London – Day 2 – Race Preparation and Westminster
Day 2 in London and it was supposed to be a busy one with team briefings, race registration, equipment checks, a possible bike course recce and bike racking. We were hoping to fit some sight-seeing in as well. Luckily I had managed to register the day before so that was one less thing to do.
We left the hotel after breakfast and headed to Hyde Park for the team briefing. I met up with Roger (who I had met out in Turkey earlier in the year) and also bumped into Dylan and his family. The race briefing was over with pretty quickly which was good. I didn’t learn anything in it that I didn’t already know, but it was worth going just for the silly questions at the end. I do wonder sometimes if the people asking these questions have actually done a triathlon before, and I’m obviously not the only one to think that as someone jokingly put their hand up at the end and said “Can I just check the format, it is swim first, then bike, then run isn’t it?!”
With that out of the way and no registration to take care of we had most of the day for some sightseeing so jumped on the Tube and popped up not far away at Westminster. Anna and I had never been here before and Morgan had wanted to see Big Ben – or at least the tower that houses Big Ben. We were surprised to find it right there as we exited the tube station, with Westminster Bridge above us and the London Eye on the opposite side of the river. We hadn’t realised it was all so close together, which meant that our sight-seeing for the day would be easy!
After taking a look at the sights around us we headed down to Westminster Pier where we used VoucherCloud to book ourselves onto a little cruise down the river. The vouchers gave us 50% off so it didn’t cost too much. We had a running commentary on the trip and saw plenty of the major sights of London, including The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, The London Eye, The Globe Theatre, The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral (just) London Bridge, The Tower of London, The Golden Hind, HMS Belfast, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and many other notable architectural sights. Not bad for a 30 minute trip each way.
None of us had ever seen any of these buildings so it was new to all of us. Many of them weren’t there last time I was in London, but it was good to see them all, if only from a distance.
Once back at Westminster Pier we wandered across Westminster Bridge and bought tickets for the London Eye. It was just Morgan and myself going on as Anna doesn’t like heights and didn’t want to spend money just to stand there with her eyes closed for 30 minutes. Unfortunately the vouchers that Anna had brought with her for a free adult place weren’t valid so we had to pay the extortionate full prices. We had promised Morgan a go on it though and it was one of the things he had been most looking forward to, so we paid the money and joined the queue.
Despite it being quite a long queue it went down quickly and we soon boarded our pod and started the 30 minute trip around the wheel. The views from the top were pretty spectacular, but it’s still a lot of money for not very much. Morgan seemed to enjoy it, but I guess the value for money aspect doesn’t really occur to him.
We then headed back to the hotel where Anna and Morgan chilled for a bit. I headed out on my bike to first recce the bike course and then rack my bike and have my race suit and helmet checked. The course recce went OK and I wasn’t the only one doing it despite being told we wouldn’t be able to. I rode around the loop once and then headed to transition where I was able to enter without any queues and rack my bike. Surely by now with all the race preparation done I should be getting nervous? I wasn’t though which probably wasn’t a good sign. My ankle and achilles had been hurting all day though. I don’t usually suffer with problems here, but I think all the walking aroudn London and all of the stairs had made it sore. There was little I could do about it though other than just try to pretend that it didn’t hurt.
I racked my bike in its allocated position and covered it with the bike cover I;d bought at the expo to keep it dry. I then left it amongst the thousands of other bikes for the night before getting the tube back to the hotel.
We then headed out for dinner, using yet another voucher from VoucherCloud, this time to give us 25% off our food at Ask Italian. Morgan had another pizza, and we had a lovely meal too, complete with pudding before heading back to the hotel for an early night as it was race day tomorrow.