Monday, 7 October 2013

Summer tour 2013 by Dawn.

Day 1- MK to Mildenhall

Distance = 111km
Climbing = 668m
Duration = 7 hours 39 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -4m
Maximum Altitude = 114m
Average Speed - Moving  = 18.2kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 34 minutes

We loaded the bikes and were ready for the off at 08.45. Got going to a good start as I had fresh legs and I wanted to do the route better than last year when we rode the same route home from Mildenhall.
The first stop was at Sandy at a bakers were I had cake and fruit juice, it was getting warm at this point and I was glad of the quick stop. The only trouble with this was that we then had to climb up to Sandy Heath with slightly cold legs.
The roads we used were all reasonably quiet and we stopped at Toft for the packed lunch we had brought with us. Cambridge came along next and Rich was charging down the outside of the traffic queues with me having to pedal like mad to try and keep up!! He forgets I'm an old bird and can't go as fast.
We stopped at a coop for more water and some headache tablets (for me!) and got on our way for the last leg of the day.
Next stop was for an ice cream at Fordham where we saw Tomsk (from yacf) and his son heading for the site also. The last few mile signs as like all good signs kept going up and down, one minute they said Mildenhall 4 miles then 5 and back to 4!!
More traffic through the center of Mildenhall but it didn't take long to register and get the tent up and kettle on for tea :-)

Day 2 - No cycling today

A day off the bike today so we walked into town for some food and drink for the weekend and a lazy day chatting to friends and other visitors to the site.
A friend from MK (Lesley Sung) came over for the 300km audax today and I said we would be there when she got in at whatever time it turned out to be. After an 04.00 start she got in at 22.30 with over 90 minutes to spare, me and Rich had gone for a walk across the camp site to where the riders came in and it just happened to be the time she got in.
I helped her find her tent and loaded her bike into the car as she needed the toilet and disappeared into the bushes. Thanks also goes to Steve A for helping her round her 1st 300 .

Day 3 - Ride to Risby tea rooms.

Distance = 37km
Climbing = 690m
Duration = 4 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -31m
Maximum Altitude = 120m
Average Speed - Moving  = 17.4kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 8 minutes

Rich had started the morning helping Kevin from D-Tek cycles to set up his stall. He had a nice tandem recumbent trike there, which Rich was staring wantingly at. "Step away from the trike, we can't afford it!!"
Then out for an pre-organised ride out to a cafe in Risby with 14 other yacf riders for a cream tea. I could have stayed there all day looking around the antiques barns and spending more money than we have.
Some of the group went on to a pub for dinner but 5 of us decided to head back to the site via a different route.
We then spent a lazy day sat around a couple of picnic tables (moved from the other side of the school) looking at stoves, camping and cycling gear, eating takeaways and drinking until about 23.00 when the lady from the tent by the stalls asked us to keep the noise down.

Day 4 - Mildenhall to Norwich Camping and Caravanning club site

Distance = 77km
Climbing = 1,417m
Duration = 6 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -66m
Maximum Altitude = 192m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.1kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 45 minutes

We wanted to get away a bit earlier than last year and got packed up and on the road for 11.
The 1st part of the ride was on busy roads towards Brandon and then Thetford. After this the roads got quieter as most of the traffic then went over to the A11.
It was a hot day so a few stops to top up the bottles was needed. Not a bad ride over but it's surpising how rolling the lanes are around here the other side of the fens.
We got to the site at around 5ish got set up and had a well welcomed shower. The showers had to be seen to be believed at Mildenhall school, fine for kids but not great for hordes of cyclists!
A couple of pints at the pub and slept well.

