Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tour of Britain Returns to Bury St Edmunds

Excellent news for all cycling fans and pretty good news for the local economy:

The Tour of Britain will be using Angel Hill, in Bury St Edmunds, for the second consecutive year. Last year, the stage from Bury headed off towards Essex and Colchester. This time the riders will head northwest for a finish at the royal estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.

And, since this year's stage is on a Saturday, 17 September, the town and locations along the route will no doubt hope to maximise their visitors' opportunities to spend money in the area!

Last year's stage is thought to have added a useful £2.5 million to Suffolk's thriving tourist industry, and this year that extra income will be more welcome than ever.

For most locals, though, this is another chance to experience the excitement of an event that, since the UK started doing so well in Olympic and professional cycling, is probably more popular now than it has ever been.

On a more personal note, I have so far managed to miss not one but two opportunities to see the tour. When the race came to Bury last year I was half way across Europe on our Paris to Venice ride. And the previous year we were finishing our second coast to coast ride when we encountered the entourage (but none of the riders) on the ouskirts of Newcastle.

(We were half hoping we'd be swept along in the peleton, but no such luck!)

This year I'm not planning on going anywhere on September 17th, except Angel Hill!


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Friday, 22 April 2011

Just a Quickie

Having decided not to go off road in Thetford Forest this afternoon I had a perfect excuse to get a few miles in on the road.

I didn't think I ought to be out for too long - things to do, visitors coming, etc - and so I opted for my 15 mile there and back ride.

I was very pleased to get to the turn in around 29 minutes, opted not to stop and came back in under 27 minutes, making my total time almost exactly 56 minutes.

That made my average speed 16 mph, which I was very pleased with.

As I said, just a quickie.

Maybe I'll make the Norwich 50 and the St Edmunds Wheel 100? We'll see!


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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Today Took Me Right Back...

Today's ride in the gorgeous April sunshine was reminiscent of last September's Paris to Venice ride, not least because 24 miles seemed to have the same effect today as 60 or 70 miles did back then!

But it was wonderful to be out on the quiet lanes and feeling the warm air and sun on my bare skin.

The bike felt heavy, almost as heavy as it did last year with all the luggage, but no matter. I took my usual route south and this time I held it together rather better on Hartest hill. Once at the top I decide to do the extra couple of miles to Stanstead village.

Once there, I decided to give myself one more little test by continuing to the main road. The short climb back to my usual picnic spot is one of those 'between gears' hills - I seem to find a lot of those when I'm unfit!

Even so, and despite feeling very stiff in recent days, I felt suprisingly good at halfway. A short break and a bite to eat and I was ready for the return. It made sense to restart in a lower gear than I have in the past and I was soon in a decent rhythm, if not at a great pace.

As usual, though, the home leg was faster than the outward one, but just by a few minutes this time. Overall, my outward leg was around 14 mph, and the home leg almost exactly 15 mph, which I'm always happy with.

It's just over six weeks to the St Edmunds Wheel...


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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hard Miles Today!

Stepping up from fifteen miles to twenty shouldn't feel this hard!

Whatever the reason for yesterday's ride feeling like such hard work, it was a bit of a shock to find myself going quite so slowly by the time I reached the top of Hartest hill.

I sensed it was going to be tougher than usual on the first couple of gentle gradients. With a stronger headwind than I anticipated, I was riding at least one gear lower than usual and struggling to get into any rhythm at all.

I ploughed on, safe in the knowledge that this must be doing me good and determined to stick to my plan to take on 'my' hill for the first time in months. Well, finding the right gear for Hartest hill proved even more difficult than usual and it never quite happened! Once the gradient eased I was able to pick up quite well and at least it hadn't killed me...

Safe to say the return had to be easier, with a tail wind and a banana assisting my still fairly feeble efforts. Better to the tune of eight minutes, in fact, which is a lot over ten miles.

So, it was probably the headwind and it was probably low energy levels, and it was certainly a lack of miles since those glorious days back in September...

But I will be stronger tomorrow!


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