preparation, preparation, preparation…

I almost called this blog post Le Tour De Surrey but decided against it at the last minute…
Last year, Hauling My Carcass and I completed the London to Brighton Cycle ride. We had built ourselves some bikes (him a singlespeed and me a fixed gear) and there was a certain sense of satisfaction to be gained from completing the ride and doing it on something that you have created. Not long after, HMC brought my attention to the Dunwich Dynamo – a 200km, overnight, unmarshalled and unmarked ride to Dunwich in Suffolk from a pub in Hackney. “Not this year, you understand, but we could enter next year…”
Fast forward 12 months and it is almost upon us… 200km on a pushbike is a long way by anyone’s standards. It is longer than many of the stages of the Tour De France. It is also overnight. And we are not, I repeat NOT, finely honed athletes training full time. And we do not have top of the range, super light, race bikes… we have opted to build another couple of bikes and use those. Both are steel, both are at least 30 years old, both are now singlespeed.
We decided that we probably ought to do a bit of training before embarking on this little adventure so a 77.87km bike ride was executed on day 5 of Juneathon, followed 2 weeks later by the 85.98kms of the London to Brighton. It was strange how last year, the focus was on completing the London to Brighton and this year it was relegated to “a bit of training” for Dunwich Dynamo. We decided that we needed an additional long ride, with everything that we would need to take for DD to give us a good idea of what to expect.
At 8am yesterday, I arrived at HMC’s house with my bike in the boot of the car and a massive back pack containing food (lots of food), tools, waterproof jacket, bottle of water, hydration pack and an entire change of clothes. This was what I was planning to take to Dunwich so this is what I would train with. We set off just after 9am and made our way through the undulating Surrey and Sussex countryside, basically heading south. The route was mostly country roads and surprisingly quiet considering the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. A quick stop around 50kms and then we pushed on to 80kms when we finally stopped for lunch. We perched ourselves on a grassy bank outside a golf club on the outskirts of Ditchling and had lunch. Half an hour later, we were back on the bikes and, now heading East then North and with approximately 60kms still to ride, we decided that we would do two stretches of 30kms each with a little rest in between. At around 115kms we stopped for 10 minutes and agreed that we needed to find a place to buy Coca Cola… strangely we both began to crave it and maybe it was our bodies crying out for liquid and sugar and caffeine. Cola safely procured a couple of kms later, we then pushed through the last 30kms which contained one of the most horrific hills I have ever had the misfortune to have to cycle up. Steep, long and with a surface like an adolescents complexion it was really tough and saw us both dismounting, walking slowly whilst pushing the bikes and cursing.
Psychologically, the last 15kms or so is easy. and it was nice to be back somewhere I recognised and could almost picture how far we had left to go. We arrived back at 5.30 pm having completed 147.76kms. We were both weary but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be (helped immensely by the nice route plan by HMC and the almost perfect weather). Dunwich Dynamo is 50kms further but less hilly. The real test will be cycling through the night, but with under 2 weeks to go, I am feeling much more confident of completing it than I did.

1 Response to “preparation, preparation, preparation…”

  1. July 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    It sounds like you’re more than ready. Enjoy your ride through the night.

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