So what did you think of 2012?I'll admit it, I've been blown away by the Games. I liked both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. I felt they represented GB well, made us look original and quirky and also "bigged up" the NHS. What other countries would have made of it I really don't know. But I guess that was half the point.
I also liked the way that it did not compete directly with Beijing. It did compete, it was just on another level. It was saying that, hey, all that fuss and fireworks was easy, directing a two hour play is hard. I even liked the sing a long at the end with Macca, not because of the quality, but because it worked in getting a huge singalong.
At the closing ceremony, I thought the "Frankie goes to Hollywood" style shirts saying "IMAGINE" was great, the John Lennon mask was dead clever. Not sure how it might have gone done in some Southern American States, where they watching on a Sunday, but I guess that's just one of those things........
My highlight of the gamesThis is actually rather difficult. As any sports fan with a bit of time on their hands, I watched everything, but for pure guts and for showing the streets around where I used to live, Bradley's Gold was the number one for me. Many of the other much-repeated highlights were about racing. Now normally, I would be all for racing but having done a little time trialing a long time ago, I have a flavour of what winning this event meant in terms of effort and confidence.
I was fortunate enough to see the great TT'er Tony Doyle (double World Pursuit Champ) do a sub 20 min 10 miler on a cold November morning on a less than fabulous out and back course. That is like seeing Bradley turn up on the A46 for a Sunday Club 10 with only parents and dogs for company. That day, I knew that cycling, least racing in that form, was not for me. I was too much of a "rugby player" build and liked ball sports. But the time and effort just to turn up and do what he did was an eye opener. He warmed up for ages and the level of concentration devoted to a Sunday 10 was on another planet.
So why Bradley? Well, to do what he had to do, less than a week after the effort and disappointment of the Road Race showed his physical and mental class. But over and above that, the ability, without helpers and totally exposed as you are in a TT, to perform to that level was quite remarkable. And this is why I put it above Mo's achievement, say. But only just, Bradley had to ride as fast as he could on the day, no tactics to "hide" behind, no fast last lap.
Mo's victory did provide one of the most heart warming Olympic moments for me. I was sitting in a Bracknell bar when the 5,000m was on, the race held the attention of everyone and there was shouting and cheering as Mo came in to win. It seems that Mo might be a catalyst to perhaps a little more harmony in GB?
I liked the spice Girls too, they were so wrong, it was right! And any ceremony where Fat Boy Slim emerges from an octopus, must be getting something right!
The Cycle Show on ITV 4. Monday 8pm
It's rare that TV gets cycling. The recent series (still going) of The Cycle Show on ITV 4 might have got near. Its based on an interview and film excerpt format and has a 400m sprint challenge for guests.
On the first show, Graham Obree and Gary Fisher turned up and it was interesting to hear them "unscripted" for a change. Graham is the cyclist who used washing machine parts (well in the popular press) on his track bike and traded records with Chris Boardman many years ago. Graham tends towards seeking a low tech solution. His energy source of choice is jam sarnies! Gary was one of the pioneers of mountain biking and all MTB'ers owe him a debt for where our sport has got to.
Anyway, give it a go, let me know!
Recipe of the week - Chicken and Broad Bean Pasta
No cake this week. This Recipe is from BBC Good Food and is easy and tasty. I used full fat creme fraiche as that was all I had to hand and I used milk to thin it and not pasta cooking water. I cooked the beans by themselves to avoid over cooking. Add some garlic puree and use lots of cheese and it's a winner. I used a grill pan for the chicken for more flavour. Tagliatelle is in the recipe, but it is difficult to mix in the sauce. I will try penne or spirals next time.
A glass of slightly chilled Pinot Noir would be nice.