Dunwich Dynamo 2016

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  • Pub on the Park, London Fields
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  • It was my first one too and it was very cool. I reckon I spent the night somewhere near the front of the field and kept yoyo-ing with clubs packs and other groups who seemed to be keen on hammering down for a bit, stop at a pub for a big while, rinse and repeat. The "hidden" café at Sudbury was super welcome, I wonder how many people found it? Stumbled upon @Rod_Munch around 2/3 I think and arrived with him at the beach a bit after 4. Tailwind was a blessing (was going to be a curse the day after though!) and I stayed on short sleeves throughout the night.

    Then dozed off on the beach until 7:30, packed and left (spotting @radmich on his way to the beach) to try and get back to London following Suffolk coast line and taking as many foot ferries as possible. Too early for the first one at Orford but still got three anyway (Bawdsley, Felixstowe, Blightlingsea). I ended up taking the train at Chelmsford as the headwinds were getting tiring and the route I've planned was proving itself to be a shitty one after Blightlingsea. Still, nice tour of Suffolk :)

  • Yes! The secret cafe was great, we were the guys in London air ambulance jerseys in there, might've been later than you though?

  • A personal best for me, completed the whole thing in 6 hours and 50 minutes of moving time.

    4 hours for the first half, 2 hours 50 minutes for the second half.

    Though it took almost 8 hours due to waiting for pasta at Sudbury Fire Station in a long queue, note to self... don't bother with that next time, you still had two uneaten flapjacks at the end.

    At one point I was rolling very fast in the second section and noticed lights on my bike... turned around and realised I was pulling a 20 strong group of Dulwich Paragon. Pulled off the front, and they all slowed so I overtook them and they jumped back on. Feckers. They have no legs, only numbers.

    Also, the Garmin worked great. Probably about 10 times over the night my Garmin alerted me to a turn as I watched red lights in front miss it completely. Then I met a group of 3 Horsham cycle club riders who were real cocks, and they were trying to race me and got in front... my Garmin beeped to say "keep right" and one of them heard it and said "must be a left" and they shot off the wrong way... perfect timing.

    Most of the night I rode alone. It was bliss. Lights dimmed to lowest setting, just the whirr of tyres.

    The stars looked great, the Milky Way visible. I turned off my front light whilst speeding downhill on a narrow lane to get a better view of the stars and was immediately reminded that it was actually black and I couldn't see the lane at all. Scared the shit out of myself.

    My knees were killing me at the end. On the coach back they felt swollen and unhappy. They still feel that way this morning, though they've dulled a little and they rest of my body has caught up in general "WTF was that?".

    Thanks John for the beer on the beach, and for getting rid of the bugs (massive fires).

    So happy to have finally seen a great sunrise on the beach too.

  • The milky way wasn't the only galaxy visible. The clouds allowed a nice glimpse of andromeda to the NE. Probably the highlight for me, I found I had a slow slow puncture. Probably rode about 30 miles on less than 50 psi.

  • Another awesome Dunwich...

    Good points

    • Amazing weather, moonlight
    • Beers in the hot sun on the beach
    • Riding with an older gent doing the whole thing wearing chinos, a crip white shirt and gold cufflinks (and cycle clips)

    Bad points

    • Missing a right turn in Needham Market and taking an unscenic detour on dual carriageways for a while
    • Those bloody flies
    • That rubbish stall setting up shop 200m up the road and taking trade from the signposted, friendly one giving out free tea and coffee

    Also took over 12 hours to do the whole thing this year... maybe slightly less leisurely next time

  • Fabulous picture. Hope you don't mind I nicked it.

  • That was so awesome. I was in the bright pink Rapha jersey if anyone spotted me. Best group ride I've ever done by far.

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  • If there is a next time I will bring braziers.

  • Had a slow but fun ride. Strava says I averaged 12.5mph up until mile 90 where it started to get hot again and I slowed further. Favourite things - miles 30-60 flew by, enough moonlight to see most of the scenery, dawn chorus, lanes for the last 20 miles.

