Author Archives: Sally

My first but not last Hilly Audax

July 2015 was the first time I tried to ride my bike in Derbyshire, a 50 mile route from Buxton that totally destroyed me, mentally and physically and I vowed I would never go again.

Untitled After that,  I have avoided hills as much as possible because just the thought of them made me panic and break into a sweat.

Then I changed my bike, started getting stronger,doing longer rides including three, 200km Audaxes and The lap of Anglia, so when Geoff suggested an Audax in Derbyshire, after my initial panic I thought I have to do this because Geoff has accompanied me on the long Audaxes its only fair I accompany him on a hilly one.

So yesterday I found myself in Alfreton for the Hilly Beware of the Plague Audax around the Peak District. I wore my SWNC kit and It attracted many funny looks, many of the other riders wondering if I knew what a hill was !!!

I was told get to Eyam tea rooms and all the hills would be done, so off we set and I actually found myself enjoying the lovely scenery, amazing views, and the climbs, it felt like in no time at all we arrived at the first control point at Eyam T-rooms.Some of the other riders teased me saying you made it then !! Then proceeded to tell me that I had not seen a hill yet !!!

UntitledWe left the tea rooms with me wondering what was to come, but happily, I can say it was just more great scenery fabulous views and enjoyable riding, In fact, we were enjoying ourselves so much we forgot to stop at Monsal Head and get a photo of the viaduct !!  luckily we seemed to miss all the heavy showers just catching a little drizzle now and again.

As we headed back to Alfreton we passed the Crich Stand, Geoff suggested we go take a look but as it was at the top of a long hill I declined. We arrived back in Alfreton at 3.30 just as the heavens opened and I can honestly say it was a very enjoyable Audax.

Sadly this will most likely be the last Audax I get to do this year as Geoff will be going off on his travels again soon but I am sure next year we shall be doing more of the hilly Audaxes.

Lap of Anglia 2017

Finally it was here,16th August,

A day I have been waiting for all year, the start of the Lap of Anglia I was nervous and excited all at the same time, and still wondered if I could actually manage to ride over 400 miles in 4 days.

The meeting point was at the QEH, packing the van, greeting everyone and sorting last minute problems did not take long so just after 8 am 45 riders gathered on the helipad, a few photos were taken and then a peloton of Red jerseys set off on a 4-day adventure.

First stop of the day was just down the road at Sandringham for another photo shoot and to gather ourselves together after the great send off, we then split down into smaller riding groups making it easier and safer on the roads.

We continued along the coast stopping at Holkham, Sheringham, and Walcot, where they served the most delicious Salted Caramel Ice cream before ending the day In Norwich after riding 97 miles.

Lap of Anglia

click for more photos

The Holiday Inn provided great accommodation even allowing us to take our bikes to our rooms, where some I believe even washed their bikes in the shower, tut, tut !!!!

After a fabulous breakfast, and a few laughs and jokes with fellow riders we set off in the rain for another day of riding, sticking close to the coast, we called in at Wroxham, Great Yarmouth, Leiston, Melford, and finished in Ipswich after 109 miles. luckily by the time, we arrived in Great Yarmouth the rain had stopped and the sun came out to help us on our way.

You never had to think about how many miles you were covering in a day, as each stretch was never longer than 29 miles, then the magic support van would always appear and you could mingle and chat with the other riders as well as refuel before setting off on your travels again.

The third day was the day I was most looking forward to and dreading at the same time, riding mainly in the flatlands I wasn’t sure how I would cope with the climbing but this was my chance to find out. Same routine, stopping every 20/25 miles calling in at Acton, Ridgewell, Saffron Waldron, Letchworth and finishing at Luton after 99 miles. A total of 5.190 feet of climbing and I was happy, even the few rain showers didn’t bother me some people mentioned the wind but, to be honest, I hardly noticed it as my mind was on the hills

Untitled Far too quickly it was the fourth and final day, I really did not want this adventure to end, it was going to be the longest day with 110 miles to cover but after the hilly start, we would hit the flatlands with a tail wind. We called in at Flitwick, where Tesco supplied us with Bananas, then Catworth and Stanground by then you could feel the excitement rising as we realized that we were going to make it !! Geoff surprised us with a visit too, catching us eating and drinking at the Woolpack pub. Next stop was at Parson Drove, where a children’s karaoke party was in full swing. Then we all gathered at the bank house in Kings Lynn for the victory ride back to the QEH.

