Author Archives: Sally

Ely 100 miles

A 100-mile ride, nothing to get very excited about especially if you have done the Audax RRty but for me, this was a huge milestone, because at the beginning of the year I had seriously thought about never riding my bike again !!

In fact, if COVID and lockdown had not happened I think I would have stopped riding my bike, but because I was forced into having a break I soon realized just how much I missed it

I started back with a few short Solo rides, which did seem strange as I was used to big miles with company, luckily it wasn’t long before I could start getting back out with my Girlfriends.

We slowly started building up our miles, with that our confidence grew too, it was also amazing to see how different people treated us out on the road when it was just us 3 females and not a huge cycling group, we certainly seem to get a lot more respect.

Our rides became more about having fun, taking photos, and talking to the locals in many of the villages we pass through, rather than speed.

Anyway, we decided our aim, for now, would be a 100-mile ride, so we found a route we really liked, thanks to one of our fellow TTT riders, watched the weather and picked our day and what a fabulous day it was.

The highlights had to be stopping in Welney and talking to a local couple as we watched all the fish in the river, riding through Pymoor and seeing all the Scarecrows, riding up the hill at little Downham, the hill I run up on the Ely New years eve 10km, no Scottish piper at the top this time though! sadly seeing the burnt down Corker’s crisp warehouse. Lunch was by the river in Ely then an excellent Tea stop at Denver windmill.

Ely 100 miler.…. A fantastic fun happy memory for 2020.

Roydon Common

Roydon Common, a magical place I discovered just before COVID 19 and lockdown. 

Disappointing weather over the weekend meant biking plans had to be canceled, so, after a  drive to Thetford to drop off a bike with my son I  made the most of a blowy showery day by getting out for a walk across the common with Sue.

Roydon Common is looking stunning after the rain, So much has grown since the beginning of lockdown and those lonely solo walks, there are so many wildflowers out now with an array of stunning colours, it won’t be long till the heather is in full bloom either

Luckily we got round the 6 miles without getting wet, unfortunately, I arrived home to find my waterbutt had been blown over in the wind but at least it wasn’t me getting blown off my bike!

 

Before Covid 19

Before all this madness with the Corona Virus or COVID 19, as it is now known, and before we were all locked down and isolating from each other, I dusted off my walking boots and went on a group walk.

I joined the Norfolk Legstretchers, a group I used to walk with many many years ago, on a 17-mile Circular walk from Stalham going via Happisburgh lighthouse, somewhere I had been wanting to visit for a long time. As Stalham is a good distance from Kings Lynn my friend Gina, who was also going on the walk offered to put me up for the night.

On the morning of the walk, it was lovely to wake to see sunshine and not rain, it was amazing to also see so many other walkers turn up for this walk,27 if I remember right, including my friend Jayne, definitely the biggest group walk I have ever been on.

It was a fabulous walk, lots of interesting people to talk to and I loved that no one knew me so I had no upsetting questions to answer! The walk was at a brisk pace with 2 stops, nothing quite like coffee from a flask by the sea and the lighthouse was not disappointing looking quite splendid in the sunshine.

The Norfolk Legstretchers seem the perfect group for me, they walk a decent distance and meet the first Sunday of every month so today I had hoped to be meeting them at Aldborough for the April walk but instead, I shall be working and looking forward to life getting back to normal…. for everyone!

Moving on to new adventures…..

With Geoff’s sudden and unexpected departure from my life, its been a difficult few months, much harder than I expected or have let on !! I have tried to keep myself busy forcing myself to go out on my bike, weather permitting, knowing if I stopped riding now I would never ride Annie again, which would be so sad !!

Things felt slightly better once I admitted to myself that I no longer wanted to run Cambridge half marathon, I was worried about letting my friends down but really couldn’t face the thought of going to Cambridge. Once I made the decision it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and it was nice to make Amanda’s day by transferring my place over to her.

I have also learnt that there is more to life than biking, running and driving up and down the A10 ! I have re-discovered the joy of reading and going to the cinema, but most of all I have learnt how to love myself again and discovered what wonderful marvellous friends I have.

My life will never be the same but who knows in time it may be better so now its time to plan some new and wonderful adventures!

Positive Steps Forest Festive Challenge

Little did I know when booking this event that it would not turn out to be quite the Festive event we had planned. Geoff returned from Bangkok on December 4th and dropped a bombshell, He intended to put his house up for rent and return to Bangkok ASAP leaving no room in his life for me, anyone that knows me will know how devastated I am.

