On Sunday I took part in the Action Medical Research Suffolk Sunrise bike ride. I had signed up for the champion route of 102 miles and was completing this with two friends from my cycling club, Romford CC. Action Medical Research are a company funding medical research to beat the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children.
The three of us are taking part in the Vatternrundan next month, which is a 186 mile bike ride in Sweden and so this was perfect as part of our training and made a nice change to do a ride somewhere different.
- Registration is seemless and as well as being efficient and simple you are also given an energy gel, emergency contacts, band for distance you are taking on, timing chip and number and then bags of jelly babies and sweets – can’t complain about free sweets!
- The marshalls are always happy, helpful and encouraging on route.
- The signage is always clear and easy to follow.
- The rest stops are always the best! There is tea and coffee, cake and biscuits, energy bars, crisps and freshly made rolls – proper food to fuel on as well as water, squash and energy drinks. There is a mechanic at every rest stop also.
- Vehicles drive the route also to ensure they can assist if someone has a mechanical.
- Goody bag at the finish which included locally made marmalade and coffee, energy bar, a discount code for future rides and of course a medal (its all about the bling after all).
The ride started and finished at Framlingham Castle otherwise known as the Castle on the Hill from the Ed Sheeran song – I can’t claimed to have known this prior to the ride but my friends did! Sadly there was no Ed Sheeran to sing us in as we arrived on the finish line.
When we ride we enjoy ourselves – you should always enjoy yourself when working out otherwise why do it? We laugh and we joke and we sing – the three of us were quite the choir singing around the route (also available for weddings and bahmitzvahs).
The ride, quite honestly, had the most twists and turns I think I’ve ever encountered on a bike route though I’m not complaining – it kept it interesting. It was described as a flat and fast route and there were sections that were but these seemed to also have the worst wind. Don’t get me wrong there were no mountains at all but small up and downs for 100 miles meant you felt it in your legs for sure – great for training though!
We also encountered a first for a ride – a 12 foot long python going across the road! Ok so this is a slight exaggeration it was actually just a grass snake probably no more than 2 foot long but still was a first – the last Action Medical Research ride I took part in we had to stop down a country lane to allow a pack of approximately 40-50 Labradors – what will we find on our next ride with them?
There were many funny moments on the ride, most of which I cannot share in a blog post, but one included a funny feeling on my inside thigh where I found the velcro from my new saddlebag had rubbed a hole in my favourite bib shorts so I spent almost 50 miles checking it was not growing and I was exposing myself to innocent passers by. Laura kept telling me to stop fingering my hole – in my bib shorts dirty minded people!
I must also say the people of Suffolk were the most courteous for cyclists! Coming from a London borough that is busier this, and cycling for miles and miles on car free roads, was lovely even if those car free roads had more than their fair share of gravel, which to be honest is not ideal for a road bike, so there were many cries of ‘gravel’ as we turned again and again and again and again. I had visions of loading my strava ride and seeing the map similar to a running track session.
I would definitely recommend a planned ride with these guys (both Action Medical Research and Laura and James) – currently looking at what one I will do next!
- my sore lower back – need to sort that prior to Sweden! Recently the base of my back has been on fire but my set up has not changed so unsure of the cause?
- I don’t pedal round corners and coast around so naturally slow and then have to pick the pace back up.
- Since my fall last year I hardly drink on the bike until a stop and this is something I have to work on getting my confidence back to do.
- Not to rely on people I ride with to tell me to eat – I’m terrible at this and it’s not a good habit!
- Protein is great but I must ride with my mouth open and eating bugs on route is protein I could do without!
I can just see my husband right now reading this shaking his head, mouth open, mock outrage, saying ‘I’ve told you all this a million times’ and yes I know but thanks in advance lover as a cycling coach I will be coming to you for help! 😘