120 miles of sweat, pain and absolute fun

Last Saturday was the Dunwich Dynamo. A 200km ride through the night from London Fields to a beach near Dunwich.

I’m not one for preparation but this time I stocked up on the advice. From previous blog posts such in the Guardian Bike Blog and forums such as LFGSS. I took with me lots of food, drink, batteries, spare inner tubes and a bright bike light. I also invested in a bottle cage to be able to refuel without stopping. I had the route plotted in my iPhone and turned down the brightness and the 3G off so that it would last throughout the 10 hour ride.

Although, I did manage to undo much of the preparation by going out for drinks the night before. Oh well..

Arriving at London Fields around 9 for the start of the Dunwich Dynamo I picked up the turn by turn directions and looked for my ride buddy.

We quickly got going and settled into a fast pace. The atmosphere was great and it was incredible to see so many cyclists together, red lights flicking and groups forming. We wanted to quickly get out of London to start enjoying the country lanes. Soon after Epping Forest our wish was granted and we were enjoying the ride. There is something quite magical about riding at night in a big group.

Dunwich Dynamo arrives in Moreton

The first stop was at Moreton. Here quite a few people were already on the beers and it was a good chance to catch up with some fellow riders. As it was still early in the night lots of pubs were still open so there was plenty of great places to stop. We didn’t stick around long as we were keen to get going.

Again we rode at a high speed doing lots of overtaking looking for a group of riders going at a similar speed. So far it was the over enthusiasm for the ride that was causing this huge boost in energy and I was sure there would be a serious drop in speed later on.

The quiet country lanes were the perfect condition for cycling and I was glad of my Ixon IQ bike light shining the way ahead. If you are looking for a good light for the ride that isn’t too expensive then I can highly recommend it. In a couple of the quaint villages some of the people that lived there had come out to cheer everyone along. This was good fun and it was good to see people supporting the ride.

At one point we came across someone that had taken a bad fall. He looked rather worse for wear but as there was a lot of people already stopped to help we kept going. It reminded me of the dangers and to stay focused.

The next stop was at the Village Hall. Here I managed to catch up with the guys from Going Going Bike and also SuspectPackage who was easy to spot donning the Hello Joe t-shirt. Various sandwiches were being sold and also it was a good place to fill up the water bottles as from here on there would be far less pubs and petrol stations open.

At around 90-100 miles in we took a short break to grab some food. Daylight was on the way and as we sat eating some sandwiches various people cycled past and turned back around. We realised we had missed a turn. Most of the way the directions were very easy to follow.

The last 20 miles were tough. Tiredness was setting in and time seemed to be standing still as did the mileage count. I left my riding buddy to do some solo cycling. Eventually I came across the sign for Dunwich. There was a big relief and the last 5 or so miles were a bit of daze. After just over 9 hours of cycling I arrived at Dunwich, wheeled my bike onto the beach and sat down to take in the ride.

Dunwich Dynamo arriving at the beach

About 15 minutes later I was joined by the other guys I was riding the Dunwich Dynamo with and we set about getting some breakfast. We joined up with Silka from TfL who had also finished the ride and recounted our experiences. I wanted to catch up with various people such as Karl and Sparkes but was feeling that bit too tired.

It was great to sit on the beach and think about the whole thing. Easily my favourite experience was about 25-50 miles in, riding at high speeds and enjoying the dark setting. The Dunwich Dynamo is a great ride that I would highly recommend.

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22 Responses to 120 miles of sweat, pain and absolute fun

  1. Mike 26/07/2010 at 11:52 am #

    Glad you enjoyed the ride Andreas.

    I decided last week that I was going to give it a go, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I hooked up with a bunch of riders from the Dulwich Paragon club at the start and rode with them for about 100 miles. Wanted to say thanks to them for being a really friendly crew and for setting the perfect pace!

    There’s something magical about whizzing through the night with a bunch of people. The swish of the tyres, mechanical whirring and chirrups of crickets were a fitting backdrop to riding through the countryside and villages.

    In the end I stopped to help a rider who’d (in his own words) “Done a Schleck,” his chain was in a right tangle and then I rode the last 5 miles solo, and the sign to Dunwich was a welcome relief at that point. In the end it took just over 7 hours of riding, which was faster than I expected.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but despite eating and drinking all the way through I was ravenous by the end. My breakfast was a carton of Ribena, a Twix, pot of tea for two, bacon roll, jam and cream scone, pot of tea for one, sausage roll and a 99 flake ice cream!

