Ride of the Three Hams (C#23)
Monday 18 July, 107 Miles
My legs felt quite good this morning after yesterday’s blast round east Suffolk. It also promised to be the warmest day of the year so far with temperatures forecast to rise to the high 20’s. So this was a great reason to get the bike out and ride. The route today was up into south and mid Norfolk through some gently rolling countryside. A slight breeze took the edge off the heat as the day warmed up.
With clear skies and long, straight roads I was really enjoying myself. And the roads seemed much quieter than usual so I could spend more time looking around and less worrying if I was either going to be rear ended or forced to swerve into the verge by an oncoming 4x4. Yes, both have happened to me – I was once rear ended at a roundabout by a driver who thought I should have nipped through the oncoming traffic on a major dual carriageway. I had the last laugh though because immediately behind the offending driver was a police car whose occupants clocked it all. As no real damage was done to me, just a knock to my dignity, I was able to leave the ‘scene of the crime’ pretty quickly. Said motorist however was getting quite a going over from (nice) Plods who certainly weren’t plodding. “Do you have your documents Sir? Is this car yours? Have you looked at the Highway Code recently?” That last one brought me up short. Okay, when did you last look at the Highway Code?
Anyway, enough of this! The main feature of today’s ride was liquid, lots of it. I reckon I drank close to four litres of assorted fluids to avoid dehydrating. Some energy drinks that I brought with me; some mineral water and two cans of coke (full strength for the sugar dear reader) as well as a very welcome ice cream. I stopped twice to restock – at Litcham (roughly half way round) and then at Banham with just under 20 miles to go. Ironically, I felt hottest when I stopped under the full sun with virtually no shade. Riding along was fine with the benefit of that light breeze that was reasonably cooling. And with only Norfolk ‘mini hills’ to ascend I hardly broke sweat. The biggest challenge as the day advanced was the road surface where the heat of the sun had started to soften and melt the tar in a few places. The roads round here are heavy enough as it is without having to contend with riding through treacle!
After last week’s visit to Denver (C#21) today’s notable village was Kimberley – but with no diamonds. Or at least if there are diamonds here then they are a closely guarded secret. Kimberley is a small village notable for the Wodehouse family who have lived here since the 1370’s. One of the Wodehouse’s distinguished himself in the Battle of Agincourt and was granted large estates by Henry V as a reward. The grounds of Kimberley Hall were designed by Capability Brown.
So there we have it a very pleasant ride in great weather – more please. And if you’re wondering what the Three Hams in the title above are then look no further – SwaffHam, DereHam and WymondHam all of which I rode through. It’s the heat, don’t you know!!