A really good ride! Weather ok – not much sun, a very few tiny sprinkles of rain, cool breeze though – headwind much of the way out and twisting, turning roads rarely felt there was much of a tailwind on the return into Great Yarmouth. Spurred on by the thought of chips and ice cream waiting at the finish!
Started on the sea front, briefly headed south simply so we could ride across the road then back up the other side. That threw my Garmin (and I suspect quite a few others too) as it detected I’d passed the finish, declared “Course complete” and stopped the navigation. Didn’t matter much though as for most of the way I was in a bunch with a number of other riders so just followed. Deliberately stayed with a pace that was a little bit slow for my liking but my strategy for the day was simply to ride, with no target speeds or times, and aim to finish well – and, most importantly, without cramp or even the hint of cramp. For me, cramp in the big thigh muscles is both agonizing and frightening and I can’t stop myself screaming if/when it hits. I seem to suffer from cramp much more on sportives than on other rides and have slowly come to the conclusion that trying too hard is a major cause. Sometimes it’s the challenge of a hill, sometimes it’s a rider or riders in front that I could catch, sometimes just a little sprint to get away from or across a road junction.
As well as not pushing myself too hard, I am now also finding it much better to sit down occasionally for 5-10 minutes and relax; not just standing by the bike and munching away or drinking, but actually sitting down. So when I saw this ride passed within quarter of a mile of my son’s house, it was an opportunity for a cup of proper coffee and a seat. Delighted to see that Matt and daughter Milly came out on their bikes to escort me to the house and then Matt and I rode together for a bit afterwards. The roads meandered all over the Broads area, some quite small lanes, plenty of quiet roads, only a very few with any real traffic. A few little hills, but nothing of note. Riding in company some of the time, solo for much – but that’s fine by me.
Decent lunch stop in Coltishall village hall at the half way point (again with a seat), that literally fuelled me up for the remaining 50 miles. The usual delights of Broads scenery – boats on water, interesting villages, pleasant countryside. Some of the route on familiar roads I’ve driven on helped with understanding whereabouts I was (we did meander!). Finally back onto the roads I’d driven on to the start – and then along the promenade cycle paths to the finish – still with something in the tank and not completely exhausted. Was only going to go for the ice cream (too cold a day really), but the chips were too tempting!
The day organised by Pedal Revolution who do really well. A pleasure to see some quite small children riding with parents, either doing the 25 mile or a shorter family ride. The whole day much more just riding-focused rather than time or speed focused. I was repeatedly passed by the same group of club riders – clearly they stopped much more often than I; they might have ridden much faster but we probably took about the same time to complete – mine was 6:38 riding time, but 7:14 overall.