Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International

London Prepares, 31st July 2011

By Lynda Manning

As part of 'London Prepares' Hadleigh was turned into a trial Olympic venue for one day.

Photo:Women's Event at Hadleigh Farm - 1st Catherine Pendrel (CAN), 2nd Georgia Gould (USA), 3rd Julie Bresset (FRA)

Women's Event at Hadleigh Farm - 1st Catherine Pendrel (CAN), 2nd Georgia Gould (USA), 3rd Julie Bresset (FRA)

Lynda Manning

The people descended on Hadleigh Farm clutching picnic baskets and blankets along temporary paths laid across the fields; it was like a scene from some mythical gathering.  Red London buses glinted in the strong sunshine amongst the hay bales and cows.  In the distance Leigh-on-Sea was hosting a fishing festival and Benfleet creek peeked through the heat haze. It was surreal and yet wonderful!

The announcer started by forgetting where he was, and then demanded the crowd "make some noise and get excited" in between blasts of rap music.  A little too reminiscent of Alan Partridge for my taste.  It did not spoil the day, as the crowd cheered and clapped when they felt like it, and the sounds of "What a Wonderful World" as we left Hadleigh Farm, suggested the magic of the venue had mellowed even the London-based organisers.

The Women's event started at 11am and the Men's at 2pm.  The course was well planned, with fantastic viewing points, and I am sure next year will be a huge success.   Unfortunately this will be my only experience of the Mountain Bike competition as, in common with many locals, I have not got a ticket for next August!

Below, my photo story of the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International:

Photo:Strange signs appeared around Hadleigh before the event

Strange signs appeared around Hadleigh before the event

Lynda Manning

Photo:Deane's Drop - a real challenge!  The spot where Lee Williams (Wal), the first member of Team GBR to finish (20th), nearly went out of the Men's race

Deane's Drop - a real challenge! The spot where Lee Williams (Wal), the first member of Team GBR to finish (20th), nearly went out of the Men's race

Lynda Manning

Photo:Fantastic view of the Women's competition from the highest part of the course

Fantastic view of the Women's competition from the highest part of the course

Lynda Manning

Photo:The Men's competition

The Men's competition

Lynda Manning

Photo:I was instructed by "Aussie" friends to give Team Australia a special "Hadleigh cheer"

I was instructed by "Aussie" friends to give Team Australia a special "Hadleigh cheer"

Lynda Manning

Photo:Stunning Hadleigh Castle providing the perfect backdrop to the Mountain Bike International at Hadleigh Farm

Stunning Hadleigh Castle providing the perfect backdrop to the Mountain Bike International at Hadleigh Farm

Lynda Manning

Photo:Karl Markt relaxing after the medal ceremony - 1st Julien Absalon (FRA), 2nd Christoph Sauser (SUI), 3rd Karl Markt (AUT)

Karl Markt relaxing after the medal ceremony - 1st Julien Absalon (FRA), 2nd Christoph Sauser (SUI), 3rd Karl Markt (AUT)

Lynda Manning

Photo:The fabulous Julien Absalon - the outstanding winner - still cool after collecting his medal!

The fabulous Julien Absalon - the outstanding winner - still cool after collecting his medal!

Lynda Manning

Photo:The Olympic Bell at Hadleigh!

The Olympic Bell at Hadleigh!

Lynda Manning

Photo:The final message

The final message

Lynda Manning

Photo:"The Pride of Kent" sweeps away the "Event Zone" markers, until next August!

"The Pride of Kent" sweeps away the "Event Zone" markers, until next August!

Lynda Manning

This page was added by Lynda Manning on 20/08/2011.