The sense of excitement that builds throughout the day on Saturday as you do your final preparations. The first glimpse of other Dynamo riders as you exit the canal at Broadway Market. The happiness of meeting new friends and friends-of-friends amongst the thousands of cyclists assembled at London Fields. The looks of disbelief on the faces of pedestrians as you pedal out of London. The coolest feeling when a perfect stranger rides up to you and says, "Machacas on Wheels!"
The increasing intensity of hundreds blinking red lights as the sun starts to set. The swift breeze as a set of fast club riders overtake you. The short-sighted pleasure of going a bit faster than you probably should so early in the ride. The unusual privilege of getting to ride two-abreast on a major road. The echoes of voices of all accents shouting "Car!" when one approaches. The worried feeling that comes after yawning when it isn't even midnight yet.
The panic of coming around a bend and having to stop suddenly because hundreds of cyclists are blocking the road outside the pub. The taste of peanut M&Ms at the moment when you can't imagine anything more delicious. The feeling of adventure as you set off into proper night riding in the countryside.
The utter ridiculousness of losing one of your ride companions when they miss the turnoff for the feed stop. The sight of hundreds of cycles and cyclists lying on the ground of the carpark. The restorative effect of a hot, caffinated beverage. The excitement of seeing "sunrise in 2 hours 24 minutes" on the GPS screen.
The sight of the sun rising ahead of you as you pedal into the dawn. The smell of bacon being cooked up by an enterprising local resident. The warm familiarity of visiting Needham Lake in the early morning hours. The increasingly tired looks on your fellow riders faces. The serendipity of coming across the free tea and coffee stand just when you start to get seriously worried about your ability to stay awake.
The final push into Dunwich through green fields and quiet lanes. The feeling of a light summer shower on your forearms. The joy of arriving into Dunwich with someone who has done it for the first time. The smugness of getting out your camp stove and cooking up bacon baps on the beach. The unfairness that it is slightly too cold to enjoy a morning on the beach. The smile that creeps accross your face when you see the thousands of other people who have done the same crazy thing with their Saturday night.