Category Archives: Events

Clare to Bury challenge and LDWA Wolsey Waddle

Back in May, Gina Jayne and I did the 18 mile Clare to Bury challenge, We almost missed out on this event, it filled up so quickly we had to go on the waiting list and I suspect it was a case of who you know not what you know that secured us a place !!

We all met at Clare country park and got the transport to Bury ready to start at 10.30 am, we usually do LDWA events where you have to find the way from a route sheet although I always have the route on my Garmin which really helps if we go wrong. This time though the route was going to be marked so we didn’t have to worry about route finding

The route was definitely undulating and it was often hard and rutted underfoot, but the Suffolk countryside was beautiful and the checkpoints and refreshments were always welcome. Towards the end, my feet did start to hurt a little so I was more than happy to see the finish line, once again I was amazed at how enjoyable this run/walking can be and we were soon planning our next goal !!

Which turned out to be the LDWA Wolsey Waddle, at 20 miles this would be our longest run/walk to date, just a shame that Jayne could not join us.

On the week running up to the event, we had many e-mails about route changes which left me feeling apprehensive but on the day it all worked well, the route sheet as always was well written and easy to understand and of course, we have the Garmin just in case !!

The route was lovely although surprisingly boggy along the River Orwell, so we were forced to walk this stretch as we didn’t want to slip on the Algae. The other surprise was finding all the Elephants in Ipswich.

The countryside was truly at its best with many fields of beautiful golden corn which all seemed to have a splattering of poppies and wildflowers thrown in and of course, an LDWA event  would not be the same without the wonderful food and cheerful marshals at the checkpoints, I especially liked the glass house although if it had been a warmer day we may have boiled inside

The other great thing about these events is seeing all the people I know, and this time a real surprise was seeing a dear friend I had not seen for what seems like years !!

The ground was kinder to my feet this time and I had no problems with my feet so I was relieved although I must still sort myself out with some wider trainers.

As always great food at the finish, and I bumped into Justin Smith a runner who I follow on Twitter, his blog makes an interesting read too.

So what’s next with the running, once I get this Audax challenge finished I have the  George Munday 10km, St Neots Half and a 26-mile run/walk.

Solstice Sunride (22nd July 2019)

I have wanted to do a night ride for some time now and I always thought we would do the Dunwich Dynamo, then Geoff discovered the Solstice Sunride, the logistics of this ride made it very appealing, you start in Cambridge at any time you want with the aim of getting to Lowestoft for the 4.30am Sunrise. The only cost is for transport for you and your bike back to Cambridge.

The plan was to get up on Saturday do Cambridge Parkrun, potter about for a few hours, then aim to start the ride around 6.30pm, after a late afternoon snooze, needless to say, the afternoon snooze did not happen, I put it down to excitement !!!

We started the ride with 2 fellow lappers, Julie and Darren and had a most enjoyable ride out to Mildenhall with them, passing 2 more lappers  Stephaine and Brian, on the way, it’s amazing how you recognize people by their riding style. Julie and Darren then went off to visit family while we carried on to East Harling and the halfway stop.

As we had made such good time to Harling social club, we stayed for longer than we usually would, but by 11 pm was eager to be on our way, so after adding a few more layers of clothing, and checking our lights we made our way out into the night.

We expected to be much slower on the second half of the ride, but our eyes soon became accustomed to the dark, by this time the roads were quite empty, so it was an awesome experience to be riding at night on roads just perfect for night riding, with Matt Darey blasting out from Geoff’s Bluetooth speaker.

After a while, we passed by someone at the side of the road putting on a jacket, as we sped past I thought I know that man !! Shortly after Aphid, another lapper caught us up at a junction, the 3 of us continued the ride together, by now we were well ahead of schedule again so we made our way to the 24hr Mcdonalds at Gillingham arriving at 1.25 am.

After a hot drink and chips, we continued on our way 45 mins later with just 10 miles to go. Usually, when you arrive somewhere at 3.15am you would expect the place to be deserted but due to Lowestoft having its new 24-hour First light festival it felt quite amazing to be pedaling down to the pier dodging tons of people.

We spent the next hour hanging around waiting for others to arrive then we enjoyed a bacon roll and coffee while we watched a beautiful sunrise before catching the transport back to Cambridge, wishing we were riding back !!!

Totally awesome ride with a route perfect for night riding but neither was prepared for just how cold it gets during the night on the East coast with an N/E wind…….

Daffodil Dawdle (31st March 2019 )

As we put the clocks forward and jumped into summer it was time for the first of my run/walk events with my friend Gina, the LDWA Daffodil Dawdle, a circular scenic route along the Waveney valley, starting from Stradbroke.