    Best food stop was the one about 10 miles from the beach run by a family (pictured) - bacon rolls, free tea & coffee, water hose.

    Not feeling the 4-5 hour coach/bike pickup at the end though. Traffic was an extra factor this time, but I'll probably still sort my own transport for next year.

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  • Stumbled upon @Rod_Munch around 2/3 I think and arrived with him at the beach a bit after 4h

    My only regret is not taking a picture of you dressed up like Jesus Christ on the beach. No one will ever believe it happened now! Cheers for the Armagnac dude..

  • Cheers but chap nav wasn't really needed. Set off very late after dinner and quite a lot of wine but fortunately the pub at Finchingfield was still open. Had a couple of beers, got chatting to someone riding it in reverse so rolled back to London with him. Total half arsed effort this year but still a nice ride.

  • Armagnac! #doingitright

  • Ha, you twat!

    riding it in reverse..

    Out of interest, do you know why he did it and how he got on? I've considered it myself but, even when riding back in the morning, I felt I had to take a few alternative routes at times to avoid being ploughed into by a road full of cyclists not expecting me to be there (and having to endlessly explain that you know you are going the 'wrong' way!)..

  • The bacon/egg rolls and free tea coffee was the best stop. What lovely folk.

    Really enjoyed my first dynamo. Nice meeting some more forrum folks, loved bike spotting and random chat rolling out of London in such huge numbers. Loads of support from the roadside.

    Highlight was having a gal latch on with us just after Sudbury sheepishly explaining her main light had died, and we all kept perfect pace and enjoyed good natter until the end pretty much, so new friend success! Also seeing that mental quad-bike thing

    Low points were mostly the flies, the worst cooked breakfast at the Ship Inn and our possible lift being bad at communication so the ride back to Norwich was awful. Would have been okay if we'd set off with only a short break, but instead it was the worst 35mi of my life.

    Next year I fancy leaving earlier and doing it faster to catch the sunrise at the beach

  • Getting to London after DD.............

    2013 - booked onto the bus/truck back to London but so early in at Dunwich that instead I rode to Darsham and got me and the bike on the next train thru the station.

    2015 - booked on the Ipswich to London train- rode to Ipswich - no trains - lorry hit a bridge. Booked into the Station Hotel across the road. Had a loooong hot soak, ordered double cheeseburger and chips to my room, watched the Tour on the telly in the bar and quaffed a couple of ales and caught the 7pm train home that evening (bridge now OK).

    2016 - booked nothing. Rode to Ipswich and was on the next train to London.

  • Tempted to ride to Ipswitch next year. How busy were the trains?

  • The free tea stop was great - I ate 4 bacon rolls (1 on the way out, 2 on the way back + 1 to go) and I regret nothing.

    There was also a good, quiet stop soon after Sudbury fire station where I had another bacon roll. Basically every time I decided not to stop because of a big queue I was rewarded a few miles later by bacon with no waiting around.

  • I hadn't ridden the Dynamo for a few years owing to doing the feed stop and being too knackered after that to carry on to the beach, so I was hugely looking forward to it, and the weather and numbers made this one to remember. I was obviously aware of how much it had grown, but it was still lovely to experience it. Last year I counted the seconds between groups at the top of the hill in Sible Hedingham and the longest I got, over half an hour of counting, was nine seconds. Also, people leaving early--we had had people through the door who said they had left Hackney at 6, and even when I came down to London Fields I already saw riders going off in all sorts of directions--some up Pembury Road/Cricketfield Road, some up Amhurst Road and Dalston Lane/Lower Clapton Road, loads up the Narroway, etc. I have no idea when the first people got to the beach, but the I assume it must be earlier than the 3:30am crowd who used to be first.

