-height. Still, they’ve coped with bigger snags around here than that.

The grandstand is small. But, and I think that describing the weirdness of this is probably beyond me, they’ve supplemented it with about a hundred sofas. Honestly, sofas. They’re laid out alongside the course, all in a matching Indian ethnic fabric, and look like they’ve been borrowed from ‘Stereotypical Indian Restaurant Furniture R Us’. I’m guessing you can hire yourself a sofa for the day, and watch the TT while reclining like an oriental potentate, eating grapes and being fanned by, let’s say, the Jamaican women’s 4×400m relay team.

Kind of makes me sorry I’ll have to ride a bike. The race is on Wednesday, starting at something like 9am BST, in case anyone is interested.

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