Category Archives: Biking

Diss’d Clare permanent 200km Audax (5th May 2019)

It was a challenge just to find a date for our May 200, with me running and Geoff going away walking in Spain. so regardless of the weather, it had to be this weekend.

Sally Kelly at Angel CafeAfter finding the Alferton to Skeggy ride so cold I was really hoping for a warmer ride, it was May, after all, so surely it should be warming up.

We decided on a local permanent, 200km. Calendar events are hard to find at the moment due to everyone trying to qualify for BPB. We have done many of Nick Wilkinsons routes so knew it would be a good one, what we didn’t expect was another very cold ride.

The route itself was very picturesque travelling through many beautiful villages, with lots of wide-open Yellow and Green countryside, as a calendar event It would have been perfect but today it was hard to find places to stop and warm up.

Just outside Diss after just over 50 miles we found the Angel cafe where we stopped for Eggs and Toast, by the time we left we had warmed up and was eager to get on our way, as we came into Diss I remember thinking the church looked quite spectacular.

After another 50 miles and a puncture that took us off the road for 30 mins we rolled into Clare desperate for a warm cup of tea, luckily we found the Town hall had an art exhibition on and was still serving tea and cake.

30 ish miles to go and a few small climbs up to Balsham to keep us warm then it was downhill all the way back to Cambridge. I never really like coming back through central Cambridge, it’s way too busy for a country girl like me, especially when silly bus drivers shout at me for no reason what so ever !!

Anyway that is number 8 of my RRty done, it’s much harder than you think especially when trying to fit rides in around life, in general, for a while I did wonder if I could be bothered to continue especially as I am missing my running so much BUT calender events are booked for June and July, my running legs promise to return after September and it must be time for the sunshine rides now !!

Everyone Rides to Skeggy 300km Audax (13th April 2019 )

This Audax was on my list of things to do as Geoff really wanted to do it last year but for some reason, we were unable to do it, I expect I was running or something !!  Anyway, I was determined we would do it this year even though Geoff seems to have lost a little bit of his love for cycling !!

The Travelodge at Alfreton was booked for 2 nights to make it all a bit easier, and as we traveled down I was excited about doing our 2nd 300km event even if Geoff wasn’t.

We set our alarm for 4.30am and had our egg sandwiches ready for breakfast, I still find it far too difficult to eat this early in the morning but managed half my sandwich before we set off for registration at Alfreton house, taking a banana with me to eat before we started the ride at 6 am.

Richard Thoday
Richard on his Penny Farthings

 

We soon realized it was very cold much colder than we had anticipated, in fact, according to the BBC it had been the coldest April night for 6 years! By the time we reached the first control point in Newark, I was actually wondering if I was going to be able to carry on but after a bowl of the best porridge and honey I have ever tasted I was ready to face the cold again.

Next control point was at Woodhall Spa and for a short while we rode with a small group from Derby Clarion, the time goes much quicker when you have someone to chat with, they had great riding skills too, taking it turns on the front,unfortunately after a while we lost them going up a hill.

Next control was at Skegness, rumor had it that we would lose the headwind here which would be a relief ,it was on our way to Skegness that we met the amazing Richard Thoday , riding the 300km on a Penny Farthing, we arrived at Poppies Cafe together and spent time warming up over a bowl of soup and hearing about Richards record breaking challenge in July, riding end to end on his Penny Farthing hoping to break the world record set in 1886

Sally Kelly at Skegness sign
Welcome to Skeggy!

 

We left poppies heading for the information control at Sutton on Sea, looking forward to the tailwind, first we had to stop and get a photo by the welcome to Skegness sign, then it was on via chapel St Leonard’s spotting the Butlins big top tent on our way,but no sign of the sea! Our route instructions said to write down the information found at the public toilets.

In Horncastle, I thought Geoff would stop for our receipt at the local Garage especially when I saw other riders there but he sailed passed and we stopped for a warm up in Costa coffee, I didn’t find the soup very filling at lunchtime so I took the opportunity and had a very enjoyable Sausage bap.

Only 35km to Lincoln and lovely to see the cathedral on the horizon, in fact, this stretch was the best bit weather wise, here we stopped at the local Coop for our receipt, added lights and another layer as the temperature was beginning to drop again.

Lincoln Sunset

 

Next stop would be Alfreton, the longest stretch at 65km, all rode in the dark, I actually enjoyed this night riding, the roads were big and wide never feeling truly dark, the sky had a glow to it, unlike in the countryside when darkness is truly pitch black! Feeling cold we stopped off at the Mac Donald’s in Ollerton for a hot drink, shortly after leaving here we bumped into Richard again on his Penny Farthing so we continued down the cycle path next to the A38 together, I enjoyed watching him manoeuvre the Penny Farthing along the bridge over the M1

At midnight we rolled back into Alfreton house 18 hours after we left.

While getting our Brevet Card checked and enjoying yet another cup of tea we discovered, 2 things our route sheet was an old one we had downloaded from the internet, for some reason we had not received the up to date information through the post. So no information was needed from Sutton on Sea and the first man back finished 6 hours before us and had been in the pub all evening!

While I would like to do a Summer 300 I am not sure I will be able to persuade Geoff so it’s back to 200 km for the next 5 months!

Epic end to 2018

Happy to say 2018 ended on a high with a 200km DIY Audax followed by a 60-mile ride with Cambridge CTC, followed by the Ely NYE 10k run.

