All three routes head north from event HQ covering the same 20 miles on quiet, country lanes before the 40 mile route turns off towards the Bradenham feed station – 70 and 100 mile riders continue north, passing through the market town of Swaffham. After Swaffham the countryside changes, the roads are wider and straighter and the countryside is more rolling and open. The first feed station at West Acre Theatre is after 30 miles – it’s a fantastic venue with plenty of space for bikes and riders, great views and the facilities are first class.
A few miles after the feed station is one of the longest climbs on the route for both 70 and 100 riders. Next village on the route is picturesque Great Massingham with duck ponds, ducks and large village greens, towards the end of the village the 70 mile riders take a right turn, skirt across the top of the old airfield and join the homeward route at West Rudham Common.
The 100 mile riders continue to head towards the coast and, thanks to a tweak of previous routes, are treated to a fantastic view of Houghton Hall before skirting the estate and continuing coast bound via Bircham and Docking. Again the countryside changes in this area and the riders turn right heading due east along the fantastic rolling road which runs parallel to the coast. Keep checking to the left and there should be glimpses of the sea to be seen!
A right turn towards Stanhope avoids the chaos of Burnham Market but does involve a section of concrete road – loved and hated by our riders in equal measure! After Stanhope – with yet more duck ponds – the route makes it’s biggest change from previous years as it passes through North Creake onto the feed station in South Creake’s swanky new village hall.
Out of South Creake via the wonderfully named Bloodgate Hill riders pass through Syderstone and East Rudham before linking up with 70 mile riders just after passing West Raynham airfield. As riders return through the heart of Norfolk via Litcham, Wendling the roads feel more like lanes again, the villages come more frequently and the hills get smaller. Perfect for tiring legs!
The final feed station – visited by riders on all three routes – is on the village green at Bradenham, another picturesque setting but no cricket match to watch this year as the village club have an away fixture!
The final run in back to event HQ – 16 miles from the Bradenham feed station – are relatively easy miles although the final couple of miles do have a reputation for being a bit draggy, so save a little in the legs for the grand finale!