September 2 2014 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, News editor
Friday, July 18, 2014
News editor Ramzy Alwakeel is tackling the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 on August 10. His training diary for Parklife continues here.
As beginnings go, it wasn’t auspicious.
Watching helplessly as my ride companion wrenched off my back wheel on the start line, I wondered if I’d make it up the Lea Bridge Road, never mind all the way to Suffolk.
Fortunately, the puncture I sprung before we’d even left London Fields was the last major hiccup in a 115-mile ride that actually turned out to be pretty serene.
I completed the Dunwich Dynamo in nine and a half hours, arriving on the gloomy beach at about 5am on Sunday. No sandcastles for me – Dunwich seemed to be primarily a blend of pebbles and rain.
Much like the Tour de France, the Dynamo came in stages.
For the first 20 miles I felt invincible, easily muscling past other riders even on slight inclines.
The next 40 were magical, if a bit reduced in pace. Looking up from the road I could see a trail of red bike lights snaking and flashing their way through the countryside like a string of enormous fairy lights.
Once the sun had set, not being able to see the hills turned out to be a bonus. With no idea whether I was at the foot of a 20-mile climb or simply going over a speed bump I found myself putting in the effort without the usual panic.
By the halfway point I was getting a little bored.
Gradually the sun started to come up again and, by 3am, I just wanted to get to the finish line. By this point the group had spread out so thinly you could go a mile without seeing any other cyclists – a worrying prospect given how scant the route markings were.
We actually got a bit lost towards the end, and seeing victorious riders coming the other way on their return journeys only served to confuse matters further.
But we made it, just as the heavens opened, and duly filed into the cramped, sweaty cafe for some quality head-on-table time. I’d wager it’s the most tourists Dunwich sees all year.
So now I know I can cycle 100 miles – and more – which only bodes well for Ride London.
But with some real hills in that route I’d better start flexing my climbing muscles.
And since we’ll be setting off at about 6am, I can’t rely on the darkness to get me over the bumps this time.
• Check back in two weeks for Ramzy’s final training column