Damien led us the last mile down the bypass back to QEH it was amazing, 45 riders all in Red Jerseys one after the other like a long train, the atmosphere was electric, then over the roundabout you could hear all the family and friends shouting, clapping and cheering us, a totally fabulous ending to a totally fabulous event.

I feel very proud to have been a part of such a fabulous well-organized event, I met some awesome people,had some great laughs and realized I can achieve more than I think I can and the answer to the question most people want to know is…. No, I wasn’t too sore or tired, in fact, I went out with SWNC the following day on the 100-mile ride to Cromer.

Lap Of Anglia

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

The Lap of Anglia

It has has been a dream of mine for a long time to go on a multi day bike journey, I am very lucky to get to do all the fabulous things I do but I have envied my friends and Geoff when they go off on their biking adventures.

BUT Tomorrow I start my own bike adventure with a very special bike journey, The Lap of Anglia.

Untitled A 4-day journey that will take me and 40 other riders from Kings Lynn to Norwich, Norwich to Ipswich, Ipswich to Luton then Luton back to Kings Lynn, a total of 400 miles.

You may wonder why I would want to do such high mileage over 4 days but its all in aid of the East Anglican Air Ambulance, such a fantastic service that relies on donations to continue to survive.

This ride is not a race or a sportive, it’s not about getting from A to B as fast as possible, it’s about making people aware of the great work the Air Ambulance does and how it’s funded by donations, something I did not realise.

Hopefully the three 200km Audax rides that I have done, and dragged Geoff along too, have taught me how to pace myself better on long rides, how to fuel myself better and how important it is to take a little stop every 20/25 miles or so, by doing this I have never finished a 200km Audax feeling tired or worn out.

This will be a tough challenge for us all, but most of all it will be fun, meeting new people, making new friends, having a laugh although I expect there will be a few sore bits too !!!

If you would like to donate and help us keep turning those pedals here is the link

You never know when you, a family member or a friend may need the help of the Air Ambulance……….and if you see us on our Journey be sure to give us a wave of encouragement.

Some Hills and A Swarm

I had been looking forward to the first weekend in July for many months.

Untitled While away walking in Portugal we had booked up the Norwich Cycle swarm with Gina, deciding on the 100-mile route, an event I had wanted to do for a few years but had never managed to fit in !!

The route would cover some roads that we had never ridden on before so I was looking forward to some new scenery and a chatty ride with Gina.

Then SWNC decided that our yearly trip to Rutland to ride the hills would be on the Saturday before the Swarm, this we could not miss!

I had done this ride in 2014 but then missed out last year when I suddenly got afraid of hills !! Now I feel stronger on my bike I was eager to go and face my fear of hills!!

The route included 2 great stops, tea and cake at The Windmill then lunch at cafe Ventoux.Untitled

Happy to say I loved this ride, coping far better with the Rutland hills than I expected too, it was a huge SWNC turn out for an away day ride which just proves what a great social biking group it is.

Amazingly the Flying Scotsman even made an appearance just us !!

The Norwich Cycle Swarm is an annual mass participation cycling event that starts from Norwich City Football Club.The routes head out of Norwich through Wroxham then along the coast through Happisburgh and Bacton then turning inland at Mundesley, the coast road was very scenic and windy !!

It was all I expected it to be although I thought the feed stations were very poor but as we are used to doing Audax rides we just stopped at a cafe along the coast.

Although Gina had decided not to join us on the ride we did meet up for dinner so a perfect ending to a busy weekend.

Run/Walking along the Fen Rivers Way

After all the rain yesterday the weather today was just perfect for the run/walk I had planned with Gina

Untitled We caught the train to Downham market then came back along the Fen Rivers way, walking a mile, running a mile.

It was an excellent route, the grass only too long for running in one small part, and thankfully not as wet as expected after a days rain.

After about 8 miles we stopped at the Crown and Anchor for a pint before continuing on our way to the quay side in Kings Lynn.where we enjoyed fish and chips at Marriott’s warehouse.

A total of 12 miles covered in 3 hours 3 mins at an avg pace of 14.42.

