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Active Root Ambassador Mark is a keen mountain biker and endurance athlete competing in sailing, biking and running events. He recently competed in the Tour of the Cornfields, a 100 or 50k off road sportif, starting in Wimpole Estate.
"Last Sunday dawned incredibly bright and warm as 350 people arrived at Wimpole Hall near Cambridge for the Tour of the Cornfields a 50 or 100km off road sportive.
It is a miracle of course planning crossing into Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire and being I’d guess 85% off road, ranging from decent fast rolling gravel farm roads to single track bridle paths and 4x4 eroded byways of which more later.
Again for flatlands the course has some pretty steep climbs but none of them are long. The route headed off west and along with my friend Jonathan and his son Jonah we opted for the 100km (actually 113km) route. We were posting pretty decent times too (Strava placed us in the top ten overall on segments). We had the fun of crossing a live airfield runway, had a private airshow from “The Blades” aerobatic display team near another airfield and finished up just before the rest stop with a greater than 20% gradient, single track, sandy climb. All excellent fun.
The rest stop was manned by wonderful people forcing plates of homemade cakes onto us, life was getting pretty good.
We swooped out Bedfordshire into Hertfordshire along a deeply rutted, thanks 4x4 drivers! and fast byway with the tops of the ruts a smooth dry mud surface like set concrete thanks to the summer. All of a sudden I was a passenger in a big old crash and found myself laying in the grass trying to see if I had broken anything (certainly my pride was severely dented), after time it did seem everything worked but my shoulder really did hurt. I assume I caught a pedal on the side of a rut, I do know it was a big old crash.
Supported by Jon and Jonah I dragged myself around to the finish feeling pretty faint all of the way. Anyway we finished about halfway down the list of times.
Its a great event and highly recommended, we’ll do it again and I’ll be trying stay on the bike next time. Throughout I used 3 x 750ml bottles of Acive Root and, fall apart, felt great all the way round. The shoulder still aches a lot but I did manage to get a 21km run in mid week (again powered by gingery goodness) practicing for the Sunday of the Saltmarsh 75 Ultra coming up in October."