It would have been easy to take time off work and hideaway for a while but that’s not my style and on Saturday 7th December I found myself driving to Kings Forest in West Stow Country Park to meet Gina and Jayne for our 20-mile challenge, an event put on by Positive steps in aid of the St Nicholas Hospice Care.

The event had a nice festive atmosphere, most people had made the effort to wear some kind of festive clothing, including me !! and the whole event was very well organized.

The half marathon distance and the 20 milers start together and stay together until the 20 milers go on to complete an extra lap. After all the rain in the week leading up to this event we were very lucky to get a nice dry bright day and much to our surprise there was little mud or sand on the route, it was just nice and springy underfoot.

The marshalls were fantastic friendly and very encouraging, and we had some of the Famous cheesy feet at the feed station, along with cinnamon trees and other goodies. We did wonder if we would dislike the fact that the route was made up of 3 laps but you actually don’t notice.

While enjoying a cup of tea at the finish it was nice to chat with some of the volunteers, one man was telling us how much he loved marshaling at these events, was also interesting to hear there had been 82 nonstarters, which is a shame when so many others wanted a place. and amazingly £6500 had been donated to the hospice.

All considering it was an enjoyable day and good therapy for me surprisingly we did well with a moving time of 4.34 and elapsed time of 4.46…..

Next it’s the ELY NYE 10km then the LDWA 26 mile Stansted stagger

George Munday 10k and St Neots Half Marathon

With my Audax challenge over and eager to pick up my running again and knowing it wouldn’t be long before Geoff went off on his travels, I started to fill my diary with running events.

As predicted and with little notice, Geoff left for Bangkok on 29th October just as I started a week’s holiday! Luckily for me, I had a weekend booked at Sheringham Youth hostel with Gina and Jayne, the plan was to run/walk the 26-mile LDWA Poppy line route, our first attempt at this distance and although the weather was not great and there was lots of mud we did it and had lots of fun along the way. The plan is to progress until we can comfortable do 30 miles of run/walking.

The following weekend on 10th November Gina and I met up again to run the George Munday 10k, my first running event since March. I love this well organized friendly event, its very touching with the RAF officer laying the poppy wreath and 2 mins silence before the start of the race. It was also great to see so many of my running friends at this event, it made me realize how much I had missed my running while dedicating my time to  Audaxing.

At around 4 miles a man ran up to the girl next to me and I heard him say “keep this up and you will be under the hour” which did surprise me, so I then had a little chat with Haley and much to my amazement, I finished  in 58.28 my best 10k time for over 2 years, it also felt good to be pain-free, it has taken over 18 months to recover from my bike fall on black ice, something I hope not to repeat.

Next, it was St Neots Half marathon on 17th November, I have run this event twice before, the last time in 2017 when I tripped on a loose drain cover and broke my elbow, although now pain-free I am still unable to straighten my arm. When I arrived in St Neots to register and meet up with Jayne, Gina, and Linda it was raining and cold. I had trouble deciding what to wear and at the very last min took my base layer off deciding a t-shirt would be enough, I had new skins on too which although very comfortable didn’t have a waistband pocket for my Gel, which I decided to do without.

By the time 10 am came, the rain had stopped and with no wind, it was a perfect running day. I had forgotten how undulating this course was, mile 9 to 10 felt like running through treacle, that’s when I wished I had taken my Gel at mile 6! The marshalls and supporters out on the course were great, it’s always good to hear your name being called out, I even chatted to a guy from Northampton who was just about to move to Wellingborough, which is where I was born.

Much to my delight, I finished in 2.14.44 although I never really noticed the downhill finish !! After the run we went to Weatherspoons for Lunch, steak egg and chips finished the day off perfectly and maybe with a bit more training I will get a better time at Cambridge Half.

Suffolk Coast and back 200km Audax (21st Sept 2019)

At last, the 200km Audax that would complete my RRTY and in what promised to be the best weather conditions you could wish for.

Geoff stayed over at my house as it was easier to get to Carbrooke from mine when the alarm went off at 5 am my first thought was no more early starts in the cold winter months ahead. We arrived at the start in plenty of time, which was a good job as Geoff had a problem with his iPhone/Wahoo mounting on his bike, thankfully he soon had it sorted and we set off with the other riders at 7.30 am.

