Tour de Norfolk

UPDATE: Try to spot me in the CD 98.9FM photo gallery: here and here! 😀  They were taken at the starting line.  I also made it on the official tour photostream here.  This was shot right after lunch when I jokingly complained to 1 of the organizers about the hill straight ahead!

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Another gorgeous day for a spectacular bike tour.  This weekend is the 5th Annual Le Tour de Norfolk, which took place in Norfolk County in Delhi, Ontario.  Riders have an option to ride one or both days (campsite is 5min bike ride from starting line).  I found out & registered for this event only last week!  With my recent spinning schedule & biking to work, I didn’t know what my “thighs & legs” condition would be today.  So once again, I chickened out on the 100km route & registered for 75km. 😳

This morning was a 5:30AM wake-up call & out the door by 6AM for a long drive to the starting/finishing line at the Delhi Community Centre.  We have to arrive at the starting line before 8:30AM.  My bro’s 100km starts at 8:30AM; my 75km starts at 9:30AM.  Thank goodness my bro was driving, I don’t think I could keep my eyes open!

All loaded up!

Registration & breakfast inside!

A bunch of riders were already there when we arrived.  We parked our car & went straight to the Community Centre for registration, route maps, & a breakfast sponsored by Tim Hortons (muffins, timbits, coffee, fruits).  When I received my map, I realized the 75km somehow became an 84km route.  SURPRISE!!!  😯  I was actually excited…..a bonus 9km! 😀

I grabbed some breakfast: coffee, 2 bananas, & a blueberry timbit (couldn’t resist! 😛 ).  Then unloaded my bike.

Pre-ride....Sporting my Lululemon bike jersey today

I waited & waited some more for my start.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait a full hour.  By 9AM, they allowed any 84km-ers who were ready to start pedaling.  It’s showtime!

Unlike most of my bike trips this year, this route was mostly flat making it ideal for families.  All the roads were paved with minimal traffic.   The roads were spray-painted with colour-coded arrows to indicate directions; the 84km route was in lime green.  The Norfolk County had farmlands everywhere!  I rode by tons of farms, crops, barns, & witnessed some cool irrigation systems! 😀

Tour de Norfolk banner near the starting line

I gave myself an easy start to alleviate some soreness in my legs.  I was a bit hard on myself whenever bikers sped passed me.  After all, I’ve been spinning so regularly……isn’t that supposed to help my speed?!  😦  About 20km into the ride, I missed a right turn immediately after a left turn.  Luckily, there were 2 riders from behind who saw me & yelled “TURN!”   This route had 1 rest stop & 1 lunch rest stop along the way.  The 1st rest stop was about 26km into the ride, located at Langton Pavillion.

I still can’t ride with 1 hand to hold a water bottle.  So, I took my 1st sip of water since the start.  I was so thirsty!  The rest stop had cookies, water, Gatorade, granola bars, bananas, apples, & oranges.  I had half a granola bar & LOTS of water….my entire 24oz bottle of water!! 😮

1st rest stop

Off I go again.  There were 2 fellow gentlemen from Kitchener whom I met along the way.  They were going at a 24km/hr pace, which I could keep up with no difficulty.   It was definitely more fun than biking alone.  We chatted & before I knew it, we reached our next rest stop at ~50km into the ride at Backus Mill Conservation Area.  It’s LUNCH time!!!

I prefer having lunch at the end of my rides, as opposed to during the ride since I tend to get sleepy after a meal.  But I’ll go with the flow (there was an option to have lunch at the end of the ride, but since there were no rest stops after this & I was here already, might as well eat!).  Lunch was served in this cute building, Aunt Erie’s Kitchen.  They had Subway subs, bananas, apples, granola bars, & Lay’s chips.

Lunch inside!

Cyclists enjoying their lunch; Barn on the right

I took a sandwich, a banana, & a granola bar.  However, I only ate my sandwich & the remaining half of my granola bar from the 1st rest stop.

From here onwards……it’s only me & the finish line!!  No more rest stops!!  Despite the weather getting hotter as noon approached & the sluggish feeling after a huge lunch, I suddenly had a burning fire inside me that came from no where!  I was tired of being the slow one.  For some unknown reason, there was a voice inside of me that kept saying: “You will NOT get left behind!”.  I also began picturing myself in my CYKL class with the instructor yelling at me.  I started keeping a pace of 30km/hr regardless of what the elevation of the road is.  No one passed me anymore; anyone  in front of me was my target.  I passed cyclists one-by-one, including the 2 fellas I met earlier.  Again, I have no idea where that energy came from.  All I remember was the last 20km finished before I knew it.

The final results for today:
Total distance: 85.51 km
Total time: 3hr33min
Avg Speed: 24km/hr
Max Speed: 45.6km/hr

I’m almost at my goal distance of 100km!

Time for free ice cream!!  I had a complimentary Klondike drumstick!  YUM!  😀 I also went inside the Community Centre to purchase a Tour de Norfolk jersey for $75.  Unfortunately, they ran out of my size. 😦  I could order it & get it delivered straight to my house for an extra $5.  Tempting offer as the jersey was excellent quality.  It’s a Louis Garneau bike jersey with Tour de Norfolk designs; it’s bright & sleeveless.  But I passed.  I wish I didn’t hesitate early this AM before my ride.  I should have purchased it then.  Oh well, I guess I saved myself $75 today.  Our registration also included free admissions to an outdoor pool beside the Community Centre.  That would be a nice “cool-off”, but too much hassle with changing!

I couldn’t have asked for a better day……well, except for the jersey dilemma.  But otherwise, perfect weather conditions, amazing company, delicious food, beautiful scenery, helpful volunteers always with a smile, & extremely organized.  What more can you ask for when you only pay $45 registration fee?!  THANK YOU to all the organizers of this event & I hope everyone who are riding on Sunday will have just as much fun!! 😀

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3 thoughts on “Tour de Norfolk

  1. Wow-this looked like a great ride. I am glad I saw it through photos as I am still recovering from CYKL class!!

  2. Pingback: Cambridge Tour de Grand 2012 « Cherry Lo

  3. Pingback: Tour de Norfolk 2012 « Cherry Lo

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