Monday, 14 July 2014

204 miles A trip through time. The first 40.

Alzheimer's SocietyYesterday as a theme I took to visit each house that I have lived in, in Norfolk and Suffolk since we moved to the area back in 1970, or there abouts.

The night before I had been through my kit for the ride.....again. I still can't decide what to leave behind and what I must take. Reading other riders blogs from last year and experiences from long-distance racers, what you take seems to be tempered by how genuinely fast you are, how tough you are and probably how young you are. (The point being that I need to keep reminding myself that I am in my 50th year, I have four kids and I have a full time job that involves working nights and weekends.) The rub is that I forget that I'm nearly fifty and like a challenge/race.

I headed out at 05:30 heading south east for Old Buckenham, a picturesque village near Attleborough. I lived there from about 1999 until 2002 ish give or take. The morning was misty and cool and I rode there and for the first 40 miles in a long-sleeved warmer top. (I'm anticipating that temperatures even in August could be cool in the mountains in the early hours and since I plan to start riding each day at about 4 in the morning, this could prove a valuable layer.)

From Old Buckenham I headed further SE toward Diss and the village of Roydon. At 21 miles I was heading further back in time to the mid 80s. The times of the storm that poor old Michael Fish didn't see coming and also of two good years playing rugby at Diss rugby club. It never ceases to amaze me how your past catches up with you in the strangest places, but I shall not forget bumping into Simon, (the openside, where I played blind,) appearing on the top of a mountain in Meribel some five years after I had left Diss. I was about to ski down the mountain, he about to jump off it, skis, parachute and all. Typical Simon!

Diss was a kind of jumping off point for me too. I flew the nest and got my own flat and it was to here that I pedaled next. Now into Suffolk, I cross the A140 at Brome and followed, - what is a great cycle route in it's own right,- the road toward Debenham. Only as far as Eye though.

If you're in that neck of the woods, there are a couple of great pubs, or at least they were then and the best of them I read recently has just been bought by a local businessman to be renovated and under its original name of The Oaksmere, which is how we always remember it. Amongst other things, as you walk in, there is an amazingly deep well in the entrance way that you walk over and can look down between your feet to a depth of what must be 30-40 feet. Or was that a few pints later?

My parents house, a regular checkpoint on many of my training rides, because it allows me to call in on my father who is also cared for close by was at 38 miles and was good for a pile of toast and peanut butter and syrup. I wonder where I shall find that in France or Bulgaria?

More to the point, though I can't believe that I actually forgot on this visit for the first time EVER, not to visit the cake tins that have seen my grubby paws in them on every single visit in the past 25 years!

Your cake will be much missed  but beware the cake tin when I get back....even if there's nothing in it!

Reminder: Live tracking of the event from 08:00 09/08/14 will be available on

I am also now on twitter @johnnymbakewell and will be keeping you up to date here whilst I'm away, so please sign up and follow me here too. I will try to upload the odd blog entry, but they take time and chances are I'll either be asleep, eating or cycling.

Finally: there's just this

Alzheimer's Society

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