Sleeping cyclists at the end of the Dunwich Dynamo 2011.
If like Racing Green you are interested in sustainability in sport, look no further than the Dunwich Dynamo for a great example of a big bike event with little or no impact on the environment.
Many cyclosportives see riders arrive and depart by car, often covering tens or even hundreds of miles in the process. Some are all but inaccessible by public transport.
But the Dunwich Dynamo is a masterclass in how different things could be. Featuring machines ranging from penny farthings to aging baker’s bikes it undoubtedly falls into the category of fun mass ride rather than performance-orientated sportive, but the lessons it provides are transferable.
Riders roll out from London Fields at about 9pm and from then on it’s totally unsupported: no sponsors, no broom wagon, just 120 moonlit miles to the Suffolk coast.
But its real triumph only becomes apparent at dawn as the bleary-eyed riders arrive at Dunwich Beach. You might expect many to meet obliging car-owning friends for a cosy lift back to London. Not so. In fact, while a hardcore minority simply turn round and pedal back to London, almost everyone else opts for one of the coach-plus-lorry convoys organised by Southwark Cyclists and the London School of Cycling.
The "Dun Run" leaves no trace on the beautiful route by which it gets to the sea and -- thanks to this admirable bit of planning -- it leaves nothing on the way back either.
You can read a little more about my experience of the 2011 edition of the ride on Man Make Move – a blog by Joe Coulson.
Coincidentally, Racing Green's remarkable success at the Blenheim Triathlon back in June meant that the Blenheim Triathlon organisers provided a lift-sharing website for participants in Bike Blenheim Palace on the 21st of August.
I’d just spent a glorious sunny day cycling through the Surrey Hills. But I was utterly spent. The plan was to get on a train back into London, making the return journey of the train I caught out that morning to avoid spending time and energy cycling on the dirty city roads. So I went direct to the station, only to suddenly realise I was more than likely going to suffer the next day if I didn’t take on some food or drink to help my muscles recover. And I needed it within that critical 20 minute period.
Alas, the newsagent at Dorking station is no sports drink specialist... and then I remembered... something about milk? Was it chocolate milk? Yes! Problem solved.
I went back home and googled it just for peace of mind and future reference. It turns out that previous academic studies have shown that milk, and chocolate milk in particular, provides a perfect combination of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals to aid recovery from exercise. Leaving you ready for more of the same. As an example, here’s a quote from an Australian medical website:
This result supports other studies that show that chocolate milk is a good way to recover ... Karp and colleagues (2006) showed that endurance cyclists could ride for longer periods on chocolate milk when compared with other recovery beverages. Thomas and others (2009) showed that chocolate milk was significantly better at improving time to exhaustion in elite cyclists than other recovery beverages one of which was a carbohydrate and protein mixture.
There is a huge amount of investment made into cutting edge scientific, processed solutions for recovery drinks, yet these solutions seem to make only marginal gains over what mother nature has evolved to provide already: milk. What’s more, if its organic milk, then you’re onto an environmental winner and can sleep even more soundly at night. And milk is a hell of a lot cheaper too!
I feel good today, so it seems to have done the trick. I couldn’t help but imagine Cadel Evans drinking a tall glass of Australia’s favourite, Milo, after that day climbing the Alps before the final stage time trial... who knows, hey?