Monday, January 24, 2022
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Trinidad & Tobago – Day Two, Beacon Cycling Festival

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It’s always good to wake up at 05:50 to an ear-nipping message on the BlackBerry – but that’s life, I’m in Paradise for the Beacon Cycling Festival but life goes on back in the ‘real world.’ Where, I’ve just been made aware, all of the airports are closed due to the hazard of ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland – they’re hiring at Burger King down town Port of Spain and I have my application in.

It’s appropriate that the local coffee shop is named ‘Rituals’ – it’s part of my ritual, now.

Rise at 06:00 or just before, have a shower, reply to the emails and SMS on the BlackBerry then amble down here for 07:00 for coffee and to send my pictures – the connection is super fast; if you’ve ever sat in a press room where the pictures creep out of the room, you’ll know how much a good connection means.

Beacon Cycling Festival
Pete shows the local paper – race day is getting closer.

I met Christopher Sellier in Rituals this morning, the latest in a long line of rapid Trinidadian track riders, he’s spent time at the UCI track school in Aigle and will be riding all of the races we’re here for, so we’ll be able to see how his form is.

Beacon Cycling Festival
Windies versus the Rest of the World.

My mountain bike was delivered today, courtesy of Michael Phillips bike shop – I just need to change the pedals and blow up the tyres and I’m out there, man.

Beacon Cycling Festival
Franco loosens the legs off.

Michael’s colleague, Richard Dickie took me around the Savannah criterium circuit in the car, it’s wide, well surfaced, fast and safe – unless it rains when it becomes a 3.6 kilometre skating rink, let’s hope not.

Beacon Cycling Festival
Leif, Dan and David have a blether prior to riding.

There was more meeting and greeting today, all of the visiting riders clicked round The Beacon insurance offices to meet the staff – unfortunately main man Gerard Hadeed was tied up in a meeting but we met the rest of the staff.

Gerry is an avid Tour fan, watching it live every day, in the office then recorded high lights when he gets home at night.

The guys met the mayor but I had to pass on that one; my driver took me back to my digs and I just couldn’t translate ‘mayor’s offfice’ from Fife to Trini – never mind.

Beacon Cycling Festival
It’s time to be professional and meet the sponsors.
Beacon Cycling Festival
But Pete can just be Pete!

Around lunch time, I had an great urge for a refreshing beer – it’s so hot here that even the locals are complaining – and headed off to track down a bar we passed the other day.

The Brooklyn bar was duly located and a bottle of Carib complete with icy mist covering was slid under the painted steel grill – which separates clients from staff – in my direction and I slid back $9:00 TT, that’s Trinidad and Tobago dollars, of which there are around ten to the pound.