#5000colo Day 66: The Great North Run

Distance travelled: 50.05 miles
Cumulative distance: 1223.79 miles
Distance remaining: 3776.21 miles
Percentage complete: 24.48
Villages visited: Diss, Shelfanger, Winfarthing, Banham, Old Buckenham, Attleborough, Besthorpe, Morley St Peter, Morley St Botolph, Wicklewood, Kimberley, Barnham Broom, Hockering, Lyng, Sparham, Whitwell, Reepham, Salle, Corpusty, Saxthorpe, Gresham, Aylmerton, West Runton.

Having taken another day off yesterday, I was determined to make up some mileage today. Katie had offered to drive me wherever I wanted to go, so I concocted a 50-miler that took me from the very south of the county in Diss to the very north at West Runton.

I’d originally planned to ride from north to south, starting at Beacon Hill, which is Norfolk’s highest point. However, a quick check of the wind direction showed that it would be coming from the south, prompting me to reverse my route. I managed to plot in a few more villages I’d missed along the way, as well as making my first venture into the Diss area.

I started in Diss, and the first few miles were absolutely glorious. It was raining, but not heavily, and the wind was tearing along behind me. I was actually over 20mph average speed for a little while, but that soon evened itself out.

At various points on the journey I had to ride through ‘lakes’ across the road; this generally involved building up as much speed as possible, lifting my legs up and freewheeling through to minimise saturation. The Sealskinz waterproof socks were absolutely awesome again; 50 miles without letting in a trace of moisture and keeping my feet from getting too cold.

I absolutely flew through Attleborough, but then a challenging climb after Barnham Broom golf course took the edge off my progress a bit. I then had to ride a mile or so along the A47 in a crosswind, which was a bit hairy, but I got to my half-way stop at Hockering 15 minutes ahead of schedule, averaging over 18mph!

I had a drink and a stretch and ate a protein bar, but I was so fast that Katie didn’t make it to meet me with the support vehicle. I pressed on, and Katie caught up with me in Corpusty to refill my water pouch and give me a bit of moral support.

The second half of the journey was, understandably, a lot slower; the roads were narrower, dirtier and more undulating, plus I was starting to feel the burn by around 35/40 miles. Then there was one last climb up from Aylmerton to the Roman Camp and Beacon Hill, followed by a gloriously exhilarating downhill surge to the sea at West Runton.

The bike was an absolute state at the end, but I felt pretty good considering. The wind was definitely my friend today, but I feel like 100 miles in a day wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility; I’ll try to squeeze in a few more 50-plus-milers in the coming months, and try to move that distance up towards three figures.

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