Having lived in Norfolk all my life and even though I have ridden on all the roads in the event before I was still keen to ride the exact route to experience it and offer my thoughts and advice to others ahead of the event.
The route starts in the heart of Norwich and heads North-East where they seem to have found the only major hill out of city known as Mousehold, which is at 1.5miles in so you will just need a short burst of energy before settling in to long flat sections of A roads, which for Norfolk is equivalent of a motorway heading through the heart of the Norfolk broads past Wroxham.
We turn left heading North and this section is very exposed to the wind and from around the 17 mile mark there is a long drag until you get to North Walsham. The route continues up towards the beautiful North Norfolk coast and then descends into the seaside town of Cromer where it picks up the coast road at 28 miles into the ride. From here the coast road is undulating with plenty of short climbs but nothing too step, this is as hilly as Norfolk gets! The scenery is stunning along this part of the ride and you will enjoy views over the marshes and out to sea.
From Weybourne, I found this part less undulating although brings its own challenges as more exposed to the elements as you go through villages such as Kelling and Salthouse. Once you hit Cley next the Sea there is a cheeky unexpected climb passed Wiveton hall which would be a get opportunity to put in a little dig in and shake off anybody sitting on your wheel.
The route carries on round the main coast road occasional dipping down to the water’s edge to take in villages such as Blakeney and Wells-next-the-sea before turning off onto the private estate road of the impressive Holkham Hall.
Once out of the hall the route picks up National cycle route 1 and cover’s the typical “Norfolk” roads consisting of slight inclines, narrow, muddy and open to the elements of the wind and hence no recovery. Even when off the cycle route the roads do not improve much and it is like this pretty much all the way back to Norwich.
Keep an eye out for the impressive Gothic looking church in the tiny village of Booton, which will be on the right as you go past, it is certainly an unexpected surprise as you approach it!
Once you hit the 11 mile to go mark it is pretty much a Time Trial all the way back so make sure you have saved some energy as this is a time to push on and complete the event within your target time.
Overall a great route and should be some fast times. Just make sure you are prepared with all the riding skills needed, it may be mostly flat but does not mean it is easy!
James – Ride Harder
Check out the official site here to enter the event
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