08 September 2011

A night ride in the mist (London to Brighton overnight)

Our last Friday night ride to the coast, which was part of a charity ride for the Martlet's Hospice, has been a little different from previous ones. This was the second time we've ridden to Brighton overnight, but the very first time that we've cycled in extremely foggy conditions since pretty much the M25 (outskirts of London) until the very end in the Brighton seafront.

Getting ready to leave home.

  • Felt super-awake. More than ever on a night ride. The secret: 1h siesta beforehand!
  • Misty conditions made an interesting ride, and even more interesting scenery. Complete lack of scenery I mean. We actually had no clue where we were, even though we had done this ride a million times. Luckily we had our GPS and the Fnrttc marshals to point us in the right direction
Fog before we have even gotten past the M25!
  • Lonelyness of the ride, despite the large number of riders, we were riding solo for quite prolonged periods of time. It really feels magical to be on your own, without seeing much more than 15 m ahead of you, lit up by an LED light. Looking backwards is scary, and competely dark.
  • The absence of cars. Only around the Gatwick area at ~3am we saw a few cars rushing to the airport.
  • The climb up Ditchling Beacon. Although usually a proper hilly section of road, with awesome vistas of the South Downs, tonight it seemed like a rainforest. It was so foggy and damp that it truly looked different.
  • Lucy made it all the way up the Ditchling without stopping. And all in one piece. And I managed to climb without standing on the pedals, in preparation for the long hills of the Etape Cymru.
That's Lucy's bright light coming up to the top of the Beacon!

At least she's still standing.
  • The home-made cakes delivered by the Martlets volunteers! That surely propelled us to the top of the Beacon!
  • Getting an earlier train and home by 9:15 am was the earliest we've ever made it back. Neither of us felt like having a fry-up breakfast, and the weather was not appealing...
Heading to the station.
  • A fight involving plenty of police and even a few FNRttC-ers in Balham. We later learned that the FNRttCers invovled were police as well who got off the ride to assist before backup arrived!
  • Not being able to use our glasses due to the fog. I got drops of mist from trees straight into my eyes as a result...not a nice feeling
  • Lucy's stomach cramps and sleepyness at the half way stop. Mate, gotta get used to sleeping in sports halls in preparation for our Super Randonneur 2012!
  • My very own stomach got also upset towards the end of the ride. A combination of food and exercise maybe? Need to remind myself to eat home-made only (with the exception of home-made cakes...of course!)
  • The ride itself starts to feel quite short after all the long routes we've done this year. We barely rode 90 km from the official start. Perhaps we should aim for a Saturday morning ride post-Friday night ride?
Stats: 112 km door to door, 5 h 52 m riding time, 19 km/h average, 51 km/h max speed.

We'd like to thank all the people from the Martlets Hospice and all the Fnrttc marshalls (standing by themselves in the fog for hours!!!) that made this ride one of the most memorable ones to date.

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