    Bumped into Ralph (can't remember his forum name) at the start, which was lovely, and rode the first bit as I usually did, i.e. much too hard for my current state of fitness, but somehow it had to be done. I already started to notice that it wasn't going to be a fast one for me outside Epping, when the legs started to shut down a little. The next bit through the lanes was quite slow, then the usual blast you can have up the B184 with a nice tailwind. I lost Ralph shortly before Finchingfield, but he was on a faster ride than me.

    I bimbled on to the Brundon Lane café outside Sudbury, which was nice--they encountered the same problem we did every year with just not being able to refill and boil their water urns quickly enough for the immense demand for tea and coffee, and I had a quick chat with them. The tea was perfect, just the right strength. The café was surprisingly un-busy when I arrived, and I suppose the fact that it was off the beaten track (sign at the bottom of Ballingdon Hill, which many people would have overshot) even more than our village hall in Sible Hedingham would have contributed to that.

    I stayed there for about 45 minutes, only about ten of which was spent queueing, and when I went outside it had got a little busier, but still not inordinately so. The scene outside the fire station in Sudbury made me glad I hadn't stopped there.

    Most of the rest of the route went fine, I went wrong twice (no map, no GPS unit, and I didn't even have the route sheet out), once because I confused the next turning with one that I had done on an audax in the area, and the other time because I just failed to look at the right side of the road and didn't notice the turn. Must do better, as I was claiming that I know the route by heart. I'd also gone slightly up the wrong road in Great Dunmow when my meek protests that it was a right turn weren't heard by most of the riders in the group I was with, and I chased after them to get them to turn around. I was also too fast, as usual, before the right turn to Coddenham up the hill, but I do that every time, whether it is in the daytime or nighttime, so it doesn't really count. :)

    I had a new headlight because the one I used to use had given up the ghost, but I strongly suspected I'd lose it at some point during the night because of the way the light holder is made. I suppose it must have been meant to be easier to take off, but the bolt wasn't through two enclosed loops, only one. Just before Coddenham, as expected I lost it, although it was entirely my own fault through fiddling with it when I hadn't fitted it properly earlier. I generally need idiot-proof things, and this isn't. I was trying to point the light down as it kept riding up to point up, and the fitting snapped into its three components and everything bounced off on the road. Fortunately, nothing was broken. The light was easy to find in virtue of being on, but the other two plastic bits less so, being black and small. Group after group rode past while I was trying to find it, nobody stopping, which I couldn't help thinking would have been different on the Dynamo years ago, and I had only found one of the bits when the only person to stop stopped. I'm rubbish at spotting small black things on the road in the middle of the night, but he found the missing bit almost immediately. The best thing was that he was called Gandalf, not the forum poster Gandalf, but he said it was his real name. Thank you, Gandalf, if you're reading this!

    Interesting to see the various feed stops further along, all popular, it seemed. I didn't stop at any, though. I got to the beach shortly before six, in the best weather I've ever seen there at that hour, and went into the sea immediately, which was blissful. The big innovation this year was that I'd brought beach shoes, and they made the whole experience so much better. I hate stumbling over the shingle barefoot, and it was also much better to wear the beach shoes for walking around later. Well worth it, even if they made my bag heavier. Lovely to see forumengers and lots of other people on the beach.

    I'd wanted to ride back, or at least a considerable portion of the way back, even though I knew my lack of fitness didn't really allow it, but I was determined to keep telling myself that that's what I was going to do to get as far as possible. I also thought that since I'd never slept on the beach I'd give that a shot, but it didn't work. This was partly because I wasn't very tired and also because of those thousands of little black beetles that crawled over everything and that landed on you and just seemed to die that instant, and especially in sun cream. I tried to cover myself with various bits of spare clothing, but it was still very distracting and itchy. I hadn't seen these on the beach before, or at least not in such numbers. Anyway, I dozed for about two hours, with only a very short bit of actual sleep during that time, and then decided there was no point, so left the beach at about 11:30. I knew that conditions weren't exactly ideal for doing more riding, it being much too hot, but it wasn't the worst heat I'd cycled in, and I grew up in an area that's considerably hotter than that. I took plenty of rest stops (a surprising number of shops were still open on Sunday afternoon) and drank about three litres of water.

