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Dunwich Dynamo – Get ahead, get a hat!

The meet point for the Dunwich Dynamo

The second of my two challenges for this year was the Dunwich Dynamo.  This is a bike ride from the Pub on the Park, Hackney to Dunwich; about 120 miles overnight. I did the ride with two chaps from the next village, we are part of a quiz team called the Rivals, the two villages compete against each other in everything vying to see which is best.  On this occasion they reassuringly told me – it’s not a race.  Clearly for some of the Lycra clad whippets who take part in the Dynamo it is a race but we are more the mature, take in the view, kind of riders.

We arrived in Hackney relatively early, which is just as well for our driver getting back out for the journey home.  Gradually the space around the pub filled as rider after rider arrived. Everything from the whippets to people who looked like they were off to shop for a pint of milk via, man-with-two-dogs, tandems, fixies, recumbents and tricycles.  With ages ranging from teens to over 70’s it really is something fpr everyone.  One tandem appeared and then with a gasp realised that with a broken chain their ride was over before it even started. We decided to leave early, just after 8.00pm as we knew we would be slowish and wanted to get out of the built up areas before dark (bumpkins you see).  In the first section there were just enough riders to follow that we didn’t need to keep checking the map.  By the time we were into Epping Forest the numbers of riders passing us was increasing as the whippets whizzed past. The great thing is though that groups of riders would stop at various watering holes and we ambled by. After a while things settled into a gentle rhythm as fairy-light clad cyclists passed and then were overtaken again.

The feeding station at Sible Heddingham seemed to arrive remarkably quickly and it was at that point it really was possible to gauge the scale of the numbers on the ride.  I hope the people who live in the houses near the hall didn’t find it too much of a disruption but you can see by the stream of lights in this shot from the hall steps that there were a lot of people there.  It took about an hour to queue and buy and eat soup and a roll.  Looking around the room I would say only about 1:10 riders was female and only about 1:10 over fifty.

From there it was the long haul to Sudbury, with a great down hill into the town and a chap ringing a bell at one of the junctions (does he do this every night or just when 1,000+ cyclists ride through?).  A minor diversion in Sudbury to see where one of our group was born and to take in the aromas of the Purina factory brought us back on track for the ride on through to Needham Market.  At some point the Mendlesham Mast became visible, this acts like a beacon for locals; you can see it for miles. The light steadily flowed back into the sky and by the time we were riding through Framsden there was a beautiful lilac dawn spreading over the landscape.  Framsden to Framlingham was reassuringly familiar and we decided to go off piste riding to Cransford via New Road, which was prettier but meant we missed Gentleman Plumber and his feeding spot and Des and his photographs.

The final stretch felt like hard work but we were joined and spurred on by Theflyingchef1’s other half who had leant me some super dooper lights.  Then finally there was the last downhill glide to the beach.  It was a good feeling to get there, bodies everywhere and while the boys bought bacon butties from the Flora tea rooms I went in for a swim, probably the best physiotherapy going.

Huge thanks to everyone who has helped along the way.  Whilst I’m drafting a thank-you page here is an important message from James Cracknell.

A question for you:

A couple of other Dynamo blog posts and articles you might like are here:

Guardian

The Dynamo plus

And finally a playlist on Spotify for you

Training for the 2011 Grethathalon – and blogging for Janathon

Janathon is challenge to post daily in January, primarily aimed at runners (I don’t run) but any exercise will do.  I have decided that in my Several World, where I have my own language, I will coin a new form of exercise. I have invented the Grethathalon. In 2011 the Grethathalon will consist of completing the Dunwich Dynamo and the Great East Swim. Note: completing, nothing about times, just getting round is fine. Feel free to join in, there is no prize and I am fully expecting a field of one – me.  My training officially started today. Having used the Take to the Streets training in 2010 for the Great East I am going to try and weave together their swim training and their cycle training over the coming months to reach a point where I am fit for the roads and open water.  You are warned, expect much exercise related blogging in January, but otherwise it will still be a Several World here.

p.s.  If you’ve followed me since my #f450 campaign last January, you will realise that the exercise bug has well and truly entered my blood stream.

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