Back in 2012 one of the founders of the Boudicca event, Ken Jolliffe, spent many pleasant hours cycling around Breckland and North Norfolk working out the original routes. Three years later and with the Boudicca Sportive now one of the longest established and biggest sportives in the East we are still using the majority of the original route planning done by Ken.
The routes are not hilly – but visiting riders from outside Norfolk should beware of complacency – Norfolk’s rolling countryside can be more of a challenge than anticipated!
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. This is where the event photographer set up camp last year and there is every chance he will chose the same spot this year! 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!
This year we are working with local community groups or clubs who will be helping out at the feed stations. In addition to the free energy drink refills and the free snacks provided as part of the event, each group will be offering tea and coffee at a small charge to raise extra funds for themselves.
West Acre Feed Station
At 30 miles for both 70 and 100 mile riders.
Finding a theatre in the middle of nowhere was quite a surprise! But it’s a perfect setting and in just the right place! We have a feeling that the café will soon become the destination of choice for many riders venturing out into this part of Norfolk.
You can check out what the theatre has to offer here www.westacretheatre.com
South Creake Feed Station
At 61 miles for 100 riders only.
South Creake is one of the prettiest villages in this part of Norfolk and we are using their super new Memorial Pavilion. The volunteers manning this station are connected with the local day nursery at Burnham Market – thanks to Len Fletcher of Norfolk Summer Cyclo-cross fame for volunteering them to help!
At 23 miles for 40 mile riders, 56 miles for 70 miler riders and 86 miles for the century riders.
We have been using the cricket club and volunteers for a few years now and they are fantastic with a base for the last stop to get some drink and food before the last stretch home. They have even been known to make a mean bacon sarnie!