Chiltern 100 - Grand Fondo, 16th July 2017
Preparation is everything leading into a ride of 100 miles plus. However, even with the finest detail carefully planned my day didn't get off to a great start.
Meet time 05:45am.
Alarm clock set 05:00am.
Leave phone on just in case – whoops, on silent.
Wake up time 05:55am!!
My three friends were outside waiting, thinking that I'd duffed out and changed my mind! Luckily I don’t have previous on this but it did mean that I was driving up to the Chilterns without my much needed breakfast.
Our start time was 07:45am which I'm pleased to say we made it with a minute to go. Leaving the estate of Penn House was picturesque and for a small moment thought that this ride would be enjoyable.
I was proven SO wrong.
One expects hills in the Chilterns but not really having explored the area previously, we realised the course organiser had decided to incorporate what felt like most of them, the toughest I remember getting to a gradient of 17%!! As soon as we climbed and reached the top of each hill we were then immediately descending. Reviewing the topography on Strava I could be easily mistaken that I was looking at my heart rate.
We had planned to complete the ride between 5 ½ and 6 ½ hours and were just shy of 6 hours 15 minutes. The last kilometre was a hill sprint through the estate to the finish line, just what you need after scaling a cumulative 2,400m. I felt that I could give this a good go and set off in my Froome like cadence. With a slight dip in the road I then noticed a photographer at the bottom and thought this is an ideal opportunity to capture my new ECTC kit in its full glory. The finishing line obviously didn't change but with hands off the bars and adopting the familiar winning pose I crossed my finishing line some 500m early just for the photographer.
The ECTC kit was absolutely superb. I have completed many long distance rides but can confidently say that the bib shorts were some of the best I have worn. Bearing in mind you should not wear new kit on a major ride this kit certainly passed the test. Lots of positive comments were made by others and interest shown behind the meaning of ECTC.
Such a great cause but one obvious lacking element to this ride – no cake stop!!!!!