Simon Hutchinson's Heroic Return To Give Him Final Podium Spot.
The last few metaphorical pages of the final metaphorical chapter of the biblically proportioned metaphorical book that is the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour are being metaphorically turned as we speak.
What we mean – Ireland’s Simon Hutchinson, the last of the male riders still on the road from the official start in Greenwich five months ago, is fast re-approaching the English capital.
Of course Kristina Stoney is still riding for the women’s record, and lest we forget, she was joined on the road earlier this month by the only other female WCR Grand Tour competitor Juliana Buhring.
But when Simon reaches the finish line, he will be taking the third available men’s podium spot. Mike Hall and Richard Dunnett are both safely back, of course, and are the only two riders so far to have provisionally ticked all the boxes. Two antipodal points visited, a minimum of 18000 verifiably cycling miles clocked up, et cetera, et cetera…
Injuries, mechanical problems and domestic issues, along with the sheer mind blowing savagery of such an undertaking have put paid to the other starters’ attempts at the Guinness Circumnavigation Record, and our metaphorical (That’s enough metaphors. – Ed.) hat goes off to Niel Coventry Brown, Paul Ashley Unett, Stuart Lansdale, Sean Conway, Stephen Phillips, Jason Woodhouse, Kyle Hewitt and Martin Walker.
Their regular personal updates from the road enriched this magnificent event throughout. Their willingness to take part was what made the whole thing possible in the first place. And so to Simon.
He flew in to Ireland last week, taking a rough South-North approach from Shannon up to Larne. From there it was a ferry to Scotland, and he reckons on hitting London some time this coming Friday afternoon, shortly before the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony begins.
Fittingly, it was with precisely this date in mind that the organizers timed the beginning of the race in February, calculating rather broadly that the fastest riders could be perhaps expected to make it back for the start of the Games.
That it is our slowest (obviously not the right word) racer who is returning at this time speaks volumes both for him and those who have already arrived.
Mike and Richard have both declared an interest in taking the spin to London to welcome Simon back. How their legs could still possibly be hungry for high mileage baffled us…
…until we concluded that they must both simply be trying to get their Limited Edition Brooks World Travellers broken in as quickly as possible…