Sunday, July 05, 2009

suffolk trip 01: Dunwich Dynamo

Hooked up with another cyclist as I approached the food stop - over half way now. I showed him on my map under the impression that the food stop was in the same place as last year, L-----, and not Great -------. Coming out of S---y we immediately went off the route, me for the third time. This guy was a Yorkshireman, had a voice that sounded like Michael Palin, which in the dark, and wrapped up against the cold, is who I imagined him to be. I had a map, but he had the route - I'd lost mine, and as he wouldn't let me see his, I was effectively guessing the route, and he wasn't putting me right.

I had a feeling we'd gone wrong after a few miles, by then Michael Palin had gone ahead of me and was quite a way in front. I stopped and hoped he'd notice, but he didn't, so I shouted, but he didn't hear, or ignored me. I turned back and left Michael heading towards Ipswich in the dead of night. It was his first DD. I felt guilty as hell, but on reflection, there wasn't much I could do.

I went back through Newton, and Gt ------. This was the most disasterous DD ever for me. I normally reach the food stop while it is still open, this time it was clearly closing up. I never even got to have a cup of tea. I just kept going; the Sun was already showing signs of rising over the horizon.

The day was shaping up to be cloudy but dry. Felt cool cycling through the early morning air. then the rain started, and I got lost for the 4th time.

Back on route at Peasenhall and rain was making everyone sodden and miserable - and of course if I had performed as previous years, and not got lost, I wouldn't even have been cycling in the rain at all, I'd be warm and dry sitting in the beach cafe drinking coffee and eating sausages.

Windswept looking cyclists in rain wear were sitting huddled in bus shelters. I wonder how many people gave up then - so near the end. Rain didn't last too long after that. I saw a stoat pulling a dead baby hedgehog across the road, though dropped it and ran off as I approached. I hoped he went back for it after I has passed.

There were horseboxes everywhere. Loads of bloody horseboxes! An extra hazard on the roads! then I passed the entrance to a bloody horse show, where all the horse boxes were going. After that though I began to see cyclists who had finished the DD and were heading home/ back to London / to a nearby railway station. Not a hazard, just embarrassing....especially so as I was no longer on the DD route. So resigned to not being able to follow the correct route at this point, I'd given up and was just trying to get to Dunwich any which way I could, to coin a phrase. I was on the A14 - not an easy road to cycle on due to the high volume of traffic and fairly high speeds.

I didn't see it as cheating: first off it isn't a race; secondly I had racked up far more than the 120 miles I should have by sticking to the route; thirdly, I didn;t think I could keep going for much longer, and just needed to rest, and couldn't afford to drop out, really needed to finish.

I wasn't the last to finish, not far off though. All in all a fairly disasterous Dun Run, I need to do much better next year.

The queue at the cafe was long, I finished off my packed lunch, used my pannier as a pillow and went to sleep on the beach.

something went wrong with the arrangements to get cyclists back to London. They had to arrange for an extra removals lorry to carry bikes, causing the late departure of the coaches.

Awake after about an hour's sleep I queued up for coffee and chips and ate them outside. At around 2pm the coaches set off. It's a funny feeling seeing everyone disappear off back to London and to suddenly be left on an isolated beach, almost alone except for a few local dogwalkers and cafe staff.

Suddenly I very much felt as if I was the centre of attention, being gawked at by the dog-walkers et al. I was very much unwashed, stiff legged, in pain and exhausted, and not in the mood. People were good naturedly wanting to talk to me - as they knew about the DD -and I was almost the only participant left on the beach, but I mounted the bike and took off behind the coaches. I wanted sleep, food and drink in that order; but first I had to cycle 12 miles to Blaxhall.

Took a short cut this year which avoided the worst bits of the main road, and took me through Dunwich woods instead. Very nice. Felt better. Reached Blaxhall soon before the YHA opened.

All the pictures included in this post are from 2008, due to the fact that I didn't bother taking any this year, not until the Dun run was over anyway.

Dunwich Dynamo 2008

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