The last few days were spent in the saddle, clocking up the miles. Total so far 151!
Saturday was an early start, it was about 6 when Viv pulled up outside to pick me up. The weather was cold and foggy and not really inspiring me to take part in a 100km Audax. Despite that we set off to pick up Dave and the Superbike and set off for Norwich. I’ve never taken part in an event of this nature before so it was strange territory; the plan is simple follow a set of instructions and answer few Treasure Hunt style questions along the way.
Viv was incharge of navigation due to his perverse fondness of maps and his little Garmin friend now dubbed Ziggy.
The weather was great for the event with the forcast rain holding off. The only thing that might slow us down was the noise coming from Viv’s bottom bracket.
After the inital push we settled into a grove; Dave, Viv Brian and I just pushing along the Norfolk countryside, until of course we took a wrong route. To help us feel better we met a few more people on the same road thinking the same thoughts, “it should have been right back there?” So we back stepped and took that right, which meant our group had doubled in size, actually causing me to ride on the wrong side of the road, thus causing me to pick up a thorn. My first flat tyre in road cycling, what fun!
Not really, I had Dave’s Hope wheels on, which have a deeper dish than my Bontrager’s so my spare tube would not fit, so I opted to use a adhesive patch to fix.
When using adhesive patch’s remember to clean the tube first or you will end up stopping 5 miles down the road to do the job right the second time!
After the brief second stop we settled into a good pace, having been passed by a lot of people. We kept up the pace until we got to the halfway point and a nice big bacon sandwich!
The second half of the event is best left unmentioned as far as Dave is concerned. Whilst we do all try and stick together and get along fine, sometimes that just don’t happen. Only joking Dave, hope your feeling better and remember as much as you hate it I will never leave my wingman!
…skip to the end…
In total it was a good all round 65mile tour round Norfolk and a great intro to the Audax events. We all bundled into the car for the homeward journey, a take way and to discuss Sunday’s adventure.
It was decided that on Sunday we would try and really push for some miles in prep for June. As we sat and planned a rough 100mile route from Sudbury out to the coast. The big H, Harry was even on his way down from Liverpool to take part. After a few St. Omar’s and a ruby we decided to start from Stowmarket and head out to Thorpeness, up to Dunwich and then trace back round and home.
Sounds like a plan, lets get some shut eye…
Sunday morning the skies were not as good, the dark looming rain meant this would be a more difficult journey than the previous day, so much so I put my Bontrager wheels back on; I get fed up with Dave worrying about his dam stickers!
Eventually I made it to Stowmarket only to find I was late and everyone wanted to make a move. Quickly I found my gear and we set off, to make life easier we had Lucy and Serina following us and practicing for the backup/support job.
The first leg was an easy warm up with time to get to know Harry, we spoke about cycling as we trundled along. Once again Viv was in charge of directions as he had a new toy, a nice shiny map holder.
After 40miles we had the first call from Lucy asking about the stops, as I was talking away saying yes we would stop in a bit the other shot off down another road; ass!
A few miles on we stopped for the first break, just a quick drink and we were off; if we can do that on the challenge we will be fine.
The mood was good so we carried on following Viv’s instructions, taking us through some of the more rural parts of eastern Suffolk. The roads were not really the best given Dave and Harry were riding the ‘Superbikes’; a pair of Look 486 carbon monsters. But as it was all good milage we carried on.
After around 55miles we pulled into Thorpeness, the venue for lunch and a longer break. Not wanting to let the latic acid settle too much we pressed on up the coast towards Dunwich following Viv’s map reading skills, until he said some thing along the lines of “I think the road might get a bit rough from here” rough was really the word, dirt track would have been a better way of putting it, a bridlepath through a wood might be even closer. Harry being ever the positive thinker pointed out that there was no turning back on the tour and that we should press on. I never really did like cyclo-cross, now I know why. Mud and road bikes don’t mix!
We ended up loosing quite a bit of time and energy on this little side route, to which by the time we got to Dunwich light was not in our favour. The plan to snake back accross suffolk down to Stowmarket was aborted in favour of some quicker road work on the main A road.
This was the final stretch and suddenly Harry shoot into action, we literally towed us along at 25+mph in a mad dash home. At one point I remember looking down and watching the computer sitting at 30mph as we just powered our way through villages. The sight must have been something, to see us snaking round the bends pushing some big gears and looking the part. This has been the most time I’ve spent on the bigger ring and it was defdinately worth it.
We had one last stop about 9 miles from the finish, just to get rid of all empties and knock back one last gel before the finish. Once again it was main road work so we all worked together (for a while anyway) and took turns at the front to finally find ourselves coming down the hill into Stowmarket and a nice free wheel back to the start.
Normally it would end there, a pat on the back, a well done lads and all that British upper lip stuff, but somehow Dave’s pride and joy had got mud on it. This is a complete no-no so we had to endure the cleaning process, to which Harry decided this was not a bad idea. Nothing quite like seeing two grown men worry over a push bike, well if I had a bike like that there is no way I would have got it dirty!
This did however give me a chance to grab a couple of photo’s of Harry’s 486 Limited Edition Custom bike, the most impressive part has got to be those handle bars.