Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Sunday 14 August 2022

Dolomites vs staycation the decider

Dolomites vs staycation the result 

It was the final day of the challenge and with things all square I realised I needed to pull out all the stops so decided to go on a bike ride. Meanwhile the Mrs Crusader crew were going all in on water sports and alcohol as it had worked for them yesterday.

My ride was the best yet as I headed over to Duran passo. It was 65 miles and the two Passos on the agenda offered the best views I can ever remember on a ride. The climb up the Duran passo was also just how I like it. 5 miles grinding up in your easiest gears at a constant 8-10%. Lovely.

Sadly the last 20 miles were a bit disappointing as they were uphill all the way but with a lot on the main road. We nutrition strategy didn’t deliver (3 gels, 1 energy bar and a cheese and ham baguette) as the final few miles were a real slog. But if you haven’t suffered you haven’t cycled.

For stat fans it was 65 miles, 24 up climbs, and 2400m ascended with 3300 calories burnt. 

Before we look at Mrs Crusaders day and the final result here are a few photos summaries my spectacular day.

Meanwhile back at the staycation then after another over leisurely outdoor breakfast, it was off to the river for some swimming and kayaking action. Jenny was the star swimming about 2 miles while Rory supervised Mrs Crusader in one Kayak and Catherine piloted the other (after a quick dip). 3.5 miles were kayaked in total so once again exhaustion set in and it was time for relaxation.

This was delivered in the cottage garden As the afternoon unfolded with chatting , egg and bacon rolls, sun bathing and planning one final staycation activity. They opted for more synchronised sea swimming and headed off to Mundesley. Here is a video of their latest routine.

It was then back to base for more beer, chatting, food and wine

But which day was better. Is it river sports, chatting, sea swimming and lots of alcohol on a beautiful hot summers day or a near perfect ride with stunning views in the Dolomites. Well amazingly both days scored 9.u5 out of 10 so it’s a draw. And we can safely say cycling in the Dolomites is just as good as a stay at home long weekend. Who’d have thought.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Dolomites v Staycation day 2

 Dolomites vs Staycation day 2

With cycling up mountains currently in the lead then Mrs Crusader and crew decided to up their game by introducing a variety of activities into their day. After yesterday’s success I decided to supersize my approach by adding more miles and climbing.

A quick summary of my day was that it was hard but fun. I conquered 5 Passos and was right on the limit by the end, as it should be. However a lot of the ride was on quite busy roads making it hard to enjoy the views. 

For stat fans it was 81 miles, 31 miles climbing a total of  3200m, 8 hours in the saddle and 10 hours in total. 4500 calories burnt with 5 water bottles and 1 small beer drunk. 1 pizza, 2 gels, 1 energy bar and 1 packet of chocolate wafers consumed.

I would say it was an epic ride but unlike yesterday I probably wouldn’t bother to do again so 8/10.

The following few photos give a good summary before we look at Mrs Crusaders day.

Unlike my super efficient breakfast Mrs Crusader and gang had an overly leisurely alfresco one before eventually heading for cley to look round an expensive art shop. Fortunately no art was purchased. After a short walk the group were exhausted so it was time for mid morning coffee.

It was then off to the beach at Cromer for a sea swim including some synchronised, a real treat for the tourists I’m sure.

After this the day gets a bit confused as much  ice cream was consumed and some more cafes visited for lunch, afternoon tea etc.

Then it was back to the cottage for a debrief over beer and wine. 

Although I would have rated this day about a 3 apparently this day rates as an 9.5/10  so it’ one all and all to play for tomorrow.

Friday 12 August 2022

Dolomites vs staycation day 1.

Dolomites or Staycation day 1

Since my return I have tried to mix things up a bit with my bicycle adventures to hopefully help you make sensible decisions when planning your future cycling trips. 

With pandemic restrictions relaxed in Europe I have therefore decided to conduct an experiment (with the help of Mrs Crusader) to see if a staycation is better than a typical holiday sur le continent. Mrs Crusader is going to spend 3 days in a cottage in Aylsham relaxing with friends. Apparently,  messing about on paddle boards, canoeing and drinking wine are all on the agenda. At the same time I’m going to do what most brits abroad do and cycle up mountains in the Dolomites. Using a sophisticated scoring system (out of 10) I will establish who had the better day to find out once and for all which is better (although it’s obviously a no brainier).

As an added bonus my trip is 5 days (as it takes a full day to travel here and back) compared to hers of only 3 (as it takes 30 mins to get to Aylsham). Plus my trip is about 5 times the cost per person so I think it’s looking good.

With travel successfully completed and bike back together then on day 1 I will be warming up with 60 miles of cycling including 20 miles of climbing so let’s see how I got on before comparing it with the staycation.

One advantage of having no cycling guest on a trip is the planned timetable gets adhered to so after an efficient breakfast it was pedals down at exactly 9.00 o’clock.

 I headed down the pass for the first 20 odd miles. It was good to get all that namby pamby descending out of the way early so we could get down to their serious business of going up.

I had selected the route from the hotel website and was excited to find it took on two of the 3 climbs of stage 20 of this years giro d’italia which had inspired me to come out here in the first place. First it was the passo san de Pelligrino an eleven mile climb averaging 6%. The first half was a bit dull as it went through a number of small towns and villages but the second half was fabulous, much steeper and through the trees.

 It was proper hard work and as an added bonus the temperature dropped and it started to rain. None of this heatwave nonsense here.

At the top I as was tired, cold and hungry so headed for a mountain top cafe to admire the view (or clouds) from and refuel.

As this trip is not about cafes for once I didn’t feel the need to try one of the rather untempting cakes but still needed a hot chocolate to try and warm me up. Instead I had traditional Italy fried egg, bacon and potato. 

There then followed a short descent before hitting a lovely long stretch of cycle path along the river. There were a lot of families riding mountain e bikes along the flattest section of the day. Very poor.

The sun had also come out but it was now time to turn off and follow in the footsteps of the giro rides up passo pordio which was the highest points on this years race.

It futures 27 hairpin bends and averaged 7% for nearly 8 miles. A real leg burner, and it started to rain again. And then it got very cold.

However the view from the top was stunning and although I was only 36,000 on the Strava segment leaderboard I was pleased with my effort.

It was just a quick 6 mile descent back to the hotel for a doughnut and cup of tea at a respectable 4.00pm.

For stat fans it was 63 miles, 2,300m climbing and 3,200 calories burnt. Definitely a 9 out of 10 day.

Meanwhile Mrs Crusader and gang made the long trek from Norwich to Aylsham while they rather imaginingly went for a 3 mile walk at Blickling Hall (no I didn’t know there was a pyramid there either). 

Deciding that was enough activity for one day it was off for tea and scones before retiring to the pub for drink and more chat. 

The evening was spent shopping for essentials, mainly alcohol and nibbles.

Before testing it out in the garden over looking the river while enjoying the evening sun. 

Despite no one getting cramp all evening, feeling completely exhausted or getting cold and wet this day was apparently worth 8 out of 10. 

I won’t judge but I think I have proved recreating a stage of the giro to near exhaustion is more enjoyable then chatting, laughing and relaxing on a beautiful summers evening with your friends.

So let’s see how day 2 compares as I aim to go long tomorrow on my Queens stage while the Mrs Crusader party will be doing water sports, chatting, relaxing etc. 

Todays route and profile