Gina and I used to walk these 18-mile challenges, but as we saw more and more people running or run-walking we got the urge to try that ourselves.

The day started well as I bumped into a friend on my way to registration, it’s always a delight to see the amazing Sandie, who will be doing her own challenge for the Air Ambulance in July. Race to the Stones, a 100km walk along the Ridgeway.

By 8.30 after a quick cup of tea, a loo visit and a chat with Jayne who was in the kitchen, as usual, we set off on our way.

The challenging part is usually following the route because it is not marked out, you have to follow a written route sheet so it can be easy to miss your place when chatting too much !!. In the old days, a GPX file was not available but luckily for us, they now include one which certainly helps.

We had no set plan just run when we wanted and walk when we wanted, depending on the terrain, it’s amazing how quickly time passes when you are having fun, we seemed to reach the first checkpoint in no time at all.

The checkpoints and food are amazing on these events, you can easily linger far too long, but after a quick drink and some lovely homemade snacks we set off for checkpoint 2 promising ourselves a longer stop then.

Sandie was sticking to a training plan on this event and we kept playing cat and mouse with her along the route, which was always encouraging.

Arriving at checkpoint 2 feeling slightly hungry we were not disappointed with the food, after a picnic lunch, loo visit and a chat with Paul from Cambridge Rambling club we set off feeling happy knowing we only had approx 5 miles to do.

We had a good strong finish and arrived back in Stradbroke with nice big smiles,4 hours and 46 mins after leaving (moving time was 4 hours 14 mins.)

As usual, the finish food did not disappoint, homemade soup followed by crumble and custard, I was delighted to see Cathryn from Cambridge too so we had a quick catch up before we all departed for home.

Maybe Gina and I will attempt the 26 miles next year !!!!

Horsepower 200km Audax (9th March 2019)

At last a calendar event, an opportunity to meet up with like minded people and soak in all the amazing Audax stories!

We arrived in Great Dunmow with plenty of time to get our Brevet Card and have a coffee, it wasn’t long before we were seeing familiar faces and chatting with other riders we knew from Cambridge. The talk was mainly about the wind and how it would blow us out to Snetterton then would be head-on from Snetterton to Newmarket before easing up again for the last leg home!

It’s all Bananas

At 7.30 am we all gathered outside ready to go, I love the way complete strangers chat away to you like they know you, Audax riding is so friendly, after the first few kms, the group starts to spread out as we settle into our own riding pace.

Our aim was to try and get to the halfway point at Snetterton without a cafe stop, and with the tailwind, we were flying along, as we came into Lavenham the church looked very grand and always makes me think wow! By 9:20 nick was stamping our brevet card, after eating a hot cross bun I had in my pocket we set off for Snetterton.

Due to the tailwind, we made good time to Snetterton, arriving at 11.40, making it a very enjoyable ride but as we turned into Snetterton circuit we got a taste of what was to come. At Tyrell’s Restaurant, the service was quick and efficient, as we ate, we thought about the howling wind outside and watched as other riders set off into the wind.

40 mins later we ventured out into the wind, the wind so strong we could barely stand up straight. As we set off I thought once we get out of Snetterton and back onto the roads it would ease up but I was wrong! The strong head/ side winds continued all the way to Newmarket and were the most ferocious winds I have ever experienced, I learnt quickly to observe my surrounding look for gaps in the hedges and keep the bike in a low gear, it was mentally exhausting and at times out my comfort zone!

The religious experience

Just over 3 hours later we made it to Newmarket, by this time I was dreaming about a cafe stop out of the wind, so my heart sank a little as Geoff turned into the BP garage, but we soon had food and a receipt for our Brevet Card. We also found other riders here too, including Nigel and our quick stop turned into a 30 min stop as we chatted away.

As we set off again we realised much to our delight that the wind had dropped and we had less than 50 km to do, after spending most of the ride on our own it was nice to see other riders too and the time passed quickly as we played leapfrog along the way, getting a blast of Nigel’s music every now and again also lifted my spirits.

Before long it was dark and I got the chance to try my new Volt 800 light out, I had bought it as an extra light to use with my volt 400, mounting it on my handlebars so I could turn it on and off as needed, it worked really well and I felt much more confident riding in the dark, the roads were reasonably good so our speed did not slow down due to the darkness.

