On the 30th of June I, and a number of other Iceni Velo members, took part in the Dunwich dynamo - an overnight (dis)organised cycle ride from London to Dunwich in Suffolk. This is my tale, lifted verbatim from the club forum:
The day started for me at 7am with the kids and a quick drop-off to their Mum’s at 9 leaving me a chance to go back to bed for an hour or two! I’m quite glad I did, especially after Gav later informed me he’d just worked a night shift and had only had three hours sleep Saturday morning :o
After getting ready and watching some of the Tour Prologue I rendezvoused with the 15:30 contingent from Norwich where we had a very pleasant first class ride to London followed by some quick navigation around some rough roads to Look Mum No Hands! where we met the earlier starters.
We sat and waited for the final group to roll in and fuelled ourselves with coffee and cake :)
We set off for the grand depart at London Fields in Hackney around 8pm, once we worked out where to go it was quite easy to follow the trail of cyclists and very easy to work out if we’d found the right place :)
Getting out of London would best be described as “interesting”. With so many cyclists on the road we achieved a critical mass style peloton taking up huge chunks of the road. That didn’t stop many impatient idiots from trying to dodge round people though. With so many traffic lights it was inevitable it’d take a while. However once we’d left London and were into the suburbs it got a lot easier and we managed to regroup.
We stayed together for the first 20 miles or so before a group of us went a bit loopy from caffeine and energy products and decided to go for what amounted to a 4 man time trial in the dark flying round bends that we had no idea of the angle of. This I would not recommend!
We eventually called a halt to our mental antics and regrouped again. This splitting and regrouping was a process that repeated itself for much of the night - with so many cyclists on the road it got rather tricky to work out who was who so we had to keep finding street lights to stand under so we could recognise each other, usually this involved calling out “Chorizo!” to people until we heard the call back from the rest of the IV peloton. Please don’t ask how or why this became our code word :lol:
After the midway food stop (which we didn’t partake in due to enormous queues) we set off as one again before the inevitable break-up. Eventually this led to four of us (Mark, Jason, Gav and myself) finding ourselves off the front with no one else in sight in front or behind as the sun slowly rose. I think we may have missed a turning!
Phones were thus consulted in an attempt to work out where we were and how best to get to Dunwich:
Once we’d worked that we were back on the road. Just after the below picture was taken we had a deer jump across the road right in front of us and bound through a field. A pretty awesome sight.
We kept on trucking and one more direction check later we set off on the last leg of the journey feeling somewhat weary. In the end we made it to the beach just before 6am and were greeted with a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean:
After some rest and relaxation on the beach (but no skinny dipping!) we headed to The Ship for breakfast where we were joined by Tim and Shaun, both were a welcome sight for tired eyes. We stayed at the pub for a while till everyone had rolled up and rested and then set off for the penultimate leg of the journey to Bungay. It seems that the the preceding 116 miles hadn’t quite dulled our legs as much as one would have expected and what should have been a gentle ride eventually led to Shaun and a few of us trying to race each other up hills :D
We rolled up to Bungay for coffee and cake about 9 to await the rest of the tribe:
On the way home, somehow the same gang of four of us ended up with the quick group meaning we were steaming along at quite a pace before Alex kindly informed me that one of our party had blown just before we hit Saxlingham so we thought we better hang back. From that point on the pace dropped considerably as we bimbled back to the York for a well deserved pint.
It was an awesome experience and I tip my hat to all of the tribe that completed it - Emma, Bart, Ian, Tessa, Paul, Chris, Lorraine and Martin.
My own special thanks and kudos go to Mark, Jason and Gav for being excellent company throughout!
As previously covered, my marriage ended earlier this year. The ensuing months have been hard, at times almost impossible but two things have kept me going. First and foremost is my children. Without them the whole thing would have been so much harder for me to deal with, they were my reason to get out of bed. Indeed, on days when they were at Chloe’s I often did stay in bed much of the day. They are amazing and wonderful and make me smile every day.
However this post is not about them, no matter how important their part in my life is. No, this comes back down to cycling (again).
Two days after Chloe moved out I went out on my first Sunday club run with Iceni Velo - despite having been a member since January I had never felt able to get out and leave Chloe early on a Sunday. That day I felt awesome, a feeling I didn’t think I’d feel so soon after everything had fallen apart. The sun shined, I had good company and rode a wonderful 50 miles. Since then I’ve ridden a hell of a lot more (over 2000 miles so far this year), made some good friends, had a lot of laughs and have started to feel like I have a social life and things to look forward to. Progress!
Along with all the numerous events tackled to date (the Norwich 100, the Boudicca sportive, the Lotus League etc.) I’m also going to be riding the Dunwich Dynamo with some of the club at the end of the month, and heading over to watch a stage of the Tour de France in early July with another group. Plus then it’s the Gas Hill Gasp on the 6th of July wherein I attempt to not fall off my bike in front of a couple of thousand people. I don’t stand a chance of winning but it should be an awesome night :)
I genuinely don’t know how I would have gotten through the past few months without my bike and the awesome people in the club. You know who you are, thank you.
As you may be aware, I’ve been using Nokia phones for a number of years and have so far resisted moving to Android, iOS, Blackberry or indeed anything else. However with Symbian dying a slow death I’ve been eyeing up what to get when my current phone contract ends in September. I’ve experienced iOS with the now departed iPad. I’ve seen BB OS6 with my ex wife’s BB Torch. I’ve tried out Android (2.3 I think) with a T-Mobile…erm…”thing” so all that was left for me to play with was Windows Phone.
