The Dunwich Dynamo is not a race but an adventure. On Saturday Dad, Andy, Richard and I set off to London Hackney Fields, the start of the Dunwich Dynamo. Arriving there for 19:00 we set up our bikes, had a last-minute pee and then started our Garmins and rolled out of London, on what was to become a great evening’s ride.
Making our way out of London past Epping Forest we soon left the hustle and bustle of the big city behind and the scenery turned to arable fields full of golden corn.
The hours ticked by and we were making good progress, eating on the bike I had a mixture of salted peanuts, cheese and onion chick peas, dates and
homemade granola. Our plan was to stop once we got to Sudbury at the fire station BBQ, the half way point, but as we travelled through little villages friendly locals had free cake! Too tempting for my Dad, who was after all, spending his birthday biking from London to Dunwich.
As we cruised through the back roads the light faded, bikes whizzed by decorated in fairy lights and with glowing wheels, note to self to decorate my bike next year.
The ride is not a Sportive there were no route markers or support as such, however at each junction our route was illuminated by a flicker of a candle showing us the right road to take.
After 57 miles we entered the town of Sudbury and the smell of BBQ filled the air as we pulled up to the fire station who put on an excellent array of food and drink, all in aid of their charity. Hungry cyclists lined up for burgers and sausages and warming cups of tea. The place was alive with people chatting excitedly about their adventure so far, bikes were stacked up all around the edge of the fire station.
Munching on a cheese burger and drinking tea at 1am was a wonderful ride break, I now understand the importance of coffee stops when cycling and will be looking to add them to my rides!
Taking the opportunity to fill our water bottles we headed back out into the darkness, at a slightly slower pace, I blame that on our full bellies!
Leaving the town back out on the country roads we got back into our rhythm we passed groups of cyclists including one man on a Brompton bike.
This section of the journey was a lot more undulating than the last and the hills, although not as big as my South Downs hills, really seemed tough at times, this also was to do with riding in the ‘witching hour’ between the hours of 2 and 3.30 I felt tired and dug deep to keep going.
The weather had been very kind, especially as the rest of the country was being blasted; we had a spatter of rain but remained dry and had the wind on our backs, thank you weather gods!
Rolling through the night 6 hours into our ride my Garmin battery decided to nap. Losing the ability to know when I had to eat was challenging I kept asking my Dad for the time and tried to gauge what I should eat it was also disappointing to not have the whole ride on my Garmin as I was keen to see the difference between the first and second half’s data.
Riding into Framlingham I knew we were close but as we had been wiggling through back lanes it was hard to judge just how long would be left to travel.
The dark night sky had started to turn grey with cloud and a pinky red glow was appearing us as we neared the beach, 10 miles to go and then 5. We started to see people’s twinkling lights coming towards us, people leaving the beach some on the trip back to London, I take my hat off to those who cycled back!
Rolling into the car park it felt exhilarating to have made it there for sunrise, there was a gorgeous smell of bacon and a buzz of activity as people shared their stories and talked about the ride.
We walked onto the beach and watched the sun rise for a moment, the morning air-cooled us quickly and I soon felt my teeth chattering. An obligatory team photo was needed before the adventure continued, sadly not to the café for a bacon sandwich but back onto the road to finish our adventure a 15 mile bike ride home.
Until next year DD.