The rising sun was a bit annoying as it was straight into our faces but I soon had a much bigger problem, for some reason my Garmin lost the route and as usual Geoff who always likes a fast start was off like a rocket, fiddling with my Garmin and trying to keep up was just too much and I soon lost sight of Geoff and the Group he was tucked behind.

When I reached a junction and had no idea which way to go I decided I had better phone Geoff, just as I was explaining that I had lost my route 2 guys came by  I asked Geoff to wait and I would follow on behind. A few mins later we were reunited and I thought I would reload the route at Diss. Geoff continued to ride like a bat out of hell and I soon lost him again and for a few mins I actually thought about turning around and finding my way back to Carbrooke , then the same guy as before came by me and I just decided to follow him although a while later I had a quick panic when I suddenly thought he might not even be doing the audax, anyway after a brief chat and me explaining my situation he was happy for me to follow him to to the first stop in Diss, where I found Geoff happily eating a cheese scone and drinking his milkshake !!!

Geoff seemed to be in such a hurry that I barely had time to eat my scone and certainly no time to reload my route or even finish my cup of tea …..by this time I had found my cycling legs,it always takes me a while and we made our way to Orford in the lovely sunshine, with it being such a lovely day the cafe was busy but it was nice to sit and enjoy the scenery and have a chat with a couple of the other riders including the Guy from Stamford that had saved my RRTY.

From Orford, it was 90km to the next info point, we stopped 3 times on the way, at Snape, Harleston, and Wymondham so Geoff could get drinks, The pub at Harleston was especially nice, in fact, the whole route was very scenic, with lots of lovely Churches along the way I was disappointed that I didn’t stop and take more photos especially of the setting sun but as my Garmin never re-found the route I was very wary about letting people out of my sight.

I loved the last 16km from the info control, I may start off my rides steady but I always finish strong, I enjoyed chatting to the 2 guys who Geoff had been chasing at the start, seems they are 6 months(I think) into there RRTY and always enjoy riding together for company.

Anyway, all ended well and in case you are a Garmin hater, my problem was user error, in my panic to re-load route while cycling and trying to keep others in sight I loaded the wrong route !!!!

Mildenhall Festival Randonnee 200 (24th Aug 2019)

August was going to be a busy month and trying to fit my 200km Audax in was always going to be difficult, the timing was never going to be perfect. Last year we rode the Mildenhall 300 and enjoyed the route so much that it was decided we would do the 200 even though it was only a week after finishing the Lap of Anglia.

Weather conditions were perfect, the kind of day I have dreamed about while doing the last 10, 200km Audaxes, I just hoped my tired legs were up to it! We arrived nice and early with plenty of time for a cup of tea and a chat, we were also meeting up with Ms G who was joining us on her first 200km Audax.

I was expecting a nice gentle start but Geoff had other ideas and went off like a rocket, then my Garmin froze leaving me no way of knowing the route and putting me in turmoil not knowing whether I should stay with Ms G or chase Geoff !

I decided as Ms G was a confident rider I would chase Geoff then reset my Garmin at the first cafe stop, my legs were still tired after the previous weeks 500 miles but I did catch Geoff and just about managed to stay with him. My Garmin was easy to reset once stopped at wally’s cafe, I now felt much happier knowing I had the route to follow but it was certainly a very stressful start.

We all left Wally’s cafe together but it wasn’t long before Geoff was pushing the pace again,  we arrived at the Angel cafe 97km from the start with an Avg speed of 15mph by this time I was ready for my beans on toast.

Once on our way again it became clear that Geoff had totally worn himself out and for quite a while I was very concerned, it was a long 24km to Wymondham but my lovely friend Jayne met us there with Cold drinks, cake, and painkillers for Geoff, we rested there at the market cross for a while, I was happy to see Ms G still going strong but suffering slightly with her eating.

Once again we all left together and mainly stayed together all reaching Swaffham in one piece, Where Geoff devoured 2 bowls of ice cream and a double espresso! Ms G was still having trouble eating but she managed some teacake, needless to say, I devoured my Tea and cake.

I love the ride back from Swaffham to Mildenhall I remember it well from doing the 300 last year, Geoff had got his second wind, and Ms G was going to finish her first 200km so I could relax and enjoy the last 50 km, another grand day out on the bike and only one more 200 to get my RRTY.