I spied that Carphone Warehouse were doing the Nokia Lumia 710 on PAYG for £99 the other week so thought I’d give it a punt. If worst came to the worst I could sell the phone on for £80 or so and not be much out of pocket I reasoned.
So, the good things:
- The UI is fast and slick and works very smoothly indeed.
- All the major apps I want are available and work well.
- The phone itself seems very quick, apps open quickly, switching between apps is fast.
- Just like iOS, “it just works”.
- Facebook and Twitter are integrated straight into the OS.
- The Live Tile concept is very good.
- Multitasking is a bit erratic. If you open up an app from the home screen it launches a new instance of the app rather than returning you to where you left off.
- No Bluetooth file transfer capability. I only use this sometimes on the N8 but it’ll annoying not having it when I want it.
- You can’t take screenshots, again, I don’t use this much but it would be useful.
- No memory card support - 8GB isn’t enough storage for all the music I want on there!
Bad things about the phone itself:
- The camera leaves a lot to be desired. I’m used to the 12MP camera on the N8 that does a fantastic job so the 5MP hobby on the Lumia is not up to the same standards at all.
September is still a few months away: iOS 6 has just been announced (albeit with nothing that really impresses me); a new iPhone may well be announced; Windows Phone 8 is due to be announced in detail next week; a very nice Android handset with guaranteed future-proof updates might be also come out.
What will I do? At the moment I’m unsure. I am very tempted to switch from the N8 to the Lumia. The two things holding me back are the camera and the poor battery life but both of these are specific to the phone, not the OS…..
Last Sunday I cycled my first 100 mile event, the Suffolk Sunrise 100. It meant an early start - my alarm went off at 5.30am and I was on the road (driving!) 45 minutes later. After I arrived and got myself ready I went and signed on, grabbed a bag of jelly babies, attached the timing chip to my bike and headed for the start.
There were around 1000 riders registered and the first group were out on the road by 7. I set off around 7:50 and soon overtook those I started with. Annoyingly I couldn’t quite find anyone my own pace in the first miles but as “luck”” would have it, I punctured at 13 miles and was promptly overtaken by loads of people. A quick tube change later and I was back on my way, working through the groups that had passed me to try and find someone at my own pace. After a quick banana and tyre pump stop at 25 miles I carried on in my quest, eventually finding the wheel of two blokes who seemed to operate at my speed. From that point out we worked as a trio making good time and picking up another chap along the way too.
By 50 miles my stomach was demanding food so I and one of the others from the group stopped for a bite to eat. There was a lot of food with lots of variety, even someone fussy like me. Also there was cake.
I refilled one of my empty water bottles and set off with my new-found pace-pal to try and track down the original member of our trio who was 5 miles or so down the road. We soon caught up with him and after a further 5 miles pulled over to wait the arrival of someone they had started with but had to return to the start with a mechanical. Once he had joined we carried on till the final feed stop at 75 miles. Yet another banana and another drink refill were had and off we set on the last leg of the journey.
At around the 95 mile mark I pushed ahead alone and made it to the finish line in just over 5 hours and 14 minutes at a pace of 19.1mph. I received lots of cheers and applause as I crossed the finish line from those gathered to watch and help which was a nice touch. After finishing I queued up to get my free massage having slightly sore legs and very sore shoulders. The masseuse told me she could have worked on the knots in my shoulders all day they were so bad. Erk. I should probably book myself a sports massage…
I’m pretty pleased with the time as I have never cycled that far before and was aiming for 5:30. My next target then will be to do a 100 in under 5 hours. I think that’s pretty achievable….
Earlier this year I signed up to take part in the Lotus Cars Cycle Race League having little to no idea what to expect. Tonight was the first event of the season and I duly went along, pinned on my race number and set off on a Go Race. There were probably around 40 of us in the race I think, a large number of whom were wearing Iceni Velo kit :)
How did I do? I have no idea! I think I was in the top 20 in my race but it was hard to see who was in front of me and who was being lapped. Hopefully the commissaires were able to work it out! It was an amazing experience and I had a great time riding on such a good track, it was so smooth your bike basically just sticks to the corners. I think I could probably have done better but I foolishly decided to try and make a break with 4 laps to go, got away for a lap but was soon caught up again leaving me with not enough energy to stay in the lead group. Rookie mistake.
My Strava stats from the race itself are here if you click on the “Performance” tab you can see my heart rate, speed etc. As you can see I was doing 21mph on the corners and topping out at 28mph on the straights! It was, it goes without saying, quick.
We did, unfortunately have two crashes in our race, one looked minor but the other, on the last lap, seemed to end up in a broken collarbone. That is one of the perils of cycling though it seems.
Roll on next week!
This May I am doing three different cycling events, all for different charities:
- 13th May: Suffolk Sunrise 100 - 100 mile cycle round Suffolk
- 20th May: EACH Ride for Life - a 35 mile ride but I’ll probably do it three times
- 27th May: Norwich 100 - 100 miles round Norfolk
I would greatly appreciate any sponsorship to any or indeed all of the above events.
So, as of the 105th day of 2012 I have cycled over 1000 miles this year. Still 261 days to go…..
No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day
You can’t choose what stays and what fades away
- Chloe has moved out and is living with someone else. She is happy. I am very much not.
- The children are fine and dealing with this, with no frame of reference, as best they can.
- I am truly and utterly heartbroken and my previously carefree, happy life has been smashed into a million tiny pieces.
- I will, given time and space, recover. I have to.
There is no faith or permanance or solace in love - the fear is always there in my mind: tomorrow it will all be different.