My Dunwich Dynamo experience mk2, 2013

Last year on the Dunwich Dynamo we dawdled, we stopped for wees, jumper changes, bike repairs, cool photo opps and pretty much any chance we got. This year we tried a speedier approach, shorter stops, faster riding and we managed to beat last year’s time. Having said that this year was HARD, (look at my face here!) I spent a lot of time singing Jolie Holland’s ‘I Wanna Die’ to myself as I cycled.

A lack of headwind and drizzly grey weather meant the end of the ride was a real slog. I have to say I did hardly any training this year which was really dumb, a few 60 mile rides would have made it a lot easier. The extra unexpected 30 miles to Ipswich nearly broke me, for some reason after 21 years Anglia Trains still don’t realise that dozens of people with bikes will be booking tickets from Darsham, the nearest station. All in all we probably cycled 170 miles in 24 hours and my body was pretty much ruined!

After a few days rest I can walk up stairs unaided and the worst bits have faded into the bits of memory reserved for broken hearts and childbirth; I feel solidarity with my riding mates, Ellie, Rob and Laurence and we already kind of miss each other. Despite the lows, I’ll be definitely doing the Dun Run again next year.

I’d recommend you do the ride one of two ways: treat it like a leg of a touring holiday, cycle slow, enjoy the stops, take the next day off and stay somewhere local OR speed through, take in a bit of Dunwich when you arrive and then get the hell out of there. I couldn’t understand last year why people came all that way to get the coach, but in the drizzle and grey skies all I wanted to do was get home and go to sleep.

Last year’s pie chart is still relevant, here’s my top train brain-thoughts that swirled around for the 13 hours we were on the ride:

My new bike is so fast
Wish I was wearing SPDs
This is awesome! Yay cycling
I’m trapped inside my own mind
I’m cold/I’m hot
Maybe I could just knock on the door of a house and they’ll let me sleep there
Gimme flapjack
When will this end?
Are my friends in front or behind me?

I made a list of items to bring last year, here is a revised version:

Cashmere jumper and hat – sounds a bit Liz Hurley, but cashmere is cosy and really breathable, so it’s perfect for something like this. I took my helmet off when the sun came up and wore the beanie.
Padded shorts – no doubt, do it.
Heat Tech tights – I swapped last year’s leggings for a pair of cutoff Heat Tech tights that I tucked under my shorts. These were easily as warm as leggings and I could roll them down without stopping when I got hot.
MP3 player – I only had some old mp3 that held 15 songs, but the mix of Les Mis, Boards of Canada and Broadcast helped me power through at the end.
Beam lights – moreso than last year I saw a few ambulances tending to the victims of potholes. Something to illuminate the road in front of you is essential. Also, there are bits when you’re totally on your own in the dark and it’s ~scary~
Helmet - I’m not entirely pro-helmet for small town trips, but the added confidence a helmet gives is great, plus it keeps your head warm.
Glowsticks – It’s kind of the bike ride equivalent of a jester hat, but a few well-placed glowsticks will help you keep track of your mates
Food – I made Dunjacks this year and last year, but I also took loads of 9 bars and a Wispa for when it all got too much. There’s a few food stops too, I stopped for a butty and tea near the end. I’m pretty anti-gel, but on the final 30 miles to Ipswich it did the trick.

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