    I then thought that if I made it the whole way, I'd want it to be a 400, and the Dynamo there and back falls just short of that, so I deviated from the route a few times to get an extra eight miles or so. I've ridden in that area quite a lot, so I knew a couple of alignments that were slightly longer than the Dynamo route. First I took a few extra lanes to get to Framlingham from the north, and then left Framlingham along Brook Lane to get to Earl Soham. Then I went south to Cretingham and rode the route again. After stopping at lovely Needham Lake, I realised that I wasn't going to make it the whole way back, but I wanted to get to Sudbury at least, partly because I didn't want to take the train from Needham Market, which would only have got me to Ipswich, and because I really like the line from Sudbury to Marks Tey. I think it's very well run and proof that these minor lines are incredibly valuable.

    Those last twenty miles were really quite hard, especially the lumpy bit between Monks Eleigh and Little Waldingfield. I can't climb at the best of times and while the hills there are hardly mountains, they did bite. Then I got to Great Waldingfield and took the wrong turn at the mini-roundabout (or, rather, I missed the turn and went straight on), which was annoying, but I suppose I was just too tired/sunstruck to concentrate on route choice at that point. It took me well out of my way to the A134 into Sudbury, which probably added another couple of miles. Oh well, I actually felt quite good again at that point compared to earlier. I bought some more water in Sudbury and drank most of it on the train. The short trip was very enjoyable, as usual. At Marks Tey, the ticket clerk asked me if I'd been on the overnight ride. He said he lived right on Ballingdon Street in Sudbury. I suggested he do it sometime. I got off at Stratford and rode home. I think it was about 190 miles all in, but I haven't calculated it properly yet.

    Anyway, great to ride the ride again, it really is the best.

  • We saw the signs for free tea/coffee and stopped at the place in a garden we saw just up the road from it for which we had to pay for tea/coffee and had to wait ages as the lady had run out of mugs. Felt shit sitting there and progressively worse as we waited longer and longer. Finally had the tea and got around the corner to find the real free tea/coffee place.

    Was a bit fucked off that someone had been cheeky enough to set up their own half-arsed stall, take business away from what sounds like a well-run one up the road and waste my time (I wasn't in a great mood at that point).

    Definitely gonna leave earlier next time. And gonna bypass any stops looking too busy/crap, there was almost always somewhere better looking a bit further up the road.

    Good point: my triathlete mate on his tt bike (the only tt bike I spotted on the whole ride!) stopping to pick up a hedgehog crossing the road just after that stop.

  • riding it in reverse..

    Out of interest, do you know why he did it and how he got on?

    I was also surprised by how many people came the other way on bikes, even quite early on. I don't mean those riding back, who are typically encountered after Framlingham, but those who were either late returning from their own road ride that day or had perhaps started early on in the day and were nearing London at around 10.

    We had a few audaxers at the feed stop who were usually either doing some kind of DIY 600 with the Dynamo route thrown in in either direction.

  • I think the clue is in my post?

    2016 - booked nothing. Rode to Ipswich and was on the next train to London.

  • Oh and I wish i had a quiet freewheel, my dt swiss one kinda ruined the silent night country road vibe at points...

    Also, to whoever suggested I cut my steerer before the ride, I'm glad I didn't. My back is killing me and I've moved the stem up a bit... Oh and I'm gonna try out my fake padded smp as my arse/gooch feels proper tenderised.

  • You've nothing on the guy on the cannondale with an incredibly creaky BB.

  • Haha, had a quick chat with that guy maybe 20 miles from the end. I would've gone nuts if I were him.

  • My rear derailleur sounded like cicadas in a certain gear. I've got to get that serviced before it drives me crazy. I wanted to apologise to everyone I passed.

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Dunwich Dynamo 2016

Posted by Avatar for ian(conker) @ian(conker)