Posted by: robinson2000 | June 12, 2012

Training May

With the impending challenge looming ever closer, I felt it was about time to get off my backside and start getting my squidgy body into some sort of cycling shape. The hardest part about the ride is finding the motivation to put some serious hours in on the saddle as let’s face it, with the terrible weather we had in May, pedalling around the windy wet Norfolk coast wasn’t my idea of a picnic. Sitting at home in my reclining IKEA chair and watching the Premiership on Super Sunday with some Doritos and a pack of Cadburys Fingers balanced on my belly was far more appealing. However, I did persevere and managed 3 cycles to work every week which totals 20 miles each time and a few 40-50 milers around the surrounding villages of Norwich. On the whole, the rides were very pleasant and enabled my muscles to become accustomed to the heavier bike that I was riding. The problem is that it’s very difficult to recreate the same conditions that we’ll face along the East coast in good ole Norfolk. In the States we will be experiencing incredibly high temperatures and humidity, very steep sinew stretching mountain climbs as well as dragging the equivalent weight of a baby elephant. As much as I enjoy cycling around Norfolk, it’s really not in the same league as what we’re up against and to be honest I have no inclination to load up the bike just yet.

One ride that I did thoroughly enjoy was the annual Norwich 100 miler, which begins in the magnificent grounds of the cathedral and takes riders on a circular route up towards Sheringham, along the coastline to Horsey, then heading back to the cathedral grounds. The weather was absolutely perfect for the ride as I left Norwich at 8am in a peloton of shiny, Lycra clad enthusiasts, all jostling for position along the road up to Fakenham. By the 3 hour mark I had blitzed 50 good miles and took an enforced 30 minute break in Sheringham High School. The second half of the ride sorts the men out from the boys as the route heads eastwards into a strong coastal headwind for the next 30 miles with the road constantly falling and climbing. Scattered at the side of the road are the usual casualties, some frantically mending inner tubes, others chugging down energy bars and a few desperate looking souls wishing they had signed up for the 50 miler. The ride really becomes enjoyable once you turn away from the coast and the adrenaline kicks in as you steam towards Norwich with a steady tailwind to nudge you along. I managed to cross the finish line after 7 hours of leaving the city. My best time for the 100 miler to date. All my worries about the new heavy bike subsided as it had got me round in record time and had overtaken a fair few super slick lightweight bikes in the process. None of that nancy-boy carbon-fibre frame stuff that was so frowned upon on the last tour, it’s all about the solid steel this time.

Countdown to take off is currently 6 weeks. Look out for the Evening News press article coming out tomorrow about the ride.

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