The Chiltern 100 Medio Fondo, a 76 mile ride through the Chiltern Hills, a ride that takes in great scenery, enough climbs to keep anyone happy and the promise of great views. Well that was the idea, the reality was somewhat different, and here is how it happened for me.
Sunday dawned raining, cold and generally miserable, so it was on with the 3/4 length tights, overshoes, arm warmers, waterproof jacket, gloves, cap and a smile. Well, a smile might be pushing it a little bit.
Once on site, met up with the Gary, Dave, Simon, Colin, John & Gary and we were ready for the off. As if to give us a little extra motivation it decided to rain hard.
The route started gently enough and we rolled along chatting and trying to be positive about the rain, hoping it would relent and give us some sunshine.
As is normal when you have a largish group it tends to split up a bit and soon we had sub-divided into pairs or 3’s and the first few climbs had been and gone, the rain hadn’t!
There was an unfortunate accident for one rider who was left in the road and wasn’t moving, ambulances were soon on the scene, and I wish him well. I have no idea what happened to him.
We carried on and spirits were generally ok, after about 60km we pulled into the first feed station. Once stopped you instantly realised just how cold it was, it didn’t take long to wish to get going again, and that is where the day took a funny turn.
We left the feed station together, or so I thought, and I slowly rolled off down the road hoping to generate some warmth again. After a few minutes I looked round and realised I was on my own, no matter I thought they will roll up to me in a minute as I am not pushing the pace along. A few more miles went by, I looked back again and thought I can’t see anybody. This is where I will admit I had a choice and that was either stop and wait or just keep going and see if they catch up. Well as the weather was so miserable I decided to keep going, on reflection it was a selfish decision but at the time I was only really interested in myself.
I kept on going, and soon approached the backend of the ride which was back loaded with the classic Chiltern climbs, the Crong, Whiteleaf Cross and Wardrobes Lane. As I live in the area these hills are all very familiar to me and so I knew I would get up them, maybe not in any real style or with any pace but I wouldn’t have to walk!
The sight on Whiteleaf cross of cyclists strewn all over the road was something I hadn’t expected, some were walking others, me included, were just plodding our way up, not pretty but all things considered effective.
Once the hills were done it was a case of riding to the finish, a couple of short climbs, and it was back to the start.
On finishing you are given a nice medal, and that is that.
I was wet and had not really enjoyed the ride, I felt slightly bad at leaving the guys I was riding with, but I soon found my car, put the bike in it and went home.
The performance of the other guys is not for me to write about, as given I left them I only know what they told me since of their experience and it isn’t for me to comment on here really.
So, would I do this event again, probably not, it has nothing to do with the organisation which was excellent, plenty of roving marshals, food at the feed stations and helpful people when you finished, it is more of why would I pay to ride on the roads I train on. If sunshine was guaranteed then I might and perhaps even do the full length ride, but that is a decision for another day.