We had 3 choices for the final return to Great Dunmow , the main road, which could be busy, the valley road which may contain potholes , or option C which was slightly longer , originally we (or should I say Geoff) had plotted out option C but was enjoying the ride so much we decided to keep to the main road, with the others, in hindsight we wish we had taken the valley road as the main road was quite busy and we had plenty of time so think the valley road would have been more enjoyable.

Finally at 18.40 we pulled back into the St. Mary’s Centre at Great Dunmow, to be greeted with soup, rolls and tea, as usual, I felt quite “high” from such an achievement and enjoyed the banter with fellow riders, while discussing the ride, we discovered that a few others had actually been blown off their bikes by the gusts of wind, but thankfully no damage had been done.

So that’s 6 out of 12 ! and surely the good weather is now on its way, April’s ride is a 300 so that will be an interesting tale !

Freethorpe 10

It’s the time of year when I am not sure if I am a runner or a cyclist. I tend to run more than bike as it’s a lot safer for starters and after my fall on black ice last January I am not taking any risks on my bike this year.

My running suffered due to my fall, as my side/back hurt every time I ran so I spent all of 2018 taking it easy.

Determined I would start 2019 with my favourite running events, I entered Freethorpe 10, Valentines 10km and Cambridge half marathon hoping I had kept some level of fitness from biking, surely if I can ride 134 miles I can run 13 miles!

Gina Linda & Sally at the start

Gina Linda & Sally at the start

Having just returned from Cyprus and having ran no more than 10km for around a year,I thought I had better do a longer run. So last week I set out to run 8 miles with a friend and much to my delight not only did I enjoy the run but finally after a full year I had no pain or discomfort.

Freethorpe 10 is quite an undulating route for someone that lives in the flatlands, but that adds to the enjoyment, today the weather proved more of a challenge, as not only was it cold but it was also very windy, especially on the more exposed parts of the route.

Then there was the dilemma about what to wear and I had to get the colour right. luckily I made the right choice with short sleeves and gloves, not that they stayed on for long!

Sally with her medals

Finisher Sally

I started with my friends, then after a mile we all settled into our own running pace, running our own race, happy to meet again at the end. Always good to see Geoff at the half way point with words of encouragement.

The route was well marshalled and they were great at shouting out words of encouragement. as I expected miles 8/9 were the hardest for me, especially as they were straight into the wind.

Anyway I was very happy to finish in 1 hour 43, with not even a twinge from my side/back, a few more longer runs and I might just be ready for The Cambridge Half on March 5th.

Hello 2018

For the past few years I have ended the year by doing the Ely 10k a run I really enjoy but this year I decided to have a change and start the year with a run, the Wymondham 10k

After a late night seeing the New Year in, I was up early with Geoff so we could get over to Wymondham to meet up with my running friends. It was great to see everyone but I was certainly not feeling my best after overindulging the night before. My legs didn’t seem to want to work either, 5 hours sleep obviously is not enough.

The 10k felt really hard especially with the few nice hills on the route but I did it, then enjoyed catching up with my friends over a lovely lunch where there was much fun and laughs.

So 2018 started well with a nice bit of bling but would I do it again, maybe not!

Unfortunately a few days later on a TTT ride, after hitting some black ice which was totally unexpected, I came off my bike along with 4 others. Luckily none of us was badly hurt and we all managed to cycle home.

Since then I have been suffering from a very stiff and achy lower back, so no running or biking but hopefully I shall soon be feeling 100% fit again as I have many exciting things planned including ……

Valentines 10k, Cambridge Half, LDWA Daffodil Dawdle, Biking in Mallorca, GEAR 10k and Nottingham 10k.

and I need to get training !!!

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.

Freethorpe 10 miler

Freethorpe 10 was my first event of 2016 and I was using it as a training run for the Cambridge half in February.

imageAs usual I was meeting up with my Norwich running friends which always makes these events great fun,this time Linda was marshalling and Jayne was able to join us too, Was also great to have Geoff along to support us and take photo’s.

The weather was cold and drizzly perfect for running not so nice for marshalling but at least the strong winds had died down.

Gina and I decided to run together, although she is usually a faster runner than me her knee had been playing up and she wanted to take it easy !

I am used to running these events now and don’t get as nervous as I used too although I was slightly worried about this one as I had not been feeling my best, so having Gina to run with was good for me.image

The route was more undulating than I am used too but I enjoyed the run and all the marshals did a great job of encouraging us along.

I ran better than I expected too finishing in 1.42 and loved the first bling of 2016.

After the run we enjoyed lunch at the Rampant horse just across the road from the village hall and then had fun trying to get our cars out the car park , a turnip field that had turned to mud after having 700 cars parked on it.