Last week Lesley updated us on her training efforts in preparation for our sponsored cycle from London to Cambridge. This week we hear from Sorsha and Eve, who have also been training hard, and getting the route ready for the team.
Eve: Along the Norfolk Coast
With our London to Cambridge cycle ride less than 2 months away, I decided it was time to do some training, and planned a long distance cycle along the Norfolk coast in July. I cycled the route a few years ago with my mum, and it was so stunning, I wanted to do it again. This time I persuaded my boyfriend to join me, and we decided to camp at the other end. We tried to pack as little as possible to keep the weight down, although his bulging rucksack was a little less minimalist than I had expected!
We started the cycle from Kings Lynn train station. After poor attempts at map reading, we soon resorted to google maps, and managed to find a lovely cycle path up to Castle Rising. We continued up towards Burnham Market, where we stopped for some food, before heading along the coast until we eventually reached the campsite in Cromer.
It was a beautiful day, and the views along the coast were lovely. However, some of the hills were challenging, and we were definitely ready for a rest by the time we’d reached the campsite. Luckily my parents were also staying at the campsite for the night, and greeted us with a lovely BBQ and some celebratory wine.
After 2 nights camping, we packed up our bags and tents, and started the 50 mile cycle back to Kings Lynn. The return cycle was definitely more challenging. Our legs were tired, our bags and camping gear were weighing us down, and the strong sea wind was against us. It was a huge relief to reach Kings Lynn station, and it was a sleepy train journey back to Cambridge.
After the challenging cycle back from Cromer, I knew more training was in order if I was going to make it back to Cambridge in one piece!
Eve: Watton at Stone and Back
As we are planning the route ourselves, Sorsha and I agreed to do a practice cycle of the route. We split the route in half, with Sorsha cycling from London to Watton-at-Stone and me cycling from Watton-at-Stone to Cambridge. To convince myself I was capable of cycling the whole route, I decided to start from Cambridge, cycle to Watton-at-Stone, and then back to Cambridge; a decision I hoped I wouldn’t regret!
I started by Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, and cycled along the DNA cycle path to Great Shelford. When I got my map and directions out at Great Shelford I realised following the directions backwards was a little trickier than expected. After a few wrong turns, I got back on track, and cycled along one long road, through several villages down to Barkway.
As I cycled out of Cambridgeshire and into Hertfordshire, the frequency and steepness of hills began to pick up, and my legs started to miss the flat Cambridgeshire countryside! There were several steep hills around the Watton-at-Stone area that left me struggling for breath, yet zooming down the other side was an exhilarating experience. It was a relief to see the sign for Watton-at-Stone and I stopped on the green to refuel my energy before cycling the same route back to Cambridge.
Sorsha: London to Home
A few weeks ago, Tim Williams, a cyclist and triathalon trainer, came to our offices, and kindly gave us a free cycling theory session. Tim’s company is called Perfect Condition, and gives training, and bike set up advice to everyone from top athletes to students. I learnt lots, and as soon as I got home I tweaked my bike position, and was even more inspired to train.
I got up early one Sunday morning and hopped on a train to Kings Cross with the simple intention to ride straight home again. Luckily I live in Stevenage, which is very close to Watton at Stone. Following the planned route was far more difficult than I had initially expected, and I spent the first hour and a half getting hopelessly lost in London as I attempted to leave the city.
Once out of London the route became a lot easier, and I began to actually enjoy myself. After cycling through Potters Bar, I found myself travelling through lovely countryside villages. As I approached Newgate Street Village I encountered my first very large hill, and things began to get more challenging. After a few mid hill breaks, and a little bit of walking, I made it through the hilly patch of the route.
My next adventure involved getting lost in Welwyn Garden City for half an hour- a town the planned route does not even enter. With the help of google maps I managed to get back on track, and enjoyed the glorious downhill road to Watton at Stone- the midpoint in our route.
Unsatisfied with my time, fitness, and route knowledge, I decided to embark on the challenge once again last Sunday. After a little change in the London route, I found the ride much more pleasant, and even managed to avoid getting lost. The hilly section was still a challenge, but my overall time was quicker, and I even hit a speed of over 30 mph downhill!
With only a few more weeks until the big cycle ride, we are both looking forward to the challenge, and just hope we can get through it and enjoy the day. You can sponsor us on our JustGiving page here. All donations will make a huge difference. Thank you.