BSCC Mascot duties at National Hill Climb 2018

I have been out and about the last few weeks ringing my cowbell for cyclists trying to go as fast as possible up very steep hills.  The most important hill climb of the year is the National, which took place up a very steep hill in Stocksbridge.  thumbnail_20181027_154135[1]We arrived the day before as Stocksbridge is 190 miles away from Bristol.  On checking out the hill we found many cyclists doing the same.  I concluded that the hill is too steep for bears.thumbnail_20181027_172052[1]The resting place for the night was the Dog & Partridge Inn, though oddly no dogs were allowed inside.  There were no specific rules regarding partridges or bears, so I went inside.thumbnail_20181027_165901[1]After a long journey I was quiet tired so after finding my room I climbed up onto the bed for a nap.thumbnail_20181027_170619[1]Twenty minutes later I was woken by someone else being shown into my room. Unfortunately it turned out not to be my room; I was in the wrong one, which was rather embarrassing.   After a toddle down the corridor I found the right room where I later settled down for the night.thumbnail_20181027_214943[1]Prior to a day of mascot duties it is important to have a good breakfast.  thumbnail_20181028_094933[1]I had to be carried up the hill by my human as there was no way that my little legs could manage the climb.  Here I am watching some of the young riders.   Another spectator spoke to my human and said she had thought at first that I was a human baby being shaken about.  I guess sometimes babies wear furry babygrows.thumbnail_20181028_113828[1]As cyclists reached the finish line at the top of the hill they all looked very tired indeed.  Fortunately there were people in yellow jackets catching them and helping them safely get off their bikes.thumbnail_20181028_122527[1]The other spectators were all very friendly.thumbnail_20181028_122657[1]I cheer and ring my bell for everyone as they are all amazing being able to cycle up steep hills.  My human’s son gets and extra big cheer – here he is whizzing off into the distance.thumbnail_20181028_133908[1]

Here’s a video clip – I am briefly in it at the start and end.

The weather was very cold and for about 10 minutes or so sleet started to fall.  I had to climb into a plastic carrier bag to protect my fur.  The cyclists had to battle the sleet as well as the steep gradient.  (Not a good quality photo – my human’s hand were freezing cold)thumbnail_20181028_140831[1]Due to humans with freezing hands we made our way down the hill, still ringing cowbells to support competitors on the way up.  At the bottom we found a little tearoom, Samuel’s Kitchen, which was warm and dry. thumbnail_20181028_144017[1]The race headquarters was situated in the Trek shop; a huge shop full of shiny new bicycles.  I tried out a few and thought this one would be good for bears if it came in a slightly smaller size.thumbnail_20181027_160028[1]I could see myself in the big silver trophy!

thumbnail_20181028_151432[1]All the riders names were displayed on big white boards and people were sticking their times next to them.   They all looked to have done very well.thumbnail_20181028_151502[1]Here are the three women that went up the hill fastest.  The one in the middle got first prize and received a special jersey.thumbnail_20181028_164229[1]After watching the presentations it was time for a curry with a group of cyclists from the Bristol Area.  I discovered that bears like curry.thumbnail_20181028_191104[1]

A great weekend though somewhat tiring for a small bear.  I was glad to get home and tucked into my own bed.thumbnail_20181029_000753[1]

Back to being just a normal Alresford Bear now for the winter.

Horace the Alresford Bear 29/10/18

Being a Mascot

I haven’t done any ‘mascot’ duties for a while now, but yesterday my human decided to put me in a cycling cap with the Bristol South Cycling Club logo on it in order to go and ring a cowbell at a Bristol South Rd Race that took place around Bishop Sutton near Bristol. There were lots of big yellow signs along the roads and people wearing high visibility jackets, plus cyclists everywhere.20160313_105121.jpg

Before the race began I had a nice rest in the sunshine on a gate post.  I was a bit worried about the barbed wire though, so didn’t stay there for long. 20160313_124500

Karen wanted me to be ready to ring my cowbell as soon as the racers came up the hill,  and as she was worried about the barbed wire too, decided to carry me around.2016-03-13 12.47.24

As soon as the cyclists came up the hill, 80 of them altogether, Karen started ringing her huge cowbell and shaking me at the same time to make me ring my bell, fortunately they all went by quite quickly.20160313_114721The cyclists had to go round a 10km circuit 8 times, and as they went around some got tired and left behind so they got told to leave the race for safety reasons.  The end bit of the race ended on a flat road next to a lake (Chew Valley Lake).  After we had watched 7 laps my humans took me to the lake to watch the finish.  I posed for a photo next to the lake.20160313_131403 I then toddled along to the finish line, where there were big flags either side of the road.20160313_132056I waited there with all the humans for about 5 minutes, then as Karen spotted the safety car coming along she scooped me up, after which one cyclist appeared, about 100 metres in front of the others.  Karen rang her bell and shook and shook me to ring my bell too – I have never been shaken so much.  Seconds later many more cyclists came across the finish line. You can see just how much I was shaken in this short video clip!

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Once I had recovered from the shaking I had my photo taken with the winner, Stefan, and Rob, who came 3rd, both riding for DRKracing team.  I am still smiling!  1621945_989016537859078_6981229750955623533_n

I’m not sure I’d want to be a full time mascot though I guess I would get used to be shaken around after a while.  I think sometimes Karen forgets that I am quite an old bear really.  I think my next outing doing mascot type duties will be somewhat different.  I am going to be kitted out as a Morris dancer and join Oxford Morris men on Mayday.  Hmmmm…….