Lisa's Mum missed out on an entry to the Tour of Bright this year. Like many others, she went downstairs for a coffee one day in July when entries opened and came back to her desk to find that they had filled up. Mum went to Bright anyway though, on the grounds that the SBS commentary team would have otherwise lacked proper representation at the Tour.
Once she got to Bright, Lisa's Mum found a lot of other riders had also missed out on entries. Some riders had secured entries, but clearly felt bad about using them, and had joined the people on the sidelines in a sort of sympathetic camaraderie.
On Stage 1, Mum missed the start of the women's A grade race, and her promised spot on the back of the media moto did not eventuate (the driver would not let her ride side-saddle), so she set off at a brisk walk along the course. Half an hour later she caught up with the peleton who had stopped for a picnic and a toilet stop. Mum would have joined them for the rest of the race, but no one has that kind of time these days.
Stage 2 was a real treat for Mum because she is a great admirer of cyclo-philanthropists and saw a lot of them out in force at the time trial. There is nothing that screams 'loyal bike shop patron' quite like a double disc wheel combo on a Masters rider. Lisa's Mum wanted to stop to chat to some of them and find out which lucky local bike shop had received the benefit of their patronage, but most of them were going far too fast to talk.
Stage 3, the famous Mt Hotham ascent, was cut short because hypothermia on the top of the mountain was not considered Euro-cool. This was excellent news for most riders, who could then spend the afternoon discussing the devastating attack they would have launched just after the ticket box, if only the stage had not been shortened.
"What a delightful place Bright is," thought Mum as she dodged the sheep truck coming down Hotham. "With such a generous gift shop to citizen ratio it surely cannot still be one of Victoria's best kept secrets."
You said it, Mum.
Lisa's Mum wishes to thank Jarrod Partridge of JXP Photography for his excellent pictures. With skills like that, he should be in the SBS commentary team too.
And Lisa wishes to thank Chateau Mock of Porepunkah for their hospitality and the provision of an excellent personal chef.