This was far better than the start of 2018 which saw me having a fall off my bike on Black Ice, this caused me a great deal of pain and put me out of action for many months… even now I still get a niggle in my side when running!

With some care, a few painkillers and lots of determination, I still managed to do all I had planned for and more in 2018, including Cambridge half, riding in Mallorca, Walking in the Dolomites, the Lap of Anglia, run/walking 18 miles, many 200km Audaxes, a couple of 150-mile rides and an epic 300km Audax.

The most amazing thing to me is that I have achieved all this while suffering from menopausal hell !!!!

My next big goal is to get through January and February without taking any risks in the bad weather and icy conditions which are inevitable !!!!

My recorded Miles for the year are (approx)

6,340 Cycling, 465 Running,151 Walking

I have many plans for 2019 so exciting times ahead…………

 

 

Another 200km Audax

Amazing mild weather for December so today we grabbed at the chance of doing a DIY 200km Audax.

Geoff did a great route which took advantage of the tailwind, which helped blow us home, he also chose perfect roads for the night time riding.

There is something special about riding in the dark, especially when most people are still asleep it’s also beautiful to see the sunrise.

Anyway, that makes three 200km Audaxes in 3 months and now I am wondering if I can keep it up for an RRtY, if so the next one has to be in Cyprus !!

Four Min Mile 200km Audax

As many people will know I love Audax riding, especially long Audax rides, I read all the write-ups about the various rides and admire the riders who do the super long rides which involve night riding, I often wonder just how far I could ride !!

My longest Audax is the Mildenhall 300 km which did involve a couple of hours in the dark but apart from that I have little experience of night riding.

Just recently I have started to ride with the Cambridge CTC, rides which I really enjoy, many of these riders are experienced Audaxers so I enjoy their company the stories they have to tell and soak up all the advice they give about long distance riding.

Nigel and Yasmin were planning to ride the Four min mile audax and while Geoff was out on a ride we were invited to join them, when he mentioned it to me I grabbed at the opportunity especially as I know no other women that like to ride long distance.

After the initial excitement wore off I realized it would be a hilly ride, as we went over the Chilterns not once but twice and  many hours would be spent riding in the dark so I would need a bigger saddle bag to carry a jacket and a better rear light, while I sorted the bag out I sent Geoff out on the hunt for the rear light

So the alarm was set for 5 am on Saturday 17th November and armed with our egg sandwiches for breakfast we met Nigel and Yasmin at the train station for the 6.24 train to Stevenage.

After collecting our receipt in Stevenage we were on our way just after 7 am, the outward ride to Oxford was lovely with perfect weather for the time of year. I especially enjoyed riding through Woburn and seeing all the beautiful autumn colors, we arrived at Iffley Stadium in time for Lunch, the choice of food at the cafe was disappointing but the stadium and Roger Banister memorabilia made up for the lack of choice.  The runner in me was drawn to the running track, shame I didn’t have my running shoes but I did have a little jog !!

An hour later and we were on our way again, deciding to take a detour down Oxford high street before heading back to Stevenage via Chesham and Welwyn Garden City. Having never been to Oxford it was a very impressive High Street.

The aim was to get over the Phoenix Cycle trail near Thame before dark, as the rumor was it had some bad road surface in places. I was very happy we got over it before dark as the surface in place was horrendous with cracks so big you could have easily disappeared down one if not seen.

Onward we traveled up and down, then along another cycle track that ended with a steep slippery narrow exit, Nigel made it out but the rest of us got off and walked and that is when Geoff discovered a Puncture, by now it was quite dark, which made changing a puncture very interesting, Geoff opted to change the tyre so didn’t have to look for the offending flint/thorn, after a good 30 mins the puncture was mended, with a helping hand from Nigel who had returned after noticing we were missing.

We were happy to be on our way again heading towards Chesham, and a much enjoyed Costa coffee. then it was more climbing and more downhills, along narrow twisting lanes, which made for challenging riding in the dark, a tip from Nigel was to keep my Garmin on the elevation screen so I could see what was coming. By the time we reached Welwyn Garden City my arms were aching from gripping onto my handlebars so much. 21km left to go back to Stevenage train station, better roads made for easier night riding and we rolled into the station and collected our last receipt with 30 mins to spare.

Not the best route for night riding and maybe better the opposite way round but then we would have missed the beautiful scenery around Woburn, but definitely a great calendar event to do.

All in all a great adventure with good company and it certainly has not put me off night riding.

( Thanks to Nigel for the Photos )

Goodbye 2017

Lambfair Green Puddle Ride

Lambfair Green Puddle Ride

Its been a disappointing December for bike mileage due to the bad weather and Icy conditions but today to end the year perfectly we clocked up a good 70 miles on the bike, many of the roads were flooded after the heavy rain but luckily no ice today.

Although that has been the only disappointment this year, everything else has gone to plan and I have enjoyed many happy adventures with my friends and Geoff.

The highlights had to be The Lap Of Anglia and cycling from my house to Edinburgh with Geoff,as well as running two fab half marathons.

2018 is promising to be just as exciting with many events already booked up, in fact, my diary seems busy right up until August which is rather exciting.

2017 finished with a ride so 2018 must start with a Run, the Wymondham 10k with friends the object now is not to drink too much tonight !!!!!

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

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