Well I'm now back at work, having left most of the happy campers about to leave Dunwich for Ipswich. I left for Darsham and met Wow and Mrs Wow who I accompanied to Darsham Station when they continued onwards with their journey back to Southend.
Many thanks to Annie for a splendid spread of food, which I was a little too zonked to appreciate fully, I'm sure all of us were very happy to see you and partake of your hard work.
The ride itself was largely great, although the road through Epping Forest (more or less) was rather horrible due to the large amount of traffic, poor road surface, and pathetic cycle lane.
I sort of stayed with Team Slow for a fair bit of the ride, but after the half way stop I got separated from most of them, and kept on going, thinking I was going to catch up the Team Pike somewhere ahead of me. I met up with Luke about 40 miles from the end, and we continued onwards with a stop every ten miles or so to recuperate and have some munchies. We got to Dunwich without too much strain I think around 9-15, having left London Fields near 8-30 which I'm happy with, not ever claiming that I was going to be fast!
As we approached Dunwich I did spy Pippa and Jurek drinking something (which I assume was coffee) as the sped of in a car, although they did stop briefly to say Bye Bye.
After a brief tour of the car park, we found Annie, and the speedier group, but not to my surprise the Pikes, who I thought were ahead of me, not as turned out to be the case behind me.
A while later all the others arrived, and also partook of Annie's hospitality.
Towards the evening we shifted ourselves, our bikes and luggage, and some of what Annie had left behind further up the beech, and assembled our informal yacf campsite. There was a brief light shower of rain at 8pm, just as we were erecting our tents, but this accelerated the job just in time for the rain to stop!
The evening's entertainments ensued, involving Charlotte and Wascally Weasel's homebuilt stoves, a party sized BBQ left by Annie, a variety of burning things twirled and swung around by the Pike's, and some alcohol.
We didn't entirely paint the beech red, since we were all more than a little pooped for some reason, so embarrassingly there was even beer left over at the end of the evening.
In the morning a certain amount of dunking in the sea, and breakfasting was undertaken, followed by the dismantling of tents and whatnot, and attempting to fit it all back into bags and trailers from whence it had all emerged, with all the challenges that this involves!
When we were packing up, someone discovered that they had locked their bike up, with a lock they didn't have the key to. After a fair amount of effort by Kim and her tools, ten minutes later the lock could be added to Jurek's collection of destroyed security equipment.
There was a brief Didgeridoo masterclass by Phil, and then we all traipsed back along the pebbles to the cafe, deposited all the rubbish in the bins (largely filling them up!), and met up with a friend of Wow's who was going to look after Annie's stuff until it could be picked up.
Like CrinklyLion I got a little sunburnt, although thankfully I'm nowhere near as pink, having got fairly brown a few weeks back. Ouch though, that looks a little painful CL, I hope you've got some aftersun on it.
A tremendously fun weekend, and I'm very glad I did it.
My photos are here
, but some of the night time ones will be blurry or too dark, since I haven't really been through them and chucked out the naff ones yet.
I also need to glue some of the landscape panoramas together. Watch this space.