On a cold and wet morning Penny and I headed down to Stoke-on-Trent for the launch of the 2012 Johnson Health Tech Tour Series, to represent the Matrix Fitness-Prendas girls. We rocked up in our swish team casual clothes, only to be out done by the Team UK Youth lads; Pov and Niklas. Wearing tailor fitted suits, which had their names embroidered inside the jackets, also with a matching check shirt, and team coloured buttons. Fair play, can’t fault a man in a suit.
We quickly got changed into our cycling kit, and rushed into the theatre where our own personal mascots awaited us, as well as the press, radio stations, local council and one representatives of each of the 10 men’s teams. Our mascot was called Julia, from Poland, who loves to ride her bike on her schools cycle path; they have a designated cycle time for 30minutes during their school hours.
The councillor did an inspiring talk about double Olympic Bronze medallist; Tommy Godwin, who’s also from Stoke. Individually we were introduced onto the stage, where Penny was asked a few questions as to how important the Johnson’s Health Tech Tour Series is for women riders in the UK. We feel it’s important because it recognises women’s cycling as well as adding more top class events onto the race calendar. It’s great to race alongside the men generating publicity and attracting spectators. Hopefully encouraging more women to race and more people to participate in cycling.
After the interviews and press conference a few people didn’t hesitate diving into the free tea and biscuits, pretty sure that’s why most of us were there to be honest. With not much time to relax, we were ushered outside to have pictures in the rain because we were in Sunny Stoke. World Champion; Andy Tennant didn’t hold back in taking the mick out of Penny as she was concerned about her hair going frizzy in the rain. All good banter. It’s awesome that the grand finale is hosted in Stoke. The home town of one of our main sponsors; Matrix Fitness. Let’s hope the weather is better for the 14th June!!
It was a pleasure to meet so many people who make the Tour Series happen, and also the organisers of the Tour of Britain, as well as some of the girls who will be taking part in the Johnson Health Tech series. It was lovely for all the year 5 students of a local primary school to be involved, and see them so keen in cycling. One boy called Louis, has his very own autograph book, which he takes to all different races, he remembered us from last year’s Tour Series, which was great.
To finish off an enjoyable day meeting people, we went for lunch in the centre of Stoke, with the Legend, that is Tom Barras, and Codhead (Jack Cutsworth). For those who don’t know, Barras is a comedy genius, a laugh every minute whenever you’re with him. On top of that when Penny dropped me back off home; it was a bonus for me to be greeted by a lovely bunch of flowers from Mouldy!
Hopefully we shall see you all at the first round of the Tour Series on the 22nd May in Oxford.
Penny and Hannah x