An excellent day, we both found it much easier than just walking 12 miles, and I can see us doing some more run/walking in the future.

Happy to say my Deuter Speedlite 5 pack was perfect for the job !!

A walking and riding weekend.

Another active weekend was had on 17th/18th June.

Untitled Since I fell in love with Biking I don’t do as much walking but I do still enjoy walking and would walk more if I could get to the mountains !!!   As for local walks, I try to do the LDWA challenge walks

 This weekend started with the LDWA  Poppyline walk, which we almost missed out on as it filled up quicker than expected, but lucky for us I know the right people !!!

This time Jayne was able to join Gina Jo and myself, so on the hottest day of the year so far we found ourselves walking 18 miles from Sheringham.

As usual, the route did not disappoint with sea views and parkland.

We have now done all 3 LDWA challenge walks.

Poppyline took 6 hours 34

Daffodil dawdle 6 hours 09

Flower of Suffolk 6 hours 50

Many people run walk these events and it’s something I would like to try sometime in the future.

Then on the Sunday Geoff and I did the Cycle together Sandringham ride, I like to support this ride as it’s local and all money goes to Parkhouse at Sandringham

Once again it was another very hot day and for once I was happy that we had decided to do the shorter route of 50 miles although riding from home made it 65 miles.Untitled

There was a huge gathering of SWNC riders at the start, then we all split down into our little groups.

Although we ride these roads regular on our Sunday social rides I never tire of them

After the very hot but enjoyable ride, we gathered with other riders in Parkhouse garden enjoying ice cream, hot dogs and shandy before a gentle ride home.

Bikes and Trains

In June I took a week off work, the plan was to do some consecutive day riding in preparation for my challenge in August …..The Lap of Anglia 

The week got off to a rocky start,after pottering around cambridge with a few local rides  the weather turned foul on the Tuesday with torrential and never ending rain , we even thought maybe we should have gone away BUT then it cheered up and everything changed.

By this time we had ditched the original plan of going touring for the week and decided we would use the trains and do some linear rides, I basically wanted 4 consecutive day riding as this is what I will have to do in August.

It would also be a great test for my new saddle.

Day 1  Cambridge to Southwold …..92 miles   

Day 2  Cambridge to Norwich ….75 miles

Day 3 Cambridge Villages….. 50 miles

Day 4 Oakham to Cambridge ….74 miles

Day 5 SWNC group ride….. 57 miles

Amazingly I loved the hills on day 4, visiting cafe Ventoux and riding by the viaduct.

A grand total of 378 miles and most importantly due to my fab Specialized Oura pro saddle they were comfortable miles, although due to the saddle not being compatible with my titanium seat post I now had seat post problems !!!!!

It was a great week off and we actually managed to ride 7 days out of 8 and 5 consecutive days so I was well happy and now feel more confident about my 400 miles in 4 days !!!

It was also wonderful to spend a week biking with Geoff, one day I would love to go touring with him but as he likes to tour on his own this week was the next best thing.

Norfolk Special Audax

No sooner was Geoff back from his travels and I had him out on a 200km Audax  strike while the iron is hot was my plan.

It was the Norfolk Special from Lound near Lowestoft, it’s quite a drive for an early start so we decided to stay over in Lowestoft.

Now we have done quite a few Audax it’s nice to see familiar faces on these rides.

I had already done one 200km Audax but this was to be Geoffs first, I knew he was perfectly capable of doing it, it’s just a matter of pacing yourself, something Geoff is not too good at. He starts off quickly trying to keep up with the fast boys then runs out of steam before the finish, whereas I go out slower and have energy at the end.

The route was described as offering a bit of everything that is nice about Norfolk – the Broads, the hillier and scenic north Norfolk, and the North Norfolk coastal village of Stiffkey and attractive market towns, finishing on gentle terrain along the flatter but still pleasant and quiet lanes of South Norfolk

As always the route did not disappoint us, we were lucky with the weather, the route had plenty of info points and 2 cafe stops, one in Wymondham where our friend Jayne lives, so we arranged to meet her there for a coffee which was nice.

Doing these rides has taught me that there is more to riding than bombing round the countryside as fast as possible which means I enjoy the more relaxed riding an Audax offers.

So another fab day out on our bikes Geoff said never again but I have other plans !!!!!!