Audax Norfolk Mardle, 2 March 2013

A friend at work suggested we go do The Norfolk Mardle.  It's a route run by Audax UK.  A 109 kilometre route through some beautiful Norfolk countryside.  As I tend to do with most foolish suggestions, I agreed and found myself, courtesy of Andy loaning me his Boardman road bike, pootling through country lanes.


Audax UK 100K Cycle Route

















It was really tricky to get used to riding the bike at first.  I've never ridden using dropped handlebars, sidewards gear shifts and crazily thin tyres before.  Once I got the hang of it and stopped almost colliding with things it was quite cool. Especially leaning fully forward, racing insanely fast down hills and quietly pretending to myself that I was zooming around in Tron.

We started off as a nicely even four but lost Markus somewhere along the way.  That left Rolf, Bingo and I.  The day had started off really cloudy.  The road bike required so much less effort to ride than my usual single speed that I didn't get warm from effort so the cold felt much worse than it might have done otherwise.  At one point I couldn't feel my toes and I was swapping hands over from the bars to blow on them.

I was already starting to feel it at the 20 mile mark. At Stibbard I was already beginning to regret not having put any cycle training in. By the time we made the first check point at Little Walsingham I was needing to seriously attack the Haribo. We met the lovely Brian stewarding the stop, who stamped our cards, gave lots of encouragement and told us there would be cake at the next checkpoint. From that point on all I could think of was the warm cup of tea waiting for us in Salthouse.

Around 30 miles, the smell of the salty sea air was amazing.  Like a child on a Sunday afternoon trip to the seaside I couldn't help but feel a nostalgic wave of excitement at seeing the sea appear on the horizon as we cycled towards Blakeney.

The road bike was too nippy and responsive for me to see much of what I wanted to see scenery wise. If I had got distracted I would have ended up in a ditch or in the back of another rider.   I would have loved to have been able to take the time to walk around Blakeney and Cley Marshes and see some of the wildlife.

At Salthouse the food that the Audax members had kindly put on for the riders was amazing.  We were expecting tea and a bit of cake but what we found was a whole table full of filled rolls, home made scones and cakes and as much tea/coffee as we could drink.  We found out later that one of the women had been up at 5am in the morning baking the cakes for us all.

Endomondo
Endomondo stats for the ride.
www.endomondo.com




The ride back was mostly pain which was kicked off with a 6 mile climb, rising 303 feet up from Salthouse.
The road bike took away all the effort of the actual cycling, compared with the effort of my single speed, and I had no fatigue in my legs or in respect of stamina.   It was wiggling about on a saddle for six hours, bent forward, that left me with a sore bottom and if I bend a certain way, a jarring pain in my back that forces me to keep still momentarily until I can right myself gently again. It was very embarrassing when we got back to control, where we had originally started,  and I couldn't physically get up from my seat to go get tea....much to the amusement of everyone else.

Can't help but wonder how the 200K people got on and how they were feeling when they got back tonight.





Comments

  1. Nice blog. What a great day it was, worth the pain I think really enjoyed, thanks for coming along and being patient enough to hang back with me. Looking forward to the Iceni 100k in June, hopefully the weather will be much better :-)

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  2. Thank you. Woooooo! I might be a little overly excited that I have a blog comment. You are the first person to leave one :)

    "hang back" ??? hahahah Noooo I wasn't completely broken and unable to walk even the length of one table to collect tea at the end...uh uh, not me.....Thank you for moving said tea closer to me lol :D It was an awesome day. Despite the pain, I can't wait until the next one ^_^

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