Tour de Norfolk 2012

Tour de Norfolk (Delhi, ON – July 21, 2012) this year was perfection – best weather & new routes with some exciting rest stops!!  Arriving a tad late (long 2 hr drive!), I started the 100km ride at least 15min past the 8:30am start.  My friends ditched me for a shorter distance.  No worries – just give me a bike & no one gets hurt. 😛

0-10km.  I decided to ride with a friendly couple I met at registration.  We hit 2 relatively steep hills at the get-go.  I thought this route was flat?  Being a “free woman” today, I set my own pace.  How hard can I push myself??  I ended up losing the couple at an intersection.  I carried on feeling a bit devious, but I was keen on setting a Personal Best.

The rest of the route was in fact mostly flat.

11km-18km.  Another couple (couple#2) passed me.  I tried to keep up.  They really helped push my pace, traveling between 28-30km/hr on flats.  I eventually lost the battle as the gap between us got wider.

These 2 were fast! Trying to keep up…

18km.  There were 2 riders in front of me whom I realized were on hybrids.  No way are they kicking my behind!  I pushed hard & eventually passed them.  I was back to chasing couple#2 from afar until I reached the 1st rest stop.

26km.  1st rest stop at Wind-Del Park.  Nothing special about the location but it was much needed.  I was starving!  My 5:30AM breakfast had long been digested.

Rest stop serving bananas, apples, oranges, cookies, granola bars

58km. Lunch stop at Long Point Eco Adventures.  We were served a 6″ Subway sandwich.

Lunch tent

The food wasn’t the star, but WOW was the scenery just breathtaking.  We were sitting up on the rocks ….

Overlooking people on zip lines:

And THIS!!!

All fueled up & energized, I pushed hard again thinking about the last rest stop – the one I had been highly anticipating since the start (for a good reason!).  I wanted to get there QUICK!

83km. Last rest stop at Golden Leaf Estate Winery.  This new winery was only opened in October 2011, serving mostly 2011 wine.  I was hoping for some complementary samplings.  Some riders said samples weren’t offered.  Refusing to believe this, I got a banana & headed inside to investigate.  It wasn’t looking good, no staff was around.  As I checked out their products, I finally saw a staff at the counter.  Phew, samples WERE complementary!!! 🙂  I tried a Red (Baco Noir) & a White (Vidal/Riesling).  Both were dry & fruity, just the way I like my wine!

Baco Noir

Vidal/Riesling on the left

83km-104km. Feeling only slightly buzzed, I set off again.  Ouch, my legs felt like bricks.  I didn’t want the last 20km to destroy my earlier efforts.  So I pushed on maintaining above 25km/hr at all times.  At 100km, I kept wondering how long this route was over-measured.  Glad to finally see the finish line!

104km at 25.8km/hr average

A well organized ride – The signage was clearly spray-painted on the road.  And I absolutely enjoyed the new rest stops.  Much better than last year!!

Lesson learned:  “You can’t count on coasting on flat routes!!”  I pretty much pedaled at high gears throughout the entire ride.  Without benefits of downhills to gain speed, constant work was necessary to maintain pace.  I always found myself at too high a cadence & had to remind myself to crank up the gears to avoid wasted efforts.

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