On Sunday, June 4th, Norwich will be the host the annual country cycling ride. The event was voted number 1 in the 10 Best Cycling Events list made by The Independent in 2012. (Understandably so, it’s as big as Australian Open is or any other tennis tournament many watch on their telly or via various live streams). If you love cycling through the English countryside, you must not miss this race. It’s a great way to combine physical activity, pleasure and fresh air.
The race starts at The Forum on Bethel St., Millennium Plan in Norwich, Norfolk and ends at the Norwich Lower School, Bishopgate. You can choose between the 50-mile and the 25-mile rides depending on your level of fitness and free time. Cyclists can enter the race on their own or in teams.
The entry pack for 50-mile ride solo competitors is £20 while teams have to pay £19.50 per person. For the 25-mile race, teams pay £18.50 per person and solo riders pay £19.50. If you are a student, you have a discount. The student entry fee is £16 regardless of what race you choose.
The 50-mile ride starts between 08:30-09:30 while the 25-mile one starts at 09:00-09.30. The routes have elevations of 1450ft. and 530ft. respectively. You have to be at least 14 years old to cycle on the long route and 12 years old on the short one. Nonetheless, all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult who’s at least 18 years old.
Riders should wear a protection helmet. If you don’t own one, there will be helmets available for purchase at the location. Also, you should know that event planners cannot be held responsible for the damage, theft or loss of your bike and personal items, which is why you should have bike insurance. They recommend having personal liability insurance too.
The biggest parking lot close to the starting point is Chapelfield on Chapel Field Road. You could also park at The Forum on Bethel Street that’s nearest but significantly smaller. The best type of bike is the road type but a hybrid or mountain bikes are also suitable.
It would be great if you would do trial rides before the event to make sure you can withstand the effort. You don’t have to cycle all the time, you can do any form of physical conditioning including exercises for developing muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance.
Still, some form of uphill bike riding is ideal because you will not be cycling at sea level. Don’t underestimate the effort that goes into uphill biking. It’s tiresome to even for those who exercise regularly.
You should warm up before the race with dynamic exercises. After the ride, it’s best to do some static stretching to decrease muscle fibres breakdown and soreness. Bring energy foods with you such as bananas, nuts, light sandwiches and of course, a full water bottle.
If you have asthma, don’t forget to bring your inhaler because physical effort can trigger an episode especially if the air is cold and the roads are dusty.