Dublin to Sunderland

Jun 17, 2013
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Posted by: stu
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Category: Blog
Abbie took on the famous Dublin to Sunderland ride. Here's her report and pictures
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dublintosunderland/sets/72157634066948046/page1/

First Day

We travelled 72.1miles from Dublin to Warren Point in a little over 5 hours. (not including our many stops for food and Guinness). One of the organisers was awarded the ‘Horn and Tassels’ (H+T)Award for forgetting his passport, a nice hello Kitty horn and some sparkly tassels. The ride its self was fantastic! About 900m climbing, with some fantastic descents. The average speed was just too fast for me, but meant for a great challenge, and luckily for me, managed to keep with the main group!
 

Second Day

We travelled 76.2miles from Warren Point to Bangor in about 5 hours 20. We started on the climbs today, not that yesterday was particularly flat… But still, people were still loving it despite the odd fall and many, many punctures. We even had a new H+T winner, and a yellow jersey winner off the previous day. One guy decided that there weren’t enough miles, and cycled straight past us and heading the wrong way, obviously for more miles and not that he got lost haha.
 

Third Day

Well due to me being atrocious with anything electrical, I don’t have any data on today’s ride, although it was about 70mile. We cycled from Bangor to New Galloway (with the help off a ferry).Today marked the start of my problems with the bike. One back wheel puncture in the middle of nowhere (luckily the support van knew and came to sort it out) and one chain off. The legs were starting to hurt now, and a lot of riders were trying to get on the saddle as softly as possible for certain reasons, but once on, we were more than happy to pedal for hours on end. Definitely helped that the sun was out! One of the highlights from today was when me and a guy worked as a team to blast through a 10 mile section. Tucking tight in his wheel to get the best wind protection possible feels fantastic! Then switching roles when the guy in front started to slow down a bit. I was treating it like a race. Determined to catch the people in front and having a team member to help keep you going. It’s amazing how little things like that really boost your average speed!
 

Fourth Day

It was the longest and hardest day of the ride, not just because we were tired either! 88 miles from New Galloway to Alston in 6 hours 50. There were some horrifically hard climbs today, one which particularly stands out was the cobbled climb, it felt incredibly long and the bends in the road didn’t help, but some of us made it up without pushing. It was a full on grind, and at times the front wheel would be lifting up it was that steep but I’m pleased to say, I managed to haul myself up without stopping. But hats off to everyone who gave it their best shot, even the tandomers! Today I was the ‘proud’ bearer of the H+T. All because I went a whopping 5 mile in the wrong direction before realising I was lost! And so added an extra 10 mile to the third day. Didn’t help that when asked if there were any landmarks nearby, my idiotic response was ‘Well there’s sheep on my left, and cows on my right’. So obviously after that, I was awarded the H+T. They were also cursed! Caused me a further two back wheel punctures, and two issues with the chain coming off. Certainly pleased when I passed them on! Even cost me £40 for a new tyre as mine was shredded! Now, everyone always says, you need to make sure you eat and drink enough on a ride, one thing I learned the hard way today. Trying to push myself to keep up with the fast lads (didn’t quite work and soon got dropped, and hence forming my own little single group for the last 10 mile). Fair to say, I hit the wall, it had been the furthest I’d ever cycled over a set amount of days, and with a group who are better, and I suffered for it. Still loved every minute of it! But, when I pulled up at the hotel, where about 15 riders were waiting for the other half of us, I could hardly breathe. Cutting it short, the doctor who was taking part in the ride, really helped me out that night!
 

Day 5

The final 56.5 miles from Alston to Sunderland. Although all our legs were pleased it was the last day, it was quite sad knowing that it was soon to be over. You really get to know people as you’re cursing your way up a climb… But still, it was another fantastic day with the dreaded Crawley Side hill. Yet again, some of us gritted our teeth and slowly but surely made our way up, determined not to push for a single second. But for me, knowing that there was soon to be an epic descent, made me push that much harder to get up! Nothing beats the feeling of whizzing down a decent (trying to be faster than the others) with the burn of the climb still fresh in your legs. And boy it was some burn!! Now, as some of you may know, I like to descend fast. I do this by taking minor risks for marginal gain. However, today, in the excitement of reaching 40mph, I thought to myself, ‘nah, lets not slow down for this turn’ (turned to be a bad idea!) Knowing I wasn’t going to make the turn, rather than risk hitting the tarmac at that speed, I aimed for what I thought was some nice thick soft grass. The plan failed slightly, but still, it was fun! Adding in some acrobatics to my cycling crash, me and the bike hit a ditch in the grass, did a front flip into a fence, and landed in some nettles. Now, I would say, don’t ever do that, but it was great fun! Despite the thousands of nettle stings and injured wrist! But we still had 20 mile left, and so after getting help off another rider to get up, we carried on! The plan was to arrive, at the Stadium of Light at 5:00pm. But, due to hundreds of problems we arrived at about 6:30. Many punctures, two wheels actually blowing up (luckily when they weren’t on the bike) and one little pile up at a roundabout, and again, I was caught up in that… But we arrived as a group into a crowd of family, friends, and the odd photographer!
 

Summary

I would definitely recommend to everyone, to take part in this ride next year. The team and the riders were all fantastic and all helped me out at some point! It was a difficult challenge and one I’d gladly do every week. 
 
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