First big challenge of the year (not the first event though- see other posts)! This is a two day event, 100 miles each day – I’ve no idea if I can do it, but I’m going to try – it’s been a dream (hopefully not a nightmare) for some time. It’s around 50 years since I’ve ridden multi day events and even then they were fairly leisurely touring events, laden with luggage and not aiming at 100 miles a day – I can’t remember ever racing two days in a row. Not that sportives are races – but they are challenges to complete in a reasonable time (7 – 71/2 hours is now about right for me).
Tour de Broads is organised by my favourite sportive organiser – Pedal Revolution in Norwich – I ride their events whenever I can and am particularly pleased when I come across young children riding with their parents on shorter, carefully chosen routes. They also organise ParkRide events each week in Norwich, especially for those just learning to ride or coming back to a bike later in life.
This starts in Great Yarmouth and approaches the Broads from the South – route has not yet been published but I will update when it is. I normally plan emergency cut-outs so I’d shorten the route if things aren’t going well but the Broads (plenty of water, not that many roads!) might make that a little challenging and may simply mean I have to ride it all!
This is an interesting sportive – it can include several off-road elements that mimic the Paris-Roubaix professional race which will take place the next day – with cobbled roads, often poor weather – very challenging, exhausted mud-caked riders, numerous accidents and broken bikes! I rode this sportive last year with one off road section (sandy, deeply rutted lane – not really my scene) but this year am opting to stay on tarmac. We did have some poor weather with a little rain, wind, hail/snow – no way to avoid those! – some sun but still cold.
The roads are quite good, quiet but I well remember seeing what looked like a very tall cyclist way ahead of me coming into Framlingham – he was riding a Penny Farthing with considerable grace. I managed to take a wrong turning last year, so will try to get it right this year.
This will be the fifth year I’ve ridden this event. It starts in Newmarket and meanders around the Suffolk countryside, along some quiet roads, through some delightful villages – but it’s quite a tough start to the year. There are no major hills, but lots of small hills which take their toll on my legs by the end. One year it was 100 miles (and I was really quite glad to finish that one), but normally the distances have been 75-85 miles.
Very near to the finish, just when I could be thinking it’s nearly over, there is a nasty little hill that looks a bit like a vertical wall – it’s partly the effect of coming downhill towards it and then suddenly having to climb it with very little left in the tank!