    • Andreas 26/07/2010 at 12:08 pm #

      I think you burn around 6,000 to 10,000 calories so no wonder you were feeling very hungry! My eating list is quite similar to yours for when I arrived.. those 99 flakes are good!

      Nice to hear that you pulled it off in just over 7 hours – I was a bit slower!

  2. Dani Riot 26/07/2010 at 1:41 pm #

    this sounds like fun, maybe i will join you next year.

    although, one question, once you travelled all the way to dunwich. did you have to cycle back again?

    • Andreas 26/07/2010 at 2:37 pm #

      Southwark Cycles organise a load of coaches back. These cost £25 if you book late or £15 if you book a couple of months before. Or you could cycle back..

  3. suspectpackage 26/07/2010 at 5:25 pm #

    i’m famous! good to meet you chief, nice write up

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:29 am #

      Very good as always to put a face to a name :)

  4. MarkA 26/07/2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Well done Andreas, sounds like you had a great time of things. Not even a hint of saddle soreness? Alas I was tempted away on Saturday night with promises of dinner and tickets for wild theatrical experiences in SE1 so didn’t do the Dun Run this year but I saw a cycling club group of riders getting ready to set off from Evans Cycles on London Bridge – they looked seriously organised! If ever I get round to doing it I think it will be a much more sedate and amateurish affair for me,

    Well done mate!

    • Andreas 27/07/2010 at 8:49 am #

      Cheers Mark! No saddle soreness and no need for anything resembling Lycra. Guess more important to have a good saddle (mines averagely good!)

      I’ll remember to pester you next year to do it ;)

  5. Godwyns 27/07/2010 at 1:22 am #

    It was fun… looking forward to next year. But you didnt mention I led you by the hand from deciding to do it to starting and finishing it… haha!

    Good write Mr. London Cyclist

    • Andreas 27/07/2010 at 8:47 am #

      Haha cheeky! Who erm… who erm.. arrived on the beach first? Was it Andreas?

  6. Grant 28/07/2010 at 9:55 am #

    Hey Andreas, sorry I didn’t bump into you. Would liked to have met up and said hello! Next year. :)

    Shameless self plug – I’ve posted my experience of it here: http://www.dailycrank.net/185km-ride-through-the-night-the-2010-dunwich-dynamo/

    • Andreas 28/07/2010 at 10:31 am #

      I read your post on it! Very good. Always nice to hear other peoples perspective on it!

  7. Nick Woodford 29/07/2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Hey Andreas,

    Good to see you on the beach! glad you enjoyed the ride. We managed to get back by train in the end. all in all it was a fantastic experience… I was just glad to off-load that book!

    Nick

    Ps nice post on ‘cycle storage in a cosy flat’

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks buddy and good to have a copy of your book. Look forward to telling everyone about it here on London Cyclist :)

  8. Anna 30/07/2010 at 10:53 am #

    argh, I was meant to do it but then had to veery spontaneously move out of my flat that sunday – GUTTED, especially after reading this great piece!

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:30 am #

      No worries Anna – next time put it in your calendar, really is a memorable experience!

  9. Jed 01/08/2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Well done Andreas. Very good time. Would have been nice to say hello, but it is such a crowd!

    Nice write up… my shameless self-promotion is my write up on my blog here: http://jedb.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/dunwich-dynamo-2010/

    Maybe next year we can match your time!

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks for the linkup to your write up. Will give you a shout next time round (or at another big London cycling event)

  10. Karl McCracken (twitter: @KarlOnSea) 01/08/2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Looks like you had a great ride . . . doing it again next year, I trust?

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:31 am #

      Sure did – big shame we didn’t get a chance to say hi. Was truly out of energy upon arrival at the beach. Next year I’m there again for sure :)

  11. Chris Preston 08/10/2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Thinking of doing this next year…possible on a mtb with slicks ???
    Done the BHF oxford to cambridge last weekend without too many problems on semi-slicks,although the hills were a killer !!!!

    • jedb 10/10/2010 at 9:39 pm #

      Hi, you can do it if you prepare. It is a long way. But think of it as 4 * 30 miles, with breaks, etc. Switch off the suspension if you can and pump up the tyres :-)

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