Tour de Norfolk 1

It was a cycling masterstroke in rolling out shortly after 7am on the first stage of Le Tour de Norfolk. The overt aim was to get miles in the leg; the covert reasoning was to send my Strava counter spinning round as I edge ever closer to 2,000 miles clocked up in the saddle for the calendar year.

And so a car free roll out as I beat the morning rush hour. Pah! They’ll still be reading the morning stocks and shares, just as I neck my first gel bar around the 25km mark.

Do they actually read stocks and shares in Norfolk?

A similar numerical theme was occupying my mind: it’s all about the cadence.

Cycling can produce strange thoughts within a man. The story of my mixing of the colours and whites in the washing that almost spoilt a good ride earlier in the season is a hit and miss blog post waiting to happen.

Cadence however is important. The steady rotation of the pedals, irrespective of the ascent or the descent makes for a half-decent cyclist.

I counted my rhythm as the passing scenery of the North Norfolk coastline kept me company for the early stages of the ride.

And then I went cross-country.

Whoops.

Best laid plans, blah blah blah bollocks.

So much for spending the first half of the week planning and plotting my every twist and turn on the Garmin.

The route itself was fine – it’s just that my road bike doesn’t handle too well a cross-country detour. It doesn’t do much for the cadence either.

I lifted a GPX file from another rider. The modern interweb is all about sharing, Comrades. It would have been rider etiquette though to mention that a good two miles of the route during the Wells approach involves going over a terrain that even the Tour of Flanders hard men would probably flinch at.

I ended up walking it. Punctures are no fun, particularly when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a failing Garmin.

Ah yes – the Garmin.

The rough and ready detour led to a freak tech accident. The Garmin mount clean broke over a cobble as I pushed it along. The device remained working, but I had nowhere to attach it.

My bird’s nest vantage point had been broken. I was riding blind; I was riding towards the endless Burnham’s, a mapping mistake that involves a multiple of Burnham’s scattered around to confuse any cyclist.

I managed to make it to the turnaround town of Hunstanton. You don’t want to prolong your stay in a destination poking out towards the North Sea that includes the North Norfolk Gun Exchange shop.

A young chap, tired and emotional at 10am on a Friday morning, confirmed my decision to cleat back up and bugger off out of Hunstanton.

Chicken brew for breakfast, Comrade?

Special Brew, more like.

Fine effort though, fella.

And then it all went wrong.

I rode a similar stage on Le Tour de Norfolk last summer. I am nothing but a man of routine. I managed to get lost on the return leg in the exact same spot.

The Strava data is there to analayse if that is really your thing. I’d like to draw your attention to the double loop of some country lane circuit that I managed to clock up. It’s probably best not to lift my GPX file.

I eventually managed to get back on to the main coastal road drag. Morston has never been a more welcoming sight.

Stage 1 observations:

Norfolk has a LOT of road kill. It all comes back to the North Norfolk Gun Exchange, Comrades.

There are some truly beautiful churches in the county. Not so convinced about the twaddle that takes place within.

40km is the rough figure for a toilet stop. Apologies to the family car that caught me with my roadside pants down.

Oh – and Richard at Chapeau Velo is the BEST bicycle mechanic in Essex, and probably beyond. Ta for fixing up the roadie so that it could take the punishment I put it through.

And so the Garmin break leaves me with a bit of a problem for tomorrow. I’ve got a beautiful route mapped out along the lanes towards North Walsham. One wrong turn and I’m buggered.

Back to Blakeney?

Chapeau!