Day 5 - Norwich to West Runton C+CC site

Distance = 51km
Climbing = 952m
Duration = 5 hours 32 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -7m
Maximum Altitude = 133m
Average Speed - Moving = 16.9kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 29 minutes

The day started with a tin of cold rice pudding for Rich and custard for me (actually quite nice for breakfast) and a ride into Norwich city center. We had to visit the T-Mob shop to get a new phone for Rich (he came out with one for me too). 1 point I'd like to make is, Norwich is very hilly!
A full breakfast in a cafe on the way out of Norwich was good but within minutes we were climbing up out of the town towards Rackheath.
The roads weren't too busy until we got closer to Wroxham, the roads were nose to tail here and Rich was away again up the outside of the traffic! He was waiting for me in the town center.
North Walsham was the stop for lunch from the local coop then back into the traffic through towards Cromer. The shortcut bypassing Cromer was busy as everyone else takes this road also.
Arrived at the site late afternoon, the road down to which is about 1/2 a mile long. We new this site from a visit with the kids back in June.
We spent some time washing and drying the cycle gear so to have clean stuff for the last few days of the trip.
Food was again a mix of beans and rice, we couldn't be asked to walk down to the pub so had an early night.

Day 6 - West Runton to Woodstock Farm (Nr Wereham)

Distance = 79km
Climbing = 662m
Duration = 6 hours 56 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -1m
Maximum Altitude = 128m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.8kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 30 minutes

Another baking hot day expected so we were up early and away up the long hill out of the site (I didn't have to stop:-) ) and into the lanes of North Norfolk. The first part today was rolling again but not too hilly.
Breakfast/midmorning snack was a french stick and pate from a shop in Briston where we also put suncream on as it was getting hotter.
Lovely lanes towards Swaffham but as it flattened out in got a bit more windy.
We had lunch in Swaffham which was chips and cheeseburger for me and fish and chips for Rich. He also had a battered sausage. It was a foot long (has to be said in a Norfolk accent)!
He then had to go looking for some gas for the stove, the first shop he asked said try Dereham. Only a 10 mile detour along the A47! No thanks! He found some in a diy shop in the end.
A visit to the supermarket to stock up on supplies and away for the last leg to the site.
The site was a lovely little place with only ab few pitches for vans and tents alongside a small fishing lake.
Very quiet place apart from the odd jet flying into Marham airbase.
Lovely clean new showers there and a couple of shepards huts/converted stables that could be hired also.

Day 7 - Woodstock Farm to St Neots

Distance = 92km
Climbing = 451m
Duration = 7 hours 48 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -20m
Maximum Altitude = 50m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.4kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 32 minutes

We knew this was going to be a longer day which could be hard if the wind picked up, we were up early again and were packed up and on the road for around 8.30.
1st stop was at Welney wildlife center for coffee and a bacon roll, the place is a bit pricey but so area lotof places nowdays.
The roads were straight and flat nearly all day, zigzagging like they do on the fens in and out of the headwind.
It was hard word and we were making steady but slow progress.
The heat didn't help so the plan of maybe cycling straight through to home was changed and we got to St Neots C+CC site around 5.
We had heard a lot of people liked this site being the best people have stopped at.
It was a lovely site and we had the choice of a pitch by the river or up the top. The decision of pitching by the river may have been the wrong one though as we were bitten to #### by the gnats there!!

We decided to have a walk into town to see if we could get some food but most places were shut by then, we did find another coop in the end and got supplies from there.
Also chips and curry sauce to go with the cold pasty :-D on the way past the Chinese just up the road from the site.

Day 8 - St Neots to Home

Distance = 49km
Climbing = 444m
Duration = 3 hours 43 minutes
Minimum Altitude = 9m
Maximum Altitude = 101m
Average Speed - Moving = 15.7kph

Time At Rest = 1 hours 35 minutes

It was climbing straight away out of St Neots, nothing too hilly but it seemed never ending and was getting to be hard work for me. The route was chosen for directness more than hills. Next time we'll more likely drop down south of Bedford as it's a bit flatter.
Pretty uneventful ride today and we were home by lunchtime.
All gear packed away and washing done. Then a leisurely evening doing bugger all apart from getting ready to go back to work tomorrow!!

All in all I really enjoyed the tour, some of it was hard work and I did say at the time of finishing that I wouldn't do it again.
But after getting over it and having a few good sleeps I would pack the bike and go again tomorrow.

Can't wait for next years trips now, I wonder what he has planned for me!!!

Dawn x

Photo's below in no particular order, other pic's can be found over on yacf


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