#5000colo Day 50: Race Pace

Distance travelled: 28.86 miles
Cumulative distance: 932.65 miles
Distance remaining: 4067.35 miles
Percentage complete: 18.65
Villages visited: Bridgham, East Harling, Kenninghall, North Lopham, South Lopham, Garboldisham, Shadwell, Rushford, Thetford, Kilverstone, Brettenham.

So, 50 days in, and I’m really starting to hit my stride now. Today was my fastest ride yet… and that includes time trials! Yep, I was faster over 29 miles today than I’ve managed over half that distance on my time trials. I’m absolutely elated about that, it’s a definite high point of the journey so far.

Today’s route started in Bridgham, where I’d been for a business meeting. I’d planned to ride this route two weeks ago, but the previous meeting ran over so I didn’t have time to ride on that occasion.

I’d been looking forward to this ride, and that was accentuated by a look at the weather forecast; a balmy 17 degrees, light winds, no rain… perfect conditions. The first few miles contained quite a lot of climbs as I wove my way through East Harling and Kenninghall, then through North and South Lopham.

From that point onwards, though, it was just awesome. Another climb after Garboldisham, then about three miles of arrow-straight back road cutting a swathe through glorious deciduous forest, with the colours of autumn bewitching me. If I had a quid for every grey squirrel I saw, I could retire to the Caribbean tomorrow.

I then went back onto the main road, the A1066 (which should really be nearer to Hastings, I feel). It had just been resurfaced; the tarmac trucks were still in the vicinity, so the asphalt was as smooth and fresh as anything I’ve ever ridden on. Despite the headwind, I enjoyed pumping the legs and managed to keep the average speed just below 16mph.

I then took a short diversion into the pretty little village of Rushford, where I stopped on the green for a stretch. Despite breaking my golden rule of ‘never stop on an uphill’, I powered up the incline and back onto the A1066, before enjoying a long downhill cruise into Thetford where I hit 30mph, and sent the average speed above 16mph for the first time.

Then it was time to head east back towards Bridgham, and with the wind at my back I really made some tracks. I first went past the tiny hamlet of Kilverstone, which used to have a wildlife park which I remember visiting as a child.

I then used the undulations to my advantage as I flew towards Brettenham, building up as much speed as possible on the downhills before getting out the saddle and hammering up the other side. If there were any passers-by I didn’t see, they would have been treated to my exterior monologue as I commentated my way through it, pushing onwards and keeping above 20mph for the vast majority of the time.

I smashed my way back through Bridgham like a mad thing, determined to finish above 16.5mph… and I did! I doubt I’ll have a better ride than that for a while, and I doubt I’ll feel the warmth of the sun again until March or April. I’m ready for the winter… let’s smash it!

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