Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Dun Run part two - Ride report

After a brief rest  I have decided to do a ride report proper:

After packing, panicking and forgetting to fill water I set off a little later than planned. We arrived at the pub in the park and tried to locate each other in the massed throng of riders. Warren was out front and Dave out back whilst I was late. Remarkably as I was expressing surprise that I couldn’t hear Glen he turned up.

 There were a surprising number of riders enjoying a pre-start drink. It would seem that the measure of athletic seriousness at this point was whether you went for a half pint of ale or a full pint of lager.

Riders ranged from (my favourite outfit of the night) a blousy shirt duck taped into short sleeves with tight chinos-to the Dulwich Paragons in full matching club kit.

As we prepared to leave one of our number decided for a quick wee stop before the off, which was easier said than done at this point due to there being a couple of hundred riders blocking access to the loo and the early closure of the park toilets.

Dave knew the route out of London, so we set off in the snaking queue of smiling riders into the early evening sun. Riders following GPS units went one way and veterans the other before joining up again on Lee bridge road. As the evening wore on we found ourselves passing through Epping Forest and the surrounding towns. By now light was getting poor and more and more lights came on. I was shocked to notice that some rider’s lights were flashing so brightly that they left a retinal spot between flashes and I started to wonder what that would feel like at 02:00am.

Our first stop was in a small town opposite a pub as we were 55 km in and properly ready for a sarnie. The volume of music coming from the pub was astounding as we tucked into various cheese/pickle/sausage combo sandwiches. Billy Idol blared out and peaked as an absolutely trashed woman tottered out for a fag. Up until that point I had assumed the pub had a window open, but no.

Riding though the dark was vaguely hypnotic and the light dipped between towns to nothing before rising to the sulphurous pools of yellow street lights in villages. At this point I started to notice the late starters passing us at race pace chatting easily while I was starting to have my first tired moment.

The next stop was at the foot of a hill in a charming pub that would warrant a visit during a less strenuous activity. I settled for a pint of light ale and watched the lights stream down the hill to the shouts of “HOLE!” at the bottom.

Setting off again we could no longer see each other at all and my chain came off climbing away from the pub. I texted Dave only get the response “Me too!”

They were waiting for me at the top and we set off following the pattern of each other’s lights in the dark.

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